A pickup artist is a man perceived to be skilled in the art of finding, attracting, and seducing women by the seduction community. Such a man purportedly abides by a certain system deemed effective by that community in his attempts to seduce women.
The use of pickup in this context, slang for making a casual acquaintance with a stranger in anticipation of sexual relations, dates from at least World War II, as attested by antiprostitution posters, and is again attested in the 1970 book How to Pick Up Girls by Eric Weber. The phrase was also popularized by Pick-Up Times, a short-lived 1970s magazine and the 1987 semi-autobiographical film, The Pick-up Artist, written and directed by James Toback.
Long used, the term "pickup artist" was the title of a 1987 film The Pick-up Artist, a romantic comedy starred Molly Ringwald and Robert Downey Jr.. More recently was the publication of Neil Strauss's book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, and in 2007, the reality television series, The Pickup Artist, shown on VH1, starring pickup artist Mystery (Erik von Markovik) .
The term pickup artist is also associated with the seduction community, a heterosexual male subculture which strives to improve sexual and romantic abilities with women. Routines and gambits are developed to stimulate purported "attraction switches" often combined with techniques derived from an alleged form of hypnosis called neuro-linguistic programming. They aim to improve their seductive capabilities through the development of different lifestyles. The culture surrounding pickup has spawned an entire industry servicing those who want to improve their social and seduction skills with consultations and in-field training.
Pickup artists receive mixed to negative responses from the press and general public, with many regarding both the practice and theory immoral, sexist and ineffective. The pickup artist has also been parodied, as in the March 2011 The Scott Mills Show and on BBC Radio 1 debated Neil Strauss' The Game in many shows.
Roosh V, described as a pickup artist, has self-published 14 books offering advice and tips on techniques to pickup and seduce women. He has turned picking up girls into a self-supporting lifestyle. According to Salon, such books are the "cash cow" of the pickup industry.
Criticism as pseudoscience 
The Pickup Artist system[which?] purports to be a scientific, psychological theory, in the sense that it provides empirically-testable claims about the nature of human sexuality. (Each variation of the system claims that using the techniques propounded by certain "pickup artists" is on average more effective than not using them in one's attempts to seduce women.) However, the claims of Pick Up Artists are not made in peer-reviewed psychological or social science journals, and central figures in the community such as Roosh V and Neil Strauss have no formal training in psychology or the methodologies of the social sciences. Professional psychologists who have addressed their theories ridicule it as pseudo-science; psychiatrist Roderique Davis has called it as "cargo-cult psychology," while psychiatrist Dr. Petra Boyman says that there is "no evidence of effectiveness" for any claims of Pickup Artists.
See also 
- "Them days is gone forever", Media library (poster), University of Minnesota.
- "If you want to drop bombs to the set of the rising Sun…", Media library (poster), University of Minnesota
- Weber, Eric (1970), How to Pick Up Girls (1st ed.), Tenafly, NJ, USA: Symphony Press.
- Strauss (2005), pp. 124, 144.
- Tom Chivers (14 January 2010). "Pick-up artists, online seduction and dating tips". UK: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
- "Radio 1". UK: The BBC.
- Jule Banville, "Blogger Stud Living in Dad’s Basement, Writing Second Book on How to Get Laid", "Washington City Paper", 2008
- Lu, Peter (2011-09-20). "Simple Pickup: Are these the greatest pickup artists of all time?". Salon.com. Retrieved 2013-03-10.
- Berkowitz, A. (11 August 2007). "Single Files: You, too, can be a pickup artist".[dead link] Times Herald-Record. Retrieved on 20 August 2007.
- Getches, Catherine (2 July 2002). "The original pick-up artist". Salon.com. Retrieved on 25 August 2007.
- Mapes, Diane (15 August 2007). "The Singles File: Is 'The Game' reduced to target and ambush?". Seattle Post-Intelligence. Retrieved on 20 August 2007.