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"Saturday Night" -An Article profiled Mystery

In 2001, three years after he rose to prominence in the seduction commu-nity, Mystery began staging the seminars that would eventually land him his reputation as North America's top pickup artist. Although his own reasons for beginning a "teaching career" were simply mercenary, Mystery succeeded in spinning these novel educational sessions to make it appear as if he were bowing to public demand. Here, Mystery took elaborate steps to protect his identity, even stipulating that prospective pupils sign a non-disclosure agree-ment. Students responded with enthusiasm."... [T]his was a great workshop and definitely worth the money. I feel that I can take the skills and knowledge I picked up... and in a month or two, after tons of practice, become GREAT at doing pickups in bars and clubs," one participant posted to the newsgroup.

One recent Saturday in Manhattan, approximately 20 men gathered in a Marriott Hotel conference room for an education in the Mystery Method. Among them was Bob Williams, a 31-year-old accountant who had that morning driven five hours from his home in Washington, D.C., specifically to learn from the master. "I expected to walk into a roomful of losers," says Willaims. "But there was a real mix of people there, and pretty much everyone had successful careers. I mean, this wasn't exactly a model shoot for GQ, but there was a wide mix of all ages and types."

In the three years since Mystery has begun teaching his sessions, he's developed a remarkably detailed repertoire of tactics and lingo, much of which Williams learned about in New York. For example, an "HB9" is an attrac-tive woman; the HB stands for "hot babe" and the 9 refers to her looks on an out-of-10 scale. Peacocking is the practice of dressing outlandishly to attract the attention of good-looking women. (It's the reason Mystery paints his nails. He also wears a top hat and platform boots that push his height past seven feet.) He says, "The idea is not to fit in. It's to stand out." The educational sessions evolved into two forms: workshops are intensive teaching sessions in which students join groups of up to six people, plus Mystery, then venture out to clubs to attempt to meet women. What Williams was attending was a larger scale two-day seminar that follows a classroom format. Both have taken place across the United States, Canada and Europe, in such cities as New York, Los Angeles, London, Amsterdam and Montreal.

The substantive part of Mystery's education in seduction, his Method, is a step-by-step system that purports to allow its skilled practitioners to attract the best-looking woman at a bar or a club, regardless of whether she's with male friends, female companions or both. "It's the art of not weirding someone out," says Mystery. His lessons include group dynamics, which is important because most other dating consultants base their advice on situations in which the pickup artist targets a lone woman, a condition in which the human female is rarely found in the wilderness of an urban club scene.

Couched in the community's own characteristic terminology, which bor-rows liberally from pop culture, martial arts and metaphors both athletic and military, the gist of Mystery's counseling amounts to this: once a pick-up artist identifies an attractive woman, he should infiltrate the group she's with. Counter intuitively, he should ignore the attractive woman and instead befriend her acquaintances. And if there are men with her, the pickup artist—

whom Mystery refers to as a PUA—should befriend the men first, explaining, "You lead the men, the women follow." At all costs, Mystery advises, ignore the "target." Only after the PUA has gained the trust of her compatriots is he to engineer an introduction. Soon after, the PUA must issue to the target a "neg hit," or a harmless verbal jab: "Nice nails. Are they real?" Mystery believes such banter works to differentiate the pickup artist from other men in the mind of the target, whose good looks mean she's accustomed to eliciting admiration from the males she meets rather than witty repartee.


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