The real reason ‘pickup artists’ ultimately failed, and what men should do instead


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I still talk to people these days who were never aware of the huge pickup artist movement that existed about 10 years ago. Allow me to give you a very brief history:

A few guys out of Los Angeles developed a system designed to help men (any kind of many from any walk of life) to essentially walk into any bar, event, or social situation – and pick up any woman he wanted. They had routines written down, lines to use, specific questions to ask, and an entire formula that walked them through a social interaction from the ‘cold open,’ to the ‘close.’

How do I know about all of this? Because I read the book that chronicled the entire operation. I was so infatuated that I joined message boards, talked to many of the guys, and even met some of them.

It didn’t take me long to get frustrated with the attitude expressed on the message boards. Guys would be running out of lines to use and have to leave the bar (seriously), they would be keeping score and essentially treating women like conquests, and they would be, in my opinion, moving backwards socially rather than forwards.

Eventually, I was actually kicked off of the forums because I kept giving advice that was contradicting “pickup,” telling them that this systematic method was not consistent with human nature and would never bring happiness or fulfillment (or relationships) in the long run.

The movement gained momentum and there was eventually a TV show made about it on VH1. This essentially exposed their entire community and publicized the lines and routines the guys would be using, which women would then recognize and call out.

But here’s the thing: It absolutely worked until then…to a certain extent.

Men were taking different women home almost every night of the week. The lines and routines were giving them the tools they needed to start conversations if they couldn’t think of something to say. They followed the system, and many times, the woman would agree to either give him her phone number, or just go right home with him.

But…then what?

The problem is that eventually, if you continue seeing someone, you run out of routines. You run out of lines. You need to show her who you actually are. And everything up until this point had been such a band-aid approach, that it hadn’t actually helped these men develop true inner confidence or happiness. In fact, I’d argue that it did just the opposite.

Guys have a pattern of searching for fulfillment in places they’ll never find it – like one night stands. Don’t get me wrong, I probably had a crazier half-a-decade in my early 20’s than most people did, so I’m not judging. I’m just saying, I understood it was a phase of fun and exploration – not one that had a high probability of leading to a serious relationship or future.

But that’s what they were being sold. Confidence and happiness as a result of meaningless conquests, which simply does not exist. It can be fun, it can be exciting, it can be exhilarating…but the reality is that you’ve got to get dressed and go out on Friday (again) to do it all over (again). And again. And again.

They were taught what to say, not why saying it actually worked. They were taught what to wear, not how to express themselves through fashion. They were taught women were goals to accomplish, not equal companions in life and in love.

Exhausting, and ultimately, something that hurts confidence, not helps it.

I believe this is why the entire movement ultimately died, or at least disappeared from the mainstream. Perhaps I am just too far removed from it now, but I have heard nothing about it in years. Maybe they just got better at hiding it. Or, maybe, men realized that this is not the path to happiness.

This is why, when I coach men, I instill that if we truly want to be happy, we cannot place the source of it on something external. We need to look inside of ourselves and define what is going to bring us fulfillment. We need to set goals (big and small), and accomplish them. We need to create connections with those around us. We need to build friendships, and relationships. We need to travel. Read. See things. Absorb. Laugh. Cry. Exercise. Do more than just exist.

If men want to learn how to attract women, they simply need to live an attractive life for nobody else but themselves. They need to live with passion. To work on themselves. To improve, grow, and develop. To live a mindful, healthy lifestyle that will bring them happiness regardless of their relationship status.

These are all of the things that make for a foundation of a great life, which then serves as the foundation for a great relationship.

Pickup artists may have won a battle in their day, but the genuine man who builds a well-rounded life, will always win the war.


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  1. Ninah on July 2, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    That’s really good advice for women too. Getting a guy to go to bed with you doesn’t make it a relationship. Being and knowing who you are and living a genuine life will attract a man who wants to be with you just as you are.

    Thanks James. This was an interesting article.

  2. Ash Pariseau on July 2, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Good topic. Pickup artistry taught men how to sleep with women, but it didn’t teach them how to have relationships with them, which is essentially what most men want eventually.

    Look at guys like Roosh. He wrote a book about his experience banging women around the world, and everyone thought he was a big shot pimp they should all take advice from. Now, look at him. A graying, middle aged man who can’t get a virtuous woman who wants him as much as he wants her, because of the reputation he intentionally built himself. Women don’t want to marry a former pickup artist. It’s just that simple.

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