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Home · The Pickup Artist by Mystery. The Pickup Artist by Mystery. February 25, | Author: Biniam Kiros | Category: N/A. DOWNLOAD PDF - MB. But this sobbing giant with the crumpled tissue in his hands was the greatest pickup artist in the world. That was not a matter of opinion, but fact. I'd met scores of. The Pickup Artist by Mystery - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online.

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How to be a Pickup Artist Final release A Practical Guide 2nd edition a pick-up artist. If you Jug How To Become A Threesome Pickup Artist. The pickup artist: the new and improved art of seduction /Mystery, with. book. It's called Neil Strauss - The Game - Mystery Method - Pickup Artists - Editorial Reviews. From the Back Cover. In this follow-up to his bestselling The Mystery Method, the star of VH1's The Pickup Artist and the focus of Neil Strauss's .

He was the most worshipped pickup artist in the community, a powerhouse who spit out long, detailed posts that read like algorithms of how to manipulate social situations to meet and attract women. Smile when you walk into a room. Then I helped him into a pair of black boots, jeans, and a gray T-shirt. But as I noticed the material working, I became nervous. I could make you fall in love with any person at this table. This was, far and away, the most pathetic thing I'd ever done in my life.

His whole body spasmed. He wore a gold silk robe that was several sizes too small, exposing his scabbed knees. The ends of the sash just barely met to form a knot and the curtains of the robe hung half a foot apart, revealing a pale, hairless chest and, below it, saggy gray Calvin Klein boxer shorts.

The only other item of clothing on his trembling body was a winter cap pulled tight over his skull. It was June in Los Angeles. There's no way you can win. So the best thing to do is not to play it. I would have to deal with this. He needed to be sedated before he snapped out of tears and back into anger.

Each cycle of emotions grew worse, and this time I was afraid he'd do something that couldn't be undone. I couldn't let Mystery die on my watch. He was more than just a friend; he was a mentor.

He'd changed my life, as he had the lives of thousands of others just like me. I needed to get him Valium, Xanax, Vicodin, anything. I grabbed my phone book and scanned the pages for people most likely to have pills—people like guys in rock bands, women who'd just had plastic surgery, former child actors.

But everyone I called wasn't home, didn't have any drugs, or claimed not to have any drugs because they didn't want to share.

There was only one person left to call: She was a party girl; she must have something. Katya, a petite Russian blonde with a Smurfette voice and the energy of a Pomeranian puppy, was at the front door in ten minutes with a Xanax and a worried look on her face. Or so I thought at the time. I gave Mystery the pill and a glass of water, and waited until the sobs slowed to a sniffle. Then I helped him into a pair of black boots, jeans, and a gray T-shirt. He was docile now, like a big baby.

I walked him outside to my old rusty Corvette and stuffed him into the 5 tiny front seat. Every now and then, I'd see a tremor of anger flash across his face or tears roll out of his eyes.

I hoped he'd remain calm long enough for me to help him. It was an ugly slab of concrete surrounded day and night by homeless men who screamed at lampposts, transvestites who lived out of shopping carts, and other remaindered human beings who set up camp where free social services could be found. Mystery, I realized, was one of them. He just happened to have charisma and talent, which drew others to him and prevented him from ever being left alone in the world.

He possessed two traits I'd noticed in nearly every rock star I'd ever interviewed: I brought him into the lobby, signed him in, and together we waited for a turn with one of the counselors. He sat in a cheap black plastic chair, staring catatonically at the institutional blue walls. An hour passed. He began to fidget. Two hours passed.

His brow furrowed; his face clouded. Three hours passed. The tears started. Four hours passed. He bolted out of his chair and ran out of the waiting room and through the front door of the building. He walked briskly, like a man who knew where he was going, although Project Hollywood was three miles away. I chased him across the street and caught up to him outside a mini-mall. I took his arm and turned him around, baby talking him back into the waiting room. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Twenty minutes.

He was up and out again. I ran after him. Two social workers stood uselessly in the lobby. He wasn't there. I looked 6 left. I ran north to Fountain Avenue, spotted him around the corner, and dragged him back again.

When we arrived, the social workers led him down a long, dark hallway and into a claustrophobic cubicle with a sheet-vinyl floor. The therapist sat behind a desk, running a finger through a black tangle in her hair. She was a slim Asian woman in her late twenties, with high cheekbones, dark red lipstick, and a pinstriped pantsuit.

