I ran into a friend of mine a few months ago who told me he was going to start doing some business with Ross Jeffries, the guy who Neil Strauss in his book The Game calls "the undisputed father of modern seduction." My friend told me that Ross is repelled by what the PUA (Pick Up Artist) and seduction community has become -- he calls it a "monstrosity" -- and says that if he had his way he would "lock them all up and throw away the key." I was intrigued. I had to interview him.
Little did I know that meeting him and researching this article would lead me down such a crazy rabbit hole to a Wonderland filled with Style, Mystery, a Gambler, and the Juggler. Oy vey. It's never taken me so long to write anything in my entire life.
Among the vast amounts of first drafts I wrote and dumped into the recycle bin were posts where I warned women about the specific scripted behaviors, techniques, and tricks PUA's use. In another, I listed exactly how the PUA community creates social robots and not only dehumanizes women (we eventually just become "targets" to these men and nothing else) but also dehumanizes the men themselves -- using many of Neil Strauss's own words from his book, nonetheless, to back it up. Another draft gave a complete history of the PUA community and its terms (BORING... the web is full of those articles; in fact I even wrote an article a while back about a technique they use called the "neg."). I titled one -- The Game: Worse for Men than it is for Women. I profiled Ross Jeffries completely in another. But I was going in circles. Nothing felt right. Nothing felt authentic to me...
Until I had a conversation like I've had with so many of my single girlfriends millions of times... except something about this one flipped a switch for me. My friend was telling me a story about how yet another guy pursued her like crazy, was all into her for weeks, and then once she had sex with him, dropped off the face of the earth. Then I told her about some of the methods that PUA's use and her face fell. (I never thought I'd know so much about Pick Up Artists, and I'm not gonna lie, it's a fascinating subculture that can completely draw you in). I told her about the freeze-out, and she almost threw up with horror that she had fallen for it. (The freeze-out is when a guy completely shuts down and ignores a girl when she says no to having sex with him -- turning his back on her, checking his email, calling a friend, turning on the lights and the TV, etc. He essentially "freezes" her out until the discomfort and pain of rejection is so horrible for her that she begs him to sleep with her).
I started talking to other single ladies I know about these PUA methods, and the majority of them have also experienced at least one of these techniques with a variety of different guys. But surely, I thought, not ALL of these guys study PUA stuff, right? It's not possible. So what is it, then? Somehow, it seems, it's just inherently ingrained in some men that in order to attract women or get laid, they have to behave this way -- by using trickery, reverse psychology, made-up stories, pushing down on "pain" buttons, or acting like a macho alpha male idiot.
And so this is where I had my light bulb moment.
The age-old story we hear is that once the chase is over and a woman has kissed or made out or had sex with a guy who had been pursuing her, she doesn't hear from him again, or he gradually drops off. Yes, part of this is that these women are picking poorly, part of this is that they are not navigating the relationship in a healthy way, and part of it could be that the dude really just sucks... but I'd like to offer an additional reason for why this is occurring.
Through doing research for this article, I came to realize something -- there's not much out there teaching men what to do once they've GOTTEN the "number-close" or the "kiss-close." There are plenty of coaching boot camps and workshops and forums and books teaching men how to attract and approach women or get laid.... But not much out there I could find for what a man should do once he has gotten the close -- which makes the assumption that men either shouldn't want or don't want anything else. This seems to me to be perpetuating the stereotype that men are studs if they sleep with lots of women and losers if they don't, that men are "pussy-whipped" if they commit, and so on.
But... what if a man DOES want to pursue something and try to build a relationship? What if the reason he's just running from girl to girl is because he has some emotional issues or fear or pain that he doesn't want to deal with, so he's just stuck living in that vicious cycle running away from it all, and doesn't know where or who to turn to help him overcome it? What if he thinks he's not supposed to want more, even though he does? Or, what if, point blank, he just has NO clue what to do next?
