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For more on the “manosphere,” watch the new Buzz Feed News series Follow This on Netflix.
For someone whose entire gig is chatting up women in a nightclub, pickup artist Mystery (real name Erik von Markovik) doesn’t appear to be a chick-magnet, especially in a near-empty pub in Toronto.
Merging dating and self-worth creates a world where men aren’t even looking for relationships, they’re seeking power over another person and a kind of external affirmation that makes them feel worthy.
PUAs don’t necessarily believe that they’re owed anything from women, but their followers might mutate their message, believing that sleeping with women or getting a girlfriend cures all personal ills.
In 2005, Neil Strauss’s The Game changed how we date.
Now Mystery, the pickup artist featured in the book, is trying to disassociate from the toxic effects of the industry he helped launch.
It would be a shame, too, not to see Mystery’s eyes, since they display the opposite of whatever emotion you’d expect a seasoned pickup artist to have: They’re sad, and tired, with far more wrinkles around them than when he was first hosting a reality show on VH1, back in his thirties, living the pickup artist dream, when everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
If you think about what a pickup artist is, you’re probably thinking of Mystery.
”) His most striking physical trait is that he’s very tall, 6’5” — so tall that the average woman can barely look into his eyes.
The Game was a how-to guide, a self-help book for clueless men who couldn’t get laid, rather than a Tucker Max–type catalog of depravity.
(Max, you might recall, writes a story about convincing a girl to have anal sex and tapes it without her consent.) Instead of just being anecdotal, something to envy, The Game suggested you could learn the seduction lifestyle and live it yourself.
The same thing happened to PUA Jeff Allen when his own nightmarish statements about women and rape were rediscovered.
Pickup artists have historically treated women like props — not exactly prizes, because that would be too complimentary, but rather as objects for the taking.