I flirted with being a pick up artist in Singapore when I chanced upon the book ‘The Game Neil Strauss’ off the local bookstore when I was 19 years old. I had just come out of a disastrous breakup I was left reeling in depression, self-victimization, hurt, and anger. I felt like that for a long period of time.
The Entrances and Exits in The Pick Up Artist Community
It was as if I picked up the bible. I was hooked on the idea that you could do something about your luck with girls. I was hooked on the idea that as long as you did certain things, you could get a girl in bed. It like a formula to sex.
That’s how I started my identity as a Singapore pick up artist.
I would spend the free time I had in the military reading up on dating advice material after another.
I would read up on everything on attracting girls, self-help, entrepreneurship, and psychology and was determined to turn my life around.
I remembered that I “negged” a girl and she laughed. It was exhilarating at first. Girls were finally finding me funny now. After all, a girl laughing meant she was interested in you right? Well, she stopped texting me on the phone in a few days. I wasn’t getting kisses or sex or anything of that sort. I just felt more empowered socially.
I got desperate and emptied half my savings and hired a dating coach that promised a “Singaporean method” to finally get the girl. Eventually, through social circles in school and work, I got the first taste of success.
I started dating more girls, I slept with some of them. My notch count was getting higher. I prided myself knowing these little secrets that nobody knew. Eventually, I had a couple of success with girls after a months and it was “proof” that these pick up artist theories worked.
Just like that, If floated in and out of the Singapore pick up artist identity over the next few years.
The Psychopathy of a Pick Up Artist
There is a blur and concept of picking up and being a pick up artist that’s not addressed in the dating advice industry.
There’s nothing inherently wrong and bad about learning how and talk to an attractive stranger. However, it’s another whole different issue when you’re identifying yourself as a pick up artist, using lines, routines to trick girls into bed.
- The Idea of a ‘Pick Up Artist’ Self
Firstly, the idea that you have to someone else (a.k.a a pick up artist) in order to be cool, be liked or sleep with girls. The whole idea of that is in itself, telling yourself, as a human being, you’re not worthy of affection, attention from the opposite sex.
It’s still feeling unworthy at the end of the day.
Of course, I’m not unrealistic and saying that there is nothing to done and only to be. I’m referring to a more identity level and self-image thing. Pick up artists tend to fall into the pure “pick up artist” self and isolate themselves from the world around them.
The social interactions that turned out great over the years with me were often myself being a relaxed state and feeling not like a need to ‘game a girl’. What you say: lines and theories are just a vehicle to get you to the core of expressing one’s intentions and needs to women.
- The Objectification of Our Emotional Lives
Secondly, as much as learning social skills has helped me in various aspects of my life. Learning social dynamics and improving in one’s emotional life is not one to be studied or to researched like a mathematical equation where quality, meaning and significance of social interactions are traded for objectified metrics such hook close ratios and all of that un-needed percentages comparisons.
In the short run, these behaviours might actually seem to be working, but in the long run, you’ll find out that you’re the same low self-esteem person that relied on those lines and theories to get you anywhere in your social life. Socializing is an emotional thing and it’s not something that can be quantified.
Entering the Singapore pick up artist community, I went through the whole mystery method thing. It always about said: X + Y = Z. One might argue that it works. Yes, it works not because of those lines or behaviours. But rather, those lines or behaviours allowed you to hit on a girl openly for the first time in your life.
If you’ve always relied on ‘frame’, lines and theories to get you anywhere in your social life, you’re not going to be happy in the long run. Relationships, friendships, and romantic ones are not built upon lines, owning the frame and half-baked theories. They are borne out of truly connecting with another individual.
Yes, unfortunately, these things work on low self-esteem girls and it’s easy to go down this route. However, at the end of the day, it’s still you putting up a front. Subconsciously, it reinforces the fact that you are not enough as you are. You’re still putting on a character in your social interactions instead of engaging your true self. This means your fuck ups, your failures, what you’re proud of, what do you care about, and your true desires for her.
Social interactions just aren’t a formula that you can break down and then do something to it. It’s really subjective and dependent on one’s current values in life.
- The Metric of Success
Imagine the money, the girls and the respect from guys. It’s not uncommon to see people from the Singapore pick up artist community swearing by the game, going out 6-7 times a week, dedicating a huge portion of their life to master social skills and social dynamics.
It was a metric of success that I measured myself by for years. If I wasn’t off making new friends, I was off chasing some girl. Or either that, I should be travelling to some new country to explore the world, in the name of ‘self development’.
