This weekend, the world’s greatest pickup guys came to Oslo. Read about our meeting with the superstars of pickup during their first visit here in an exlusive English translation of the DinSide article.
"Pick a girl, and we’ll pick her up in 5 minutes."
Sure... I really don’t believe that Norwegian girls are going to flock like seagulls circling a fishing boat around the two of you, I’m thinking. We’re located in the middle of Stortorget (the main square) in the midst of the Christmas jumble. Girls parade in and out of stores with a mission in mind, as if the devil himself was coming after them in the pre-Christmas rush.
But that’s not all. The two young gentlemen by my side have just blown their own horn and claimed that the better part of Norwegian girls falls for their moves... in the middle of the day, here in the centre of Oslo.
Had the two been Pitt and Clooney clones, or perhaps had the slightest resemblance even from a bird’s perspective, I would give them a fair chance. But no: Keychain has long, red hair and looks like a John Arne Riise (a Norwegian ginger football player) with a perm. I can’t really confirm the hairdo because he’s wearing a kind of ”condom” over his head, which covers most of the English afro. He’s dressed in tight, too short pants and a short leather jacket. Apart from that, he looks just like a normal Brit in his mid twenties.
His colleague Soul is of an Asian origin, but also English. He has intense eyes, bleached bangs, speaks posh English and hangs about in a black jacket that’s a tad too big. Not even he has a Calvin Klein body and a chiseled chin.
But, according to them, they both have something every man wishes for... namely the knowledge and ability to seduce beautiful women.
"Okay, that one..." With obvious disbelief, I point towards a tall blond in short skirt confidently strolling down the street in stilettos. The redhead turns around like a well-trained retriever and leaps after her between children’s families and Christmas gifts. 100 feet down the street he stops the beauty with a poke on the shoulder. She gives him an insecure smile as he says something to her, stands there speechless for a while, but is slowly starting to smile more and more. The two of them shake hands, but he doesn’t let her go. He is patting her hand, stroking it while he talks. She seems paralyzed.
Then he releases her, takes a few steps backwards and sits down on a bench nearby. She follows somewhat reluctantly and stops a step away. He speaks again and grabs her hand. Then she is moved down to a sitting position and charmed further.
"She is definitely an eight, if not a nine," says Soul. He is standing beside me and filming the whole scenario from a distance. This is reportedly a routine for the two English Casanovas. After five minutes, a few couple-pictures taken on a straight arm by Keychain, and a seemingly heartfelt hug, he returns with her number on his phone.
"We’re gonna meet up later today for coffee." He smiles, of course.
I’ve just been a witness to what pick up artists call day gaming and a number close. This means chatting up girls during the daytime with the goal of getting their numbers, so they can follow up with them. This could have been a coincidence and great deal of luck, I’m thinking. But, after pointing out three women during the next twenty minutes, when two of them gave away their numbers, and the third didn’t want to only because she was married – I’m convinced. These guys have something about them that’s not daily fare.
By the way, the married one had the biggest smile of all the ladies when she was ambushed with compliments at GlasMagasinet (a shopping mall).
"It’s all about breaking down constructed social barriers at the same time as applying established and quite simple techniques," says Soul.
He and Keychain have just given me the most tremendous introduction to a course I’ve ever experienced. And this is only the beginning.
The whole thing started three weeks earlier, when I met a short Australian in a bar in London. He looked like a part of the interior at the new and hip club, and acted as if he owned the place. At the same time he had an Eastern European stripper by the arm with a name I don’t remember, but who could’ve held the title of Miss Minimal: outfit and appearance intellect combined.
He introduced himself as Jim, and was a very charismatic and likable guy in his mid twenties. After a while, the conversation centered around what he does for a living. He was a former lawyer, but was now travelling the world hosting pick up courses. The week before we met, he’d been to the Playboy Mansion in the USA, a place he felt was bad for picking up women due to problems with the logistics. Unless your name was Hefner and you lived there...
"The vibe goes away when heading back to the hotel in the bus. The escalation in your game dies," he stated. He was going to host a pick up course, a bootcamp, in Oslo the coming December. I got invited as the man from the media. Jim turns out to be "Mr. M" – a social predator and one of the 10 highest ranked pick up artists in the world.
So, the anticipation is high when I’m facing the gang of three instructors in their hotel room in the centre of Oslo: Mr. M, Soul and Keychain.
After an introduction like that in the streets, no wonder one becomes a tad curious as to what kind of a world these young men really live in. The inside of the room looks as if a love grenade went off. Clothes were everywhere. On the coffee table was an almost untouched bottle of akevitt (Norwegian liqueur) and an empty bottle of red wine. A moisturizer, an audio recorder and a bottle of vitamin pills are tossed on the window sill. With a glance at the double bed, it becomes obvious that the maid hasn’t been visiting since yesterday.
"We picked up a couple of girls outside Deli de Luca last night. They came upstairs, and the guys tried to spit roast one of them," Mr. M laughs.
Apparently it didn’t go exactly as planned, but according to the lead instructor that was just a trip out on the town to check out how the clubs in Norway are, before the students arrive.
