In the wake of George Sordini‘s killing spree last week, the mainstream media has criticized Pick-Up Artist community for promoting misogynist cultural attitudes that hurt women and girls. (Sordini was a sometimes-devotee of R. Don Steele, author of such douchebag manuals as Date Young Women: For Men Over 35). Pandagon’s Amanda Marcotte, meanwhile, has tackled the more difficult task of arguing why Pick-Up Artist rhetoric hurts men, too. Pick-Up Artist devotees scam women to extract sex; Pick-Up Artist “masters” scam the devotees to extract money.

The two exchanges are surprisingly similar—-both target those with low self-esteem to exploit them for personal gain. Here’s how it works: The Pick-Up Artist devotee feels worthless. He is informed that self-worth may be secured by having sex with women agreed to be attractive by the Pick-Up Artist community. He is told that in order to have sex with these women, he must not “be himself”—-remember, he isworthless. Instead, he must pay exorbitant amounts of money to learn the correct “tactics” not to gain self-worth—-but to convince the women that it is they who are truly worthless. Only the Pick-Up Artist “master” wins here—-he gets the cash regardless of the outcome of the sexual conquest, while feeling superior to his male devotees (who are, in turn, superior to all women).

How to Date Out of Your League“—-a very elementary-level, college age version of game written by COED Magazine‘s Michael Dance—-makes this dynamic perfectly clear.

Dance writes:

The holy grail of dating is to actually find a girl who’s hot but is still willing to go out with you.  And as you’ve already figured out, that’s really hard.  But even if you’re not as attractive or as suave as that friend who has so much sex you want to punch him, even if you “have no game,” there are a few ways to tip the scales in your favor.  These aren’t magic bullets.  They’re practical, actionable things that you can do to help you snag that gorgeous girl who it turns out has low enough self-esteem to actually go for you.

And so it begins. It is not enough for the Pick-Up Artist devotee to date someone who is his equal; in order to receive respect in the community, he must date someone who is somehow “better” than him (“hotter”). At the same time, the Pick-Up Artist  operates on the assumption that women who don’t want to have sex with him—-even these “better,” hotter women—-are conceited bitches. The Pick-Up Artist must find a woman he deems superior who, in turn, deems herself inferior. In order for the scam to work, both parties must believe that they are less-than the person they’re sleeping with. Only the Pick-Up Artist master—-the guy selling the books—-is superior.

1. Actually Ask Girls Out on Dates Look, you can’t date out of your league if you don’t have the balls to actually ask a girl out on a date.  Sure, you might be able to get lucky at a party with a drunk girl, but as you’ve already experienced, it’s harder to do that consistently than you fantasized about in high school.  So many guys whine inwardly about not being a chick-magnet and forget it’s because they don’t actually put themselves out there and talk to any girls.

. . . The key is to be perceptive.  The problem for most guys who are unlucky with girls is not that they’re bad looking, it’s that they’re oblivious.  Girls make it very obvious when they don’t like what you’re doing (and for the record, pick-up lines and transparent attempts to impress her never work).  If she’s interested, she won’t be looking around the room for her girlfriends to save her.  She won’t be responding to your questions in polite two-word answers.  In fact, she won’t have to respond to too many of your questions, because she’ll be asking you questions, too.

Do you see how he talks down to you? You have no balls. You’re so pathetic that you fantasize about having sex with drunk girls. You’re oblivious. You think that “pick-up lines and transparent attempts to impress her” will actually work? Of course not—-you need much, much more help than one lousy pick-up line can provide (buy the book). The actual advice—-talk to girls—-is so obvious that only a man with the lowest self-esteem could regard it as a revelation.

2. Don’t Talk About Yourself.  At All.

“When I was in seventh grade, I was really into Magic: The Gathering.”

“Yeah, I love movies!  I even went to the midnight opening of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.  Sat in the front row.”

“While I was masturbating this morning I was thinking about my mom…”

. . . But the “don’t talk about yourself” rule extends beyond just the obvious.  I really mean don’t talk about yourself at all.  You know why?  You’re not interesting.  You work in the scheduling department of a non-profit?  You taught yourself web design?  Your football team made sectionals in high school?  Your professor is just super, super lame?  Don’tcaredon’tcaredon’tcaredon’tcare.

Depending on exactly how “out of your league” the girl is, she’s probably not interesting either.  Unless she’s Mary-Louise Parker’s illegitimate daughter who got the hot genes from her mom and currently works as a spy for the CIA, chances are she’s just some random bitchy princess you want to sleep with, in which case — pat yourself on the back — she’s even less interesting than you.  If you ever want her to go down on you, just shut up and listen.

You’re worthless. She’s worthless. You’re all worthless, except for me. Only I deserve to be heard; only I am worth listening to. I am a worthwhile person; you are a sad, pathetic loser who might be allowed to receive a blowjob from another sad, pathetic loser if you listen to what I have to say.

3. But At the Same Time, Don’t Be a Pussy.

There’s shutting up and listening to her stories, and then there’s letting her whine to you about this guy who’s mean to her and she’s so glad she has a really, really great friend like you.  If you’ve gotten to the latter point, you’re beyond saving.

It’s not a secret anymore that in general, girls are attracted to guys who don’t treat them well.  . . . But there’s two things wrong with that rule.  First, you can only really pull it off if you’re good-looking.  If you’re a hot jerk, you’re a badass; if you’re an average-looking jerk, you’re a tool.  It’s not fair, but such is life.

The other problem is that most of you who need to read articles like this one are too nice.  You literally cannot be a jerk to a girl.  Your parents taught you manners, thank you very much, and there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that.

There’s not.  The solution?  Just be assertive. That means, simply, that you should come across like a man who knows what he wants.  When you ask her out, give her a specific time, place, and activity.  Never say “I don’t care, what do you want to do?”  If she asks your opinion on something, give it to her.  Etc.

If she does specifically ask you about yourself, you’re permitted to tell her that you have a steady job or are well on your way down a lucrative career path.  No, she’s not seriously considering you as a mate yet, but if you think there’s no difference between “I’m studying to be a lawyer” and “I’m an English major,” you’re wrong.

“Nice.” Nice is the classic marker of a girl who’s not interested, and when administered from a Pick-Up Artist master to a Pick-Up Artist devotee, it’s a very effective neg.  As is clear from the title of this tactic, being “nice” really means being a “pussy.” Let’s go ahead and sub that in to make sure we’re not softening the blow: “most of you who need to read articles like this one are pussies.” Sure, there’s nothing wrong with being a pussy. Just be sure that you act like a pussy who knows what he wants (which is pussy). Thankfully, the Pick-Up Artist master is here to step in and tell you how to be the right kind of pussy: Just lie. Hey, it’s what the master does best.