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What is a Pick Up Artist?
If you don't know much about pick up artists, don't worry, you've come to the right place. A pick up artist (often abbreviated as "PUA") is simply a guy that systematically works to get better at picking up women and who is a part of a loosely-knit group known as the seduction community.
Early History of Pickup Artists
While seducers and womanizers have existed throughout history (see the entry on Cassanova), pick up artists in the modern sense did not emerge until the early '90s, with the advent of the Internet. With the growing popularity of the web, players and lotharios from around the web were able to get together for the first time and compare notes on the tricks that they used to seduce women.
One of the early gathering places for these budding PUAs was a newsgroup (an early version of a forum) called alt.seduction.fast aka ASF, which was set up by the self-proclaimed dating guru Ross Jeffries (the founder of Speed Seduction). Ross Jeffries was the author of one of the earliest books on pickup ("How To Get The Woman You Desire Into Bed"), and soon discussion began to take place on the forum between those who would eventually come to be recognized as the first PUAs.
One of the unique things to evolve out of this early PUA forum was the concept of PUA routines. The early pick up artists took a very scientific approach to picking up women, coming up with pre-scripted things to say to women, which they would then test out in "the field" on women at night clubs and bars. They would then report back on the forum about their successes and failures in online field reports, and gradually, various PUAs began to put together complete "systems" that guys could follow to improve their successes with women.
Commercialization and the Evolution of the Pickup Industry
As the online seduction community began to grow in popularity, a number of entrepreneurial pick up artists began to turn their skills with women into a business. Ross Jeffries was one of the first to publish a book on picking up women, followed by many others, most notably David Deangelo, whose Double Your Dating ebook is still one of the most popular and widely read books on dating and pickup.
Other PUAs began to offer pickup bootcamps, where they taught and demonstrated how to pickup girls in person. Some of the early PUAs who cut their teeth on ASF who went on to found their own pickup companies include Wayne Elise aka Juggler who founded Charisma Arts, Nick "Papa" Kho of Real Social Dynamics, Brad P, Zan Perrion, Badboy, and Vin DiCarlo.
Perhaps the most well known of these early PUAs is Erik von Markovik, aka "Mystery". Mystery, a magician turned pickup artist, was one of the most systematic guys when it came down the pickup process. He developed the M3 Model which later evolved into the Mystery Method, a step-by-step approach to picking up women that divided the pickup process into 3 stages and 9 sub-stages. Mystery was also an innovator when it came to developing terminology, and many of the pickup terms that are in use today such as DHV, LMR, and Set originated from him.
Popularization of the Seduction Community
Although the online seduction community slowly grew in popularity over the years, it wasn't until 2005 that it fully came to the attention of mainstream culture. That was the year when Neil Strauss, aka Style, wrote his novel The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, based on his experiences in the PUA community as a student of Mystery. The book went onto become a New York Times bestseller, and attracted thousands of wannabe pick up artists to the seduction community.
Another notable event in raising the awareness of pick up artists was the release of the reality-TV show The Pickup Artist on VH1, in August of 2007. Starring Mystery, along with his two coaches Matador and J-Dog, The Pickup Artist cast 8 "lovable losers" who were instructed by Mystery and co. in how to pickup women. In every episode, the wannabe PUAs competed against each others in various challenges, with the losers being eliminated and the winner of the final challenge (Kosmo) named the Pickup Artist.
The original season of VH1's The Pickup Artist garnered an average of 1.8 million viewers, which was enough to justify a second season of the show, which brought back Mystery and Matador from the first show, along with a new female pickup instructor named Tara.
Other appearances of pick up artists in the media include Wayne Elise in the British reality TV series Seduction School: Size Doesn't Matter and Derek Cajun in the Canadian reality TV show Keys to the VIP. PUAs have appeared on other TV shows as well, including Dr. Phil, the Tyra Banks show, and various news outlets reporting on pickup companies.
There is also a movie released in 2010 called Let The Game Begin, which is a romantic comedy featuring Zan Perrion and Matador, set to be released in North America in March of 2011.
Pick Up Artists: Present Day
The pick up artist community today now consists of tens of thousands of guys all over the world, thanks to The Game and all the mainstream attention that the community has received. The community still remains somewhat underground, but most people have heard about it at some point or another.
There are now hundreds of pickup and dating coaches around the world, offering thousands of different products, ebooks, and videos, as well as personal coaching and bootcamps. There are also hundreds of groups called "lairs", where guys get together both online and in-person to wing for each other and improve their game.
It's unclear what shape the pickup and seduction community will take in the future, but with the worldwide popularity of pick up artists, it's clear that as long as guys are interested in getting better with women, PUAs will be there to teach them their methods.