It’s time to get an explanation of what Mr. M and his love soldiers are really about – not to mention what the students who are paying 3,000 dollars each for three days of seminar and two in-field club nights out can expect.
"We travel around the world to host bootcamps for the international company Love Systems. This year, 35 different bootcamps will be held, and they all last a full weekend at different destinations such as London, Los Angeles, Sydney, Cape Town and Oslo."
"So what’s the goal for most of those who attend the bootcamps?"
"Most of them want to learn how to overcome social anxiety, become more confident and meet the women of their lives – and actually get them. These are the ladies you see in the streets or in a bar but never can have. It’s about understanding women and what they really want, and at the same time developing healthy relationships with them on your own terms," says Mr. M.
"We instruct everyone from those who want to fuck their way through life to the guy who wants to meet his future wife. During the process of realizing your dreams, no matter what they may be, you should treat everyone with respect. It’s about making boys into men, and men into better men," Soul adds.
"Big words from a guy who just turned 25 and tried to spit roast a girl the night before?"
Soul tries to wriggle his way out of it, something he’s very good at. It’s called "re-framing" within the pickup community.
"Most people out there think of sex as something women give to men. It’s not. Sex is something nice men share with women. When women go out, it’s not because they want to listen to music and hang with the girls; they can do that at home. They go out to meet men and they want to have sex. My motto is to leave all women in a better state than when I found them," he says, and makes eyes at me like a child sick with cancer.
"So what’s the deal with the weird code names you’ve got?"
"There are two reasons for that. We want to protect ourselves against people who judge us, and we don’t want to brag about our girls. Take for instance Richard Branson, who’s had great success and has a lot of money, but still gets criticized for what he does, even though he creates thousands of job opportunities."
"People will always interpret unattainable thing negative. The same is the case for those of us who can have as many good looking ladies as we want," says Mr. M.
The seminar starts with Mr. M assuring all the students that they will be pushed way above their normal comfort zones during the course of the bootcamp. They will have to let go of the anxiety of getting dissed.
Then the instructors tell their life stories. They can more or less be summed up together. They were all nerdy until they turned twenty, unkissed and without confidence until they decided that their lives had to be changed for the better. When they came in touch with the pickup community, the ball began to roll. Now they’re ready for advancement to the Rune Rudberg-liga (a Norwegian singer and musician famous for claiming to have had sex with over a thousand women) level, but in style.
Then it’s the students’ turn. Around the table, the range of guys with respect to age and repertoire makes a class from the public night school pale in comparison:
At the corner of the table is a Norwegian math and physics student who seems to know more theory than even the instructors. Then there’s the newly divorced Danish 40 year old who drinks green tea and seem to be calm and balanced. Beside him is another Dane around 40. Dressed in a black cocktail jacket with flower patterns, he is a salesman and gives exactly that impression. Next is the 25 year old who, according to his own story, opened the party can a bit too soon and poured a bit too fast. In the process, he forgot how to pick up girls. Now he drinks root beer and dreams of a girlfriend. Then there’s the guy who’s curious after reading the theory online, tried some on his own, and now wants to see how the pros are doing it. My neighbor is without experience. He’s an engineer in his late twenties who’s had a girlfriend for most of his adult life, but can’t seem to get the hang of it after the relationship ended some years ago. Quiet and calm, he sips water and chews on a Nutrilette bar.
The stereotype of those in need of pick up assistance is also present. There’s a middle aged Swede who seems to have wandered into the room from the set of ”SOS Selskapsreisen” (SOS Charter Holiday – a Swedish ”classic” about some very challenged guys).
He feels it’s more natural to be here than not after buying twelve books on pick up, reading eleven of them and even trying internet dating for four years.
All the dates ended with an “I don’t think the chemistry is there,” so he figured that something had to be done.
Two Americans have flown in for the course. One of them is funny, charismatic and a CEO in a world-renowned financial institution. With a diamond in his ear and hands resting behind his head, he oozes success and confidence. The problem is that his smooth way with women vanished some years ago. He wants it back. The other American actually has a girlfriend, but wants to see more of the opportunities out there. He doesn’t talk about his alibi, but hopes she doesn’t find out about what he’s doing in Norway.
Mr. M begins the seminar by saying that he and other professional pick up artists usually reach a level of self-realization he calls "social indifference." When you’ve reached this level, the fear of getting rejected is gone. You know you can have all the women you want, and aren’t worried about social conditions that normally limit the way people talk to strangers.
"Then you can walk up to a group consisting of five guys and one girl, tell her that you find her unbelievably good looking, and that you just had to meet her," Mr. M says.
"When I walk into a bar, it’s not a question whether or not I’m going home with a girl, but how good looking she is..."
Then a couple of questions follow, to which the instructors have the answers.
"Where’s the best place for a date?"
"Anywhere but a restaurant," somebody in the room replies.
"Not bad, but the right answer is somewhere close by your home."
"How much does a girl have to like you in order to sleep with you?"
"She doesn’t have to like you – just look at Hugh Hefner."
