Jozi's Underground World Of Pickup Artists
Our Mysterious Writer attended a five-day get the girl boot camp for men. Yes, they exist. Follow him as he bravely 'hits them like a lamb on Valium'.
by Mysterious Writer Posted: 2013/04/01
"I was sarging this ten, getting IOIs, when the AMOG appeared out of nowhere and cockblocked my game. So then I opened this 3 set next to us and tried a shotgun neg on the HB9."
Welcome to the underground world of pickup - a subculture called the seduction community, which is a self-help movement for men who strive for success with women. Success is measured in different ways, ranging from good conversation to sexy time on the first night. Workshop attendees attempt to become pickup artists (PUAs) - men who consider themselves skilled at finding, attracting and seducing women.
The seduction community's origins date back to the early '90s in the US, and was made famously mainstream in 2005 by Neil Strauss who wrote a book called The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. Seduction communities as a result have become less subversive abroad, unlike in South Africa where the trend is yet to reach even subculture status. There are a handful of businesses locally that run training courses, but they're rare.
I spent five days on a boot camp with one of these set-ups in Joburg.
Training was fairly intensive and involved two days of in-class training and three nights out in the 'field' (clubs) where we strutted our skills under the watchful eyes of three instructors.
In-class training was at a conference venue in Sandton, and when I pitched up there was the usual Joburg mishmash of cultures, colours and characters. After some coffee and manly chitchat we all filed into the chic conference room; sitting in the back row were two guys who clearly weren't AFC (Average Frustrated Chumps) students like the rest of us. Manicured to their eyeballs, these guys looked like they just stepped out of a GQ snow globe. If this course was going to turn me into one of them, then I was scared.
The instructors (not the two mentioned above) were two young and very likeable guys who'd trained under one of the top PUAs in America, and who'd been running the game for a few years in SA. They were clearly down to earth and nice, which confused me because I thought 'nice' was a cardinal sin in dating.
All my life I've been the quintessential nice guy, watching hot girls complain about bad boys but always going back to them. I wasn't sure how these guys would turn my lame beta into killer alpha.
They went on to explain that primal attraction happens on a different frequency, where things are happening subconsciously all the time. The game they were going to teach us was based on years and years of trial and error; interactions between PUAs and girls. They had taken the essence of it and put it into a boot camp, which was going to show us how to trigger subliminal attraction in women.
In-class training consisted of lectures, videos, roleplaying and interactive games. We even had a presentation by two image consultants (see GQ snow globe reference above) which made me cringe more than cram, but then again I'm more about beer and jeanpants than crépes and cravats.
Throughout the three nights we were lucky enough to see an instructor in action - not only could he talk the talk, but he could definitely walk it. Each night ended with a debriefing where our performances were thoroughly reviewed.
The first field training session took place at Hatfield Square in Pretoria. The instructors implemented a booze ban for the night, which scared me more than the image consultants' presentation. Needless to say I sneaked a few tequilas in when they weren't looking. They also said first prize was 'opening' a set of girls, transitioning to a conversation and then closing, not necessarily taking a girl home. In my mind first prize was not getting moered.
So we all met up at a shopping centre around the corner and practised our routines on each other. We ran through different scenarios and when suitably briefed we left to unleash our skills on some unsuspecting students.
Fourteen of us nonchalantly made our way into the middle of Hatfield Square, all drinking water and dressed up like peacocks. I noticed more than a few rugby okes checking us out, so I pushed out my chest as per our body language lecture and hoped this would send out the right message - that I wasn't gay.
In the beginning the instructors would point out a few sets and push students in that direction. After a while guys were crisscrossing the square like chickens on heat chatting up any girls they could find.
My first set was two pretty girls sitting on a shop ledge playing on their cell phones and giggling away. I swaggered on over, reciting my routine and hit them like a lamb on valium. They were drunk and curious so things got chatty quickly. It was all going well until the alpha female joined the group, took centre stage for a few minutes and then pulled her troops out.
All in all the night went pretty well with some guys getting numbers and everyone opening a few sets.
The second night was a bust. We tried a snotty club in the northern suburbs of Joburg and it proved hard work for everyone. It's difficult talking to a girl when her head is up her own arse. The instructors apologised for the unsuitable venue, and to their credit they insisted taking us out the following night to a better place (the boot camp was originally set for four days, but they stretched it to five because of the snotty club failure). The following night was the most successful. Most of the guys couldn't make it because of prior commitments, but those that did came right in one way or another.
Overall it proved to be a very positive experience. Did I go from a Johnny Doe to a Johnny Depp? No, I didn't, but the course opened many doors which won't close any time soon. And for that I'm grateful.
The boot camp costs between R3 000 and R4 000, depending on when you sign up.
Check out their website for the next boot camp: www.puasa.co.za