Dating Short Cuts and Magic Bullets

Doctor NerdLove challenges the myth of quick-fix dating and relationship advice.

I get a lot of marketing emails from various dating gurus.

Call it a professional hazard; sometimes it’s because I get someone who wants me to “review” (i.e. plug) their product or service, sometimes it’s because bots harvested my email, sometimes it’s because I was interested in seeing what they had to say.

Now while there are folks out there who I think actually have something to valuable to say, 99% of the marketing blasts I get all promise the same thing: amazing results that will just supercharge your dating life with this one simple trick. If you just watch this video/subscribe to this newsletter/buy this ebook, you will learn the one secret that will make sex rain from the sky for you.

Which is kind of disturbing when you think about it…

Now, in fairness, I’m not going to complain about somebody trying to make a buck; I mean, c’mon – this is my job.

The problem is what they’re selling: snake-oil. Bullshit and placebos dressed up as advice and packaged to convince you that it’s the guaranteed cure for all of your dating issues.

This is one of the biggest issues I have with the self-help movement in general and the Pick-Up Artist community in particular1: the idea that there is some magic bullet, some special trick or formula that will let you leapfrog over all of the real work and drop you straight into the Player’s Life that you’ve always wanted.

The problem is that there is no substitute for putting in the work.  So many of these little “magic bullets” become a part of the conversation when it comes to improving one’s dating life – especially amongst frustrated men – and it ultimately retards your actual growth; in fact in many cases, it will actively make you worse. 

So let’s look at a couple of the more common ones that you’re likely to run into.


Canned Routines

One of the highlights of the PUA community is the use of canned material – pre-scripted openers like the famous “jealous girlfriend”, pseudo-cold reads like “C’s vs. U’s” or “The Cube”, stories and routines sourced from others via message boards, ebooks and blogs. These are designed to create the illusion of social experience and fluency while simultaneously giving the impression that you are a “high-status male”, thus impressing women into finding you far more fuckable than if you were to just approach them like a normal person.

Canned material became part of The Game almost from the inception, whether it was via NLP anchors and Speed Seduction to just sharing material that may or may not have worked via message boards and forum posts. Even as the trends in the community moved to “natural” game (that is, trying to make it look like you’re not running pick-up material), routines have been part of the backbone of the industry.

Now while there’s a certain value to be found in that they help eliminate the “I don’t know what to say!” panic moments that may cause your brain to vapor-lock and leave you stammering like an idiot, they’re effectively training-wheels for being able to carry on a conversation like a normal person. The use of routine stacks – layers of routines used in a particular order so as to invoke specific emotional effects – becomes a substitute for having an actual personality and experiences of your own. It ends up being an attempt to treat picking women up as though you were facing down a raid boss in World of Warcraft; follow this specific plan of attack and it’ll all work out the way you want.

“Oh shit, she’s about to shit-test us! Quick, hit the ‘Best Friends Test’, that’ll buff us against freeze-outs!”

It’s dating via flow-chart: IF a THEN SAY b ELSE SAY c, THEN RUN SUB-ROUTINE x.

The problem, of course, is that eventually the material is going to run out. At some point you’re going to hit the end of the routine and then you’re left with whatever you bring to the table on your own… and that’s when the trouble starts. You’ve been trying to borrow somebody else’s words in order to give your own a little spit and polish, but eventually you’re going to have to be yourself – and if you’ve banked your entire persona on your routines, then any attraction you’ve managed to build is going to come crashing down around your ears.

The reliance on canned material also puts all of the focus on the wrong place. The idea that you can seduce a woman by using specific stories to flip her attraction switches is a nice idea, but it has less to do with the words and much more on the person. I’ve never had a woman suddenly decide she wanted to go to bed with me because I told her she had a c-shaped smile unlike my implied model ex-girlfriend’s u-shaped smile; it was more about creating an emotional connection, not my supposed demonstrations of value. Did I make her laugh and feel good? Do I present myself well? Do I know how to generate that all-important “spark”?

Now I do recommend having a couple of good jokes on reserve that you can pull out as needed, or having a few good stories up your sleeve – there’s a difference an oft-told story about your trip to Cambodia when you climbed to the top of Ankor Thom and met a hot Scottish backpacker only to have her carried away by her man-mountain boyfriend2 and relying on a pre-scripted crutch to get you through an interaction.

Being “Alpha”

Now this is a subject I’ve covered before, but the popularity of the myth of the “alpha male” getting all of the sex is one worth returning to. The idea is simple, if predicated on a radical misunderstanding of evolutionary psychology and an attempt to impose (mistaken) ideas about social hierarchies amongst primates on human behavior: there are alphas and there are betas. Alphas are the leaders of the pack; the betas are the followers. The alphas get the best of everything – the best food, the most resources and the lion’s share of the women. The betas get the scraps… if they’re that lucky.

Women, of course, are programmed via evolution to only want alpha males – therefore the key to dating success is to emulate “alpha” behavior as much as possible.

Of course, the idea of what’s “alpha” is a subject up for much debate: a banker more “alpha” than a musician? Is the outlaw biker more “alpha” than the club promoter? Is it more alpha to fuck as many women as possible or to be able to commit to a single woman and raise a family? Does an “alpha” male buy drinks for girls he meets at bars? Does he change his plans in order to make allowances for others? Does he befriend the other guys in the group, or does he try to stare them down and otherwise intimidate them into leaving?

