Trusting guys is hard, but my ability to do so came screeching to a halt when I found out the man I was seeing was a pick-up artist (PUA). With the singular goal of preying on women in order to score some points in the sack, PUAs think it’s acceptable to play emotionally manipulative games with women in order to get their way.
I was charmed by his confidence. I met my guy in a classic meet-cute way. We were both standing in the coat-check line at a club when he initiated a conversation with me. I was taken by his confident approach and charmed by his easy-going manner. I had no idea that all the while, every word he spoke and every gesture he made were part of a calculated, preconceived technique he’d learned from his PUA manual of tricks.
Looking back, I fell for every trick in the book. As they say, hindsight is 20/20 and looking back, I hate that I fell for every move this guy played on me. I noticed when we went out, he often put me down in little ways. Being younger and much more naive than I am now, I put up with these small digs. It’s only later that I found out that this is actually a PUA technique called “negging”. This method of emotional manipulation involves deliberately making critical remarks or backhanded compliments in order to break down a girl’s confidence and make her seek out the manipulator’s approval. I also noticed he had no problem with casually touching me while he was talking, another PUA technique called “Kino.”
He eventually revealed his dirty secret. At some point, I remarked to him how cocky he was when it came to women. He replied that this bravado didn’t come naturally to him but that he’d learned to be that way. After probing him further with questions, he finally came out and told me he was part of the PUA organization. He revealed that he owed his confidence with women thanks to the “gurus” who had taught him the art of picking up women.
I felt angry and betrayed. Once he revealed he was a part of this sleazy organization, I couldn’t help but feel like our entire relationship had been fake. Knowing that he was using the same moves and techniques to hit on me that he had with who knows how many other girls made me feel like there was no honesty in the relationship at all. It made me think I was just a sucker who had fallen for these preconceived moves. I hated how devalued this man had now made me feel.
He didn’t understand why I was upset. I told him that I was disgusted by his involvement with PUA and that I didn’t know if I could trust him anymore. Immediately he came to the organization’s defense, praising it for the gift of confidence it had given him. He told me that I should be grateful that he had learned these tricks because without them, I would never have fallen for him. Disgusting.
Confidence is great but I can’t condone that agenda. Having confidence is one of life’s biggest gifts. Being self-assured and knowing that you’re good enough to go out into the world and get what you want is a huge advantage that many people long to have. However, gaining confidence through debasing women and treating them like they’re objects to be won is not OK. I understand that there are a lot of people who lack the confidence it takes to talk to the opposite sex, but simply learning a bunch of misogynist tricks to get someone into the sack is not a fulfilling way to feel self-worth.
I ended up breaking things off. After I learned that the course of our relationship had been a step-by-step playbook of PUA tricks, I didn’t feel like I could be with this dude anymore. It’s not like he had just used a cheesy pick-up line on me. He had used a fully planned, calculated game in order to get me to like him. If he was playing me from the get-go, how would I know when the games would truly be over?
It’s made me afraid to trust men. Before meeting this guy, I had never even heard of PUA. Knowing that this organization has legions of men following its grotesque techniques though, I’ve become wary of all men who approach me when I go out. Not only am I constantly on the lookout for tell-tale signs that they’re using their gaming techniques on me, I’m also afraid to fall for someone again in case I end up hurt and betrayed.
I’ve warned my friends about these techniques. I’ve taken it upon myself to warn my friends to look out for some of the well-known techniques the PUA guys use in order to pick up women. I feel responsible for warning fellow ladies to be on their guard and to not fall for these emotionally manipulative pick-up methods. The more women turn down these gross, creepy men the better, and hopefully we can get the message across that we are not objects to be conquered, but real women who will not tolerate prescriptive, one-tracked seduction games.
I refuse to be played ever again. On the bright side, I now know there are men out there who have no shame in using PUA techniques to lure women, and thankfully my friends and I have our guards up when we sense we’re being played. Dating a PUA guy has made me more careful when it comes to trust, and this is definitely one girl who won’t be fooled by pick-up tricks anymore.
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