[Instead of Pickup, try spending some time alone in bed with a couple of power tools. Sample picture.]
I remember when I heard the term Pickup for the first time I thought it was some sort of shell game, something someone at the side of a touristy street would do to trick people out of their change. [Well, I wasn’t that far off]
I didn’t think a lot about it nor researched it any further. It wasn’t until I bought and read Tynan’s Life Nomadic, a book that in a way changed my perspective on not only traveling but also the times in between, that the term seemed to pop up more and more (this effect is called the frequency illusion, or colloquially Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, and I first read an article about it.
Tynan himself had written his first book about Pickup, called “Make her chase you”. I haven’t read it, and I don’t think I will. Certainly I didn’t think I had to back then, because it sounded somewhat fishy, like using NLP as a method to find a partner, as if you could use sales tactics grime to find the person for life. Maybe I also didn’t want to accept that a person who I felt grateful towards for writing a book so compelling had actually also written one that was possibly very deterring. That ignorance could sometimes be a blessing had for totally different reasons become a convincing truth for me back in those days. By now I feel I simply don’t need to read every single book on a certain subject even if I’m interested. So while I don’t actually know Tynan’s view on Pickup today, eight years after writing a self-help book on the matter, I have read enough about the whole thing to have formed an opinion: Pickup is utter bullshit and makes your life, even as a male in patriarchy, unnecessarily harder, even if you don’t push your luck to end up in jail.
Everything that needs to be said about Pickup could be done so in a single paragraph, but this wouldn’t make for a good blog post. Still, let’s start with that.
Pickup is the method of embracing male dominance as means to get laid. It assumes patriarchal gender stereotypes and emphasizes overcoming your own insecurities to use those of other people in a variation of a cheap sales person’s “fuck all” attitude [no pun intended [okay pun intended]]. I think that it comes from the same misguided intuition that so-called “neckbeards” share when assuming that “hot girls only date assholes”. Yet, where the latter try to overcome this by doing things that are chivalrous (read: “sexist and demeaning”), Pickup-“artists” think they should become the very assholes that women are supposedly attracted to. I think they hit the spot on one of those nouns.
So last night I tried watching one of “RSD Julien” (Why do all those guy’s names sound like VCR models?) lecture on Pickup.
For me this was actually surprising. Apart from the sheer amount of sexism that makes my hair fall out this guy could actually have reasonable advice, not that it improves upon anything any self help or even yoga book wouldn’t also teach you. Live in the moment! Don’t overemphasize what other people might think of you. Overcome the boundaries your parents set for the child you once were.
But once that is established, it goes horribly wrong. (I will, for the next couple of sentences, not comment on every single line that I disagree with, because that would get out of hand fast. There are simply so many things that are inacceptable to me, that I have to actively ignore them to grasp what he is saying. But of course this all helps to set the stage subconsciously for the auditorium. Let’s for now just sum up that he says things horribly and move on to what he is actually saying.)
In a nutshell, here’s what Julien recommends: sales strategy. Sell yourself to the grrrl, and convince her that she want’s to have sex with you. And that is okay. Not everything is wrong with that. Just as in any sales business, you need to convince yourself that your product is good in order to convince the possible customer that it is, then seal the deal. Contentwise I’m sure that is a solid idea. It needs an amount of objectification, but as with every other salesperson, you can still simply not buy the product. That’s a fair deal, I think.
But the problem lies between the lines. The very part I left out before has to be considered now. Personally, I don’t even have a problem with some amount of objectification, because in a pluralistic society that is a major part of the interaction you have with people anyways. Traffic is objectifying. You objectify people when their in line at the register, when you think whether or not to sit down in public transportation, you objectify them when voting. A major part of living amongst thousands of people is only actively caring about those you… well, care about. But there’s a difference in not caring about someone and deprecative behavior. And here’s where I think Julien is really offensive: from his actions and statements you can tell that he views women exclusively as game. If a woman isn’t fuckable for him, she doesn’t matter. Because all he allegedly thinks about is fucking them. Which is, kinda by definition, (hetero)sexism.
While I’d still condemn this if it weren’t for all the rape, male violence, assault, harassment and stalking, we still live in a society plagued by rape, male violence, assault, harassment and stalking. And even if this shitty behavior helps you get laid, it would still be somewhere on a scale between disrespectful and abominable.
Some time ago I did a lot of dating. Pickup was never an option for me. Rather I’d use my OKCupid profile extensively, and basically try to be a decent human being. I can only recommend that approach. I think you can have much better sexual relations when you experience your partner as equal. If you’re only going to objectify your partner as a (w)hole anyway, why not simply pay them for their trouble? For me all this Pickup and “Red-Pill” machoism feels like a way of getting free sex, no matter the cost. But if you think of intercourse as a good you’re maybe even entitled to (and if I have to explain to you why I’d argue this is wrong, I don’t think you’re my core readership anyway) why not simply go to a prostitute of your choice and skip the whole Game-bullshit?
The answer is: because you’re a spoiled brat who thinks they should get everything for free. Either sex is a commodity, then pay the fuck up and leave people who don’t offer their goods [ha!] alone, or accept that it isn’t, and stop your sexist crybaby behavior.
My point is: objectifying people is no excuse for being a misogynist fuck.
For further reading, consult /r/creepyPMs or /r/thebluepill