More often than not it comes down to a mix of trying to always get one’s way by imposing your desires on others and having a “Don’t Give A Fuck” attitude. To be alpha is to be strong; to be beta is to be weak. Women instinctively love alphas and are disgusted by betas… or so the theory goes.

If you’re the sort of person who feels as though they’ve always been powerless or weak, who’s girlfriend cheated on them with some douchebag… this idea can be appealing. It’s a variation of the Will to Power; become an alpha male and revel in the power and status that has been so long denied to you. Learn how to assert yourself and watch the world become your oyster. Men will fear you, women will supplicate and life will be nothing but a rap video for you from now until the heat death of the universe.

Of course the problem is that it’s not real. The idea of being “alpha” is appealing in it’s simplicity – but humans and human sexuality is anything but simple. By trying to reduce everything to a binary state – alpha and beta, leaders and followers – and applying that philosophy to everything, all that happens is you end up with a bunch of men trying to overcompensate for their own perceived weaknesses by acting like overly-macho, selfish, chauvinistic idiots.

Human relationships are insanely complicated and defy easy explanations. Even amongst apes, the “alpha” status doesn’t mean what people like to pretend that it does. Alpha males don’t get the majority of sex because the females are instinctively attracted to them; they get it by beating the shit out of other males.

And even then, the threat of violence doesn’t keep the betas from getting laid; the betas are frigging in the rigging as soon as the alpha’s back is turned.

Confidence and assertiveness is indeed sexy, while neediness is the polar opposite – but trying to be “alpha” is just a way of trying to shortcut growing one’s self-esteem by acting like a cock.

Status Games

Speaking of overcompensating: the idea of “status” comes up often in dating advice – and not without reason. There have been studies (amongst college students, with the inherent problems that comes with it) that status can be an influence in attraction. The problem, however, is just how one calculates that particular value. Is someone with money but otherwise a boring ass inherently a higher-status than someone who is charming but broke? Does a good looking wimp have higher status than a confident, assertive person who isn’t conventionally attractive? If you take the same person and dress him in a suit, does he have more or less status than when he’s dressed in a t-shirt and cargo shorts?

Part of the idea of running “game” on people is that it’s a way of trying to make yourself look higher status than you really are – at least in the short term. Establish your value as higher than other’s – especially your target3 and it’s blowjobs and champagne for everybody.

There is no better illustration of this idea than the “neg”, for example – one of the longest running memes in pick-up. The “neg” – as developed by Mystery – is a strategic insult or left-handed compliment. Depending on who you’re talking to, a “neg” is intended either to reduce the other person’s self-esteem (and therefore her social value) and make her crave validation from you or to establish that you are at an equal or higher status level and thus create attraction.

The idea of “cocky-funny” is also a way of establishing one’s supposed status in the social hierarchy: by going beyond “confidence” and well into “king of the club, greatest thing since World War III” mode and telling vaguely insulting jokes at somebody else’s expense is supposed to be a way of saying “Hey, I must be high status because why else would I be willing to make fun of a hot girl?”

In reality, most of what it says is “Hi, I’m a raging asshole who thinks it’s funny to be rude to people in hopes of bending them to my will.”

Other, similar status games are often tied in with the use of canned routines mentioned earlier – certain routines are popular because they contain inherent “demonstrations of higher value”, such as implying that you hav ex-girlfriends who are models or strippers, a high-status job or financial success. Getting bottle-service at a club is another way of trying to prove status – you’re in the VIP section after all. Other ways of trying to fake one’s status involve playing mind games and trying to “flip the script” on people. For example, if an erstwhile target won’t respond to texts or phone-calls, the would-be player will “punish” them by putting them on “text probation” or using communication freeze-outs in hopes of making the supposedly-misbehaving person will try to win back the player’s approval.

All of these little tricks are designed with one goal in mind: to successfully entice someone who is otherwise “out of your league”4 into sleeping with you. But as with canned material, you quickly fall upon a singular problem: not only is your higher status falsified, but it’s easily sniffed out. It doesn’t take very much to make other people realize that the person they’re talking to is full of shit, and any attraction that they might have built up is lost like tears in an over-used Blade Runner reference.

Using status games as a means of trying to attract another person betrays a very simple issue: the desperate need to impress the other person and win their approval by trying to convince them to seek yours. Ironically, the attempt to game one’s supposed status is one of the surer signs of being low status. A person who’s confident in themselves and in their own value – who knows what he’s worth and is willing to go out andget it – isn’t going to feel the need to try to pretend to be more than they really are. Trying to fake your way into dating out of your league only establishes one thing: that the other person is indeed out of your league, because you don’t bring enough to the table.

Building emotional connections is more reliable way of building attraction (and status) than trying to artificially inflate yourself – or to drag someone down to your level instead. A broke musician who can make someone feel like the most special person in the world is going to be far more attractive than the guy in the shiny suit who’s busy trying to convince others that he’s a music mogul and trying to get a girl to buy him a drink and follow him around the bar.

