Thought Catalog
June 27, 2014

I Wish I Could Be A Pickup Artist

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The other day I was telling a guy I know that if my girlfriend ever left me, I’d start reading those PUA websites and become a follower of that cult of priapic wisdom because I’ve always secretly wanted to be stupid. It seems like so much fun. My friend brought up the subject of pick-up artistry. At first, I vaguely remembered staying home sick and catching some ‘80s movie on daytime cable called The Pickup Artist. It starred a young Robert Downey Jr. and Molly Ringwald. It was surprisingly entertaining. But my friend didn’t want to discuss that light confection of ‘80s cinema. Such is my luck.

Instead, he wanted to talk about “bangin’ bitches” and “makin’ sure to keep his dick out the friend zone ‘cause bitches don’t know how to act right if you treat ‘em good, so you gotta break ‘em down a little, naw’mean.” My friend is a Filipino dude raised in San Francisco. He’s the son of a cop, but for some reason he prefers to talk like the guys his father arrests each day. Go figure. My friend told me what he’s learned from the PUA websites. He explained how he uses it all to “con bitches into my bed.” The way he says it, I have to admit, it seems like so much fun. Kinda like fishing with dynamite.

I’ve always wanted to be stupid and enjoy fishing with dynamite and “conning bitches into bed.” Sadly, though, I’m not stupid. To make matters worse, I like people. No matter how much evidence I have to the contrary, despite mountains of evidence that I shouldn’t, I still like all you crazy fuckers. But if I found a genie-in-a-bottle, to make it more fun to be around you fuckers, my first wish would be for the genie to make me stupid so I could live like my MRA-defending, PUA-using, cult of the cock-loving friend, the son of a SF cop.

The world is so much easier to understand when it’s stripped of context and nuance. If once can render all the colors and sensations of our world into a black-and-white grid, a simple matrix of experience, suddenly, Red Pill-thinking makes perfect sense. A PUA worldview functions with the same power as myth once did for the ancients. It’s a riff on all the same stories of gods and monsters, harpies and heroes. Everything makes so much sense. One knows how to get what they want and deserve. They know the rightful way for men and women to behave according to their nature. Their opinions are based in history that inevitably predicts the futures just like a smooth ascending curve of time. God, what a great world that would be!

PUAs are so certain of their world view. To them, it all makes sense. You are either hero or vanquished – no shades of grey. Life is seen as a sexual video game, and certain men know the sexual cheat codes. The fact that they reduce their sexual partners to conquered foes, tricked harpies, or something like an endless stream of video game level bosses to be beaten doesn’t seem to bother them. Nor does the fact that PUAs demonize and dismiss half the population seem to bother them. It must make the world so much easier to deal with. That’s why I wish I could be just as stupid as they are. Such bliss.

Perhaps, even more than video games or ancient myths, MRA/PUA culture aspires to provide the same social benefits that religion offers. That is, if a religion were founded and designed to get lonely men laid instead of offering them salvation. PUAs culture offers a man a form of redemption and a proof of his power through baptism in a vagina. Kinda ironic, don’t you think? The best place for a man to prove his power is inside a woman. Huh. I guess that’s another way PUA culture is like a major religion, it’s contradictory. They both revere and revile a woman’s vagina. Only, rather than respect the life-giving power of a vagina, the crucible where all our lives began, like the ancient fertility cults once did; the PUAs  fear and revile vaginas the way the Big 3 desert religions do. PUAs treat vaginas as nature to be mastered and bent to the will of man. As they overlook that they still treat vagina as the ultimate experience of a man’s power. (It’s kinda cute when you realize it’s a very Freudian desire to be inside their mommy again.)

Does it often feel difficult to meet a woman? Does it feel difficult to get a woman to go to bed with you? Are women more likely to go to bed with a successful, charming, confident man than a man who is physically identical but lacks those traits and social signifiers? Do we even need to answer those questions? We all know the answers are yes. But who cares, really?

Rappers have constantly rhymed about and reflected on the duality of female desire. Kanye, Jay Z, Method Man, Ghostface, Pac, Biggie, and now, young Joey Bada$$, have all dropped verses about whether women love them or their life. It’s a legit question to ask. What fool wants to be a walking wallet? While rappers raise the question of loyalty and offer tests, “will you be there for me if…” they state their concern. The PUAs have decided to try a different tack. They fight fire with fire. If they’re being manipulated, if they live in an unfair world of power, privilege and store-bought sex appeal, then they, too, will abuse others to get what they want, or more aptly put, to get what they deserve.

