Dylan was a DJ with asymmetrical hair and over-sized glasses. I had the same hair with confetti crosses and rhinestones glued to my face, so it wasn't so weird that our mouths collided in a club. What was weird was learning that this kid I'd made out with a few times was on a reality TV show…about the "art" of picking up women.
"Pick-up artists" are clans of straight men who use techniques like wearing furry hats or studying psychological cues to seduce women. The Pick-up Artist was a show on vh1, hosted by PUA "guru" Mystery, who trained "inept nerds" to become pick-up artists. Here, Dylan tells us all about being on the show, how the hell he got there and what his inside look at PUA taught him.
Okay, so we made out. But you were on a show about not being able to get women?
*Laughs* I mean, the cast was made up of a lot of people in the entertainment industry. In the interview process I knew what they wanted to see. I was pulled through a casting agency, back in those days I fancied myself an "actor." I just magnified traits that were already part of my personality: nerdy, wacky, funny and tried to mold them into a narrative that made me easily labeled as "undatable." That being said they actually were interacting with real people and getting genuine responses.
When I booked the show I was pretty sure it was Beauty and the Geek because of the description, I didn't know the show was for the art of pick up or I might not have done it. To be honest, I needed the money.
You went through casting, made up a character, what happened next?
So, ultimately they sent me back home, I just missed the cut. They said they would contact me if something changed. Then, in the middle of a rehearsal for a stage show I was managing with the Neo-Futurists, I got the call. I found out at I was going to be the "Final Challenge." I had done such a good job with my interview they had deemed me the grand prize of unfuckability.
So, you got schooled on how to act in order to get women to sleep with you?
So the first night they had me stand against the wall at the side of the club, they were supposed to get shots of women ignoring me and me looking like a total wallflower. This was before I was "trained." But women kept coming up to me, talking about my sweater or my glasses or my haircut so it was funny the next day when my Mentor explained I needed to develop something that makes me stand out, he showed me gaudy jewelry, ridiculous hats, how he bleached his hair and spiked it. I asked, how's that was any different from what I was already doing?
My guy seemed serious, but the other guy Cosmo was CLEARLY an actor and a fake and I could sense from the second we were all in the same room that the producers already knew they wanted Cosmo to win and that it would make for the best story line.
Did they teach you to "neg"?
They explained all the basic concepts of Pick Up: false time constraint (always acting like you have somewhere to be, something more important to do), separating your target from the pack, identifying the mother hen.
They only have me on tape saying two openers. I wouldn't say the others, they were racist and sexist. I remember one of them used the term "Africa titties," and one was just a shitty gay joke like, "What do you call a gay dinosaur?" "A dino-sore-ass." So I stuck with the palatable one, "Do you think Herman is an unfuckable name?"
And you were also a new made-over you.
My make-over: I ended up looking like super producer JR Rotem. Black and purple corduroy blazer, dbag jersey vomit jeans, a dino tooth necklace spikey bro hair and white $100 sunglasses. So gross.
So, what happened on the show?
They took us to an unz unz club, they had columns with hidden cameras. I was told my objective was to get women on "the VIP couch" and it was pretty easy to convince women to go to VIP. There, you signed a waiver — basically your release.
Cosmo and his inept nerd ended up winning the $50,000, they had told us different objectives and were able to edit it together in a way that made sense. But I got recognized for 2 years, amazingly. One episode, about 10 minutes of airtime — 2 YEARS.
Does pick-up work?
Why pick up works is that a lot of women seem to have a hard time turning a guy down, or saying they don't want to give their number out, as if they owe it to his feelings, or want to spare him the embarrassment.
So what is your take on art of pick-up, after getting this window into the world?
They say that you're just trying to give these ladies "a really fun night." They have so many weird justifications for why you as a dude have the right to completely interrupt and insert yourself into a woman's night. They've created process in which a dude breaks down a woman's sense of self worth by preying on her insecurities while simultaneously lying or inflating the truth to heighten his own "value."
The most pervasive and cancerous plight Pick Up has brought American bro culture is negging. And the dark Jedi shit is when you get into assigning consent based on "IOIs" — Indicators of Interest, so if she touches her hair twice and puts on lip gloss after she blinks then it's okay for you to touch/kiss her. It's a pretty terrible system that can lead to problematic outcomes. But the ideas on body language itself, posture, deciphering verbiage...That's actually interesting and can be worthwhile to think about. I just don't get why, as a culture, we abandon asking for consent.
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