Article Review -- What is The Game: Spot a Pick Up Artist

I’m not sure exactly how I came across this gem1) but it echoed the conclusions I’ve come to over the years. When I was a teenager and a young man I thought all I wanted was to get laid. I didn’t care if there were strings attached or not; the point was sex. At some point I started getting attached to sexual partners. In fact, once I became attached the first time, there have only been three women in my sex life: one whom I married (twice quite stupidly) and another to whom I was engaged and wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Only one didn’t involve attachment and that was a wicked attempt to feel better about myself after my marriage failed the second time.

So I found out over time that, although my reptilian nature will sometimes try to convince me otherwise, that what I desire isn’t sex itself but a healthy lifelong partnership with all of the inherent benefits. I have come to resent all of the glamorization of promiscuity I found to be unfulfilling and the normalization of breakups and divorce. Sometimes it seems like nobody sees the value in working things out anymore.

In a world where the value of lasting commitments is downplayed and the supposed value of sexual “freedom” is exaggerated, it’s time to reach out to all of those insecure men and women out there that harbor misconceptions about love, sex, and attachment. It’s time to educate the breeders of our society about the real value of the bond that can form with intercourse when one is in touch with one’s emotions and devoted to a committed partner. We can start by attacking the myths themselves and exposing the pathetic insecure game-playing that frequently passes as normal these days.

Disclaimer: The use of the Mystery Method or the assumption that someone is using it can have consequences. This author is only reporting and providing opinion. No liability is accepted. The reader bares full responsibility for their own actions.

The link to the original article, “What is The Game: Spot a Pick Up Artist,” posted on can be found in the footnotes. I couldn’t find the name or handle of the author on the page or it would be mentioned here.

The Game

Evidently, once a book called The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists hit the market, predatory womanizing has been practiced by a whole host of sad men who value themselves so little that they are willing to resort to sociopathic strategies to get “laid.” The article tells us, “The Game was written by Neil Strauss and is a book about his journey of transformation into his Pick Up Artist (PUA) alter-ego “Style,” as guided under the tutelage of “Mystery” – also a self-proclaimed Pick Up Artist.” Naturally there are now many forums and websites dedicated to these miserably unfulfilling strategies.

Apparently, these teachings involve what can be readily identified as a confidence game. If you don’t know what that is, understand that this term is usually shortened to the term “con game.” That is, in fact, exactly what it is. All of the elements are there including all of the theatrics and three acts known as “phases.” Like other forms of the confidence game, there are many references such as “set” and “stage” which are terms used in the theater, which is what other cons are often likened to, but also by the stage magician.

It just so happens that a stage magician originated these sad empty methods of exploiting one’s own insecure self and that of insecure women. Going by the pseudonym “Mystery,” Erik James Horvat-Markovic originally used these methods for his role as magician. Now it’s all about pitiful small men trying to make themselves feel big by victimizing equally pitiful, or just naïve, women.

The Three Phases

As the article reports, the Game consists of three phases each subdivided into three steps making for a total of nine steps. This is also called “The Mystery Method.” The three phases are listed below.


This involves wearing weird stuff to get attention. Once attention is attained tactics that decrease a woman’s value are implemented to put them in a vulnerable state. This can include “neging” which are subtle insults, oftentimes back-handed compliments, intended to make a women feel less worthy. Another tactic includes approaching a group of women and paying attention to every woman except the object, and I don’t use the word accidently, of the Pick Up Artist’s (PUA’s) interest.


Once the target is adequately humbled, the PUA just happens to be there to offer emotional support. He’s such a nice guy, isn’t he? This will put the woman in an even more vulnerable state the PUA can exploit.


In this phase the vulnerable state of the woman is used to create a scenario where she will gratefully go to bed with the “nice guy” that made her feel good about herself while she was feeling low. Little does she suspect but he cleverly manipulated the situation to make her feel bad about herself in the first place.

