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“”Ooh, are we negging? Let me try!
You look like you're going to spend your life having one epiphany after another, always thinking you've finally figured out what's holding you back, and how you can finally be productive and creative and turn your life around. But nothing will ever change. That cycle of mediocrity isn't due to some obstacle. It's who you are. The thing standing in the way of your dreams is; that the person having them is you.
A pick-up artist (PUA) is a man (or, very rarely, a woman) who studies to hopefully improve their success rate with women in ways which are most often sleazy and sexist. Pick-up artistry, often referred to as the "seduction community," has developed its own terms and lingo which members use with each other. The claims and goals of the subculture are often controversial, with criticisms ranging from those who think the subculture consists of tasteless assholes to those who are skeptical of the claims made by proponents.
The PUA community likes to make various unproven claims, and there is notable influence from neuro-linguistic programming, self-help, pop evolutionary psychology, misapplication of game theory, and woo ideas (most notably those of Ross Jeffries). Typically in PUA literature a model or protocol is prescribed as a one-size-fits-all method of generating attraction from the opposite sex, falsely assuming that complex human interaction has constant and unchanging "laws" that can be studied and thus exploited to the PUA's advantage. Many have accused the subculture of misogyny and objectification; others see it as no different from any other kind of flirting or attraction.
 The Game, braaah!
The Bible of the PUA crowd seems to be Neil Strauss's The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists[wp] -- indeed, the book comes bound in leather with gold-leafed pages and a red silk ribbon. "Mystery"[wp], a PUA profiled in the book, claims "well-chosen props are a great way to focus a girl's attention on something else so she doesn't resist overt sexual moves." "Mystery's" "well-chosen props" often include giant fuzzy top hats, welding goggles, excessive eye-liner and poet shirts. Some of "Mystery's" advice for breaking down "last-minute resistance (LMR)" is fairly indistinguishable from date rape, while other techniques such as a "freeze out" truly leave the choice up to the woman.
The narrative of Strauss's book is bipolar at best. Alongside the story of his evolution from self-loathing (but probably decent) human being to totally-awesome-stud-alpha-game-messiah is the contrasting tragic tear-jerking meltdown(s) of the lovable-douchey-attention-whore "Mystery". Though Strauss makes great effort to critique the vain emptiness of some aspects of the game culture and the transformation of nice goofy guys into slick lotharios, he behaves in almost the exact same way but paints his exploits in a radioactive awesome colour (because when the alpha-game-messiah does it it's all cool braaah). And so throughout the book Strauss gets to have it all ways (so to speak). He assures us he's a nice guy by denouncing the real scumbags and bitchy women (trashing specific friends and dishing embarrassing dirt on specific girls in the process), paints game-bros as multi-dimensional guys with complex personalities and fragile hearts, describes women as moronic fem-bots and/or bitchy catty witches, is totally a nice guy, lists his glorious herculean conquests, acts like a douchebag, reminds you he's really a nice guy and throughout tells a journalistic narrative in both the first and third person with heart, humour and soul. By the end the only unquestionably good lesson anyone should take from it is that having your cake and eating it too is very possible in autobiographical narratives. Also... it's good to have more confidence, be somewhat bolder and have fun while dating. The negative lessons that most guys probably take from the book are too numerous to list here.
 Common themes and techniques
Many PUA "techniques" are often simply means of emotional manipulation with others crossing into overt sexual harassment. Women whom the PUA wants to "score" with are referred to as "targets" who need to be "isolated," and often rated on their looks or desirability (e.g. on a 1 to 10 scale). Men who apply these techniques frequently and successfully, especially on more attractive women, are perceived to be "alpha"; everyone else is a "beta", an AFC (Average Frustrated Chump, brah), or finally, an "Omega" if they have no hope of finding a mate. A person who has given up on pursuing sex altogether is referred to as an Incel.
One almost universal meme within the PUA community is the use of "negging," the "push/pull technique," or other variants on the old "treat them mean, keep them keen" cliché, in which the PUA uses strategic put-downs and minor insults to entice his prey by undermining her self-confidence and creating tension which he uses to his advantage. You know, like regular relationships.
