Many of you may know Barney Stinson, the conniving womanizing character of the popular show How I Met Your Mother. He is known for his smooth pick-up tricks, his hilarious catch phrases, his seduction blog, and his endless theories about women. His ultimate strategy is to entice women when they are the most vulnerable. As he said in the show’s most recent episode, “Every woman wants a date on Valentines day. That neediness reaches its climax on February 13th (what up) a magical night when a 10 has the self-esteem of a 4 and the depraved enthusiasm of a 2.”
You may have encountered a few Barney Stinsons in real life- men who strategize to seduce women, whether they are looking for casual sex or an actual romantic relationship. What many of you may not know is that there is a whole community of Barney Stinsons out there- the self-proclaimed pick up artists of the Style Life Academy.
In 1995, Neil Strauss, writer and known pick-up artist, published his best-selling book The Game, in which he recounted his transformation from an awkward shy man, or an AFC (average frustrated chump), to a witty pick up artist by the name of Style.
In 2005, Strauss conducted a seminar for 43 guys who considered themselves “lost cases” in the art of seduction. According to Strauss, 34 of the men ended up with girlfriends. Furthermore, the group achieved a collective total of 53 one-night stands and two threesomes.
Given the success of his seminars, in 2007, Strauss founded the Style Life Academy, the world’s first attraction-seduction school. Through this pick-up artist community, Style, along with other seduction experts, are able to educate AFC’s in the art of seduction and allegedly help them attract any "HB" (hot babe) they desire without blatantly hitting on her.
The key to seducing a woman, Strauss writes in his book, is to “ignore the woman you desire while winning over her friends. If the target is attractive and used to men fawning all over her, the pick-up artist must intrigue her by pretending to be unaffected by her charm.” A man must resort to a “neg,” an accidental insult or backhanded compliment intended to lower a woman’s self-esteem, making her easier to pick-up.
To a frustrated guy who has spent years being unsuccessful with women this may sound to good to be true. For a nerdy guy who is only good with computer codes, learning the codes of seduction may sound fascinating. But will becoming a jerk who belittles women truly land him the girl of his dreams?
People are desperate to find a manual for love and seduction. Many former AFC’s who are now self-proclaimed PUA’s (pick up artists) of the Stylelife Academy claim they have. Yet the men and women out there, genuinely trying to find love may think differently. If everyone tries to play a game where true emotions are undermined by rules of seduction, how can anyone expect to find true love? I haven’t heard of a single lasting relationship that ever sprung from a pick-up manual.
By Mariale Espinoza