Mystery slumped in a chair across from her. The case was probably already closed for her. She looked at him with feigned sympathy as he continued. To her, he was just one of a dozen nutjobs she saw a day.

All she needed to figure out was whether he required medication or institutionalization. As Mystery reached for the package, he looked up and met her eyes for the first time.

He froze and stared at her silently. She was surprisingly cute for a clinic like this. A flicker of animation flashed across Mystery's face, then died. He stared glumly at the floor as he spoke. Every rule.

Every step. Every word. I just can't Another place, another time, and I would have made you mine. How could she? But this sobbing giant with the crumpled tissue in his hands was the greatest pickup artist in the world.

The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists

That was not a matter of opinion, but fact. I'd met scores of the self- 7 proclaimed best in the previous two years, and Mystery could out-game them all. It was his hobby, his passion, his calling. There was only one person alive who could possibly compete with him. And that man was sitting in front of her also. From a formless lump of nerd, Mystery had molded me into a superstar.

Together, we had ruled the world of seduction. We had pulled off spectacular pickups before the disbelieving eyes of our students and disciples in Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, London, Melbourne, Belgrade, Odessa, and beyond. And now we were in a madhouse. My nose is too large for my face and, while not hooked, has a bump in the ridge. Though I am not bald, to say that my hair is thinning would be an understatement. There are just wispy Rogaineenhanced growths covering the top of my head like tumbleweeds.

In my opinion, my eyes are small and beady, though they do have a lively glimmer, which is doomed to remain my secret because no one can see it behind my glasses. I have indentations on either side of my forehead, which I like and believe add character to my face, though I've never actually been complimented on them.

I am shorter than I'd like to be and so skinny that I look malnourished to most people, no matter how much I eat. When I look down at my pale, slouched body, I wonder why any woman would want to sleep next to it, let alone embrace it. So, for me, meeting girls takes work. I'm not the kind of guy women giggle over at a bar or want to take home when they're feeling drunk and crazy.

I can't offer them a piece of my fame and bragging rights like a rock star or cocaine and a mansion like so many other men in Los Angeles. All I have is my mind, and nobody can see that. You may notice that I haven't mentioned my personality. This is because my personality has completely changed. Or, to put it more accurately, I completely changed my personality. I invented Style, my alter ego. And in the course of two years, Style became more popular than I ever was— especially with women.

It was never my intention to change my personality or walk through the world under an assumed identity. In fact, I was happy with myself and my life. That is, until an innocent phone call it always starts with an innocent phone call led me on a journey into one of the oddest and most exciting underground communities that, in more than a dozen years of journalism, I have ever come across. The call was from Jeremie Ruby-Strauss no relation , a book editor who had stumbled across a document on the Internet called 9 the lay guide, short for The How-to-Lay-Girls Guide.

Compressed into sizzling pages, he said, was the collected wisdom of dozens of pickup artists who have been exchanging their knowledge in newsgroups for nearly a decade, secretly working to turn the art of seduction into an exact science.

The information needed to be rewritten and organized into a coherent how-to book, and he thought I was the man to do it. I wasn't so sure. I want to write literature, not give advice to horny adolescents. But, of course, I told him it wouldn't hurt to take a look at it.

The moment I started reading, my life changed. More than any other book or document—be it the Bible, Crime and Punishment, or The Joy of Cooking—the lay guide opened my eyes.

And not necessarily because of the information in it, but because of the path it sent me hurtling down. When I look back on my teenage years, I have one major regret, and it has nothing to do with not studying hard enough, not being nice to my mother, or crashing my father's car into a public bus. It is simply that I didn't fool around with enough girls. I am a deep man—I reread James Joyce's Ulysses every three years for fun. I consider myself reasonably intuitive.

I am at the core a good person, and I try to avoid hurting others. But I can't seem to evolve to the next state of being because I spend far too much time thinking about women. And I know I'm not alone. When I first met Hugh Hefner, he was seventy-three. He had slept with over a thousand of the most beautiful women in the world, by his own account, but all he wanted to talk about were his three girlfriends—Mandy, Brandy, and Sandy.

And how, thanks to Viagra, he could keep them all satisfied though his money probably satisfied them enough. If he ever wanted to sleep with somebody else, he said, the rule was that they'd all do it together.