It’s about social status. There’s no social judgment in a room where you don’t know anybody. Pretty women reject you just because you hit on them in the same dull way as ten other drunken guys had done before that same night. It’s about getting to know social conditions and adapting them to the situation. Girls like nice guys, but not when you’re nice when you first meet them.
"After you’ve opened the girl with a funny line, you have to keep talking," says Mr. M, and he gives an assortment of examples of pick up lines, or so-called openers.
"When that’s done, you have to get the girl to qualify herself and be good enough for you, not the other way around. You have to reframe. Don’t brag about yourself, do favors for her or change your opinions about stuff for her to like you. Surprise her, tease her, and show high self-confidence and clear goals for your life. Pull and push her. Make her believe that you’re in a place in life that she dreams of. It’s all a game, just like a kitten playing with a piece of paper tied to a thread. As soon as the paper is on the floor, the kitten loses her interest, but then you lift it up again," Mr. M explains.
The theories and tactics develop throughout the day. It’s actually quite impressive to listen to. We tap into everything from the subconscious to ways to create the perfect conversation, to touching, and the six phases you have to lead a women through to get her. A good pick up line isn’t enough. You have to qualify yourself to her, escalate sexual feelings, isolate her from the group and so on.
This material isn’t just made up during the previous day, but developed with a basis in psychological analysis and long field experience. The students fill out the pages in their notebooks, and pay frantic attention.
It turns out that Mr. M is an expert on pick up in bars and clubs, while Soul is the man with the skills to pick up during the day. The way to meet women in these situations differs quite a bit.
At night you usually go out with a wingman or a partner to gain more social status as a group and assistance when picking up the women you want. During the day going direct is better.
"If you see an attractive woman on the street, you have three seconds before you must talk to her. If you don’t take the plunge and decide to do it within these seconds, you will probably build up so much approach anxiety that you won’t go for her. Keeping it simple is usually the best. Tell her you saw her from across the street and that she looks absolutely amazing, and that you would be kicking yourself for the rest of your life if you didn’t come over to talk to her. Girls aren’t used to hearing things like this in the middle of the day, and nobody will be mad at you for saying so," Soul explains.
Keychain is an expert on rapid escalation in touching. That’s what he used earlier that day, when he got the number from the blond on the street.
"It’s actually very powerful when you know how to do it confidently. As long as you’re comfortable with touching a girl she will be receptive to it amazingly quickly. Girls like to be dominated in a good way," he explains.
When the theory lesson winds down and a few pointers about possible positive changes in every student’s style have been given, everyone gets up to prepare for the evening’s pick up show.
Fat kids in a candy shop...
... is what it looks like when the gang enters a big club in the center of the city. They’re looking around with crazed expressions, bracing each other. Some are getting beers, while most of them go for water from the bar.
"This is good. Go open those two ladies," Mr. M says to Stig Helmer (the guy from "Selskapsreisen"). He doesn’t look ready, standing there sweating like a hooker in a church. Having anxiety is no excuse. He gets the lines to deliver whispered into his ear, and is practically pushed into their laps. It doesn’t appear to go so well. Our friend is met with a couple of very long and strange looks, so Mr. M decides to wing. There’s no doubt that the man has charm working for him. Within a couple of seconds the ladies are laughing, compliments are given in favor of our Swedish friend, and the conversation continues between the three of them when Mr. M leaves as quickly as he entered the situation.
At the same time, Soul and Keychain are doing a two set, picking up two women, where they are doing a routine. The different practiced techniques are called routines in the community. It may be a routine for pick up in the streets, at the store, in a bar or at the bus. The outcome of a routine may be either to get her number, or to end up in bed as soon as possible. The goal this time is to get a kiss close as rapidly as possible. That means getting a wet kiss in the club.
I’ve seen some strange stuff during my years out on the town, and kissing is common, but truth be told – this blows everything aside when it comes to picking up girls. Within five minutes, the magic men are able to kiss two girls. At eleven o’clock in a club in Oslo. And they repeat it with two other girls later that night – just to give the students some inspiration.
And there’s no doubt that many of the students are growing with confidence as the night evolves.
"I feel I can use this in a wide range of social settings, not just when meeting girls. This is crazy!" one of the student yells at me when the clock is reaching midnight.
Oslo has been invaded by new and old pick up artists.
When leaving the club, I’m still confused and in doubt. Will any of the students be able to get a number during the weekend in any way? Talking to girls is one thing, success with women is another. Pick up artists pick up women every day and will of course become more successful over time, but are they able to transfer it to the students? They should for 3,000 dollars per weekend. And who are these confident artists with lame code names really? There’s no doubt they know their craft, even if it’s also about manipulating or transforming new men.
I talk to Mr. M a week after the bootcamp in Oslo.
"Success, happy clients?"
"Incredibly good. I believe we changed the lives of some of them. Several students went home with girls, and some got multiple dates. We’ve already set the date for the next bootcamp in Oslo in a few months. Scandinavian girls are so beautiful, we just have to come and meet them again," he grins into the phone.
Translated by Sandra Janzsó