Pickup artist
Pickup artist describes a man who considers himself to be skilled, or who tries to be skilled at meeting, attracting, and seducing
In social science, seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person to engage. The word seduction stems from Latin and means literally "to lead astray". As a result, the term may have a positive or negative connotation...


The use of pickup in this context, slang
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

 for making a casual acquaintance with a stranger in anticipation of sexual relations, dates from at least the World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, as attested by antiprostitution posters, and is again attested in the 1970 book How to Pick Up Girls by Eric Weber. The phrase was also popularized by Pick-Up Times, a short-lived 1970s magazine and the 1987 semi-autobiographical film, The Pick-up Artist
The Pick-up Artist (film)
The Pick-up Artist is a 1987 American film written and directed by James Toback. This romantic comedy starred Molly Ringwald and Robert Downey Jr. It was rated PG-13 by the MPAA.-Plot:...

, written and directed by James Toback
James Toback
James Lee Toback is an American screenwriter and film director.-Early life:Toback was born in New York City. His mother, Selma Judith , was a President of The League of Women Voters and a moderator of political debates on NBC. His father, Irwin Lionel Toback, was a stockbroker and former...


The term pickup artist is also associated with the seduction community
Seduction community
The seduction community is a subculture of men, primarily communicating on the Internet, who strive for better sexual success/access with women. Members of the community often call themselves pickup artists . It exists mostly through Internet newsletters, marketing The seduction community is a...

, a heterosexual male subculture
In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.- Definition :...

 based on the goal of improved sexual and romantic abilities with women. Pickup artists develop pickup lines similar to, yet more complex than the stereotypical pick-up line
Pick-up line
A pick-up line is a conversation opener with the intent of engaging an unfamiliar person for romance, or dating. Overt and sometimes humorous displays of romantic interest, pick-up lines advertise the wit of their speakers to their target listeners....

. Routines and gambits are developed to stimulate attraction switches often combined with techniques derived from neuro-linguistic programming
Neuro-linguistic programming
Neuro-linguistic programming is an approach to psychotherapy, self-help and organizational change. Founders Richard Bandler and John Grinder say that NLP is a model of interpersonal communication and a system of alternative therapy which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective...

. Spontaneous PUAs or Spontaneous Gamers use both self-help
Self-help, or self-improvement, is a self-guided improvement—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substantial psychological basis. There are many different self-help movements and each has its own focus, techniques, associated beliefs, proponents and in some cases, leaders...

 and an understanding of social psychology
Social psychology
Social psychology is the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. By this definition, scientific refers to the empirical method of investigation. The terms thoughts, feelings, and behaviors include all...

 to achieve this. They aim to improve their seductive capabilities through the development of different lifestyles. The culture surrounding pickup has spawned an entire industry servicing those who want to improve their social and seduction skills with consultations and in-field training. What makes this industry different is that people learn skill sets to meet the women they want, instead of being set up by matchmakers
Matchmaking is any process of matching two people for the purpose of marriage or a sporting contest.-Practice:In some cultures, the role of the matchmaker was and is quite professionalized...


There is sufficient interest in pickup that some dating coaches like Nick Savoy
Nick Savoy
Nick Savoy is a Canadian businessman, author, and dating coach. He is the President and Program Leader of Love Systems and author of Magic Bullets.-Biography:...

, Mystery, JT Tran
JT Tran
Jerry Tran, sometimes credited as JT Tran or The Asian Playboy, is a dating coach and pickup artist as well as featured dating advice columnist for major publications such as LA Weekly and Baller Magazine...

, Kezia Noble, Adam Lyons
Adam Lyons
-Biography:Lyons claims he had limited success with women until his mid-twenties, and was voted 'least likely to ever get a girlfriend' in school by his classmates at age 15. As a teenager, he was obsessed with Star Wars, Magic The Gathering, Star Trek and especially the role-playing and strategy...

, Richard La Ruina
Richard La Ruina
Richard La Ruina is a London-based entrepreneur, author and dating coach.La Ruina has featured in the media, appearing on several television shows, national radio and in internet publications.- Background :...

, Chris Luna, James Marshall and Owen Cook
Owen Cook
Owen Cook is an entrepreneur, author and dating advisor. He is the figurehead of Real Social Dynamics, a company that specializes in teaching men how to establish a sexual relationship with women.-Background:Owen Cook graduated with a degree in philosophy from Queen's University in Kingston...

 have become pickup instructors full-time and have gone on to found companies that offer training for PUAs such as ABCs of Attraction
ABCs of attraction
ABCs of Attraction, founded by JT Tran "The Asian Playboy", specializes in social skills, the art of seduction and confidence building for men. The company holds events, seminars and boot camps across the world and has received media coverage from magazines, newspapers, and TV.- Instructors :Staff...

, Love Systems
Love Systems
Love Systems is a corporation that markets dating seminars teaching men how to meet women and how to have successful relationships with women. The company is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA...

, Venusian Arts, PUA Training, Craft of Charisma and Real Social Dynamics, respectively.

The term pickup artist entered the popular lexicon in 2005 upon the arrival of Neil Strauss
Neil Strauss
Neil Darrow Strauss , also known by the pen names Style and Chris Powles, is an American and Kittitian author, journalist and ghostwriter...

's best selling book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists
The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists
The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-up Artists is a non-fictional book written by investigative reporter Neil Strauss as a chronicle of his journey and encounters in the seduction community.The book was featured on the New York Times Bestseller List for two months after its release in...

, also in 2007, from the reality television
Reality television
Reality television is a genre of television programming that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors, sometimes in a contest or other situation where a prize is awarded...

 series, The Pick-up Artist
The Pick-up Artist (TV series)
The Pickup Artist is an American reality show on VH1 which focuses on a group of eight or nine male contestants who have historically been unsuccessful in love and relationships learning the art of the "pickup" as taught by seduction artist Mystery and his wings...

, shown on VH1
VH1 or Vh1 is an American cable television network based in New York City. Launched on January 1, 1985 in the old space of Turner Broadcasting's short-lived Cable Music Channel, the original purpose of the channel was to build on the success of MTV by playing music videos, but targeting a slightly...

, starring Mystery
Mystery (seduction guru)
Mystery is the stage name of Canadian dating coach Erik von Markovik . He was the co-founder of dating companies Mystery Method Corporation and Venusian Arts...


Pickup artists and their industry receive mixed to bad responses from the press and general public, with many regarding both the practice and theory immoral, sexist and self-centered, which has led to the creation of companies that disassociate from the industry. Pickup has also been heavily parodied, in March 2011 The Scott Mills show on BBC Radio 1 debated Neil Strauss' "The Game" in many shows.
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