When I was hanging out with other guys from the Singapore pick up artist community, it’s not long before I hear them discuss their sex lives in a quantified manner. “I’ve slept with 13 girls so far, how about you?”. If you could had slept with 13 fat girls, and I choose to be with a plain Jame girlfriend whom I love. Who would have been the better man? Who would have had the better ‘Game’?
The metric of success in the pick up artist community is completely pointless and meaningless.
A Loud Minority
There’s a reason why the Singapore pick up artist community is much smaller compared to Westernized cultures. The ideas that come along pick up isn’t exactly traditional Asian values oriented.
Asians are also stereotyped to be more group-ish, cliquish/ introverted. Well, that’s true to a certain extent.
What the PUA community did right was to introduce the idea of self-reliance. It’s the idea that if you take responsibility for your own behaviour, you can change something about your life, and not everything is left to fate and genetics. Yes, it started out with tricks and lines thought to be able to ‘manipulate’ girls. It was the wrong material, however, the fundamental idea that you could do something with your dating life was right.
Self Reliance and Our Cultural Values
It’s quoted by Emerson that society is a conspiracy against self reliance. I believe this is further portrayed in the Asian culture.
One huge part of Asian culture believes that success from dating and relationships will ensue from success in external metrics such as job, education or monetary wealth. If you’re rich, hold a good job, that means, you’ll get a nice girlfriend, right?
Secondly, I put it down to the willingness to change and experiment as a culture. I’m not talking about cars, electronics, and innovation. I’m talking about self-cultivation.
Introspection isn’t discussed a lot during my teenage years, schooling years.The focus was on external results of getting a job, the degree, the car and etc. This is why Asian societies are known to be great economically, but poor in its soul. It’s no surprise that Singapore has been reported for being a soulless, unhappiest, longest worked culture.
Shame and Honor in Asian Societies
It’s the most difficult thing to admit to themselves, their families, and other loved ones that they have a problem and need help. The mere acknowledgement of an Asian person having a problem is going against cultural norms because it sends the implicit message to others that you have let them down.
– Psychology Today
If a Singaporean guy has gone through his whole life believing he’s alright with girls. He’s going to continue going on the belief that he doesn’t need ‘help’ with girls. It’s an ego thing.
It’s tough to admit that you’re going nowhere in your interactions with girls. It’s tough to admit that you’re not the man you thought to be and that girls aren’t actually that into you. Sorry Charlie.
This is also why psychotherapy, mental illness, is much more stigmatized in Asian societies, etc.
Cultural Collectivism Versus Individualism
Thirdly, Asian cultures are collectivistic by nature. The rough idea of Collectivism means is that it’s culturally acceptable to rely on groups, stay in groups, rather than rely on oneself.
Well, I believe that there are good and bad values in both collectivism and individualism. It’s up to you to adopt the useful aspects of these cultural values and make it work for you.
On our end here, pick up at its core is about self-reliance. You’re going to have to make the self-effort to put yourself in social situations, make new friends, hit the clubs, approach girls, improve how you dress, read more, get a job, hit the gym and etc.
By identifying yourself as someone who’s looking to better his life, you’re essentially saying this: I alone am going to be responsible for my own dating results.
The Better Way Forward: The Real Issues
Engaging one’s emotions are the hardest things to do for the people that bought into this whole pick up artist ideas. They (and myself) probably grew up in families or cultures that emotions were repressed. It took me consistent psychotherapy and mindfulness on my social interactions to actually get better.
I think the people who’re stuck in this area of their life and have resorted to being a pick up artist should ultimately take a good look at themselves.
What inspired to them get into this in the first place? These questions are tough questions to ask. They often lead back to past traumatic experiences and upbringing. It’s often these devils that you have to wrestle with at the end of the day.
Instead of looking at the whole thing as a ‘Game’, instead of thinking steps and steps and steps of getting her, why not think of it as genuinely connecting with her on a human level. Why not think of it as emotional intelligence?
Fixing the external behaviours is easy, behaving is easy. Feeling and engaging is not.
For long term happiness and growth, you must engage with himself, you must question and introspect his own feelings. It’s painful to do so, but it’s the only way for long term growth.
The majority of the people coming into this are looking for a quick fix. However, it’s the emotional realities that have to be confronted. It took me years to confront the childhood and self-esteem issues. It took me years to be self-aware that I had faulty coping mechanisms in life, that I had self-sabotaged myself out of school, athletics, friendships and relationships.
These are my emotional realities that I’m fighting against up till today, what are yours?