There Are No Short Cuts

The cold hard truth is that tricks, gimmicks and games are no substitute for genuine connection. You can find some limited success in using “game” to gloss over your issues, but not only will it not last for very long but it will leave you in a worse state than you were in before; people can spot a faker and the trade off is never worth it. To improve your game, you need to improve yourself. You don’t need canned openers or scripted material, you just need to know how to talk to people. You need assertiveness, not poorly understood ideas of what masculinity means. You need to lead a life that’s vibrant and full, to know your worth and to act on that, rather than trying to prove yourself or by attempting to impress others with a false front. 

Don’t look for the one secret, the short-cut, the magic bullet that will solve all your ills.

They don’t exist.

The only answer is to do the work.


Originally appeared at Paging Doctor NerdLove 


Photo courtesy of Flickr/ PhotoAtelier (Glen)


About Harris O'Malley

Harris O'Malley provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr. NerdLove, as well as writing the occasional guest review for and appearing on the podcast The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen. He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and Twitter (@DrNerdLove.)

Dr. NerdLove is not really a doctor.


  1. Naa, pick up is great. It’s not about manipulating women, it’s about being your best self. It gives guys confidence to approach and meet women. It also teaches guys how to react to women.

  2. I just re-read this and realize that the last paragraph is a bit ambiguous. Most PUAs eventually hit a brick-wall where they realize they can’t get any further in their ability to attract women based on their skills alone. They can no longer fake being a high-quality man; they actually have to go out and become one. The guys who do that have all the potential to become the “man of your dreams,” and you literally would not be able to tell the difference between them and a guy who got there by some other means. And to that, I would add, “and you probably wouldn’t care…”

    Loser dudes who try to rely on technique alone will never see much success with dating; these are the guys women rightfully deride as being “creepy pickup/PUA dudes.” There is a world of difference between the two types of men.

    • PUA’s may want to be the man of my dreams… For a night. Which isn’t what I’m looking for, personally. So that does me no good, even if he’s the most amazing human being on the planet.

      • “For a night…”

        Another huge misconception. My personality, style, and presentation is very sexually oriented. I am very much a sex-first, relationship-second kind of guy. I didn’t always used to be this way, it’s just that over time I realized that girls — whether out hunting for a relationship or a one-night stand — always checked out the sexy guys first. I’m sure there are some women out there who would reject me based on the fact that I don’t come off as “the type of guy who’d stick around,” but that’s a risk I’m willing to accept. The girls who like my initial sexual vibe AND want to be in a serious relationship have always let me know up front that’s what they were looking for. If they are the type of girl I’d consider to be relationship-material, then I’ll date them for a while and see where it goes. Otherwise, I just let them know upfront what I’m about and if they walk, then I have no choice but to accept their decision. Nothing manipulative at all about that.

        But it goes both ways. Some women are VERY adamant about only wanting a casual fling or one-night-stand. At times, I’ve been disappointed by that, but its just part of the dating game.

        Anyway, one of the reasons that PUAs come across as being somewhat sex-obsessed is that they’ve learned over time that a woman is generally far more attached to the guy they are sleeping with than to any guy she might be “dating.” Women sometimes balk at this suggestion, but ask yourself: if you met two guys at roughly the same time… one of them you went on a couple dates with then hung out at his place and had sex with four times, the other one you’ve gone on six dates with… even if you weren’t serious about either yet, if pressed, which one of these are you more likely to consider your boyfriend?

  3. “All this makeup stuff … ugh, it makes me not want to ever date any man ever again. Who can you trust anymore in this crazy world? I don’t want to fall for any woman who has to put makeup on… what kind of a life partner or even a friend could she be to me? How would I ever know who she really was as a person?

    Can makeup help get you into a relationship? Probably. But ultimately it all seems very empty, and sad, and reading about it makes me suspicious of every woman I meet. Does she really like me or is it all smoke and mirrors?

    Staying home with my dogs, guns, and beer is looking better and better.”

    PUA is simply the study of what makes a man more attractive to a woman (a vice versa, to a much lesser extent). It’s simply clever marketing. If you ever met a decent PUA, you’d never be able to tell him apart from the “real” man of your dreams; just as woman who’s decent with makeup can make herself appear to be far more beautiful than she naturally is. Neither tool necessarily changes who the “real” person underneath is; they are simply useful tools for maintaining the interest of a potential lover long enough for them to see who the “real” person underneath is. No amount of PUA technique can turn a loser into a man of high-quality, just as no amount of makeup can an ugly woman into Gisele Bundchen.

    • Ok, I’ve heard the makeup analogy many times. The difference is … You know if a woman is wearing makeup. Are you really disappointed and betrayed to find out that her eyelids aren’t really blue and glittery?

      PUA seems to be at a completely different level. For example: say I meet a guy. He seems into me. He’s funny. He’sa good conversationalist. We have a great emotional connection (or so I think). He’s very interested. We spend time together. I have sex with him. And then … Nothing. Turns out he just wanted to get into my pants. The emotional connection? Not real. The “spark?” — not real. The something special that I felt between us? Not real. Nothing but a big lie. That’s what scares me about PUA. If I was into casual sex, maybe I wouldn’t care, but I only have sex with guys I actually care about. And who I think care about me. So in my hypothetical, did PUA work for him? Absolutely. Do I feel like a fool who got played? Absolutely.

