This post was originally written years ago by a gentleman who has thoroughly investigated the pickup artist subculture (or “seduction community”). Chris’ main interest is writing about remedial social skills and shyness, but in the past he also offered some basic dating advice. Part of that involved trying to warn guys off the weirder aspects of the pickup artist world, which is where this post originated from. He’s since moved away from giving advice in that area and is concentrating just on social skills. His main site is available at SucceedSocially.com.
I first encountered this article when I started researching pickup artists, and I thought it was so interesting that I used it as part of a workshop. I was really disappointed when the author took down the site where it was posted, and I asked if I could repost it here. So, here is a guest post, originally titled Detrimental Attitudes You Can Pick Up Through The Seduction Community.
Please keep in mind that I, Clarisse, take no particular responsibility for this article. I think it’s fascinating for two reasons — because of what it says about the pickup artist community, and what the assumptions behind it are.
The Seduction Community is a strange subculture. Some of its odd ideas are just harmless quirks. I think some are plain counterproductive to your success though. Internalizing them will make you a less appealing person, and you may end up doing worse with women. The maladaptive ideas below can also appear in other subcultures which have members who are aiming to improve themselves along some dimension.
I can’t claim credit for coming up with many of the points below. I’m just throwing them together into one cautionary list. Some of these are fairly well known pitfalls in the scene, even if some of the guys who are aware of them can’t put them into words. Others you’ll recognize from The Game by Neil Strauss, which was good about drawing attention the the Community’s odder elements.
Feeling arrogant and superior just for being in the Community
In a general sense, many guys in the Community have that feeling of superiority that comes from believing you know better than most people. They think they’re in an elite class because they have this special knowledge about how to get girls, and about how things really work. They feel above all the guys who don’t possess the information they have.
This smugness has nothing to do with one’s actual ability to get girls. Guys in the Community can have swell heads whether they’re master pick up artists or complete virgins. It’s that they know certain things that supposedly puts them above other people.
Well actually Community guys can also feel superior because they really are doing well for themselves sexually, and look down on men who aren’t enjoying the same lifestyle. You’d think only successful guys could think this way, but inexperienced ones do as well sometimes. In their minds they honestly think that because they know how to get girls on paper, they really are players on some level. They’ll do things like scoff at a friend who’s having a dry spell, even though they haven’t had sex in even longer.
Seeing almost all mainstream guys as AFC’s
Community guys often see pretty much any guy that doesn’t know about the scene as an Average Frustrated Chump to be looked down on. Except for the odd mainstream guy who is naturally good with women, it’s a pretty Black & White distinction between enlightened Community guys who know the score, and the teeming AFC masses who make every dating mistake in the book.
Ironically many guys in the Community hardly get any girls, and many so-called AFCs do just fine with women, even if they are following traditional dating models that apparently don’t work. Many of the AFCs end with genuinely cool partners as well. They haven’t all settled for the first thing they could get because they don’t have the PUA skills to get truly quality women. Community guys end up with so-so women as well. They’re as likely to go home with a drunk, fugly girl from a bar as the next person. All types of men can do well, or not well, when it comes to dating.
The definition of what marks a guy as an AFC seems to depend on the situation as well. Even if a mainstream guy is doing well with girls on the whole, all he has to do is display one AFCish behavior to earn the label. However, when Community guys make these same mistakes (and everyone makes them, no one’s perfect) they don’t consider themselves as falling into this category.
Trading one set of misguided ideas about women for another
Before they get into the Community, the typical guy has beliefs about women such as:
+ Women are special, beautiful creatures.
+ Women need to be saved and protected.
+ Women need to be loved and nurtured.
+ You need to make women feel special.
+ Women need to be wined and dined and romanced.
+ Women want nice guys.
+ Women don’t like sex.
A little too naive and romantic in other words. Then they get into the Community and before long they’ve been exposed to ideas like:
+ Women are flaky and unreliable.
+ Women are emotional and illogical.
+ Women only live in the emotion of the moment, do what feels good at the time, and justify their actions to themselves after the fact.
+ Women are manipulative and use guys for free drinks and dinners.
+ Women are fickle and have short attention spans.
+ Women are self-centered and self-interested.
+ Women primarily go to clubs for attention and validation from men.
+ Women constantly test men, try to devalue them, and try to make them jump through hoops.
+ Women try to make men suck up to them and put them on a pedestal.
+ Women think their pussies are made of gold and sell them to the highest bidder.
+ Women don’t know what they really want.
+ Women are confused and hypocritical. They’ll profess to dislike whorish behavior then blow a guy in a bathroom that night.
