My first response to reading Neil Strauss's (aka Style) The Game was that of disgust. "Who are these guys?" I thought. I felt that all of these tactics were manipulative and wrong, despite the fact (or perhaps because of the fact) that I probably would fall for all of them.
Then I met a real PUA (Pick Up Artist) in the flesh. Dolly and I called him out on his behavior, which was soooo much fun. Then she ended up getting coffee with him. Despite our knowledge of what was going on, she couldn't resist.
We both became fascinated by the pick-up community, to the point where we started reading their material, the online forums. So that we could be hip to their tricks.
And then it happened again. We ran into another PUA. This one set his sights on Sarah, and before you know it, they're making out (BTW, Sarah and the Manchild broke up--she hasn't posted in an age). Ummmmm, okay.
So it was clear to us, at this point, that even with our knowledge of what was going on, these PUAs were on to something.
What were they onto? The art of flirting, I like to say.
I had another date with the British Scientist last night (Round 2 Date 5, or Date 8). We still haven't had any contact more than a few kisses (This is a patient man!!!). But we had a great date. And as I reflected on my way home, I realized why. He was unconsciously employing many of the PUA techniques on me--and I loved it. He used several "negs" (these are teasing, negative statements, to disarm a girl, like telling her friends "is she always this unbearable?" in a cute, funny way). He was cocky funny. Basically he did what a PUA would do, without the routines. And I ate it up.
Now, I'm sure the Brit has not read The Game--and I'm sure he has no idea what a PUA is. But as we've gotten to know each other better, and gotten more comfortable, we've slipped into this teasing-flirting behavior. Which happens with any relationship, as it progresses, I think. The PUAs are only creating this behavior early on, and consciously. Is that bad? I don't think so.