I asked my rap-loving son of a SF cop why he agreed with PUAs over rap stars and he said rappers had money and swag, PUAs were more like him, everyday dudes “looking to get they wicks wet on the regular. And some of us is tired of not get pussy we deserve because some asshole rolls a Bugatti.” My friend wouldn’t see it. But I tried to point out to him that here was the fatal flaw of the PUA culture: to get what they feel they deserve they become what they despise.

I’m not the sort to look down on many people. I think we’re all still one foot in the jungle, to be honest. And thus, I agree with Humphrey Bogart when he told Peter Lorre in Casablanca, “I don’t object to a parasite. I object to a cut-rate one.” PUAs are cut-rate parasites. They see unfairness and choose to imitate and advance it. There is now an industry built around being sexual parasites. Sadly, con artists profit off the anger of unfortunate men, their fears and feelings of rejection. Charlatans and “pussy magnets” sell wounded men fantasies the way Amway sells dreams of wealth and independence.

It’s sad how PUAs get bullied by life and their insecurities, then to seek help getting what they feel they rightly deserve, they hand fortunes to internet snake oil salesman, and even if the methods they pay to learn work for them, even if they do become the rare PUA who constantly beds women, they soon find that the women who share their bed don’t like them and they don’t like the women. They don’t have a partner, for sex or for life, or for anything; instead, they have the wary relationship of zookeeper and caged lioness. Only, they’ve trapped a human being with psychological manipulation and find they’re locked together in a gilded prison, while they desperately try to convince themselves and others that the shallow trappings of their life indicate that they, like an everyman Charlie Sheen, are winning at life.

After I listened to my friend go on and on about “picking pussy like his granddaddy picked peaches,” I asked him a question I would ask any PUA. Keep in mind, I desperately wish to be like them, I envy their stupidity, and so, I wish to understand the world that will never be mine. I asked him, “But don’t you like women? I don’t mean sex, I mean women. I like hanging out with my girlfriend more than I like hanging out with you. No offense, but you’re kinda limiting. She constantly expands my world. Don’t you want that? Don’t you like that women are so different? Or does that scare you?”

Yes, I’m an asshole sometimes. He expects it though. It doesn’t even really bother him. He said, “Miller, man, you don’t get it. I like women but women don’t like me. I have to swindle bitches if I wanna get laid. I’m not like you, man.”

There it is: “…women don’t like me.” That sad statement leads to all the anger and all the money given to charlatans who promise to teach men how to get what they deserve from the women who don’t like them. Two problems with that will never go away: a) No one deserves a partner or even love. We let the movies and advertisers make us believe we do, but we don’t. b) We are all supremely lucky anytime we find someone to love and who will love us, too.

We are all fortunate anytime when life lines up in a way we benefit from the greatest part of being alive — love. But let’s be real, not every miner strikes gold. To expect such a life would be stupid. It’s truly heart-breaking but some of us will die unloved and alone. I don’t mean to sound depressing, or bring you down, but it’s true. And it’s not fair. But it is what it is.

This is why love means the world to anyone who experiences it. And any real relationship requires bravery and faith and an open heart. I know, it sucks! That shit isn’t easy for me either. One must step into darkness everyday. Any real relationship requires you to trust, them and you. It also requires honesty — both with your partner and with yourself. It’s true that confidence and success can help increase the number of your possible partners. But no gold or conference of PUAs will ever teach you to find and keep love. No sales-driven website can sell you a package that will give you life’s greatest reward.

I told my friend what I’m about to tell you: to find love you must forget the idea you deserve anything and consider yourself the luckiest man (or woman) on the face of the Earth if love finds a home in your breast. Otherwise, if you want what the PUAs are selling, fuck all that noise, you should be spending time with prostitutes. At least, then the relationship is honest, you get sex, you work out a fair exchange and you don’t fool yourself into thinking that you found love (or even a level of caring). Just like everyone who has it, you have to be lucky and you have to be brave if you want love. TC mark