+ Women are programmed to want to get knocked up by an Alpha Male then ensnare an unwitting Beta Male into raising the child for her.
+ Women will cheat on their partners coldly and unemotionally.
+ Women are slaves to how their friends and society sees them. They want to sleep around, but have to be discreet about it.
+ Society’s expectations have given women all kinds of weird hang ups up about sex and hooking up. Their minds are full of strange rationalizations and justifications.
+ Women are powerless to resist the right type of guy. Even if they’re married, they’ll get sucked along.
+ Women are easily manipulated by simple magic tricks and talk of new agey topics.
I’m not saying there’s no truth at all in these statements, of course there’s some. These statements do describe some women, or the way some women act in certain circumstances. But taken as a whole, you gotta admit this set of beliefs is pretty negative, misogynistic even. Just as all women aren’t special creatures that need to be rescued, they aren’t all fickle, emotional, and selfish either. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, and it depends on the girl. Some girls are really normal and cool and easy to talk to.
Having too many misguided attitudes towards relationships
The Community isn’t known for giving particularly good advice about relationships. You get the sense some guys are projecting their past (unsuccessful) experiences of relationships into their general advice:
+ All long term relationships eventually become stale, boring, and unsatisfying.
+ If a guy in the Community gets a girlfriend it means he’s settling, giving up, betraying the scene, accepting he can’t climb to the top of the mountain, etc.
+ Girls become dissatisfied and antsy before long in relationships and constantly need to be kept on their toes by the man.
+ The only way a guy can have a good relationship is if he first plays the field and dates around a lot.
+ Relationships naturally work best when the man is running the show.
+ If you really show you like a girl, or spend a lot of time with her, she’ll think you’re clingy and weak and get sick of you.
+ Girls are instinctively programmed to try and whip, control, and tie down men.
+ Overall, a lot of the advice is about power dynamics and who’s controlling who.
+ Women constantly test men in the relationship.
+ If a woman seems unhappy with some aspect of the relationship you have to run some sort of game on her to make her calm down.
+ Guys have to use various techniques to train their girlfriends and get them to accept various conditions that the man wants.
Like I was saying, do some of these points sometimes describe some relationships? Totally. But put together these points reflect an overly cynical perspective. With any lens you view the world through, you’ll see some things accurately but completely miss the boat on others. A totally idealistic lens would be just as bad, in a different way. There are healthy relationships out there where none of the points above could describe them.
Feeling you have to abandon your past life
I’ve seen this message board conversation quite a few times over the years:
Poster: “Ever since I got into the community I can’t relate to my friends anymore. I want to sarge but they just want to stay in and watch TV like AFCs.”
Responders: “If you want to get good at this you have to turn your back on your old life. Your old friends aren’t like you anymore.”
I just think this attitude is wrongheaded. It’s one thing to get into a new subculture and be keen to improve yourself. It’s another to feel you have to jettison your previous life in its service. Some socially awkward people can be negative about others and have a bad habit of looking for excuses to drop their friends. I was one of them. This viewpoint may be rooted in that.
Then there’s that common idea that the only way to get good at picking up girls is to drop everything and devote yourself entirely to it for a few years. After all, that’s how such and such guru did it. There’s probably a more balanced way to go about it though. Why give up your current friends? Why screw up your education or career? There has to be a less obsessive approach to take.
Interpreting everything you come across through Community concepts
I’ll say that sometimes when guys do this it really is just a harmless quirk or an understandable part of the learning curve, but I’ve seen people go wrong with this thinking enough to edge it into this article. This point gets into that saying, “If you give a child a hammer, he’ll find that everything needs hammering.” The Community’s ideas provide a fairly extensive set of advice for socializing with women, and other people as well. But its concepts don’t cover everything that can happen in the world. Lots of times things happen that a Seduction Community concept doesn’t address.
Guys can run into trouble when they unconsciously shoehorn every social situation they come across into the relatively small catalog of community ideas. As a result, they can often end up reacting to situations in a weird and socially inappropriate manner. Examples: Seeing a girl joking with you as a ‘neg’ or an attempt to make you lower value. Seeing every request from a girl as a test or a hoop she wants you to jump through. Seeing every joke or disagreement from guys as an attempt from them to ‘out-alpha’ you. Or just seeing all guys as competition and challengers of your status in general.
There are concepts from outside the Community that are useful too. Even mainstream dating or relationship advice has a lot to offer. Just relying on the toolbox the Community provides isn’t enough.
Being too down on mainstream society
At the center of its world view the Seduction Community has several beliefs that are negative towards society:
+ Society encourages guys to follow dating advice that doesn’t work.
