Wednesday, 05 October 2011
There's been a lot of talk about Pick-Up Artistry circulating around Datingish recently, so I thought I'd chip in my two cents on the topic. I'll start with my opinion, and transition into a bit of advice for those who are worried about being unknowingly seduced by a pick-up artist (if I were a girl, I'd be pretty freaked out knowing someone might be playing mind games with me.)
I don't like pick-up artistry for two reasons. Firstly, it creates a screening game scenario, in which the pick-up artist chooses to disguise the full extent of his or her intentions in favor of focusing on techniques to evoke attraction. In other words, the pick-up artist has an ineffable advantage over the uninformed target, much like a car salesman using common sales techniques to hype up a vehicle without the consumer inspecting the vehicle him- or herself.
On one hand, the vehicle could be just as the salesman said, leaving a satisfied consumer. On the other hand, the salesperson could be simply playing up the good points of the car, leaving the consumer at a loss. In either scenario, the benefit to the salesperson (or in this case, the pick-up artist) will always be greater than or equal to the benefit the consumer (PUA target) will receive.
Secondly, I just don't feel love or attraction should be compressed into formulas. As an engineering student, I wholeheartedly support the use of science as a tool to increase the efficiency of society. However, we should also consider what we stand to lose in reducing something to a scientific practice. For instance, by encouraging society to rely on pick-up artistry as a means of finding mates, we may reduce the number of successful long-term relationships.
I know that I personally feel much more invested in relationships that developed from a friendship, rather than finding a girl I'm attracted to and wanting a date with them. I'm much more likely to stay in the former relationship than the latter in the long-run. I'm not saying that PUA will necessarily reduce the long-term success of relationships, I'm just listing it as an example of something we should consider could happen.
I previously mentioned in a Datingish comment that I think PUA (specifically, David DeAngelo) is unethical. On second thought, though, it really just depends who's using it. PUA can be a great tool for boosting the confidence of the group of men who are terrified of rejection--a group into which I admittedly fall. However, it can also be used as a tool of manipulation. The difference lies in the intention of the wielder. To those who are using the art to overcome personal scars and gather the confidence to find a mate, all power to you. However, for those who use their advantage to seduce women for one-night flings, I strongly urge you to consider the damage you may be inflicting on the other individual. Don't be that car salesman everyone hates.
Now, some of you out there may dislike pick-up artistry for different reasons: because you don't want guys (or, more rarely, girls) using it on you. If you walk unarmed into a pick-up artist, chances are you will fall right into their hands. Writer Guteman91 had a good point in his recent article that "your body will betray you." You react naturally to stimuli; this is something you can't easily change, and something you probably shouldn't try to. However, that doesn't mean you're helpless against a pick-up artist. To even out this screening game, I resort to the cardinal rule of personal finance and an unspoken rule of many things in this world: Knowledge is the best protection.
To guard against a pick-up artist, you simply need to become familiar with their techniques. One way to do this is to read the books of different PUAs, but this may not be the best solution, as each pick-up artist suggests a different approach, so you won't really cover all your grounds. Instead, let's observe the fact that all pick-up artistry derives from the art of persuasion: a little thing called Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP. This is basically the science of behaving in a way that makes people trust you, and PUA wouldn't exist without it. Learning the basics of NLP will allow you to pick-up on the patterns that trigger your mind to trust someone, and therefore be more protected when you recognize someone using these patterns.
You can easily learn NLP by picking up a book on the subject, but I personally suggest checking out the NLP for Beginners audio series from NLP Weekly Magazine. It's totally free, and I can attest that it thoroughly covers the basic theory and practice of NLP in an easy-to-understand way. You also will be less inclined to TL;DR it, because you don't have to read anything!
Once you learn to recognize NLP techniques, you'll be able to more effectively realize pick-up artists. It's important to note, though, that just because someone is using PUA doesn't necessarily make them dishonest. Recognizing its use simply allows you to guard yourself against being taken advantage of, and to more carefully assess the situation.
Hope this helps!