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Pick up Artists can be Female Too - Top Tips for PUAs

It’s about “getting out, meeting people, increasing your numbers, and building a better social life for yourself.”

When you hear the term “pickup artists,” what—or who—do you envision? If you’re anything like me, you think of men: Slithery, sexist men banded together to forge underground alliances of high-fiving bros, with the solitary shared goal of bedding women. But thankfully, pickup artistry is beginning to broaden beyond the boys’ club. Leading the female-PUA pack is Arden Leigh, a Las Vegas-by-way-of-NYC “seduction siren” and author of The New Rules of Seduction. With her perfectly winged black eyeliner and penchant for PUA strategy-speak like “attraction switches,” “social proof,” and “opening the set,” Leigh is turning the pickup game on its head by translating it into a proactive approach that women can use to shamelessly chase what they want.

We asked Leigh, London-based pickup coach Kezia Noble, and NYC’s “guru of all things love” Amy Van Doran for a few of their best tips on, yes, picking up men. Keep in mind—this isn’t about desperation or cheap sex. “It’s not about finding men to sleep with,” Leigh says before qualifying, “though if that’s a woman’s goal, I support her in that.” Rather, it’s about “getting out, meeting people, increasing your numbers, and building a better social life for yourself.”

Add this to the sad-but-true files: “Men who are in relationships usually don’t bother with grocery shopping,” Kezia Noble notes. What does this means? Your next fling might be no further than the Whole Foods’ dairy aisle. Same goes for men who are clothes-shopping. “If they go clothes-shopping, nine times out of 10 their girlfriends [are] with them, so look out for men shopping on their own—this is a good way to see if they’re single,” she explains. (Other top spots to scout for men are gyms, museums, and libraries.) For her part, Arden Leigh recommends doing things in groups and having a “fulfilling social circle.” She suggests joining “a running club, chess club, or philosophy meetup; wherever you think you’ll find people with similar interests.

By now we all know that looks aren’t everything (right?). But your physical appearance and the way you dress convey messages about what’s important to you—including what kind of partner you’re potentially looking for. “Knowing your type is important,” Amy Van Doran says. “Dress to what your taste is; make sure your external marketing matches your internal marketing.” With her trademark shock of red hair, Van Doran suggests wearing things that grab attention and serve as an automatic ice-breaker.

Noble suggests distinctly making eye contact if you spot a man you’re interested in: “Women need to remember that behind all that cocky banter, men are actually incredibly frightened of women.” Initiating eye contact can help give the poor fellow a little courage.

Imagine you’re knee-deep in Barnes & Noble’s magazine racks when you spot a fetching artist type sipping his latte across the aisle. You’ve made eye contact; now what? Leigh names three approach options. An “indirect approach” involves you tweaking your body language to signal that you're open to him approaching you—try standing “in his peripheral vision and [hoping]” he comes over. Then there’s the “semi-direct approach,” which works if the man is with friends—here “you’d go up and say something to one of the friends because you're not as nervous around them.” The third method is a “direct approach,” or walking right up to the guy. (For what it’s worth, Leigh usually opts for the indirect approach herself.)

When you’re striking up a conversation with a man, remember that “you’d speak very differently to a guy in a rock band than to a day trader out at a club—they have different social mores,” Leigh says. She recommends tailoring your pickup approach based on a man’s “attraction switches” (the specific qualities he’d need to see or sense in a woman to be interested in her). She suggests asking men about what they’re passionate about—especially the little-known, more obscure things.

In any situation, being proactive and making the first move is, Leigh notes, “an act of generosity.” Whether that means exchanging looks or standing tall, sucking it up, and making a direct approach, Leigh wants women to remember that putting themselves out there can be scary, but it’s worth it. Amy Van Doran seconds that: “The key is thinking of it like you're doing someone a favor—think, ‘You're welcome! I’m amazing and I need to be in your life.’” Plus, she reminds us, confidence is alluring on any gender: “A calm self-assurance is very sexy if you're picking up guys.”

If you think “negging” is a solid way to worm your way into someone’s heart, think again. The classic male-PUA move (which uses vague insults to undermine a woman’s self-confidence, arguably making her more insecure and vulnerable to the PUA’s charms) “only works to attract people with low self-esteem,” Van Doran explains; don’t bother using it on dudes. Instead she suggests a heaping dose of good old-fashioned niceness when you’re trying to talk to a man—no game-playing necessary.

One of the biggest factors that hinders women from going for and getting the men they want is a natural fear of being shot down. Leigh urges women to stop letting their fear of rejection rule. “Go out and have fun,” she says, “and don't be afraid to crash and burn—or, as we say, crash and learn.” Van Doran concurs: “My friends who are most successful [at picking up men] don't take the nos personally; they only count the yeses.”

Letting your guard down a bit can be super-attractive for any gender. Who doesn’t love catching a glimpse of someone’s secret side? “A very alpha woman who can show a more tender, vulnerable side is intoxicating, and so is a shy or introverted woman who can demonstrate a more passionate or naughty side,” Noble explains.

One of women’s biggest trip-ups when it comes to sex and dating, Leigh says, is getting too fixated on details instead of focusing on the bigger picture. “You have to look at the big picture. Is he showing up? Is he treating you respectfully? Is he putting in effort?” Van Doran agrees, saying, “Being too outcome-motivated is not good.” It’s hard, we know (oh, how we know!), but it’s best to stay in the here and now.

Excerpted from Laura Barcella, Elle.com Feb 21, 2014

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