If you’ve been reading for a while you probably already know that in one of the less shining moments of my life I was a Pick Up Artist. An unsuccessful one, unless, as I suspect, the goal of being a PUA is to be as sexist and awful as possible, in which case I was rather successful. (Note for new readers; I was also ostensibly male at the time).
I made a resolution to reject all ideas from the Pick Up/Seduction Community when I was about eighteen. The trouble was, though, that just “not believing” isn’t enough; you need something to replace a belief with, something to go in its place.
I slowly found those new patterns, though to this day (seven years on) I’m occasionally noticing slight remnants of those old thought patterns – no longer enough to really affect how I act, more like kind of nervous tics that bother me once in a while.
For instance, I still feel a bit nervous when I feel like I’d like to get someone into bed with me. Perhaps nervousness is to be expected in this situation, but I feel a kind of psychological pressure which I relate to my pickup days. I just never developed many new ideas about how to precipitate a casual encounter. Until recently, that is.
I think the problem with Pick Up Artists is that they think they can control the outcome of an interaction – they can MAKE someone attracted to them, or not. What I’ve become more aware about is that you have very little control over how someone feels about you. You can of course do a better or worse job of presenting yourself, but ultimately it’s your self that people are attracted to, and you just can’t change that part.
Basically, I see seduction now as being this: finding out if a person is into you. Seduction means communicating to someone that you are interested in them. If there’s any subtlety to this art, it’s avoiding doing the communication in a way that comes off as creepy or invasive. This is where “flirting” comes in: by using a joking or teasing manner, you can avoid pressure and avoid forcing the other to go through the discomfort of having to state a flat-out “no”. (Note to opposite-sex-attracted men: women are constantly protecting themselves against sexual violence, and know that refusing a man can create a backlash – be sensitive to this and make sure that any women you flirt with have an easy out at all times and don’t feel threatened).
Once you’ve communicated that you’re attracted, the person you’re interested in will either accept, or reject. You just have to accept the outcome. If you want to get laid more often, you simply need to interact with more people and communicate more often that you’re into them. That is, supposing you are into them – an important point, and surprisingly unintuitive for some PUAs, who think the goal is to get laid with almost any woman or any woman who scores high on an imaginary objective measure of beauty.
I found all this a useful thought to come to, because even though I know not to be a complete ass when interacting with people I’m attracted to, I still have this residual nervousness like I should do something. Understanding that all I need to do is to let my attraction be known, and to be accepted or rejected, makes it all much easier. Basically, I realise there is nothing I can do.
This is, of course, the anti-thesis of PUA, because if you can’t control the outcome then their myriad techniques and philosophies are useless. I like this way better, though.