      • The reason the makeup analogy is used so often is because it fits. In times past, I would have agreed with you about guys knowing the makeup is there. I used to tell people all the time that I preferred girls who wore no makeup since neither of my previous girlfriends wore it much. I even want to say that I got into a disagreement about it here on one of the GMP discussions as well.

        Then, just a few weeks ago I ran into this girl I know who I had seen in a while. When we first met, I initially thought her to be very attractive. However, after talking with her for a while this time around I found something to be a bit off. Then she mentioned just having come from the gym and that being the first time I’d ever seen her without makeup on. She was still an attractive girl, but I was still floored by how much a difference the makeup made in my overall level of attraction to her. I’ve heard other guys say the same things about fake breasts as well. Even though we consciously know the breasts are fake, we still stare. Our animalistic, hindbrain attraction to large breasts overrides our conscious, rational thought process. Fake breasts win.

        What you’re doing is confusing actual pickup tools and tactics with an individual’s chosen application of them. Can PUA technique be used to manipulate people? Absolutely. But you don’t need to have studied game to be an expert manipulator. Many great salesmen and con men are expert manipulators — and they’ve existed long before PUA. Many guys use other tools — the appearance of having money, of being a “nice guy,” fake jewelry and tattoos — you name it; all in the interest of picking up women. I personally don’t, but I can certainly see where that would be frustrating for a woman.

        I’ve studied PUA material off and on for years… and believe it or not, it’s actually helped me become MORE honest with women. I have NO desire to manipulate any woman to do anything she wouldn’t enjoy. I have my life together. For me, it’s counterproductive to lie about anything. If a particular girl doesn’t like what I bring to the table, I may be disappointed for a bit, but I can always go out and find another girl who’s better suited to me and my lifestyle. There’s really no point in lying.

        Having said that, I understand your frustration. Bottom-feeder PUA-types can be cold and manipulative. I get it, trust me. I used to work in sales, and few things annoy me more than pushy, inexperienced salesmen. I imagine women feel the same way about overly aggressive PUA types. But that behavior is reflective of the guy behind the pickup “artistry”, not the PUA technique itself.

  4. All this PUA stuff … ugh, it makes me not want to ever date any man ever again. Who can you trust anymore in this crazy world? I don’t want to fall for any man who had studied this stuff … what kind of a life partner or even a friend could he be to me? How would I ever know who he really was as a person?

    Can PUA help get you laid? Probably. But ultimately it all seems very empty, and sad, and reading about it makes me suspicious of every guy I meet. Does he really like me or is it all smoke and mirrors?

    Staying home with my cats is looking better and better.

    • Sarah:
      The reason a PUA might just move on is maybe because you yourself isn’t that interesting?
      When i started PUA i had to:
      Fight my way out of depression
      Lose weight.
      Start school again
      Meditate to develop inner peace, compassion, and appreciation
      Learn to laugh and smile
      Learn to show my sexuality(was a virgin)
      Fight my social akwardness
      That’s prob 90% of game right there. The rest is so called canned lines or other routine stuff.

      I became more and more successfull with women over time. but what i noticed was that women didn’t do shit to keep me interested in them. They just assumed that their being women was enough.
      So most women became the same.

      Maybe you need to learn to stand out and be interesting as well. then this pump and dump thing wouldn’t happen to you?

      • Most women put a ton of effort into being attractive to men. What do you mean by not doing shit to keep you interested? From my experience, a lot of men don’t notice anything beyond physical attraction and a basically decent personality. I write poetry, I volunteer, I have an artistic side, I am a voracious reader, I meditate …. no guy I’ve dated has ever given a shit about any of that. Sigh. Guys will chose the woman with the best face/body every time, so a lot of women have learned that nothing else counts.

        • You know, most women I dated have a tendency to brag. I think it’s because you don’t remember why a seduction didn’t work because a good seduction is win-win. So when they try to impress me(that they even thinking of trying to impress me is already a fail) they remember all the times that guys tried to pick them up, usually trying to brag, and try to emulate those guys.
          So a question to ask is: How are you presenting these traits? Are they like treats that a guy can unpack by himself? Ex: you excuse yourself. The guy asks why. You explain that you have to do A or B getting him interested.
          Or do you brag or present a laundry list?
          Another thing you have to remember is that we DO think that all these things you do is awesome Sarah. We won’t react like women though. We won’t fawn or become super impressed. This is because we are the gender of doing. We have to, to be called men. Most men have met the sensitive boxer or the shy lecturer. Doing things is not a reflection of your personality like it is for a woman. You can meet a skydiver and believe that he is adventurous. While we have had him as a friend and we know that the only adventure he does besides skydiving is picking a different flavor soft drink to lunch every once in a while. Basically when you say to a guy that you meditate. The only thing we hear is that you meditate… We usually don’t see this fact as a good way of judging character or personality.
          And this takes me to what I really meant when I said that women don’t put up effort to get the guy. The secret is basically doing 50% of the effort of being assertive or fun. From the meet, to the date to the bedroom! If you don’t he will be bored by you. That’s just how it is. The whole thing with the divine feminine and warrior-king men or that whole spiel that men are genetically programmed to be this and that is bullshit. Look at art or commercials. Men and women are drawn to the same thing. These things might be colored by culture and a little biology. But those differences are cosmetic.
          Being assertive and showing of is much much harder for women than men, I understand that. We men are born with that expectation already. Also it must be extremely hard to go from a position of choosing to a position of having to risk not being chosen. But if you want to have a lasting relationship you have to take those blows. Or else the guy will get bored by you in some fashion. Like he doesn’t put so much effort in the sex anymore or that he feels that taking you out is a chore. He feels that he is doing everything himself and everything feels like work more than fun.

