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Understanding Pickup

Mystery's show on VH1, The Pickup Artist, has gotten a lot of mainstream attention. As a result there are scores of people in that audience trying to wrap their minds around this whole "pick up thing".

I've read a few message boards where people are discussing the show, and almost universally trying to discredit the pick up. Why are people so against pickup? First instinct might be to assume that girls would be against it, but that guys would all be excited about it. Think about it - it promises to fulfill the #1 goal for nearly every man on the planet.

Here's what I think is happening.

Doing Things You Don't Want to Do

I had just spent the weekend at Real Social Dynamics' Hot Seat 2, which, frankly, is an amazing program. Tyler comes in with nine hours of hidden camera footage, and plays it for the audience while pausing to explain what's going on.

I learned a ton and was properly inspired, but Tyler's approach is definitely not the easy way out. Instead of rolling up to a girl with an indirect opener, you walk up, make eye contact, and say hi. This sounds easy, but in practice it's scary because you're putting your ego on the line every time, making it trivially easy to be rejected.

So on Monday I went out to the mall to try it. It was the first time I'd been out in the day (for pickup) in a solid month, since we'd been going out at night instead. I did one approach, and then kicked myself for the next hour and a half and did nothing. My brain was looking for, and found, every single reason not to do it. She's too attractive-- start off easier. She's not attractive enough-- you don't want it to go well. She's walking-- she wouldn't stop anyway. She's standing still-- it looks too obvious.

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