Why Pick-Up Artists Work, I Think.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 12.06% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Pick-up artists.  I have such a love/hate relationship with these guys.  I love that there’s someone out there trying to teach socially awkward men how to get the physical affection they need…
…but then in the process of gamifying the system, they proceed to objectify women and make sex into a competition.  Eventually women become like climbing mountains, where they start finding increasingly ridiculous challenges that they don’t even particularly want – they just need to take these new skills for a spin.  They rank women to measure their challenges, becoming what they despise in the process.
Anyway, there’s a lot of framework and standardization among pick-up artists.  You gotta “peacock,” wearing gaudy things so women will have something to comment on.  (I can vouch this works, as my casual conversations with women have tripled since I got my pretty pretty princess nails.)
You go out and “neg” women, subtly insulting them to show how thoroughly Not Impressed you are. (I can also vouch this works, as it’s something I sorta do semi-organically – I don’t set out to take pretty girls down a peg, but so many women are surrounded by men who are terrified to express an opinion, lest they accidentally drive this pretty girl away. Saying, “Holy crap, NO!” on occasion actually makes you more interesting, as you’re exhibiting a form of confidence.  I dislike outright insult just to drop them into defensive mode, though.)
You trot out well-worn anecdotes to try to get into the sack.  (*cough*)
The thing is, the pick-up routine becomes an obsession for these guys. They fine-tune the approach.  They start excluding variables.  They work on it like it was a stand-up routine, constantly polishing every aspect from the opener to the closer, and…
…I don’t know how necessary that whole schtick is.
See, I don’t think the routines of the pick-up artists are as key as they think – it’s just that women like casual sex as much as men do.  And while most guys claim they just want sex, it turns out they actually want commitment in a frightening way that creeps up around the edges.  They say women are the commitment-hungry gender, but holy God I’ve known so many dudes who had a one-night stand with someone they liked and could not let that shit go.
A lot of women are actually fine with casual sex.  It’s just that guys often try to sneak in “committed sex” under the guise of “casual sex,” and when that doesn’t work out for them then holy shit, let’s unleash a sewery tide of slut-shaming on this bitch who dared to spread her legs for me.
What a great reward system you’ve devised, guys!
So I think the routine isn’t all that important.  Expressing yourself as a confident person who’s not going to follow her around for the next six weeks, constantly calling after she’s made the mistake of hooking up with you?  That, my friend, is key.
I think that’s one of the reasons I – a pudgy, bug-eyed neurotic – has gotten as much sex as I have.  I like you.  I want to have sex with you.  It’s not going to be more than that unless you want it to be.  And given my lack of skills in many areas, that open-yet-unattached approach been surprisingly effective.
But hey.  I get the need for a routine, in some cases.  Particularly if you’re socially anxious, having the confidence of a script can help you gain the strength to talk to an attractive stranger.  Breaking the ice is fucking terrifying, especially when rejections can be so offhandedly cruel, and that’s why despite my reservations about PUAs I can’t say there’s not a need for at least some of what they do.
Seriously, though.  I think if you can just be actually legitimately okay with casual sex, you’d be surprised at how often it’ll happen.  Even for someone like me.


  1. Yet Another Laura H
    Jan 21, 2015

    So… give people you want to, ahem, interact with casually a reason to interact with you and don’t give them a reason NOT to interact, and you’ll get a lot more interactions?
    What was the middle bit, again?

  2. Eric Wagoner
    Feb 2, 2015

    I’ve read here and elsewhere about the vetting that happens with a new dating partner from your wife and girlfriend A before the two of you have sex. I’m curious how casual sex fits into that framework. Does the vetting still occur? Or, if it’s agreed to be casual from both of you beforehand, do you move right to the sexy times? If so, has there been an issue from a casual relationship transitioning to something less so?

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