A Night Out With A Pick Up Artist
That gauntlet I threw down a couple of weeks ago in my column, Lovelies? Answered. By John, aka Opportunity, Pick Up Artist extraordinaire, follower of The Game, and haver of his very own army of in-training Pick Up Artists (PUAs) of various age and inclination.
John agrees to show me the goods. He’s an expert at the Pick Up game, something that has led to countless Sunday brunches where John recounts his tale from the night before while I listen, open-mouthed and disbelieving. “You met her and 20 minutes later you were fucking her in the hotel room SHE paid for!?” And so forth.
He’s also a decently nice guy and not too much of a sleazebag, so I agree to go out on Saturday night see what’s up with this phenomenon that’s sweeping our country’s young men. And as an added bonus he brings along Jose, one of his “trainees” who is still internalizing The Game and taking cues from John. I get to watch the expert and the novice in action.
We head over to Colfax to a nondescript bar with a patio. We quickly order a drink and, as Jose scans the room for a target, John pulls me aside and explains what’s going to happen.
“Step one: Select a target. This means to select ONE girl, not to just zero in on a group of girls you want to get to know. Once you’ve chosen the target, you can assess the group to find the AFOG (Alpha Female Of Group) or AMOG (Alpha Male Of Group).” (Yes, John actually talks like this. It would be corny and sad if it weren’t so goddamn effective for him.)
“Once you’ve established who is the AMOG or AFOG of the group, approach and open. The trick here is to open with something light-hearted and memorable, something that makes you the fun-loving guy. If you can tease the Target a little bit, poke some fun at her to disarm her (known in Gamespeak as “negging” her), even better. Then, ignore her. The idea is to win the approval of the AMOG or AFOG, and to completely ignore the Target.”
Jose returns. He’s found a cute blonde hanging out on the patio with her friend and the friend’s boyfriend. He heads over, and John and I follow at a distance, ostensibly smoking cigarettes a few feet away, but really listening in. John narrates the situation in real-time for me, the un-initiated among us.
“Jose just opened by pretending to steal the girl’s purse. Catchy and memorable. He then poked fun at her purse, so now she’s feeling a little disarmed. But he backs off, both physically and emotionally, and she’s somewhat comforted.”
This is what I hear. But what I see through my female eyes is a whole different story. Jose’s THAT GUY, that guy that uses the corny line to try to open up a conversation. The girl is looking sideways at him with a mixture of eye-rolling disdain and discomfort at having a stranger leaning in so close to her. Her friends are trying not to laugh in Jose’s face. Luckily for my superhuman sense of empathy (which is about to feel really really embarrassed for Jose), he takes a breath, backs off, and begins to speak more quietly.
“He’s now starting a conversation that demonstrates his value, but subtly. I’m not talking about mentioning his salary or what kind of car he drives. I mean he’s demonstrating his social value to the group; maybe he’s bringing up a fun bar game, telling a cool anecdote, dropping some random trivia on them. By demonstrating his value to the AFOG or, like in this case, the AMOG (the only male in the group), he demonstrates value to the Target.”
Again, I’m listening to this, but I’m just seeing polite stares as Jose tells his story. And then, suddenly, a slight laugh from the Target’s friend, the other girl in the group. The boyfriend of the friend breaks into a smile, lifts his hand and, yes, hi-fives Jose. The blonde visibly relaxes and looks warmly at Jose for the first time since he approached. He’s IN!
I’m flabbergasted. We really ARE just pack animals when it comes down to it.
It’s 5 minutes later, Jose’s still talking with the group, making friends, small talk, blah blah blah. John begins to sense that he’s having trouble closing. “Watch this,” he says, and saunters over. I stay behind, and John talks loud enough so that I can hear.
He uses his standard wingman opener: “Is this guy bugging you hahaha?” Hahaha indeed. How many times have we heard that one, ladies? But yet, again, inexplicably, it works. John compliments his wingman, negs the Target, wins the AMOG, then “gets a phone call” and has to excuse himself. As he leaves I hear the blonde almost whine “wait, where are you going?” Holy crap, this guy is good.
He comes back to my side of the patio and starts dropping pearls:
“The trick is to be the guy having the most fun. Sometimes when I’m out with my friends I’ll just break into huge raucous laughter for no reason, just to draw attention to myself.”
“Wear something out of the ordinary. It’s called Peacocking. It can be subtle or showy, but the idea is to give the girl some reason to touch you (when she asks about the object) and at the same time give you an opportunity- she asks where that weird necklace is from and you say your grandfather gave it to you it’s one of your most prized possessions, blah blah blah. This creates an emotional connection with the Target.”
“You need to break the physical barrier- touch her (known in Gamespeak as Kino). If you don’t touch the girl within the first 10 minutes you’re on your way to friendville. Be subtle, see?” I look down and realize that during this speech he’s maneuvered his hand around my waist. Impressive, Mr. PUA.
Ultimately, it seems to me that the art of picking up is a numbers game. These guys, they’re just normal guys. When they hit on a girl and she’s not receptive, they look as awkward and out of place as anyone else who strikes out. But they shake it off and head back in. They keep their self-esteem in check. The big “secret” to the Game seems to be “make small talk with lots of girls.”
By the end of the night, John and Jose are the guys who are surrounded by beautiful girls. They are laughing loudly and raucously and telling the story of that weird necklace and hi-fiving a lot. They’re the guys having the most fun of anyone at the bar.
Did they close? I don’t know. I guess that’ll have to wait for my next Sunday brunch with John to find out.