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Review: Confessions of a Pickup Artist Chaser by Clarisse Thorn 
4th-Jul-2012 04:09 pm
Confessions of a Pickup Artist ChaserConfessions of a Pickup Artist Chaser by Clarisse Thorn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I suspect that this book will serve as an excellent introduction to feminist theory for a lot of people who would never pick up a book about feminist theory, but would pick up a book about picking up chicks.

Not that this is really a book about "picking up chicks" - it's more like an ethnography on the pickup artist community, except without as much of the pretense of academic objectivity implied by the word "ethnography".
Pick-up artistry, for those not familiar with it, is a set of techniques taught to men to help them convince women to have sex with them. (There are fringe elements of pickup artistry that are devoted to women picking up men, or same-sex relationships, or which are actually focused more on relationships than sex, but the core of it is men's pursuit of women for sex.) Thorn does a good job of conveying the sense of horrified fascination that one feels on learning about this stuff. For anyone who's ever found the whole process of approaching an interesting member of the opposite sex really awkward, the idea that there are techniques that can make it go more smoothly is pretty appealing. On the other hand, the tendency of the movement to reduce women to Skinner boxes whose job is to dispense sex if you push the right buttons is pretty appalling, as is the fact that some popular techniques amount to a script for date rape.

Thorn uses this mix to spin out some pretty thought-provoking commentary on how we view sex and relationships as a culture.

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5th-Jul-2012 02:29 pm (UTC)
I am a big Clarisse Thorn fan! I should read this book.
5th-Jul-2012 02:50 pm (UTC)

I've met PUA folks, and they were creepy as all get out. Not so good with the concept of boundaries.

But not sure they were creepy and picked up PUA or picked up PUA and became creepy. Don't know the causality of it.

5th-Jul-2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
Based on what Thorn observes in the book, the causality seems to run both ways. Some people are attracted to PUA because it validates their creepy attitudes about sex. But probably the majority of guys who get into PUA start out just socially awkward, and most of them drift out of the scene once they gain some confidence and/or start having more success with dating. The ones who stay long term do seem to pick up warped attitudes, though.
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