The Nine Steps

The article being reviewed her had a link to a pdf explaining the nine steps but the link was broken. Because of this, another online article called, “The M3 Model - The Easiest Way To Pick-up,” found on the website ,2) was used to extract the following information.

Phase One

In this phase the intent is to create interest, supposedly. Reading through this I’d say this first part is actually intended to increase the apparent value of the PUA while reducing the perceived value of the object of his interest. The lines in italics are extracted from the article mentioned in this article under the heading, “The Nine Steps.”


This first sub-step is, quite obviously, intended to initiate conversation.

1. Peacocking: Peacocking is the use of flashy or outlandish clothing to attract women.

2. The 3 second rule: You must immediately approach the target or in a set within 3 seconds when entering the venue.

3. Neg: an ambiguous statement or seemingly accidental insult wrapped in the package of a complement, with the intent of actively demonstrating to the hot babe lack of interest in her.

4. Opener or opinion opener: Canned or environmental materials used to start a conversation with the HB or the set. Here are some field-tested opener[s]:

Jealous Girlfriend3) 80's Dogs4) Dental Floss5) Cologne Opener6)

5. False Time Constraint: “I can only stay for a minute,”

6. Body Language: Using Body rocking to create the impression that you are about to leave.

Notice the pre-scripting. This is an act just like a play or a magic performance. There is nothing real or genuine about this but intent is everything. Even prescripted openings aren’t necessarily bad so long as the intent is to begin a real warm human interaction between two people. That is clearly not the intent here but, if that isn’t clear, it likely will by the time you are done reading this article.

In the interest of full disclosure, I admit to being quite impressed by the ingenuity of the “ex-girlfriend” canned opener.

Female-to-Male Interest

This part is where charisma, or fake scripted charisma, is utilized to build attraction.

1. DHV: Demonstrate high value, using gimmick, magic, psychic routine, humor ……

2. Storytelling This hould be pretty self-explanatory and can be easily prescripted.

. AMOGing This is where the PUA undermines the “Alpha-male” of a group.7) There are actually much better ways of creating an illusion of dominance over and Alpha but that would require one actually BE an Alpha. I have to admit the example linked in the footnotes is quite amusing.

4. Coky&Funny This is where you attempt to use humor, often times negs, to create appeal. Creating real humor comes with practice and doesn’t necessarily involve “neging.”

5. Push-and-Pull This is a type of “seduction loop” strategy. The definition listed on the site is, “A Tension Loop is when you do something to create unresolved emotional tension inside a woman, increase it, release it by bringing closure to it, and then spark it all over again. This will keep her feeling the emotion of wanting and reaching and chasing for more of you.” This might not sound so bad until you read the examples given.8)9) Amazingly, the explanation of the example includes a claim that women who DON’T respond well to this are, “psychologically damaged,” because, with this contorted way of thinking, allowing oneself to be manipulated is mentally and emotionally healthy not the other way around. I will readily admit, however, that “push-pull” can be done in a way where it is obvious you’re teasing which may be alright. Again: intent is everything. Are you trying to make her smile or tear her down to your sorry level?

At this point, I can’t help but wonder if anyone reading my article won’t actually go to the links and buy the guy’s products. Look: it’s your life but if you are confident and you practice approaching women and talking to them you will get good at it. Just don’t be like me and fall for the first woman that you reel in and, for the love of Ned, don’t waste your time on casual sex or “friends with benefits.” If you are really in touch with your emotional needs you will probably find that a stable relationship is what you really desire and you won’t likely get there by spending your free time sleeping around with insecure women.

Male-to-Female Interest

At this point, the PUA has his “target” prove herself worthy of attention.

1. Hoop theory10) Though many of these tips I either disapprove or have ambiguity toward, this own I actually approve of. If a lady gives you hoops to jump through, throw it back at her. You don’t have to answer questions meant to put you on the defensive and in effect emasculate yourself. However, be cautious not to hook yourself a game-player.

