Confessions 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. View all my reviews