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Are Pick-Up Artists Evil?

The truth about PUAs and the men who follow their advice

Are pick-up artists as evil and sociopathic as they’re made out to be?

This is the question you may be hellbent on answering after discovering the pick-up community.

It’ll only take a few moments on Google to find an archive of articles condemning the world’s most famous PUAs and the men who follow their advice. These coaches are labelled as “pathetic”, “misogynistic” and “manipulative” among other slurs. Oftentimes the entire community – including the students who read and follow dating advice – is tarnished with the same label.  

The question is: are these reports accurate? Or is it a case of the media creating outrage and sensationalism because it attracts more eyeballs than a noble tale of men striving to improve themselves?

The most common misconceptions made about pick-up artists

I have followed the world’s major pick-up companies for years, befriended plenty of the UK’s most popular pick-up coaches and met their students. Now, I coach men how to be more successful with women. This technically makes me a “pick-up artist”.  

Yet, I wouldn’t ever label myself this, because of the negative connotations attached to the term by the media. In fact, all of the world’s major pick-up companies have distanced themselves from phrases like “pick-up”, “game” or “PUA”, probably for the same reason.  

Nevertheless, I’ve had a closer view than most journalists when it comes to what the coaches and students in this community are really like.

Below are the five most common misconceptions made about pick-up artists.

1. Guys don’t ‘need’ to study pick-up

A classic argument against practicing pick-up is that men should just ‘be themselves’ and talk to beautiful women whenever they happen to stumble across them.

This opinion stems from the belief that all guys can effortlessly approach women and strike up a flirtatious conversation with full charisma, no nerves and no feelings of inadequacy.  

The truth is: most guys can’t do this naturally, even under the influence of alcohol. Thankfully, it is a skill that can be improved with expert guidance and regular practice. 

Most PUAs only practice picking up women so often because it’s the only way they’ll get the dating life they desire.

2. Pick-up artists are obsessed with sex

First off, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying sex. As long as both adults consent and use the necessary precautions, it’s a win-win.

Still, many pick-up artists are motivated by more than the promise of a new sexual partner. 

A lot of them also love the feelings of adventure, fun and social freedom that comes with meeting and seducing someone new. To see that sexy woman, experience that rush of attraction, the excitement of not knowing what’s going to happen, and then to take action – it’s a thrill!

It’s surely more enjoyable than standing around, talking rubbish with the same group of male friends, getting a kebab, going home and masturbating. 

3. Pick-up artists don’t want a relationship

The majority of guys attracted to the idea of learning from a pick-up artist are incredibly lonely. Most can barely find one woman to sleep with. If you offered them a loving girlfriend, they’d probably bite your hand off. 

Still, many buy into the idea that the best way to find a great girlfriend is to choose from abundanceThis is why pick-up artists teach their students to get good with women in general before settling into a relationship. 

Some follow this advice. Others ignore it and still settle for the first woman that likes them. Either way, a relationship remains the ultimate goal for most guys in this community. 

4. Pick-up artists all use canned lines, routines and neuro-linguistic programming

Erik ‘Mystery’ Von Markovik is well known as one of the founders of the pick-up community. He would head out with Neil Strauss in Los Angeles to pick up women using ‘Mystery Method’  – a style of game using canned lines, magic tricks, routines and NLP. They’d also use nerdy terminology such as ‘set’ (group of women) ‘K-close’ (kiss) and ‘HB10’ (hot babe).    

It was Strauss’ book ‘The Game’ that created global awareness of pick-up artistry back in 2005. In the years following its publication, there was a community of guys using ‘Mystery Method’ to try and get laid. However, this style of pick-up was eventually dismissed as being cheesy, stupid and inauthentic – by men and women alike. 

For well over a decade, the world’s most popular pick-up coaches have embraced a natural and authentic style of teaching. Essentially, they’re coaching men to become the best versions of themselves, rather than some cartoon magician. 

Many coaches spend as much time helping men boost their self-esteem or communicate in a confident manner. In many cases, this is deemed as important as showing them the exact moves to pull a woman home. The days of pick-up coaches feeding their students canned lines and routines are certainly long gone. 

5. Pick-up artists are misogynists

In 2014, a campaign for pick-up artist Julien Blanc to be banned from hosting seminars made worldwide news. Blanc was accused of promoting domestic violence and emotional abuse through his content. The campaign resulted in him being banned from entering Australia, The United Kingdom and Singapore.  

It also sparked worldwide media conversation about the ethics of pick-up artists. This often led to the entire community being tarnished with the same brush as Julien Blanc and a small selection of other ‘misogynist’ coaches. 

It’s far from uncommon that an entire sub-culture is stereotyped by the actions of its most extreme figureheads. This is what leads to hatred against feminists, Muslims and vegans to name a few groups. However, the reality is: most people in these groups are level-headed individuals with well-balanced opinions, and it’s no different for guys who study dating advice. 

The new ‘pick-up artists’

It was shortly after the backlash against Julien Blanc that most coaches began to distance themselves from the term “pick-up artist” and focus more on helping students become better men in general.  

Arguably, the ‘pick-up artist’ buzzword continues to be associated with controversial old-school coaches such as ‘Mystery’ and Julien Blanc, because this generation were the only ones who embraced the phrase. 

Using this line of thinking, it could be argued that ‘pick-up artists’ are therefore a thing of the past and what we have now is ‘normal guys trying to get better with women’. It’s not as catchy as ‘PUA’, but the phrase is surely the most accurate way to describe this community of men in 2019. 

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About Joe Elvin Joe Elvin travels the world working remotely as a lifestyle writer and confidence coach. Throughout 2017, he filmed his entire dating life as part of a national television documentary in the UK. His new book 'The Camera Never Lies' details the brutal truths about dating and relationships learned from this experience. You can learn more about the book and download the first chapter for free by clicking here >>

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