2. Bait - Hook - Reel – Release

3. Qualify her:

Why to qualify her

Some Qualifying Routines The example in the footnote here11) sounds particularly manipulative to me. Of course it works but wouldn’t you rather hold out for a woman that is smart enough and values herself enough to see right through this? If this comment were sincere it would be different: it’s not so it isn’t.

Communicating that you are Qualifying them12) Why not? Intent, intent, intent. The big different between a POS PUA doing this and myself is that I would say “all night” instead of “two am” and if the lady did NOT express a problem with my staying out all night she would be DISqualified.

4. Having Standards

Phase Two

Once the “target” (notice the language used by PUAs?) has been reeled in it is time for the PUA to get her alone and they can both relax having played out this part of the Game. At this point I’m realizing why two Avoidant attached individuals rarely end up in a relationship. They will both be satisfied playing this game over and over with various different people all the while intentionally preventing things from moving into the direction of true closeness and intimacy. It takes an Anxiously attached person to persue things further using many of the exact same tactics to nail the Avoidant down into a relationship (temporarily). Neither a Secure nor another Avoidant will put forth enough effort to secure an Avoidant into a commitment even temporarily. Anxious/Preoccupied individuals will because we’re nuts. Make sure you do your best to overcome your attachment issues; it will be much more beneficial than this “Game.”

Building Rapport

In sales, this can be done in a few seconds. It has to do with creating a connection to facilitate communication. Exactly what they mean by that here I don’t know but the provide links to articles about it.

1. Style's Eliciting Values Routines13) The example given is quite clever but the final part of it involves telling the woman she “can die now.” If this seems weird that’s because there is a powerful psychological game being played by the PUA to get sex. There is no genuine intent to create a lasting relationship.

2. The Question Game: 6 New Questions To Build Rapport14) These are exactly what they sound like. This strategy can also be used to warm up a date you may want something more serious with but here it’s just to loosen the drawstring to her “juicy” sweat pants. By the way, you might want to reconsider dating a woman wearing “juicy” sweat pants: just a suggestion. Oh, yeah! Another thing: don’t use these exact examples. If the girl really is worthwhile and she knows about the Game you’re through.

3. Using The Lying Game to build rapport15) Simple game where you ask a couple of women to say lies.

Building a Emotional and Physical Connection

This should be pretty self-explanatory.

1. Esp Routine16)

2. The Cube17)

3. Three Smiles Routine18)

4. The question Game19)

And then you can escalate to physical connection. Here are some routines:

1. Evolution Phase Shift Routine20)

2. Kino-tests21)

Phase Three

This is by far my favorite part of courtship… of ‘’course.” With the Game it is just about getting sex though. There is no intent to create a lasting committed bond.

S1 - Foreplay

Make sure you have build enough comfort before you get the HB into a sex location. And then, Okay, so do your things

S2 - LMR

LMR stands for Last Minute Resistance. Once you have it, she may say “we should stop …” or “We better be careful about where this is going”. Some general tactics for LMR have always been:

1. Using Freeze-Out to Overcome LMR22)

2. Busting Last Minute Resistance using Style's famous story23)

3. Ignore it and keep going. (-you're right, we should stop) I’ve done this a million times.

S3 – Sex That’s right: sex. That’s what the goal of this game is. Intent is everything and though many of these methods can be used to get a woman’s attention, for the PUA sex is the ultimate goal.

Stripper Envy

Down the article being reviewed a ways; the author mentions that the PUA considers the stripper to be the “ultimate challenge.” He (she?) then goes on a rant about how this is hardly a challenge insisting that it shouldn’t be hard to get a woman to take her close off. I really wish I could find the name of the author because this makes me curious about their gender. It doesn’t seem to occur to the author that strippers have the most practice being gamed so therefore will offer the most resistance unless they too are playing the same game with the same objective.