So what I gathered from the conversation was that here was a guy who's had all the sex he wanted his whole life and, at seventy-three, he's still chasing tail. When does it stop? If Hugh Hefner isn't over it yet, when am I going to be? If the lay guide had never crossed my path, I, like most men, would never have evolved in my thinking about the opposite sex.

In fact, I probably started off worse than most men. In my preteen years, there were no games of doctor, no girls who charged a dollar to look up their skirts, no tickling classmates in places I wasn't supposed to touch. I spent most of teenage life grounded, so when my sole adolescent sexual opportunity arose—a drunken freshman girl called and offered me a blow job—I was forced to decline, or else suffer my mother's wrath. In college I began to find myself: But I never became comfortable around women: They intimidated me.

In four years of college, I did not sleep with a single woman on campus. After school I took a job at the New York Times as a cultural reporter, where I began to build confidence in myself and my opinions. Eventually, I gained access to a privileged world where no rules applied: I went on the road with Marilyn Manson and Motley Crue to write books with them.

In all that time, with all those backstage passes, I didn't get so much as a single kiss from anyone except Tommy Lee. After that, I pretty much gave up hope. Some guys had it; other guys didn't. I clearly didn't. The problem wasn't that I'd never been laid. It was that the few times I did get lucky, I'd turn a one-night stand into a two-year stand because I didn't know when it was going to happen again. The layguide had an acronym for people like me: AFC—average frustrated chump.

I was an AFC. Not like Dustin. I met Dustin the year I graduated from college. He was friends with a classmate of mine named Marko, a faux-aristocratic Serbian who had been my companion in girllessness since nursery school, thanks largely to his head, which was shaped like a watermelon. Dustin wasn't any taller, richer, more famous, or better looking than either of us. But he did possess one quality we didn't: He attracted women.

When Marko first introduced me to him, I was unimpressed. He was short and swarthy with long curly brown hair and a cheesy button-down gigolo shirt with too many buttons undone. That night, we went to a Chicago club called Drink. As we checked our coats, Dustin asked, "Do you know if there are any dark corners in here?

I raised my eyebrows skeptically. Minutes after entering the bar, however, he made eye contact with a shy-looking girl who was talking with a friend. Without a word, Dustin walked away.

The girl followed him—straight to a dark corner. When they finished kissing and groping, they parted wordlessly, without an obligatory exchange of phone numbers or even a sheepish see-you-later. Dustin repeated this seemingly miraculous feat four times that night. A new world opened up before my eyes.

I grilled him for hours, trying to determine what sort of magical powers he possessed. Dustin was what they call a natural. He had lost his virginity 11 at age eleven, when the fifteen-year-old daughter of a neighbor used him as a sexual experiment, and he had been fucking nonstop since.

When a sultry brown-haired, doe-eyed girl walked by, he turned to me and said, " She's just your type. I was afraid he'd try to make me talk to her, which he soon did. When she walked past again, he asked her, "Do you know Neil?

I stammered out a few words, until Dustin took over and rescued me. We met her and her boyfriend at a bar afterward. They had just moved in together. Her boyfriend was taking their dog for a walk. After a few drinks, he took the dog home, leaving the girl, Paula, with us. Dustin suggested going back to my place to cook a late-night snack, so we walked to my tiny East Village apartment and, instead, collapsed on the bed, with Dustin on one side of Paula and me on the other.

When Dustin started kissing her left cheek, he signaled me to do the same on her right cheek. Then, in synchronicity, we moved down her body to her neck and her breasts.

Though I was surprised by Paula's quiet compliance, for Dustin this seemed to be business as usual. He turned to me and asked if I had a condom. I found one for him. He pulled off her pants and moved into her while I continued lapping uselessly at her right breast. That was Dustin's gift, his power: Afterward, Paula called me constantly. She wanted to talk about the experience all the time, to rationalize it, because she couldn't believe what she had done.

That's how it always worked with Dustin: He got the girl; I got the guilt. I chalked this up to a simple difference of personality. Dustin had a natural charm and animal instinct that I just didn't. Or at least that's what I thought, until I read the layguide and explored the newsgroups and websites it recommended. What I discovered was an entire community filled with Dustins—men who claimed to have found the combination to unlock a woman's heart and legs—along with thousands of others like myself, trying to learn their secrets.