          • I realize I’m getting back to this thread late but what do you mean by doing 50% of the effort to be assertive or fun?

            In my experience, men in relationships often feel pressured and get cranky when a woman suggests doing things she wants to do but they don’t want to do. At least, that’s been my experience with a lot of men. It gets really frustrating after awhile to make suggestions that always get shot down or the guy goes along with the idea, but clearly isn’t enjoying himself. I’ve leaned it’s easier to let guys call the shots most of the time with regard to activities and date ideas and so on. If men really want women to make more suggestions, and be more assertive, they need to be more flexible and open about trying things she’s interested in doing. A lot of men get cranky just going to a movie they don’t want to see, yet I’ve sat through dozens of stupid action movies with boyfriends over the years. Because those are the movies HE likes.

            As far as being more assertive and asking men out, that’s a double edged sword for women. You risk being seen as slutty or desperate. A really attractive woman knows she doesn’t have to ask men out, and less attractive women don’t really benefit because it smacks of desperation, which is a turn off. I wish it wasn’t that way, but it is.

    • Dr. Anonymous says:

      A lot of people want sex with no atatchement. If they are honest about this I fail to see what the problem with PUA is.

      Maybe if we started to acknowledge that the best manipulators out there are the ones that are the best at not getting detected and that this magical radar that women are supposed to have that means that if you (as a man) have trouble atracting women it is because you are somehow defective and women can sense that, that this radar does not exist. Then we can start talking about wheter or not PUA is manipulative or not.

  5. This is another good PUA site by the way:

  6. Oh yeah, that’s another post of his where he dispenses PUA style advice. His whole “have another woman vouch for you” kind of advice is what the likes of Mystery and other PUA’s would advocate in order to elevate your “social proof.”

    PUAs even have terms for this. Preselection which means other women already find you attractive is important because women are strongly influenced by knowing a man is attractive to other women. A lady helping you out will often be referred to as a pivot. This certainly helps but it also most certainly in the quick fix/magic bullet category of dating advice. Doesn`t require “doing the work” does it. Funny how the Dr critiques his own advice.

  7. Here we go again with the same myths about what pickup is. I`ve been hanging at various PUA forums since 2004/2005. In that time there has been virtually ZERO interest in routines and that trend has accelerated to the degree that I almost never hear anyone talk about it. I challenge you to go to which is the continuation of the historically most important PUA forum and try to find people discussing routines. I\d say routines represent less than 0.03% of the content in the forum discussion and you will be attacked by most there for using it. I also challenge you to go there and present yourself as someone looking for a quick fix. If you do they will slaughter you. They will tell you to first of all start going to the gym to get a good body raise your testosterone levels and get healthy , fix your clothing style, get some interesting hobbies that build you as a person, find something interesting in life other than women to focus on and find your “mission(s)” in life because doing so changes many things by itself. They might very well also suggest you start meditating to make you more calm, less anxious, increase your level of presence and ability to be in the moment and better able to communicate emotionally and to read other people, in effect switching from a left to a right brain way of being. They might very well suggest you take up a martial art to help you build confidence and masculinity, half the forum seem to do MMA, Krav Maga, Muay Thai or Kung Fu. They might well suggest you do some bodywork aimed at releasing stuck trauma. They most assuredly will tell you to focus on inner game and the mindsets behind what works. They are 100% guaranteed to tell you that being outcome independent and non needy is absolutely critical. Beyond that they will not teach you routines or to focus on DHV stories, I hardly see the neg discussed more than on rare occasions. They advocate various styles of free flowing natural game that is more about learning how to be sexual, project a sexual vibe and escalate sexually in a smooth way and how to be a dominant man in general and with women especially. Not pretending to be one but becoming one. Virtually every PUA will agree with you that the type of stereotypical alpha male theory you present is overdone. What they will say is that dominant men are highly attractive to women, especially to the most attractive women, and science massively backs that up.

    In the book the game itself there is a chapter devoted to Zan who has always been about using inner game to become a natural and intuitive seducer and which espouses most ofthe attitudes that people who are critical of Mystery and Neil Strauss type game espouse. Several of teh editions of the book also included a chapter written by the PUA Juggler (wayne Elise) that was about how he felt Strauss did not need routines, DHV stories, negs etc. but could learn to use an intuitive free flowing conversational style that focused on expressing your authentic self and making the other person express themself in order to create a deep connection like he himself taught. Juggler was in fact the fisrt person to hold “in field” workshops meaning taking guys out to bars and nightclubs and demonstrating how to approach women and choaching them while observing them trying. His post are considered classic. He and Zan are just as defining of game as Mystery and Strauss it is just that the latter gained the most fame after the book came out and they make easy targets for people who don`t know what the broader PUA community is about and want to bash it. If you want to dismiss PUAs I suggest you try do a take down of what Juggler and Zan teach.

