A few years ago, I was challenged by a friend to read Neil Strauss’s book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick Up Artists. Basically, it followed the journey of the author, Neil Strauss, as he struggled to gain mastery over the art of picking up women. He made himself into a new person, with a new name: Style. No woman could resist Style.
After reading through this tome and following the progression of Style from a zero to a pick up pro, I began to apply the concepts and strategies to my own life. It was difficult at first. It seemed like how to be rejected was the only thing I was learning. But slowly, I began to have minor successes, which snowballed into major successes and before I knew it, I had 9’s and 10’s fighting over me in clubs and making me eggs in the morning.
Yeah, that was all bullshit. A nice story, though, right?
I read the book, but what I took away from it was at once more and less than the Art of Seduction. What I took away from it was more like footnotes for something more important to me – the Art of Life. What had happened to change Neil Strauss was entirely his doing. The person he had become was completely himself, yet completely and thoroughly put together in a conscious way to attract women. This resonated with me on some level, but I wouldn’t know how to put the pieces together until I talked to a friend about it much later.
Pickup made me uneasy. Pickup artists struck me as inauthentic, craven beasts who calculated every move. I would read someone’s opinion online that pickup artists viewed women as nothing more than masturbatory aids, and I agreed. It felt that it was demeaning to women and dehumanizing. There was a part of me that was tempted to try it out, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It didn’t fit with what I believed, it could end up hurting people, and I was too scared.
Years later, I would meet a real pickup artist, though his days were behind him, at least for the moment. We became good friends. Finally, when the topic came about during a long drive, I asked my friend how pick up artists could be authentic, to which he responded that it was “about being yourself…about being your best self,” and furthermore that people only got hurt if you failed to communicate your intentions fully. He said he looked at it more as bringing adventure into girls’ lives. I began to realize that this was something I might be able to get behind. I began to realize that pickup and seduction could be a positive thing.
But the biggest takeaway for me was that it was about becoming a better person by dint of your own hard work. “Better” was whatever you wanted better to mean…for pickup artists, that meant they attracted women. For me, while that may have played a part, the message was that wasn’t the best me that I could be…yet. And having a clearer idea of who that person was to me was a good first step. I figured if I was my best me, there’s no way I couldn’t also be attractive. Just live my life the best way I can think of, and everything else will fall in order. I still believe it.
Recently, I began to delve into reddit’s seduction sub-community. After reading this guide and poking around the community for a bit, I found a post asking how pickup artists reconciled their seductive ways with long term relationships. There was a response about how everything was about power, which I didn’t think fully explained how an enlightened PUA viewed it. So I responded:
I’m responding to you because you seem to find this a place of darkness. Some things you should read up on:
Seduction – meaning “to lead astray,” or “to attract,” courtesy of quazzy.
Lifers v Gamers – Lifers use the game to better themselves, gamers use the game to take advantage of people.
With that out of the way, how I reconcile seduction with a real relationship very much so adheres to the definition of “to attract” and the goals of a “lifer.” The primary message of seduction, for me, is “to attract” by being yourself…not someone that you discover somewhere in the hinterlands of your soul, but someone who you create. It’s an uplifting message – that, whoever or whatever you consider yourself now, you can forge someone better out of it, better by standards that you set yourself.
I believe that you do not discover yourself. You create yourself. There’s a great book called “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be,” and the same goes for your personality. It’s not who you are, it’s who you want to be. If you have that going for you, your confidence will be attractive by itself, and if you want to be even more attractive, you can be that as well.
As for how this works out for long term relationships, the more comfortable you are being yourself, the more agency you have in your personality, the more likely you are to click with the right person, because you are putting out 100% your own personality. The only thing left is to find the right person. And getting to know someone, getting them to open up, is an important part of that.
There is a positive, affirmative way to look at seduction. Just ignore the gamers and the gamer mentality and seddit won’t be as dark a place anymore. I strongly hope that makes you less depressed about this subreddit, especially if you’re going to stick around.
Basically…the way I see seduction is that if you’re good at life, you’ll do just fine at love.
Tweakin’ out because I haven’t slept in 25 hours, so I’ll just leave it at that.