The Language of the Pick Up Artist

We talked about how some of the suggestions made here may not be all that bad depending on intent. Here we get additional information proving what game-playing trash we’re dealing with. Avoidant women play these same games, by the way. It’s not just men that play the Game; you’ve been warned.

  • Neg, Negging – As mentioned prior, these are back-handed compliments and seemingly unintentional subtle insults designed to decrease a woman’s value.
  • Peacocking – This means wearing ridiculous garbage to get noticed like some kind of an AW.
  • PUA – Pick Up Artist. Learn to spot them and have a little self-respect ladies! There are plenty of worthy guys out there who are genuinely interested in a lasting commitment.
  • IOI – Indicator of Interest.
  • AFOG – Alpha Female of Group
  • AMOG – Alpha Male of Group (adversary to the PUA). Example: me ;-)
  • AK – AMOG Killer. Way to overcome domination by the AMOG.
  • Set – Like the stage of a theater. Get it? It’s all about theatrics.
  • ASD – Anti-Slut Defense. Here the author goes on a tear saying, “when a woman attempts to convince you she’s a nice girl, because naturally, any woman that is comfortable with her sexuality is instantly deemed a slut and, therefore, needs an anti-slut defense.” I have to call a big fat BS on this statement. If she feels like she has to have an anti-slut defense and she is susceptible to these sorts of tactics she isn’t “comfortable” with her sexuality; she’s a victim of it. I should know: I often end up on the other end of this getting attached to someone who may only be in love with my love muscle. No more!
  • AI – Approach Invitation. This can be hair flipping, eye contact, a smile or the like.
  • BHRR – Bait Hook, Reel, Release (see phases and steps above).
  • BAFC – Below Average Frustrated Chump.
  • AFC – Average Frustrated Chump.
  • BS – Bitch Shield. This is where a woman puts up barriers making herself unapproachable. The author points out sarcastically, “…because any woman who’s smart enough to see past this charade MUST be a bitch…” I’d like to point out that women use this term as well attributing being a bitch with strength. It’s a fair analogy because female dogs usually do help deter predators.
  • BD – Boyfriend Destroyer. Because why not ruin someone’s relationship just because you can and want to get laid? (Now I’m getting sarcastic) I can already here the rationalization for this one! “If it was such a good stable relationship I couldn’t ruin it. I’m actually doing the guy a favor. She would have cheated on him or left him for some other guy down the road anyway.” Cute justification but the intent here is bad.
  • CR – Canned Routine. These are prescripted.
  • CP – This is where the PUA prescripts what to do to comfort his target after she’s been adequately debased.
  • DHV – Demonstration of Higher Value. I agree with the author: this has to do with marketing oneself using PR tactics. Why be yourself when you can be a fake character put on like a mask so you can have meaningless sex with and insecure woman who might think you want a real relationship?
  • DDBL – Doggy Dinner Bowl Look. Puppy dog eyes is what this means. Works on me every time (damn it).
  • DTF – Down To F*ck. I don’t make up these terms. I just report them.
  • EE – Eject and Explain. The author says that this is about leaving because progress toward the goal (of sex) isn’t going well and an attempt is made to “explain your shortcomings away.” I would have to research this further to verify what this really means and I’m not going to do that.
  • Fatty (Tuna) – This is supposed to describe a woman that isn’t very attractive but the POS… er… PUA still wants intercourse from her. Heaven forbid you should genuinely be interested in someone you sleep with!
  • FGOP – Fat Girl Overhead Photo. We’ve all seen these; women take pictures from an angle that she thinks makes her look thinner. The author makes a quip about how PUAs are only interested in looks.
  • FTOW – Find and F*ck 10 Other Women. Can it be any more clear how classless this whole thing is? The author makes a funny saying, “…a fast track to the free clinic for treatment of all of the STD’s you’re also going to “Pick Up” along the way.” Then makes up the abbreviation “DD” which, of course, stands for Dirty… uh… Richard.
  • MLTR – Multiple Long Term Relationships, MTLR Cubed (3 LTR’s simultaneously), MTLR Squared (2 LTR’s simultaneously). For some people I guess cheating on multiple partners is all fun and games.
  • SDL – Same Day Lay. Some of these terms bring up past memories making me feel like a “slut” and I’m a dude! Guys: learn some self-respect!
  • STMD – Sealing the Mother-effing Deal. The deal, of course, is meaningless sex.
  • SNL – Single/Same Night Lay. Because why take things slow and try to build something lasting and meaningful? The author’s sarcasm must be contagious…
  • VC – Victim Chick. Yup. This is the sort of language used. Even if you’re a man, can you imagine being pumped and dumped and then find out the player was calling you a VD (Victim Dude) behind your back?
  • WPU – Work Pick Up. *sigh* No: I don’t want to talk about it.
  • ZNR – Zero Night Stand. This is where sex happens shortly after the PU (Pick Up). Damn. Now I’m starting to use these terms 