    Clarrise Thorn recommends Juggler as one of the PUAs she recommends. Have a look and see how many quick ingenuine fixes he recomends :

    This one as well:

    You could also check out the antimanifesto by 60yeraschallenge and his more in depth material for some superb advice on creating sexual tensions naturally.

    There are many others with very good advice. DR. Nerdlove should know this but because he wants to basch the community for self serving reasons he woN`t tell you that but present it as though the worst advice given back in the day was not only what it was all about then (which as I have showed it was not) but what it is all about now.

    Also read the book of pook. One of the best texts about game.

  8. Brian Tolman says:

    The photo at the top is of a magician friend of mine – “Pop” Haydn. It was taken at the Portland Magic Jam. The original photo is credited, but the exact link is .

    Also, his website is


  9. You mean people don’t need “quick fix” tips like.. I dunno.. “bring along a wingwoman to tell other women how good you are in bed”?

    “Convey Being Good in Bed

    One of the biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to casual sex is the idea that the sex just won’t be worth the potential consequences. It’s going to be on you to be able to help her see you as being the great lay she’s looking for.

    There are a number of ways to do this. Being a skilled dancer, especially in Latin dancing or club dancing, can increase a man’s perceived sexual prowess immensely.

    A wingwoman—especially an ex who you are still friends with—is worth her weight in gold when it comes to selling yourself as being sexually capable. It’s one thing to talk about being good in bed, it’s another when you have someone else bragging for you. A female friend who will help you out here is a prize above rubies; women are far more likely to believe it when it comes from someone who presumably has firsthand knowledge on the matter.”

    • Bay Area Guy says:

      @ Drew

      Oh yeah, that’s another post of his where he dispenses PUA style advice. His whole “have another woman vouch for you” kind of advice is what the likes of Mystery and other PUA’s would advocate in order to elevate your “social proof.”

      Harris just phrases it differently.

    • @Bay Area Guy…

      No offense intended, but this whole PUA, Ethitical PUA…just seems like and equally dysfunctional way of dealing with an equally dysfunctional sexual/dating protocol in America. Of course it is all because, IMO, women are not free to totally express their sexuality.

      I briefly lived in Bolivia. None of this crap was remotely required to get laid. And, I am not talking about lower status women. I am talking about women who attended colleges in the US and Europe.

      Something is just totally screwed up about sexuality and dating/mating in America. However, you do not recognize this until you have lived abroad and experienced a different view of it.

      But, it is the lay of the land. So, we must either deal with it or go around. I prefer to go around.

      • Bay Area Guy says:

        @ Jules

        No offense intended, but this whole PUA, Ethitical PUA… just seems like and equally dysfunctional way of dealing with an equally dysfunctional sexual/dating protocol in America. Of course it is all because, IMO, women are not free to totally express their sexuality.

        No offense taken. I actually completely agree with you.

        Sexuality, as well as dating and courtship are completely messed up in this country. Beyond messed up.

        And I also agree that the most ideal solution would be for women to be encouraged to express their sexuality more freely. This country’s puritanical prudishness needs to go the way of the dodo.

        However, for the average guy out there who’s having trouble getting laid, he can’t wait for widespread changes in society’s sexual norms. These necessary, long term changes will take too long.

        Therefore, until those changes do take place, PUA is the only real option your average frustrated chump (AFC, to use PUA terminology).

        • Bay Area Guy says:

          I also think that, even if expressions of female sexuality enjoyed greater legitimacy within society at large, the whole “men chase, women react” dynamic would exist.

          Frankly put, I don’t see too many objections from women about the whole dynamics of dating and courtship. Why would they? They benefit from the rules of courtship.

          But yes, I do think that what you advocated would go a long way to making things a bit less dysfunctional.

          • Don’t men prefer to be the pursuer? I’ve had guys tell me that when women ask them out, they feel there’s no challenge. It’s too easy and ultimately they don’t like it.

            I agree U.S. dating culture is f’ed up but I sometimes think men don’t know what they want any more than women know what they want.

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              Don’t men prefer to be the pursuer? I’ve had guys tell me that when women ask them out, they feel there’s no challenge. It’s too easy and ultimately they don’t like it.

              Here’s the thing.

              I don’t think the word “pursue” adequately describes the various hurdles that men have to leap before they can succeed within the world of dating.

              To use the words of one British journalist who wrote about dating American women, too often men feel more like they’re applying for a tough corporate job than actually trying to connect with someone.

              And trust me, for the growing number of lonely and involuntarily celibate men out there, they wouldn’t have much of an objection to having a woman ask them out. They could care less if it’s “easy.”

            • @Sarah

              I’ve definitely heard guys say that and its usually outgoing guys who love “the game” and the whole back and forth of approaching a woman. On the other hand I know plenty of shyer guys who’d love nothing more than for a woman to initiate things with them. Yet, from the time we’re younger we’re taught that a man is supposed to do the asking so in the rare cases that some of them do get asked, they sometimes end up feeling bad about it. By not approaching the woman and making her take the initiative they feel like they’ve failed to live up to what a man is “supposed to do”. Likewise men who are successful at approaching women and getting dates can feel good knowing that they’re living up to what society expects of them. Its sort of an odd catch-22, but I feel like its a case of what they really want vs feeling like they’ve failed at whats expected of them. Of course thats not always the case and personally I’d have no problem with a woman pursuing me.