The difference was that these men had broken down their methods to a specific set of rules that anybody could apply. And each self-proclaimed pickup artist had his own set of rules. Put them on South Beach in Miami and any number of better-looking, musclebound bullies will be kicking sand in their pale, emaciated faces.

But put them in a Starbucks or Whiskey Bar, and they'll be taking turns making out with that bully's girlfriend as soon as his back is turned. Once I discovered their world, the first thing that changed was my vocabulary.

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Then my daily rituals changed as I became addicted to the online locker room these pickup artists had created. Whenever I returned home from meeting or going out with a woman, I sat down at my computer and posted my questions of the night on the newsgroups. The answers, in order: Soon I realized this was not just an Internet phenomenon but a way of life.

There were cults of wanna-be seductionists in dozens of cities—from Los Angeles to London to Zagreb to Bombay—who met weekly in what they called lairs to discuss tactics and strategies before going out en masse to meet women.

It wasn't too late to be Dustin, to become what every woman wants—not what she says she wants, but what she really wants, deep inside, beyond her social programming, where her fantasies and daydreams lie.

But I couldn't do it on my own. Talking to guys online was not going to be enough to change a lifetime of failure. I had to meet the faces behind the screen names, watch them in the field, find out who they were and what made them tick.

I made it my mission—my full-time job and obsession—to hunt down the greatest pickup artists in the world and beg for shelter under their wings. And so began the strangest two years of my life. A glossary has been provided on page with detailed explanations of these and other terms used by the seduction community. It was not the proudest moment of my life. But I had dedicated the last four days to getting ready for it anywaybuying two hundred dollars worth of clothing at Fred Segal, spending an afternoon shopping for the perfect cologne, and dropping seventy-five bucks on a Hollywood haircut.

I wanted to look my best; this would be my first time hanging out with a real pickup artist. His name, or at least the name he used online, was Mystery. He was the most worshipped pickup artist in the community, a powerhouse who spit out long, detailed posts that read like algorithms of how to manipulate social situations to meet and attract women. His nights out seducing models and strippers in his hometown of Toronto were chronicled in intimate detail online, the writing filled with jargon of his own invention: For four years, he had been offering free advice in seduction newsgroups.

Then, in October, he decided to put a price on himself and posted the fob lowing: Mystery is now producing Basic Training workshops in several cities around the world, due to numerous requests. This includes club entry, limo for four evenings sweet huh? By the end of Basic Training, you will have approached close to fifty women.

It is no easy feat to sign up for a workshop dedicated to picking up women. To do so is to acknowledge defeat, inferiority, and inadequacy. It is 16 to finally admit to yourself that after all these years of being sexually active or at least sexually cognizant , you have not grown up and figured it out. Those who ask for help are often those who have failed to do something for themselves.

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So if drug addicts go to rehab and the violent go to anger management class, then social retards go to pickup school. Clicking send on my e-mail to Mystery was one of the hardest things I'd ever done. If anyone—friends, family, colleagues, and especially my lone ex-girlfriend in Los Angeles—found out I was paying for live in-field lessons on picking up women, the mockery and recrimination would be instant and merciless. So I kept my intentions secret, dodging social plans by telling people that I was going to be showing an old friend around town all weekend.

I would have to keep these two worlds separate. In my e-mail to Mystery, I didn't tell him my last name or my occupation. If pressed, I planned to just say I was a writer and leave it at that.

I wanted to move through this subculture anonymously, without either an advantage or extra pressure because of my credentials. However, I still had my own conscience to deal with. This was, far and away, the most pathetic thing I'd ever done in my life. And unfortunately— as opposed to, say, masturbating in the shower—it wasn't something I could do alone.

Mystery and the other students would be there to bear witness to my shame, my secret, my inadequacy. A man has two primary drives in early adulthood: Half of life then was out of order. To go before them was to stand up as a man and admit that I was only half a man. A week after sending the e-mail, I walked into the lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. I wore a blue wool sweater that was so soft and thin it looked like cotton, black pants with laces running up the sides, and shoes that gave me a couple extra inches in height.

My pockets bulged with the supplies Mystery had instructed every student to bring: I spotted Mystery instantly. He was seated regally in a Victorian armchair, with a smug, I-just-bench-pressed-the-world smile on his face.

