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"Saturday Night" -An Article profiled Mystery

I had a few people who were kind enough to send me versions of the recent 8-page "Saturday Night" article that profiled Mystery, so I'm posting it up here for anyone who's interested in reading it. It's a pretty good article for a mainstream publication, but I found the mention of Katya, Mystery's ex who seems to be the source of all the tension up at the PH mansion lately, interesting.

The Seducer

In the game of love, Erik von Markovich, once a Dungeons and Dragons-playing teen in Suburban Toronto, has become a major player. Now going by the name Mystery, he's taught scores of men how to perfect the pickup.

By Christopher Shulgan

Mystery spied a slim, blond woman with a guileless, elfin smile. Her makeup glittered; her eyes sparkled. He approached her and she told him to beat it

During its lifespan, the message board at the online home of North America's thriving pickup-artist subculture, FastSeduction.com, has included some strange announcements. But few puzzled readers more than the one posted early the morning of March 24 by the group's unofficial guru, a man known among his acolytes as Mystery.

Born and raised in the Toronto area, Mystery, who also goes by the name Erik von Markovik, leads a series of educational seminars across the United States and Canada on what he calls the Mystery Method, which aims to teach men how to meet women. The two-day seminars cost about $650, and customers are willing to pay because Mystery has developed a reputation as one of the world's pre-eminent pickup artists. The system's hun-dreds of devoted practitioners quote its founder's wisdom the way Christians might recite the Gospel of John. "What he's done is reverse-engineered human behavior," says one follower.

Several weeks before Mystery's unexpected posting, writer Neil Strauss, in an article in The New York Times Style section, referred to the one-time Torontonian as "one of the most admired men in the world of seduction... [H] e has single-handedly invented much of the jargon and tac-tics that men around the world are using to meet women."

In fact, it was Mystery's stature among pickup artists that made his March 24 announcement so puzzling. His online disclosure consisted of a link to a self-created Internet movie along with a one-line announcement: "This is my new GF;" he wrote, using the community's abbreviation for girlfriend. "I am in love. She lives with me now. I'm very happy."

Among Mystery's pickup-artist peers, the reaction was swift and mixed. Everybody had questions, which were phrased with the disregard for gram-mar, spelling and punctuation that is typical of the group. "Your not pussy whipped are you?" asked a member. "I'm left scratching my head trying to figure out your motive for posting this.. .Why would you want to parade a woman you claim to be in love with on this place in this manner?" Typed another: "Is Mys going soft on us?" In this little-known backwater of the Internet, the alert was akin to a papal apostasy. The subtext was this: was the most prominent pickup artist of them all finally leaving the game?

For those of us unaware of Mystery and his peers, one of the most surprising things about the group of young males that calls itself the seduc-tion community is the fact that a seduction community even exists. It does, and it's bigger than one might expect: each day, hundreds of members from across North America log in to FastSeduction.com, or visit the alt.seduction.fast newsgroup. Thanks to the media attention he's generated, Mystery is the most prominent among dozens of gurus currently peddling educational materials in exchange for fees in the hundreds of dollars. And each month, groups of men gather in clubs and hotel conference rooms across North America to learn, and to trade, tactics that they believe will help them meet women.

For the romantically secure, the story of Mystery is significant because it represents a new phase in the way that technology and the legion of solitary pursuits it has spawned are fundamentally altering the dating game. Mystery and his cohorts are a new class of caballero, one whose members' ultimate aim—the very act of lady-killing itself—is a turn of events profoundly different from casual sex. The goal here? A long-term and loving relationship. In contrast to earlier generations, this new class of digital Don Juan doesn't want sex on Saturday night—or, rather, it doesn't just want sex on Saturday night—it also craves a partner to snuggle with on Sunday morning. Asked why he pursues the Mystery Method to the extent he does, one of the guru's most devoted disciples offers a response that's typical: "Dude," he says. "I want an awesome girlfriend."

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