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"Saturday Night" -An Article profiled Mystery

The core of the Mystery Method is a series of pre-rehearsed routines that Mystery develops with his clients. The "routines," which are really only anec-dotes, are intended to highlight the attractive aspects of the client's personal-ity. Often, such routines are couched as responses to questions that typically come up in pickup situations. If a target asks where the Method practitioner lives, for example, Mystery might suggest the client use that to segue into a witty account of the foibles of living in his particular neighborhood. Mys-tery then advises his disciples to "isolate" the target from her friends, perhaps with a polite request to speak in private, an inquiry Mystery tells his clients to make only after they've sensed from the target several "IOIs," or indications of interest. What Mystery calls "the close" involves getting the target's telephone number. The client can achieve this by abruptly cutting short the conversa-tion with an invented excuse — perhaps a previous appointment—and then following that up with the regret that he can't talk longer. The hope is, by then, that the client has charmed the girl enough that she volunteers her number. Responding to the ancient dilemma about how soon to call a pro-spective date, Mystery advises his clients it's fine to do so on the very next day.

Williams came away impressed with Mystery's teachings. "Look," he says. "I'd be the first to say this is a gimmick. But this is also practical advice. He's not preaching a quick fix. He says, we'll teach you skills, and over the long term, you'll make progress." Williams is right about one thing: unlike most dating

consultants, who profess that their teachings will lead to quick success, Mystery champions the value of hard work, emphasizing that his system requires at least 200 "approaches" before one really becomes proficient at it.

The seminar worked for Williams, who describes his own personal style as "Banana Republic meets metrosexual:" While in New York for the work-shop, he stayed at the chic W boutique hotel. At a bar, he approached a pair of leggy females, a redhead and a brunette. They turned out to be sisters, and Williams finished the encounter by getting a phone number. "I'm certain I wouldn't have approached them had I not been at the seminar," he says.

It is through the staging of such seminars that Mystery has managed to create a cult of personality that has proven enduringly loyal. Many of his fol-lowers seem as devoted as the disciples of Brad Pitt's character, Tyler Durden, in the 1999 cult flick, Fight Club. But his followers don't just credit Mystery with helping boost their ability to pick up women. They credit him with im-proving the quality of their lives in general. "It's given me confidence, not just with girls, but in life," says one practitioner. "It helps in so many areas, it's retarded." Even Strauss, the writer of the New York Times piece, has become convinced. During the two years he's spent researching the seduction sub culture for a book entitled The Game (due out this fall from HarperCollins) Strauss has become one of the community's most prominent members. U the other PUAs, Strauss uses similar terms in crediting the Mystery Method with boosting his self-esteem. Says Strauss: "It's revolutionized my life?'

However, that new confidence doesn't mean these men are willing to disclose their PUA status to the world. Mystery's students and peers are almost universally unwilling to speak under any condition but total anonymity. Even Strauss seems reluctant to admit his stature in the subculture, to the point that he declines to tell outsiders the handle by which he is known among fellow PUAs. (According to Ross Jeffries, it's Style.) One PUA requested not only that I keep his name secret, but also that I refrain from disclosing his occupation, age, town of origin or any details about his appearance. When asked why, he verged on panic. "It's just not cool," said the man, who later sent me an e-mail requesting that I also keep secret his request for secrecy.


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