He wore a casual, loose-fitting blue-black suit; a small, pointed labret piercing wagged from his chin; and his nails were painted jet black. He wasn't necessarily attractive, but he was charismatic—tall and thin, with long chestnut hair, high cheekbones, and a bloodless pallor. He looked like a computer geek who'd been bitten by a vampire and was midway through his transformation. Next to him was a shorter, intense-looking character who introduced himself as Mystery's wing, Sin.

He wore a form-fitting black crew neck shirt, and his hair was pitch black and gelled straight back. He had the complexion, however, of a man whose natural hair color is red. I was the first student to arrive. They were already assessing me, trying to figure out if I was in possession of a thing called game.

Sin ranked in the sixties, Mystery in the hundreds. I looked at them in wonder: These were the pickup artists whose exploits I'd been following so avidly online for months.

They were another class of being: They had the magic pill, the solution to the inertia and frustration that has plagued the 18 great literary protagonists I'd related to all my life—be it Leopold Bloom, Alex Portaoy, or Piglet from Winnie the Pooh. As we waited for the other students, Mystery threw a manila envelope full of photographs in my lap.

In the folder was a spectacular array of beautiful women: Penthouse Pet of the Year; a snapshot of a tan, curvy stripper in a negligee who Mystery said was his girlfriend, Patricia; and a photo of a brunette with large silicone breasts, which were being suckled by Mystery in the middle of a nightclub.

The Pickup Artist by Mystery

These were his credentials. You must not do what everyone else does. I wanted to make sure every word etched itself on my cerebral cortex. I was attending a significant event; the only other credible pickup artist teaching courses was Ross Jeffries, who had basically founded the community in the late s.

But today marked the first time seduction students would be removed from the safe environs of the seminar room and let loose in clubs to be critiqued as they ran game on unsuspecting women. A second student arrived, introducing himself as Extramask. He was a tall, gangly, impish twenty-six-year-old with a bowl cut, overly baggy clothing, and a handsomely chiseled face. With the right haircut and outfit, he would easily have been a good-looking guy.

When Sin asked him what his count was, Extramask scratched his head uncomfortably. I grew up pretty sheltered. My parents were really strict Catholics, so I always had a lot of guilt about girls. But I've had three girlfriends. There was Mitzelle, who broke up with him after seven days.

There was Claire, who told him after two days that she'd made a mistake when she agreed to go out with him. I remember her walking over to my house the next afternoon with her friend. I saw her across the street, and I was excited to see her.

When I got closer, she yelled, 'I'm dumping you. Extramask shook his head sadly. It was hard to tell whether he was consciously being funny or not. The next arrival was a tanned, balding man in his forties who'd flown in from Australia just to attend the workshop. He had a ten-thousand-dollar Rolex, a charming accent, and one of the ugliest sweaters I'd ever seen—a thick cable-knit monstrosity with multi-colored zigzags that looked like the aftermath of a finger-painting mishap.

He reeked of money and confidence. Yet the moment he opened his mouth to give Sin his score five , he betrayed himself. His voice trembled; he couldn't look anyone in the eye; and there was something pathetic and childlike about him. His appearance, like his sweater, was just an accident that spoke nothing of his nature. He was new to the community and reluctant to share even his first name, so Mystery christened him Sweater.

The three of us were the only students in the workshop. He leaned in close, so the other guests in the hotel couldn't hear. Think of tonight as a video game. It is not real. Every time you do an approach, you are playing this game. The thought of trying to start a conversation with a woman I didn't know petrified me, especially with these guys watching and judging me. Bungee jumping and parachuting were a Cakewalk compared to this. You will feel shy sometimes, and self-conscious, and you must deal with it like you deal with a pebble in your shoe.

It's uncomfortable, but you ignore it. It's not part of the equation. So get ready to fail. He spoke in a loud, clear voice—modeled, he said, on the motivational speaker Anthony Robbins. Everything about him seemed to be a conscious, rehearsed invention. Since the age of eleven, when he beat the secret to a card trick out of a classmate, Mystery's goal in life was to become a celebrity magician, like David Copperfield.

He spent years studying and practicing, and managed to parlay his talents into birthday parties, corporate gigs, and even a couple of talk shows.