+ Society indoctrinates guys into an AFC, nice guy mindset.
+ Society gets guys to follow a model of dating that gives the advantage to women, allowing them to be spoiled and to do the choosing.
+ Society gets guys to follow a model of dating that rewards certain types of guys (good looking, rich, powerful), while screwing over others.
+ Society socially conditions guys to be afraid of things that are actually in their best interest, like being able to approach strange women.
+ Mainstream people are generally mindless, brainwashed sheep.
+ Mainstream people are unhealthy and gorge themselves on things like junk T.V. and drinking.
+ Society fears and misunderstands the Community. Even though the scene knows more about dating, the mainstream will never look upon it favorably, because that would mean giving up its hegemony over courtship.
+ Over played analogy: Society is like the Matrix, Community guys have taken the red pill and know how things really work.
I refer to my previous thoughts about how a particular point of view can be right in some regards, but inaccurate if you try to say it delivers the complete truth about something. I’d never deny society has problems, but I don’t think it’s this monolithic evil force out to make all guys into wussy losers either. Many people do just fine in it. I guess when I hear ideas like the ones above I think of the types of guys who would end up in the Community in the first place, and what their personal experiences of society must be like, and how well they probably feel they’ve done under the current system. When I mull over that question for a minute I’m not totally surprised this scene can be so down on the mainstream.
Community members can also use their disdain for the mainstream to justify some of their stranger behaviors (“It’s fine that I’m doing this, I’m not plugged into the Matrix and know my actions are okay. I’m not going to be a victim of social conditioning”)
Focusing on nothing but getting women and valuing everything in terms of how it helps your game
If a guy is hopeless and desperate it isn’t unreasonable for him to want to get over his issues. And I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with throwing your life out of balance temporarily. You write exams and your life is devoted to school for a few weeks. You have a baby and your life is devoted to the newborn for half a year. But you can go too far with this. Some guys unnecessarily put their educations, social lives, or careers on hold. Going too far with anything isn’t good.
When you focus on getting better with women too much you can end up judging everything based on how it helps you improve your game:
+ “Go to an art gallery? Art doesn’t help my game. Oh, but maybe there will be girls to hit on there. Oh, maybe learning about art will help me hook up with artsy girls.”
+ “Hang out with the guys? No, no girls there. That’s not a good use of my time. Oh, but maybe I could learn some Alpha behaviors from them, so it may be worth a shot.”
+ “I like hanging out with Phil because he’s good with women. I don’t like hanging out with Dan because he’s an AFC.”
+ “Read this pulpy thriller? No, it won’t teach me any Inner Game concepts, so I’ll pass.”
+ “Should I drink? Well on one hand it will reduce my approach anxiety, but on the other, it will hinder my ability to remember my lines.”
What about judging things according to different criteria, like will you have fun doing it? There’s more to life than immersing yourself in learning how to be a player. The corny thing to say is that it’s these extra things that you have going on in your life that are what truly makes you interesting and attractive. If you only focus on game you get odd and one dimensional.
Basing your entire identity around being a ‘PUA’
I’ll remind you again here I never said I came up with all these criticisms myself. Guys in the Community are sometimes seen as lame and creepy by regular folk because their whole identities are based on their being players. It’s all they think or talk about. Their long term goals all consist of hitting various milestones related to hooking up with girls. Some of them style themselves as Miyamoto Musashi-type characters, on a quest to ‘master the game’.
If you get carried away with this mentality your life can get thrown pretty off-balance. It may also not be good for your mental health to have your entire identity wrapped up in how well you do with girls. If that’s all your self-esteem is derived from what happens if you hit a rough patch with the ladies?
Seeing other people as tools to use toward your own improvement
I wouldn’t say the Community directly encourages this per se, but I’ve seen it in several guys, myself included if I’m being honest. I’ve also heard other people complain about it. Some Community members can become so focused on their own improvement that they become selfish almost. They see other people as a means to the end of them getting better with women. They stop considering how other people may feel in a given situation.
They’ll see their guy friends as people to go out with so they don’t have to hit up the bars alone, or targets to practice their AMOGing tactics on. They’ll see other Community guys in the same way, people to grease the wheels of their own development. They’ll see random strangers and women as subjects to practice and experiment on. They’ll see other players as models to emulate, or to pump for advice. They’ll be invited to a party and ignore their friend’s request not to hit on the women there. They’ll be selfish wingmen, or sell-out a buddy if they think it will make them look good to a girl.