And so, I'd like to suggest that perhaps part of the reason some men aren't able to make it past the close or the chase is because:
Men are rarely taught what to do to nurture, pursue, or grow a relationship. But they are taught -- through their culture, social groups, media, and society -- that they need to be an alpha male in order to succeed in life.
Men aren't necessarily taught relationship skills growing up. Dads don't tend to have heart to hearts with their sons about how to nurture and grow relationships; they are pretty much just told to use condoms and not get girls pregnant. And then there are other male role models like coaches, mentors, bosses, and so forth who also encourage the alpha male thing. There doesn't seem to be much guidance out there for men who may desire more than just getting a number or getting a girl in bed.
And this is where, I think, Ross Jeffries CAN come in.
Ross believes a majority of the men who turn to the seduction or PUA community (apparently these terms are interchangeable) had no good male examples growing up -- or they had male role models who were abusive -- so they associate dominance and being male with being abusive and don't want to behave that way, but as such, don't know HOW to behave with women. Ross shows these guys that they don't have to be the PUA alpha male or an abusive jerk to attract women. He teaches them that there's a way to show up where they can create the male/female tension that is crucial to attraction, and challenge and keep women guessing in a positive way.
Interestingly, Ross, who first came on the scene in 1988 with his "speed seduction" technique (which uses hypnosis and Neuro Linguistic Programming to help men attract women), does not consider himself a Pick Up Artist. He calls himself a teacher and a healer. And as awful as I (and most females) think the Pick Up Artists treat women, Ross says that the PUA community treats men even worse. When I met with him, I did truly get the feeling that he genuinely wants to make his guys better... and I also got the feeling that he is, in fact, making them better. He calls it "transformation of self through success with women," and his fundamental goal first and foremost is to actually transform the issues that are blocking men from meeting and attracting women. "The stuff I teach men to say and do with women, it works, and it's great," he says, "but to me it's trivial compared to taking a guy who was stuck in his internal dialogue and opening him as a human being... That's far more miraculous than getting laid."
One of the major problems with the PUA boot camps and coaching, according to Jeffries, is that half the guys who come to them -- his included -- are so impacted by fear and bad programming that even if you gave them a script that actually worked, they wouldn't be able to execute it, because all the old fear and anxiety is going to come up and get in their way. "You have to change who you are on the inside," he says, "You can't do it just by memorizing routines. " I would tend to agree with him.
But what Ross is doing is just one little step... because he's not teaching men how to nurture and grow relationships. He himself says "I don't have a clue about what makes relationships work. What I teach men is how to attract them to the point of creating a sexual connection [with women]." So, what happens after that connection is made? This is where the problem lies.
So, how do we change it? I believe we need more guys like Mark Manson -- a former Professional PUA turned men-empowerment and gender relations author and teacher who I found while doing research. I believe we, as women, need to encourage the men in our lives (brothers, husbands, friends, etc) to start talking to their sons more about the positives of having a loving, monogamous, supportive relationship and about what it takes to build and nurture one.
And I think that we, as women, have to be a little more sympathetic to men (I know, let the feminist arrows sling). They DON'T have a playbook. And the men that do spew out rehearsed lines or gimmicks aren't authentic when they approach you, so even if you do end up going out with them, the whole relationship was built on something false, which is guaranteed to backfire at the end (anything that's not authentic cannot stay consistent in one's life; it has to fall away at some point).
The majority of single women WANT men to approach them. But when they do, many women are rude and brush them off. The majority of single women WANT men to pursue them, but when they do, have strict rules which don't allow for a man's possible lack of understanding in how to build a relationship. I believe that we need to learn how to encourage (the right) men to approach us in an authentic way. I believe that we need to learn how to encourage (the right) men to pursue us in a healthy way. (We also have to learn how to stop falling for the wrong men, but that's a whole other article).
I'm not saying here that men are totally off the hook and shouldn't do any work; they have to. But we can help them along. We need to be a little more patient... and we need to remember that the messages men are getting from society about what it means to be a "man" may be different from the longings that are actually in their hearts.