In the process, however, his social life suffered. At the age of twenty-one, when he was still a virgin, he decided to do something about it. He wasn't aware of the online community or any other pickup artists, so he was forced to work alone, relying on the one skill he did know: It took him dozens of trips to the city before he even worked up the guts to talk to a stranger.

From there, he tolerated failure, rejection, and embarrassment day and night until, piece by piece, he put together the puzzle that is social dynamics and discovered what he believed to be the patterns underlying all male-female relationships.

Believe it or not, the game is linear. A lot of people don't know that. That is not the perfect seduction. Women of beauty are rarely found alone. If the target is attractive and used to men fawning all over her, the pickup artist must intrigue her by pretending to be unaffected by her charm.

This is accomplished through the use of what he called a neg. Neither compliment nor insult, a neg is something in between—an accidental insult or backhanded compliment. The purpose of a neg is to lower 21 a woman's self esteem while actively displaying a lack of interest in her—by telling her she has lipstick on her teeth, for example, or offering her a piece of gum after she speaks. I only alienate the girls I want to fuck," Mystery lectured, eyes blazing with the conviction of his aphorisms.

Tonight is the night of experiments. First, I am going to prove myself. You are going to watch me and then we are going to push you to try a few sets. Tomorrow, if you do what I say, you will be able to make out with a girl within fifteen minutes.

What else? We were also clueless. As soon as you walk in a club, the game is on. And by smiling, you look like you're together, you're fun, and you're somebody. It's called the Mystery Method because I'm Mystery and it's my method. So what I'm going to ask is that you indulge in some of my suggestions and try new things over the next four days.

You are going to see a difference. No one bothered to tell Mystery that those were actually six characteristics. As Mystery dissected the alpha male further, I realized something: The reason I was here—the reason Sweater and Extramask were also here—was that our parents and our friends had failed us. They had never given us the 22 tools we needed to become fully effective social beings.

Now, decades later, it was time to acquire them. Mystery went around the table and looked at each of us. Sweater pulled a piece of neatly folded notebook paper out of his pocket. She needs to be smart enough to hold up her end of any conversation and have enough style and beauty to turn heads when she walks into a room. People think if they look generic, then they can seduce a wide array of women. Not true. You have to specialize. If you look average, you're going to get average girls.

Your khaki pants are for the office. They're not for clubs.

And your sweater—burn it. You need to be bigger than life. I'm talking over the top. If you want to get the 10s, you need to learn peacock theory. Peacock theory is the idea that in order to attract the most desirable female of the species, it's necessary to stand out in a flashy and colorful way. For humans, he told us, the equivalent of the fanned peacock tail is a shiny shirt, a garish hat, and jewelry that lights up in the dark—basically, everything I'd dismissed my whole life as cheesy.

When it came time for my personal critique, Mystery had a laundry list of fixes: I wrote down every word of advice. This was a guy who thought about seduction nonstop, like a mad scientist working on a formula to turn peanuts into gasoline.

The archive of his Internet messages was 3, posts long—more than 2, pages—all dedicated to cracking the code that is woman. An opener is a prepared script used to start a conversation with a group of strangers; it's the first thing anyone who wants to meet women must be armed with.

The point of Mystery Method, he explained, is to come in under the radar. Don't approach a woman with a sexual come-on. Learn about her first and let her earn the right to be hit on. We piled into the limo and drove to the Standard Lounge, a velvet-ropeguarded hotel hotspot. It was here that Mystery shattered my model of reality.

Limits I had once imposed on human interaction were extended far beyond what I ever thought possible. The man was a machine. The Standard was dead when we walked in. We were too early. There were just two groups of people in the room: I was ready to leave. But then I saw Mystery approach the people in the corner.

They were sitting on opposite couches across a glass table. The men were on one side. Across from him were two women, a brunette and a bleached blonde who looked like she'd stepped out of the pages of Maxim. Her cut-off white T-shirt was suspended so high into the air by fake breasts that the bottom of it just hovered, flapping in the air above a belly tightened by fastidious exercise.

This woman was Baio's date. She was also, I gathered, Mystery's target. His intentions were clear because he wasn't talking to her. Instead, he had his back turned to her and was showing something to Scott Baio and his friend, a well-dressed, well-tanned thirty-something who looked as if he smelled strongly of aftershave. I moved in closer. He placed it carefully on the table. He waited fifteen seconds, then waved his hands again, and slowly the watch sputtered back to life—along with Baio's heart.