      • Bay Area Guy says:

        But, it is the lay of the land. So, we must either deal with it or go around. I prefer to go around.

        What countries outside of the U.S. would you recommend?

        • @Bay Area Guy…

          Well, when I said “go around” I was not referring to opting for women of other countries or cultures. Specifically, for me it is FWB arrangements, only. Here you avoid all the nonsensical and dysfunctional protocols of dating in America.

          Personally, I do love Hispanic women. I love all women really. But, Hispanic women have passion, desire, and a very tender nature about them. They also seem to truly appreciate a man more than other women.

          While you typical white middle/upper middle class woman in America might see only 10%-20% of men as attractive, this is not the case in the Hispanic culture (neither here not abroad). So, men in that culture get a “more fair” shot at dating.

          We have to remember that the Hispanic culture is not monolithic. It does vary a lot by country. But, I still say that these women are probably the best “male friendly” on the planet.

  10. Thanks for the comment Bay Area Guy.

    You mentioned “nice guys” which is something I wanted to comment on. The truth is, the majority of the guys in the PUA scene are current or former nice guys. And one of the primary things that holds them back from achieving actual success in the field is the desire to hold on to this “nice guy” status, or the be the “ethical PUA” as you describe it. The problem of course is that’s the equivalent of entering a professional boxing match with one had tied behind your back. In order to be an “ethical PUA” you have to be an actual PUA first. You have to embrace ALL of it, figure out what works for you, and discard the rest.

    I commented early that 95% of pickup and dating material is crap, and only about 5% of it is any good. The problem though is that that 5% is different for each person. I still find myself to this day incorporating things in my personality that I initially blew off as being nonsense years ago. Guys like Dr. Nerdlove go out and try and pick the little bit of PUA that’s worked for them, sanitize it, and then say, “Look! I’m successful with women, and here’s how you can be too! And you can do it without having to dredge though any of that bothersome PUA nonsense.” It’s a good story, and I’m sure it sells well, but real life just doesn’t work that way. Dating, like anything in life worth having, requires that you dig in and do the hard work yourself. In that respect, I agree with the good doctor; I just don’t like the way he goes about presenting his view of things.

  11. Bay Area Guy says:

    @ DD

    Excellent comment. You’re right, what else do men have to turn to besides PUA when it comes to improving their dating lives? I think it’s already been well established that women and feminists in particular don’t really give men helpful dating advice, so what do they have?

    The problem with Nerdlove is that he’s a bit disingenuous. I’ve critiqued him on another thread before, but I think it bears repeating.

    In many of his articles, he employs PUA terminology and dispenses PUA style advice.

    (just look at his articles on building sexual tension, the successful approach, and the appeal of bad boys)

    By his own admission, he used to be the much hated “nice guy” (feminists really have a strange fascination with bashing nice guys). Since he’s so familiar with PUA and advocates certain PUA tactics, I’m guessing he used PUA to get himself out of his dating slump.

    However, at the same time, due to the fact that he subscribes to feminist ideology, he feels a bit dirty about PUA.

    Therefore, he somehow tries to combine PUA with feminism, in an attempt to create what Clarisse Thorn once referred to as “ethical PUA.” And he tries his best to keep the PUA aspect of his whole philosophy on the down low.

    • However, at the same time, due to the fact that he subscribes to feminist ideology, he feels a bit dirty about PUA.

      Therefore, he somehow tries to combine PUA with feminism, in an attempt to create what Clarisse Thorn once referred to as “ethical PUA.” And he tries his best to keep the PUA aspect of his whole philosophy on the down low.
      Either that or he’s trying to co opt the successful parts of PUA as feminism so later on down the road they can go back and say that it wasn’t PUA that was successful in helping men but feminism (when pretty much all feminsts did was take PUA and put a feminist polish on it).

  12. Honestly can’t tell if I totally agree with this guy or think that he’s completely full of it. My initial thought was this: “Isn’t this the same guy who just a few weeks ago was promoting the same sort of ‘quick fix’ stuff that he’s currently railing against?” The crux of his “The Appeal of ‘Bad Boys'” article was that you can have much of the bad boys’ success by simply mimicking their style of dress and outward behavioral traits — an idea which I believe to be blatantly false by the way, but to each his own.

    Here’s where I agree with “Dr.” Nerdlove: Better than 95% of the PUA material in circulation today is complete and utter crap. Without a good mentor, you can easily spend years wading through this garbage before you’ll find anything that will put you on the road to actual success in your dating life. And yes, plenty of guys do get worse — worse, in some cases much worse — before they get better.

    However, the 5% of dating advice that’s any good… it can mean all the difference in the world. I know it certainly has for me personally, and I’ve met plenty of other men who’ve secretly confided in me that putting some of these “tricks” to use has made a difference in their dating lives as well. Canned routines: I think they’re crap, but I have seen them work for others. The Alpha/Beta framework: falls apart at the extremes (all analogies do), but still a workable solution for explaining a great deal of human intersexual interaction. Negging: definitely works when done right. DHVs: couldn’t tell you… my goal has always been to let my lifestyle and my way of presenting myself speak for itself. Still, a good many of my stories do have an element of “I’m seeing other people” built into them; I still get plenty of dates, and many of them go exceedingly well. Turns out, many women relish a challenge and a little bit friendly competition. Freeze-outs: they work as well, but only on women who were initially attracted to you, but lost interest somewhere along the line.