 So what are they like?
Pick-up artists tend to tell you a story of how they used to fail all the time with attracting women and thought they would never make it. But they discovered their formulas and techniques, and are now willing to share them with you... for a price!
The more honest ones will admit that it's a numbers game; PUAs have a higher success rate by virtue of prowling bars endlessly, or that the "information" they have acquired gives them a placebo effect that improves their confidence. Put simply, there is no "knowledge" a PUA could impart at a boot camp or in a DVD that you can't find online for free.
Many men get into pick-up due to social impairments, such as discomfort in normal conversation with people (not necessarily just women) and vice versa. While some unscrupulous purveyors of "game material" can take advantage of this, others genuinely want to see their peers improve and be more happy in their lives. Nevertheless, the community's resolutely anti-social worldview is unlikely to aid healthy communication, while the heavy emphasis on sexual conquests as a measure of social status is liable to reinforce these men's feelings of inadequacy.
There is also a small community of gay male pick-up artists.
 Does it work/Is it a scam?
Anyone that denies the influence of looks, money, and status in sexual attraction is delusional, and no one would argue that learning the social skills required for making meaningful connections, romantic or otherwise, is not a valuable investment of time and energy. Pickup artistry, however, is by-and-large a scam to sell ebooks. Much of its information is from straight out of the basement; the rest is either common sense advice or social skills that many individuals just don't learn growing up.
 (In)famous pick-up artists
- Julien Blanc - a contender with Roosh V for title of the creepiest pickup artist - his dating advice includes "make threats to hurt [a woman]; make her drop charges; make her do illegal things; threaten to report her to welfare; prevent her from taking a job; take her money and humiliate her". Blanc was banned from Australia, Britain, and Singapore in November 2014.
- David DeAngelo
- Heartiste, formerly known as Rossy
- Richard La Ruina a.k.a. Gambler
- Arden Leigh - one of the few female PUAs
- Tucker Max, basically a D-celeb who rode Mystery's coattails
- Roosh V, more or less a con artist who rode Strauss' coattails. Incensed at Red Pill for publishing material without his input, he had a notorious falling out and now blasts them at every opportunity. (You might consider him the Thomas Edison of MRAs.) He has stopped using the term Red Pill and now has his own philosophy he calls "neomasculinity" which is basically just Red Pill cranked up to 11.
- Neil Strauss
- Good Looking Loser, famous for advocating getting fit, the lack of blatant misogyny on his website and interacting with women like a normal person.
- Matt Cross, a sociopathic scam artist that disables comments on his Youtube channel the 44 Secrets to becoming A Real Alpha Male, advocates "Chair game" 
 See also
- The men's rights movement: There is a partial overlap in fanbases (and a significant overlap in sexist fuckwittery).
- Manosphere glossary
- 2014 Isla Vista killings
- ↑ In all likelihood, a lot of their technique, like "peacocking" (dressing like a looney to get attention) is probably just cargo cult science.
- ↑ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/1999/jan/11/gender.uk3
- ↑ http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/09/25/LVGPHEQA941.DTL
- ↑ http://xkcd.com/1178/
- ↑ http://classic-web.archive.org/web/20061021021508/www.sanfranmag.com/archives/view_story/1306/
- ↑ Confessions of a Playboy, Steve Almond, Los Angeles Times
- ↑ "Guys, I Just Totally Raped This Student Chick!", Dimi Reider, +972 mag
- ↑ If At First You Don't Succeed, Grope Her, Man boobz
- ↑ For example, "Negging Women – 10 Awesome Negs That Work"
- ↑ "Push/Pull" idiocy
- ↑ Lo and behold! An honest 'player'.
- ↑ Same site
- ↑ "Is Julien Blanc really the worst pickup artist?", The Telegraph, 17 November 2014
- ↑ US 'pick-up artist' Julien Blanc forced to leave Australia after visa cancelled
- ↑ 'Pick-up artist' Julien Blanc banned from entering Singapore
- ↑ Prepare to have your faith in civilzation ruined.
- ↑ Mystery, The Pick Up Artist, Cracked.com