Mystery's audience of four burst into applause. Mystery brushed her off with a neg. The more Mystery performed for the guys, the more the blonde clamored for attention. And every time, he pushed her away and continued talking with his two new friends. He held his arms out. She placed her hands in his, and he began giving her a psychic reading.

He was employing a technique I'd heard about called cold reading: In the field, all knowledge—however esoteric—is power. With each accurate sentence Mystery spoke, the blonde's jaw dropped further open, until she started asking him about his job and his psychic abilities.

Every response Mystery gave was intended to accentuate his youth and enthusiasm for the good life Baio said he had outgrown. That's perfect. Mystery called me over and whispered in my ear. He wanted me to talk to Baio and his friend, to keep them occupied while he hit on the girl. This was my first experience as a wing—a term Mystery had taken from Top Gun, along with words like target and obstacle.

I struggled to make small talk with them. But Baio, looking nervously at Mystery and his date, cut me off. Outside, he pulled a cocktail napkin from his jacket pocket.

It contained her phone number. Everything I've learned I used tonight. It's all led up to this moment. And it worked. Stealing a girl right from under a celebrity's nosehas-been or not—was a feat even Dustin couldn't have accomplished. Mystery was the real deal. As we took the limo to the Key Club, Mystery told us the first command- 26 ment of pickup: A man has three seconds after spotting a woman to speak to her, he said.

If he takes any longer, then not only is the girl likely to think he's a creep who's been staring at her for too long, but he will start overthinking the approach, get nervous, and probably blow it. The moment we walked into the Key Club, Mystery put the threesecond rule into action. Striding up to a group of women, he held out his hands and asked, "What's your first impression of these?

Not the big hands, the black nails. A group of women walked by and I tried to say something. But the word "hi" just barely squeaked out of my throat, not even loud enough for them to hear. As they continued past, I followed and grabbed one of the girls on the shoulder from behind. She turned around, startled, and gave me the withering whata-creep look that was the whole reason I was too scared to talk to women in the first place.

Always come in from the front, but at a slight angle so it's not too direct and confrontational. You should speak to her over your shoulder, so it looks like you might walk away at any minute. It's kind of like that. I decided that approaching her would be an easy way to redeem myself I circled around until I was in the ten o'clock position in front of her and walked in, imagining myself approaching a horse I didn't want to frighten.

She was talking to me. It was working. It was pretty brutal. He was just standing there laughing as the police came and arrested the girls. We started talking about the club and the band playing there. She was very friendly and actually seemed grateful for the conversation. I had no idea that approaching a woman could be this easy. Sin sidled up to me and whispered in my ear, "Go kino. Sin reached behind me, picked up my arm, and placed it on her shoulder.

I felt the heat of her body and was reminded of how much I love human contact. Pets like to be petted. It isn't sexual when a dog or a cat begs for physical affection. People are the same way: We need touch.

But we're so sexually screwed up and obsessed that we get nervous and uncomfortable whenever another person touches us. And, unfortunately, I am no exception. As I spoke to her, my hand felt wrong on her shoulder. It was just resting there like some disembodied limb, and I imagined her wondering what exactly it was doing there and how she could gracefully extricate herself from under it.

So I did her the favor of removing it myself "Isolate her," Sin said. I suggested sitting down, and we walked to a bench. Sin followed and sat behind us. As I'd been taught, I asked her to tell me the qualities she finds attractive in guys. She said humor and ass.

Fortunately, I have one of those qualities. Suddenly, I felt Sin's breath on my ear. I smelled her hair, although I wasn't exactly sure what the point was. I figured Sin wanted me to neg her.

So I said, "It smells like smoke. I guess I wasn't supposed to neg.

She seemed offended. So, to recover, I took another whiff " But underneath that, there's a very intoxicating smell. Fortunately, Mystery soon arrived. They had no problem whispering in students' ears while they were talking to women, dropping pickup terminology in front of strangers, and even interrupting a student during a set and explaining, in front of his group, what he was doing wrong.

They were so confident and their talk was so full of incomprehensible jargon that the women rarely even raised an eyebrow, let alone suspected they were being used to train wanna-be ladies' men. I bid my new friend good-bye as Sin had taught me, pointing to my 28 cheek and saying, "Kiss good-bye.

