The pickup master gets rejected

Okay, I get it. You guys needed an article to fit in with Valentine’s Day. Jai, thanks for the honesty, but do you want to know a little secret about the pickup game?

It’s bullshit.

The pickup “artist” claims to teach men how to seduce women. Women are not video games. There’s no combination of buttons you can press that will soak our panties—unless, of course, you’re already in them. Essentially, the pickup game is the male equivalent of magazines targeted to women, like Cosmopolitan. Often, one finds tips on roping in men, tips that validate passive-aggressive behaviour and guilt trips to force them into settling down with you. In just the same way women are desperate to make a man commit to them, men are desperate to “seduce” and objectify women who do not wish to be complicit in this demeaning game. Neither of these “games” work, because they lack pragmatism and an honest approach.

Now, if you’re just looking for casual sex (and so is your target), this game might work for you. However, if you’re alone and pining for a girlfriend while you lurk couples on Facebook, the game will not take you far. At best, the game provides an approach for an icebreaker, lessening the anxiety of improvisation. I see the merit in that. But doesn’t it sound wrong? By approaching each and every woman (or “set”) with some formulaic approach, men are stripping the women of their personal qualities. The game is for narcissists and sociopaths.

I can pick up on a stale, ingenuine, and overconfident “chop”. We know how it goes. Typically, a flattering compliment provides leeway for a conversation to ask her something personal, and then if he has the balls, he’ll “neg” you. Jai, thanks for bringing up the neg and the idea of rewarding her behaviour. Guys, trust me, do it and she’ll be on all fours like one of Pavlov’s dogs. And don’t forget to add the “demonstration of higher value” because hearing about a stranger’s relationship with women makes the stock price soar. The game teaches men to work with the system that essentially sees men as disposable commodities and women as gatekeepers to the goods. Men are taught to play the same game that has been working against them their entire lives.

Men should stop trying to be salesmen because they want to approach women. More often than not, it feels like he’s peddling some cheap, used phones. And while it’s flattering to receive some validating attention from your gender of preference, we know when someone’s doing their bit like a song and dance. And I’ll admit, I know some women enjoy this, and it wouldn’t be fair to speak on behalf of or maim an entire gender, but it’s all fake. Fake is no good. Fake fails to make it onto my list of admirable qualities.

I understand that “the game” emphasizes (falsely, in my opinion) its mission to provide men with a solution to overcome social anxiety and shyness, but the issue is the curriculum designed to seduce women. If you have social anxiety or happen to be shy, there are different ways of overcoming such drawbacks. Seducing women is not your problem. If a man’s throbbing erection is making it so difficult for him to have a conversation with a woman, then learning to seduce women is the last thing he needs to work on. This brings me to my main point: the game—and its goal to reduce fear in men and provide a means for success in a depleted part of their personal lives—is all just a front for a shallow course on objectifying women and teaching men to commodify themselves. This is working against men.

So, I thought I’d end with some real advice. The best thing I picked up while dating was that the biggest turn-off is people who change their personality and can’t be themselves. We’ll find out who you are eventually. Don’t put on an act, as per the game’s suggestion. If you seek a healthy relationship with a woman, try befriending her. It’s okay to be shy and it’s okay to be nervous. If people are quick to dismiss you for being human and stumbling over a few words, then they’re not worth it. Also, women are not always looking for a guy with a chest so inflated that the slight prick of a pin will cause him and his ego to deflate like a vinyl sex doll. Men are not always looking for a fun, brainless ride. So, let’s be respectful, honest, and see people for who and what they are: human. No one said you can’t have a little fun—and this is not meant to shame people who prefer to steer away from the traditional monogamous lifestyle. All that matters is how you go about your business.

We swim in a big pond, and life will feel lonely, but try not to be a nippy shark that has to ruin it for everyone.


Sadaf Ali

Fourth year

Art and art history; professional writing and communication


  1. Wow this is really well written . I would avtually live to talk about this over coffee with you…tell you the truth about all this…also i dont seduce like you say, i attract BIG difference

  2. This is excellent. I giggled at “panties” and “erection” because I’m a closeted tween girl so thank you Stef for not censoring that.

    Any guy who buys into this shit is way more out of touch with women than a shy or quiet guy perceives himself to be. And anyone who gives me unsolicited advice about my hair can fuck off.

  3. This is an awesome piece! I disagree that “the game” (and thereby, random, casual sex) is merely for narcissists and sociopaths, but that might have been just some lofty rhetoric. But otherwise, I think your letter is perfect. On my first date with my current girlfriend I flat out told her that I’m on the verge of a panic attack because I was so nervous. This was after some awkward silences. It was pure honesty and it opened up a conversation that actually changed both of our lives (no exaggeration). We’ve been together four years now. I realized that all my previous failures with people generally and women specifically were because I was too focused on portraying what I believed they wanted to see. Honesty trumps all (and that includes disagreeing with other people). Thank you for your honesty, Sadaf Ali.

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