This is the totality of what was listed in the article but they also provide a link… to eight hundred and forty-nine terms!24)

Combined Opinions

The article makes the case that the need to project an illusion to get laid stems from a “complete lack of self-confidence.” I disagree. Following these methods would lead to increased confidence just as would simply approaching women and talking to them. What the author probably means is a complete lack of self-respect or, perhaps more accurate, a complete lack of understanding of their true emotional needs

You see, in my recent studies of attachment science, I’ve found that people who use these tactics are usually negative attachment styles particularly Avoidants. Anxious/Preoccupied types will use these tactics when we find out about them until we realize that what we really want is a relationship that makes us feel loved and secure but Avoidants are out-of-touch with their emotions so they aren’t even aware they are wasting their time “slutting around.”

If you suspect that the Game, or perhaps earlier precursors of it, was derived from the behavior of inter-species predators like sociopaths, psychopaths, and narcissists, you’re probably on to something. This is purely reptilian behavior which any truly caring person could not employ with bad intent without throwing up all over themselves.

The author expresses pity for the men that employ the method, pointing out that these tactics “only work on insecure women.” I suspect that this is only true for women who haven’t learned to spot a PUA, which is the point of this whole article. Having read over all this, I have to admit that there is some powerful psychological manipulation techniques being used which may blind-side someone who isn’t familiar with the routine.

Don’t assume, when a guy seems to be playing the Game that he’s actually a player. You’ll know if you take your time because he will reveal his real intentions at some point without meaning to. Much of the suggestions offered by PUAs aren’t really bad so long as approached with good intentions. It’s all about intent but I would caution Anxious/Preoccupied males away from using the Mystery Method for the most part because they could cause you to misrepresent yourself and end up in an “LTR” with the wrong person.

The article also explains that, “These tactics advocate victimizing women and exploiting their nature – predator versus prey.” Exactly; it’s reptilian, so to speak. This is why I believe, if performed with adequate confidence and acumen, the Game could work on just about any woman because it speaks directly to her primal animal nature. That’s why women (and men because both sexes do this crap) need to learn to identify the PUA so they know they’re being played.

The author mentions that one of the proponents of the Game has a vehicle he calls the Rape Van. Ubelievable. The article goes on to claim that PUAs advocate seducing married women and women in relationships. Wonderful intentions there! Also a great reason to make sure the woman (or man) you’re with isn’t so foolish that they’d throw away an otherwise stable relationship over a PUA.

Getting to the bottom of the page, we get to the real gist of things, “Confident men do not feel the need to prove themselves to anyone.” I find this amusing because I’m confident enough to admit that I have an Anxious/Avoidant attachment style and don’t care if it scares away cowardly women who can’t handle me. The irony of this is that attachment style isn’t usually associate with confidence but then I’ve developed secure tendencies over time and you can too!

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