Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. These are all modern day ways to keep in touch with everyone you know, or at least glanced at, at a party one time... but they're also networks where things can get hundreds of thousands, or even millions of views if something is truly amazing, funny... or even cringe worthy.
As a writer, I often do research on a large variety of topics -- and sometimes, I come across some cool stuff.
Other times, I come across things that really make me question whether I am normal, or if people really believe some of the stuff they read online.
Just a few years back while I was still in college, something called the "Pickup Artist industry" (or PUA) really took off -- online, and then with a TV program with a show called "The Pickup Artist".
However, I wasn't as geeky as I am now, and wasn't hip to what this actually was - until it happened to me on campus. I had always thought social media had something to do with the failures of modern dating culture, but this is something that was slightly disturbing too.
It started off like any other week going, going to classes and working, when I was approached by a man.
"Hey, can I ask you a question?"
He then proceeded to tell me a wild story about how he caught his girlfriend texting some guy, yadda yadda yadda, then asked me what I should do. However, I could tell this seemed a bit "show-offy", and was probably not true.
Over the next few minutes, he started asking me questions, made a comment about my nails, and then asked to play a game with me...
This was all a bit strange, but I felt fairly creeped out with the situation and I made an excuse to leave -- but not before he asked for a number to "tell me what happens". I declined, because I knew what it was.
An elaborate ploy to try and get my number.
He eventually just came right out and said it, saying he would like to take me out - however, I was taken (and still am, no silly pick up lines required). As I was leaving, he said that my "boyfriend can come too".
Anyway, being the busy person I was at the time, I brushed it off as an awkward interaction. I am a lot more "traditional", and would prefer being honest -- which could lead to sparking a real romance or love interest.
The funny thing is, almost this exact scenario took place a few weeks later - except it was a different story with a few additional twists.
Midgets, a best friend going behind his back, and so on...
Almost immediately, I found it very off putting because it seemed like he was trying to play a game in the background. But the part that made me blatantly aware, was the part about the "boyfriend coming along", in order to try and disarm women when they're not interested or genuinely are taken.
As it just so happens, one of my friends who I was meeting for coffee later in the day had something similar happen -- a crazy story, which was all just a ploy to get her number... after realizing this, we almost spurted coffee in eachothers faces thinking about how dumb these lines actually are!
We told a few other friends, and some of them encountered some bizarre pickup attempts too -- at which point we all knew something was up. Something stupid... after running into one of the guys again, I asked him what that was all about.
I got an apology, as well as clued into a mysterious thing called "PUA".
After looking into it, I was amazed to find communities of guys online who discuss "openers", and how to (try) and build attraction with stories that demonstrate how "cool" they are, and how witty, sexy, or charming they can be.
After chuckling to myself about it, I brushed it off as some silly trend - until I actually saw a TV show called "The Pickup Artist", where guys actually use these routines on women.
As mind-blowingly silly as these routines is, I seem to have a run in with these kinds of routines every few months or so -- and without fail, I can tell immediately that its a canned line just for the purpose of trying to pick me up.
I have to decline... but even if I was single I have no doubt they would never work.
Most of my friends also feel the same way. The stories, and social gimmicks they use are becoming less obvious -- but when you start playing games with women... it becomes all too obvious.
So what DOES work?
As a woman, I personally feel that being genuine is far more attractive than using fake confidence, fake stories, and fake personality traits to "charm" women.
In fact, I have a few guy friends who were very quiet and shy that I have dated in the past and even met my husband through a real interaction - no stories about midgets, crazy ex-girlfriends, cheating, or drama.
The moral of the story is that relationships take the time to develop - and if you build it on something like a made up story, or being someone you're not, it's eventually going to crumble away. That's not to say it NEVER works, I'm sure it does, or it wouldn't be such a huge industry judging by a number of ads I see for ridiculous PUA/dating products).
Real love is built over time, and being genuine with someone, so they can be genuine with you back... anything else is just asking for trouble.
"I don't want no fly guy, I just want a shy guy "
- Diana King, Shy Guy
Thank you for reading,