    The biggest problem I have with the articles like this one and the general anti-PUA sentiment is this: If not PUA, then what? Most mainstream dating advice for men is total crap. If it wasn’t, then there wouldn’t be a such thing as a PUA. I can’t even stand to watch most rom-coms (or much of what passes for entertainment these days anyway), as they generally show the exact opposite of what’s effective for getting and keeping “the girl of your dreams.” On the rare occasion that they do show what actually works, they invariable paint the guy doing it as some sort of creep, loser, or emotionally-broken or needy “bad boy.” Dr. Nerdlove says that there are no short-cuts, that to get the girl, “The only answer is to do the work.” But then I ask, “What work?” Where does the guy who’s gone through his teens, twenties, and thirties with limited success with dating turn to to get ideas as to what actually works? Even your own articles come dangerously close to being PUA-type articles themselves. Again, referencing your “bad boy” article: so far as I know the term “dark triad” is known only to psychology and PUA nerds (as a quick Google search confirms).

    Here’s the truth as I see it: PUA material, even the questionable stuff that Dr. Nerdlove mentions here, DOES work. It’s just that it works a ton better if you have all of the foundational, structural attraction cues in place: i.e., you’re good-looking, stylish, have an interesting personality, an established career… those sorts of things. Game isn’t the foundation of attraction; it’s not even the house. Game, even at its best, is curb appeal. It’s the little things you do to get a girl interested enough to peek inside the house and decide if it’s something she wants to buy. It’s not the “real” you… it’s just marketing. But marketing matters.

    I’ll leave you with an example from my personal life. Last night I was out at a party with some friends. At the party were a couple I’d never met before, a girl and a guy who I later learned were just friends. The guy, by all accounts, was the type of guy women should go crazy for. Tall, well-built, good-looking, socially dominant, and a pretty decent story-teller. From the outside looking in, he seemed very much an “alpha” male. I later learned that he was a former special forces officer who made upwards of $500 a day consulting the Army on spec ops tactics and training. I’m similarly matched in looks and career status, but given a purely objective assessment, I’d have to admit that he probably has the edge on me in both areas. I struck up a conversation with the girl and we eventually hit it off. She told me that the guy was definitely interested, but for whatever reason he never generated the “spark” to help him move out of the friendzone and into an intimate relationship with her. The two of us spent the rest of the night laughing and joking, flirting, and with me generally suggesting that an intimate relationship between us was inevitable. We have a date set up for later this week. I’ve done “the work.” But so has this guy. The only difference remaining between this guy and myself: Game.

    • @DD..

      “She told me that the guy was definitely interested, but for whatever reason he never generated the “spark” to help him move out of the friend zone and into an intimate relationship with her.”

      You were successful because YOU expressed sexual interest in her AND she is sexually interested in you. You will have a casual relationship with her and then on to the next one. But, please understand that many men are not into casual sex. But, if you’re not getting laid period, I guess you take it how you can get it!

      I do understand what you are generally saying. I think most guys just do not know how to “close the deal.” Perhaps it is due to the fact that they do not know HOW to close. Maybe the idea of “closing” is foreign to most men…I don’t know. If this what you mean by Game (I am totally unfamiliar with PUA), then you are indeed correct.

      Women are clearly biased towards sexually aggressive men. A guy who essentially tells her with his body language and/or convo he wants to sex her is going to always come out on top. But, only if she is sexually attracted to him. Just the truth.

      • Jules,

        I agree with you that my style doesn’t work without mutual sexual interest, but I would argue that you have to have that for any style of meeting women to work. The thing is though, most women these days want a man who is both a good potential romantic partner AND good potential sex partner. Most guys miss the mark by continually playing up one side at the expense of the other. Even though “good girls” I’ve dated (the type who usually won’t sleep with a guy until having gone out with him for several weeks or months) have admitted to sleeping with me MUCH sooner than they have other guys, simply because they thought the sex would be exciting. Many men, even those who aren’t particularly interested in casual sex, would do well to enhance this sexually desirable/aggressive aspect of their personality.

        The comparison of Game to sales is apt. Game, and attraction as a whole really, is about building a good product, marketing it well, and asking for the sale. Any guy who can understand and internalize this concept will do well without women, regardless of if he ever reads a PUA book or article in his life.

  13. Bay Area Guy says:

    The way I see it, PUA is a necessary evil. Sure, it has elements of misogyny, and it has an overall mercenary and machiavellian attitude.

    But still, it is necessary. It plays a role in helping to level the playing field in the world of dating/courtship, where men are at a severe disadvantage.

    If women who are upset about PUA want it to disappear, the onus is on them. They either need to make themselves more approachable, start approaching and asking men out, or just accept that PUA is here to stay.

    So, until women address their privilege within the world of dating/courtship, PUA will continue to grow. Average guys need it.

  14. The phrase ‘glass houses’ springs to mind.

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