Pickup artist

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A pickup artist (commonly abbreviated PUA) is a person who practices finding, attracting, and seducing sexual partners. Such a person purportedly abides by a certain system deemed effective by that community in their attempts to seduce partners.

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.[1][2] The phrase was also popularized by the 1970 book How to Pick Up Girls by Eric Weber,[3] Pick-Up Times, a short-lived 1970s magazine, and the 1987 semi-autobiographical romantic comedy The Pick-up Artist, written and directed by James Toback.[4] More recent works of pickup artist culture include Neil Strauss's book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, and the 2007 VH1 reality television series, The Pickup Artist, starring the pickup artist Mystery (Erik von Markovik). The pickup artist Roosh V has self-published 14 books describing techniques for seducing women.[5] According to Salon, such books are the "cash cow" of the pickup industry.[6]

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.[citation needed] 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.[7] Members aim to improve their seductive capabilities through the development of various lifestyles as well as typing women.[8] 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 as immoral, sexist and ineffective. For example, Strategic Lothario, a newcomer to the pickup scene, has been accused by readers of his books of lacking empathy for women and using manipulative techniques to seduce women.[9] [10] However, counter-critics propose that this is a misinterpretation, and that the efforts of pick up artists are driven towards educating men as to how to successfully interact with women in the post-feminist world, which has seen the unprecedented rise of the liberated women.[11][12] A notable case of public outcry against the movement involves self proclaimed PUA master, Julien Blanc. Blanc was banned from entering the United Kingdom as well as Australia, after youtube videos of Blanc sexually harassing women emerged.

Pickup artists have also been parodied, as in the March 2011 The Scott Mills Show. BBC Radio 1 debated Neil Strauss' The Game on many shows.[13]

Pickup is often divided into different styles, referred to as "outergame," "innergame," "direct game," and "indirect game." [14]

Psychologist Dr. Petra Boynton has stated that there is "no evidence of effectiveness" for any claims of pickup artists.[15] Research by Nathan Oesch of the University of Oxford Department of Experimental Psychology, however, confirmed attraction and seduction principles, as described in Strauss' books on the subject, do have a factual basis in social, physiological and evolutionary psychology.[16]

Despite primarily being a male movement, there are also female pick-up artists who use similar techniques to seduce men. [17]


  1. ^ "Them days is gone forever", Media library (poster), University of Minnesota .
  2. ^ "If you want to drop bombs to the set of the rising Sun…", Media library (poster), University of Minnesota 
  3. ^ Weber, Eric (1970), How to Pick Up Girls (1st ed.), Tenafly, NJ, USA: Symphony Press .
  4. ^ Strauss (2005), pp. 124, 144.
  5. ^ Jule Banville, "Blogger Stud Living in Dad’s Basement, Writing Second Book on How to Get Laid", "Washington City Paper", 2008
  6. ^ Lu, Peter (2011-09-20). "Simple Pickup: Are these the greatest pickup artists of all time?". Salon.com. Retrieved 2013-03-10. 
  7. ^ Tom Chivers (14 January 2010). "Pick-up artists, online seduction and dating tips". UK: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  8. ^ J, Pauly. "Vin DiCarlo Pandoras Box 8 Personality Types". Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  9. ^ http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1058928948?book_show_action=true&page=1
  10. ^ http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1059033412?book_show_action=true&page=1
  11. ^ http://www.theage.com.au/news/in-depth/winging-it/2007/01/28/1169919210771.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap2
  12. ^ http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/9/emma-watson-gender-equality-is-your-issue-too
  13. ^ "Radio 1". UK: The BBC. 
  14. ^ http://postmasculine.com/pickup-artist
  15. ^ Chivers, Tom (14 January 2010). "Pick-up artists, online seduction and dating tips". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  16. ^ Oesch, Nathan, "The Dating Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Emerging Science of Human Courtship", Evolutionary Psychology, 2012. 10(5): 899-909
  17. ^ "It Happened To Me: I'm A Female Pick-Up Artist Who Studied Under Neil Strauss and Mystery".