Behind Closed Doors: The problematic art of the pickup

    Fellow TWAMPS, I am here to educate you about a new sexual trend: pickup artistry. A pickup artist is a man — has not yet become gender-neutral or gay friendly — who has studied various pieces of fine literature about women and is now certified to reel in as many hot babes as he desires.

    Although I don’t personally think pickup artistry is a perfect panty-dropping recipe, I still believe it’s worthwhile for some of you average, frustrated chumps.

    At the core of this method is perhaps the soundest piece of sexual advice anyone can get: Be confident. PUAs follow specific rules to arrive at this end. Some are markedly sexist, but I’m willing to overlook that in the hopes that some of you lonely, horny students can find confidence in these regulations.

    Pickup artistry is replete with acronyms and catchy phrases. From the “three second rule” to “beautiful woman syndrome,” it seems that the purchase of a dictionary is the first step to becoming a lady-killer. Once you’ve learned to navigate the jargon, the message is clear: You don’t have to be born with good looks and charm to do well with women.

    Everyone deserves to get some loving, whether they’re Johnny Depp or John Belushi. This idea is incredibly empowering. One can see why many men turn to this art form.

    It also gives concise, lucid advice. Instead of offering general tips on dating, pickup artistry presents specific answers. You don’t have to figure out how to apply an amorphous concept to your life, you just have to follow the instructions.

    Another positive aspect these PUAs is that they seem to have some understanding of women’s desires. When you approach a hot babe at a bar, the idea is to make her laugh rather than ask her the boring, routine questions. An additional tip is that if you are trying to give a woman an orgasm, you shouldn’t pressure her to get there. (How many times have I wished someone had told this little tidbit to the man I was with?)

    All of these advantages make pickup artistry a worthwhile strategy to look into if you find yourself struggling in your relationships with women.

    As a sex columnist, I have been able to meet a few pickup artists. They all follow the same pattern; first they approach and flirt with me, and eventually they decide it would be easier to just fess up and hopefully be “immortalized” in the column. Truth is, their game is pretty good. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if at some point in the future I found myself in bed with a PUA.

    However, there are some serious problems with pickup artists. PUAs are glorified players. They are taught to view women as objects, which is particularly evident in their rating system. Although a lot of the literature seems to make good points about the wants and needs of women, the system uses this knowledge against women. The system is a charade, an elaborate game meant to lure women in. PUAs are the 21st century empowered, horny, male sirens.

    Not only that, but pickup theory is flawed. There is no such thing as “women,” there is only each woman individually. Having clear-cut rules for hooking up is specious. Life isn’t black and white. There’s no correct formula, least of all in the complicated world of dating and love.

    Nonetheless, learning what has worked for others can be a valuable experience. Pickup artistry is useful in it’s most basic form. Strip away the rules, and there are two principles: be confident and keep trying. Who could object to those?

    Find out more about pickup artistry at, in “The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists,” or on VH1’s “The Pickup Artist.”


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