I felt very alpha. On the way out, as I stopped to use the bathroom, I found Extramask standing there, twirling an unwashed lock of hair in his fingers.

When there's another guy standing there, I can't fucking pee. Even if I'm peeing already and a guy walks up, I stop. And then I just stand there all nervous and shit. We stood there for around two minutes, recognizing each other's pee-shyness, until I zipped up and went to another bathroom. Compared to Extramask, I was going to be an easy student. As I left the bathroom, he was still standing there.

And what you do is, you phase-shift. Imagine a giant gear thudding down in your head, and then go for it.

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Start hitting on her. Tell her you just noticed she has beautiful skin, and start massaging her shoulders. An IOI is an indicator of interest. If she asks you what your name is, that's an IOI. If she asks you if you're single, that's an IOI. If you take her hands and squeeze them, and she squeezes back, that's an IOI. I don't even think about it. It's like a computer program. If she says, 'Maybe,' or hesitates, then you say, 'Let's find out,' and kiss her.

And if she says, 'No,' you say, 'I didn't say you could. It just looked like you had something on your mind. Every contingency is planned for. It's foolproof. That is the Mystery kiss-close. No one had ever told me how to kiss a girl before. It was just one of those things men were supposed to know on their own, like shaving and car repair.

Sitting in the limo with a notebook on my lap, listening to Mystery talk, I asked myself why I was really there. Taking a course in picking up women wasn't the kind of thing normal people did. Even more disturbing, I wondered why it was so important to me, why I'd become so quickly obsessed with the online community and its leading pseudonyms.

Every time I walked down the street or into a bar, I saw my own failure staring me back in the face with red lipstick and black mascara. The combination of desire and paralysis was deadly.

After the workshop that night, I opened my file cabinet and dug through my papers. There was something I wanted to find, something I hadn't looked at in years. After a half hour, I found it: It was the only poem I've ever attempted in my life.

It was written in eleventh grade, and I never showed it to anyone. However, it was the answer to my question. A scoreless night fosters hostility. A scoreless weekend breeds animosity.

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Through red eyes all the world is seen, Angry at friends and family for no Reason that they can perceive. Only you know why you are so mad. There is the 'justfriends' one who you've Known for so long, who respects you So much that you can't do what you want. And she no longer bothers to put on her False personality and flirt because she thinks You like her for who she is when what you Liked about her was her flirtatiousness. There is the coy one who smiles And looks like she wants to meet you, But you can't work up the nerve to talk.

So instead she will become one of your nighttime Fantasies, where you could have but didn't. Your hand will be substituted for hers. When you neglect work and meaningful activities, When you neglect the ones who really love you, For a shot at a target that you rarely hit. Does everyone get lucky with women but you, Or do females just not want it as bad as you do? In the decade since I'd written that poem, nothing had changed.

I still couldn't write poetry. And, more important, I still felt the same way. Perhaps signing up for Mystery's workshop had been an intelligent decision. After all, I was doing something proactive about my lameness. Even the wise man dwells in the fool's paradise. On the last night of the workshop, Mystery and Sin took us to a bar called the Saddle Ranch, a country-themed meat market on the Sunset Strip.

I'd been there before—not to pick up women, but to ride the mechanical bull. One of my goals in Los Angeles was to master the machine at its fastest setting. But not today.

After three consecutive nights of going out until 2: It comes from a certain parental upbringing that I shared also. So to me the real point of the book is that we have these beliefs and constructs in our heads that keep us from happiness—monogamy and non monogamy, men and women. For somebody who grew up taking care of a parent, versus the parent taking care of you, you start to give yourself worth through taking care of needy people. In the book, when you open up to Ingrid—your now wife—about your explorations of sexuality, you mention that your promiscuous lifestyle was part of your healing.

Sounds Osho-like: Has your image of women changed at all? The whole premise of the game is objectification if you think about it. The opposite sex was a way for me to feel better about myself versus just seeing everyone as individual and human being. What about the way you see other men? In the seduction community the game chronicled, there are a lot of really unhealthy beliefs about that: Definitely it was not the intention.

The intention was I just found this interesting community and had a journey through it and had no idea the effect it could have. You have a little son. Because The Game is really to me a book about male insecurity, more than anything else.

To me The Truth was sort of like a late emotional upbringing. The following is edited for clarity.