On New Year's Day 2016 I met the most wonderful man whose written words made me laugh, whose voice made my heart flutter and whose presence makes my whole body alive.
Their students, as they see it, are hapless men who just need a few bro-pats on the back in order to have the confidence to go forth into the jungle of pussy and skin their first pelt.
A little backstory on pickup artists (PUAs): they are men and women (but usually men) who see what they do as teaching social skills.
Getting women into bed is reduced to a game with rules to follow, a code to crack.
PUA methods vary, but all pickups socially and emotionally manipulate a woman.
Men are taught to engage in certain behaviors to make her feel “safe” in his prescence and even to intentionally insult her (“negging”) to put her off guard.
(A decent background explanation of online PUAs is here on Buzzfeed; my piece about men training to be PUAs in NYC “charm school” classes that ran in the a few years ago tells you how they behave “in the field.”) Sounds dehumanizing? It’s disturbing then, but not entirely surprising, how some PUA sites overlap with “men’s rights activist”/MRA sites — best known for being angry hornets’ nests of bitter men who rant their misogyny in any comment thread that doesn’t ban them.
Although the two communities are distinct, there’s a scary amount of overlap in their attitude towards dealing with that alternate species known as women.
Ladies are called difficult, needy, manipulate, crazy, shrill, and a whole litany of other qualities which make you wonder why these men are obsessed with the opposite sex (especially given how MRAs so revile us).
Clearly, I’ve set the stage to make my ex-boyfriend sound like a douchebag.
But the honest truth is that Andy* was intelligent, witty, good-looking and funny — the complete opposite of the basement dwelling loser that some other feminist bloggers would have you believe all PUAs to be.
Whatever you’re thinking a PUA might look or be like, I bet Andy wouldn’t fit it.