Tuesday, August 21, 2007

TV: The Pick-Up Artist

I'm ashamed to say, I read this book called The Game by Neil Strauss in the past year or so. The reason? Curiosity. I think I read a New York Times article by Strauss about a guy named Mystery who runs seminars on how to pick up women. And his course of study is based on sociological studies and millions of attempts. Yes, millions -- through the internet, apparently there is a whole subculture of guys who try to talk to women and then post about their success or failure, leading to dozens of other guys to try out the same line on women in a different city or club. (The sociology is all about proximity studies, coming off as non-threatening, etc.)

Oh, and just to make me seem less sick, I should point out that mostly these guys are super shy and just trying to figure out how to talk to a woman and maybe get a phone number. (Strauss' book has more about sex and drugs as he joins this subculture and the group gets crazed [mostly because their girlfriends dump them {duh}].)

The funny thing about all the stuff they teach is that they sound like how Julie and I socialize at weddings where we don't know anybody. Be nice, be different, don't linger.

Recently, one of my favorite TV critics (yes, I have them -- I also like the New Yorker's Tad Friend and Nancy Franklin [who seems really sweet in a special feature on the DVD of I Know Where I'm Going]), Heather Havrilesky of Salon wrote positively about a new show called The Pick-Up Artist, a reality competition featuring Mystery, aka Erik von Markovik.

It's pretty entertaining. The casting of the loser guys is great and they're problems are nicely diverse: "Needs to shed frat boy image" "talks too much" "too nervous around women" "way too energetic." There's also a guy who loves to breakdance at inappropriate times. But one thing that I really enjoy is the fact that Mystery is from Toronto, and I think some of the contestants are, too. The Canadian accent and the overall vibe reminds me of some friends from Toronto. The hidden camera scenes of the guys striking out in bars is also very amusing.

Anyway, there's a video highlight reel on the website (important for those of us without cable -- the show is on VH1).


Baldwin said...

What's with Mystery's wacky costumes?

jc said...

He's "peacocking." Wearing an accessory (or more) that makes him stand out from the crowd and seem memorable. Also, he's from Toronto; people dress up (and weirdly) more than they do in other cities for some reason.