Bringing a ‘gaming’ attitude into all your social interactions
A lot of the advice in the Community is about how to get girls through manipulating social dynamics in your favor. You choose your words. You monitor your body language. You plan everything out ahead of time and follow a repeatable formula. Ingrained in this mindset is the idea that when you’re interacting with people, under the surface you have to wage all these little tactical battles, over who’s “controlling the frame” or who has higher situational value. More than that, there’s an attitude of finagling and beating the system, or of finding a hack.
This overall paradigm of interacting with people, that you have to ‘game’ others to get what you want, can take over and poison the way you get along with everyone, not just girls. You get overly calculating and Machiavellian. You think everyone is out to get you. You can’t just relax and be yourself. You can’t be sociable without a scheme or an agenda. You think the way to succeed in any situation is to trick and conquer people, not be the real deal.
Neil Strauss introduced the very similar idea of being a Social Robot, first in forum posts and then in his book. A social robot is someone who may be good with girls, but he’s a hollow core surrounded by a shell of preplanned routines and responses, and tricks and strategies. And he thinks everyone else is a social robot too. He ends up acting much like the way I described above.
Here’s an example of social robot/constant gaming thinking. Say you’re on the phone with your friend and he implies he’s got to go. Most people would go, “Okay, talk to you later.” and think nothing more of it. A social robot’s over analysis may lead him to think something like, “Oh, he’s trying to lower my value and increase his own by hanging up on me and implying he has better things to do. Well I’ll not answer him right away to show I’m indifferent and Alpha and make him qualify himself to me. Then the next time we talk I’ll subtly put him down to reassert my dominance.”
Thinking you can reduce all human interactions down to a repeatable formula
The Social Robot concept gets into this. Other people have pointed it out too. It’s the idea that it doesn’t matter what you’re really like as a person, or what you truly have going for you, if you have the right lines and actions memorized for every situation, you’ll be able to hook up with girls. You just spit out the right words, and respond to situations as they come up with the right pre-planned solutions, and the woman becomes interested. Doesn’t matter if you can’t have a witty, spontaneous conversation to save your life, just repeat the lines that are shown to have predetermined effectiveness.
People usually say this type of thinking goes back to the fact that lots of guys in the Community are supposedly logical computer programmer types, and that they think, in their socially naive manner, that they can turn interpersonal interactions into an algorithm. Another popular comparison is of nerdy guys seeing conversing with women as a video game. They think they can beat the system and find an exploit, the same way they can discover how to get their characters up to level 99 before they’re supposed to be. Not going to happen. Will make you seem weird. If you want to do better with the opposite sex you legitimately have to improve yourself.
Believing any of the weird ideas from particular schools of thought on how to get women
The points above covered general Seduction Community-wide counterproductive beliefs. The various methods and teachings in the scene may also contain odd or harmful assumptions. For example, one school of thought may presume women always act a certain, unflattering way. Another may expect you to adopt a certain odd attitude. They may be wrapped up in new age nonsense. Or they could prescribe that you do particular quirky behaviors.
Thanks again to the author of this article. His main site is available at SucceedSocially.com. He also gave me some positive thoughts by email after I asked to repost this article: he wrote, “One thing that seems good is that those old articles are getting more and more irrelevant by the day, since the seduction community seems to be catching on to how weird some of its advice can be. It has a ways to go, but I definitely see a trend towards it getting more grounded and healthy …. … well as healthy as a subculture about picking up girls can be, of course.”
Postscript: Hugh Ristik, an intelligent writer on PUA topics, perceptively comments on this piece. His original comment is #53 below; here’s a big excerpt:
In my experience, pretty much everything in this article is true. As someone with extensive experience with the seduction community, everything he talks about is familiar to me, and causes me to chuckle while reading. It’s nice to see accurate and tempered criticisms of the seduction community from someone who understands it.
That being said, outsiders of the seduction community (particularly those who already have a beef with it), might get some skewed ideas about the community from this article.
The original title of the article was “Detrimental Attitudes You Can Pick Up Through The Seduction Community”, not “Detrimental Attitudes of the Pickup Artist Community”. Chris didn’t make any claims of prevalence about the attitudes he criticizes. Someone, particularly a biased reader, could walk away from this article thinking that most or all PUAs hold most or all of these attitudes. That’s dubious.
The actual proportion of the seduction community who holds these attitudes depends on how you define “PUAs” and who exactly counts as a member of the seduction community. Do I count? Does my married ex-wingman count? Does Clarisse’s dad who’s read a David DeAngelo book count? Does Guestina — a woman posting in this thread who has applied pickup knowledge — count? Does Chris himself count?
On Chris’ old site where this article was posted, he talked more positively about the seduction community in his old articles. Specifically, he mentioned how much it had helped him, even though he felt that he has now moved past it.