Far from the stereotype of sleazy guys who want one-night stands, 24 of the 25 guys in the class were just awkward, nerdy guys who just wanted a girlfriend (the 25th wanted to bring home a girl for a threesome with his girlfriend). How many relationships do you know of that started in bars? If you want a girlfriend, go sign up for an online dating site. And when you're telling an awkward, nerdy guy who has no idea how to flirt "OK, now, touch a girl here," it's almost always creepy.
(Personally, I like random guys at bars touching me.
I'm 5-foot-9, and I'm just not going to go home with a guy who is 5-foot-3, goes by the nickname "Snake" (seriously?!? Some of my friends who were involved in the community got out of it OK, but they were probably more normally adjusted to start with.
), and is overweight, and pimply, and won't just answer a direct question about what he does for a living. Another friend, well, he got his taste of one night stands and "can't understand the point of girlfriend." And other guys I've met are so uncomfortable to be around that, well, we never really became friends.
But he keeps pursuing because, well, "I'm just playing games with him." I'm trying to see if he passes some test, apparently. Or maybe she just doesn't go home with random dudes from bars.
And then, when the girl isn't interested, the guy is now being told, "Oh, she's just trying to play games with you." out of your league or at least just isn't interested. Not because I'm putting some sort of girl test in front of you. Because, beyond just giving men the courage to approach women, the instruction is harmful to the guys.
(which I still think is a really interesting book) and ended up meeting a lot of people who were in the pick-up artist community (not a goal—it just happened). The problem is that what works for one person doesn't work for everyone—not all guys, and not on all girls.
I even ended up helping out with one of their weekend seminars, to be a "female test dummy," essentially. This was my first big hint that something was wrong. They were taking guys who wanted girlfriends and teaching them how to pick up girls in bars. They were telling guys things like: be flirty, but it can also be really creepy when the touching isn't natural.
If you haven't yet heard about the creepy, pickup-artist-inspired Tinder message that's been making its way around the Internet over the past week, here's a quick recap: Recently, the Instagram account feminist_tinder revealed that a Tinder message that more than a few women had apparently received was actually a line from a video by pickup artist Maximilian Berger, who calls the message the Tinder version of the "Apocalypse Opener." It's a pretty transparent tactic—asking a woman to sleep with you outright instead of, say, feigning interest in having a relationship—and the message has been apparently spreading through pickup artist sites ever since.
And yes, pickup artists are a real thing — with a large following.