Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last fortnight, you’ve heard the name Julien Blanc, as well as the incredibly dodgy underworld of the pick up artists – a community of nerds turned neurotics, hell-bent on choking woman into bed. Right?
Going on seven years coaching somewhat this industry myself, one thing is for sure – Julien Blanc does not represent the industry. Not the coaches, and certainly not the gentlemen seeking help within it.
Pick Up Artists …
The term “pick up artist” was coined in the 2005 New York Times bestseller The Game. Almost overnight it casted an all-encompassing net over any man even remotely interested in improving his skills with women, tainted them all with this bizarre new title. I myself, having decided a year prior in 2004, to go out and improve myself in this area, was suddenly no longer just a guy wanting to be more confident with the ladies, I was a “pick-up artist” – apparently. Frankly, I resented it almost immediately. “Oh like that book” was a comment that I got used to dealing with whenever I mentioned anything in the area of dating. Why had one of the most natural things on the planet become something so weird and greasy, I wondered.
Within years an industry arose; more so in the States than I Australia, and one in which every man and his dog was sharing his secret techniques and methods. I for one during this time, was confused. I seemed to be doing just fine with the old “Hey, how’s it going?” Why were people making this so complicated?
Why Pick Up Appeals …
One of the reason’s that crazy approaches and outlandish behaviour like that of Julien Blanc get so much attention is that human beings are impatient. We dream of getting rich today and picking up that beauty tonight … IF we are privy to the secrets that just must be out there. Hard work? Pfft, forget it! Just follow steps 1-2-3 and you’re done baby!
Dreams are easy to sell. And people do. The pick up industry is riddled with dreams and false hopes. I once saw advertised “Sleep with models in just 7 hours guaranteed!” – I horrible notion essentially depriving a man of the growth required to become awesome. Quick solutions are NOT the best, nor reliable – I’d certainly be reading the conditions of that guarantee. People want what they have never had. And more, people elevate to an almost holy status that which they have always longed for.
On top of that, the world is currently one big YouTube Nation in which each video must out-do yesterday’s in order to even get a look. If you’ve not seen how far video pranks have gone lately, in short, it is frightening. Why? Because it’s the only way to get attention – to out-do the last guy. The same applies for the pick up industry, with people testing more and more outrageous things.
So when you combine all of these factors: the dreams of young men, the holy grail of beautiful women, the desire for the quick ‘secret’ and the need to out-do the last guy or even just your own video from yesterday for your insatiable public – you are bound to have situations like the Julien Blanc one.
The Reality …
It was said that Julien Blanc was teaching young men to be sexist. There is some truth in that, but it would be truer if those guys were actually doing the same thing. Pick-up coaches like Blanc are popular because guys live through them. And often it’s not balanced with realistic experience. Anyone out there in the reality of the dating scene knows that it’s actually really easy to, yes, be yourself, just approach, start a conversation and work out a date with the girl if you get along. But no one wants to see that on YouTube. No one wants to see a guy casually chatting with the cute girl next to him in a shopping queue, asking her what she is doing for the day and then asking her out for a drink. That doesn’t make good viewing! But the reality is, THAT is how most ‘pick up artists’ work. And most are not only decent guys, but admirable guys. They are the guys that decided that they DID have something to offer, and DO want to improve themselves, and strive to be the best man that they can be. Some of the most genuine, motivated and well-intentioned guys that have ever met, I met in the pick up community. Yes, every industry has its dodgy characters, but if a butcher sold you off meat, you wouldn’t go around declaring that butchers are the downfall of society. Your beef would be with him alone (pun intended). To declare that you know anything about the pick up industry as a whole because you saw 5 minutes of one coach’s videos, or because you “once knew a guy interested in it” or even worse – because you read The Game – that is crazy.
Babies and bathwater people – let’s keep them separate.