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Male seduction: 'Pick-Up Artists' hunt for women in Germany

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You going to FMAC (Find Meet Attract Close) that HB (Hot Babe)? Never mind what newspapers and scientists say all the time – you can’t dismiss 'Pick Up' patter as anti-woman techniques which men can learn (for a fee). No, it’s all about increasing men’s self-awareness and helping them get on well with women says our author and 'PU' community member

More and more men and women nowadays find it difficult to find love even though Europe’s cities are packed with single men and women – and it’s getting worse. What’s even more important is that the vast majority of these singles (even though they wouldn’t admit it) are often not happy about their situation and would prefer to be in a relationship. There are many ways to explain why things aren’t working out in the romance department. Nina Pauer of the German newspaper Die Zeit says it’s all down to the way gender-based roles have evolved. She talks of 'insecure men of sorrows'. For the transformational psychologist Robert Betz it’s all down to the way we live today. Plus, there are also those who blame feminism.

Getting into Pick Up

The seduction community has its own way of looking at this. 'Society is the problem,' said 'Pick Up trainer' Bad Boy (as he calls himself) at the 2010real man conference in Aachen, western Germany. 'First of all it takes away your confidence, and then it makes you feel you have to buy things to compensate for what you’ve lost.' But Bad Boy and the other instructors don’t hide the fact that they too have something to sell. Pick Up is a method that comes from the USA. It’s a set of approaches men can use for chatting up and getting off with women. Pick Up owns a whole industry which promotes its method. If you’re willing to buy, they’ll sell you anything from e-books and audio-books to DVD’s. They also run weekend courses. Immediate success is as good as guaranteed because their techniques and chat up lines just cannot fail. Of course it’s all marketing mumbo jumbo.

Many men without the knack of seduction use FMAC (Find Meet Attract Close) principles. These are sort of magic spells which women supposedly succumb to. One example of this is the 3s Rule. This rule states that you have a limit of three seconds to speak to the HB (Hot Babe) in question. You could always try a Neg (when you say something provocative about the person you’re trying to get off with). That might just be that something which helps you get a KC (Kiss Close), or in other words finish off your flirting with a kiss. There are all sorts of ready-made verbal and non-verbal responses, funny stories and rules. These have all been already tried and tested by successful men. All you have to do is copy them. The process of getting to know another person is broken down into phases. In each of these phases you have to emphasise certain emotional aspects. It’s a sort of 'Seduction for Dummies'. 'Push and Pull' is another approach. As its name suggests first you try hard to attract your target and then you leave them dangling by kind of cold shouldering them.

What PUA’s learn too late, critics never do

Critics in the German media love to say that PUA’s ('Pick Up Artists') are nothing other than men without any morals at all who seduce women without really giving it a second thought. They say the PUA scene is a very dangerous one for vulnerable women. It’s a great pity these reporters don’t actually dig a bit deeper as they often end up just scratching the surface. And that’s not just true of the critics. Sadly it can also be said of more positive newspaper articles too.

PU-novices and journalists 'miss the point' (actually two contrasting points) when it comes to the Copy-Cat method. Firstly: It has its uses. Men’s collective confidence has taken a huge battering recently. Show me the man who would dare go up to a woman he fancies when he’s out and about nowadays and actually speak to her. As men are getting to know new people all the time using the Pick Up approach, it helps them to improve their social skills. And – an intelligent well rehearsed opening conversational gambit is very often a better way of getting the ball rolling than by saying: 'Oh, are you here too?' Secondly: it’s doesn’t get men anywhere anyway.

Dead confident or dead end?

Flirt coach Maximilian Pütz, the author of How to Seduce any Woman ('Der perfekte Eroberer') describes the problem in these terms: 'It’s a bit like building a house. A lot of PU novices and PU- instructors try out the method and end up building a solid house on shaky foundations. That just won’t work in the long run.' Indeed many novices end up going down a blind alley. They say in internet forums that on the one hand their well-rehearsed old chat up routines don’t cut the mustard any more. On the other they say they keep getting into sticky situations where they lose the plot completely. You see women have good insight and can sense when things just don’t add up, for example when there’s a mismatch between who you say you are and who you actually are. Now is the time to come out into the open and do what a man has to do to rebuild his confidence.

Read '‘Why can’t German men flirt?’ - a German man answers' on

There’s only a very small space in PU literature given over to personal growth. That’s probably why men don’t see it. But it’s what you need most of all when you’re actually out of your comfort zone trying to pick someone up. Advice on personal growth is often misunderstood. You’re told to respect yourself and to learn how to love other people. PUA’s also tend to be very open about their physical side. Strangely enough it’s lack of sex that is the mark of the real 'Man of sorrows'.

So 'Assisted Flirting' is worth it after all. That means you don’t have to beat a hasty retreat if a woman in the middle of Munich complains that you’re the third bloke to ask her if men lie more than women or vice versa (that is one of the chat up lines). You can just laugh and say: 'It doesn’t matter. I was actually surprised that apart from you all the women I’ve spoken to don’t seem to have ever heard that bit of patter. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief. By the way, what’s your name?'

Images: (cc) Bugsy Sailor; in-text (cc) Tempus Volat/ both via flickr/ video Bad Boy (cc) PsychoPuabase/ youtube

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Translated from Pick-Up Artists: Männer zwischen Führung und Verführung