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пятница, 14 апреля 2017 г.

Dating tips for men: EXPOSED

Could these men talk you into bed? Nope, us either

 

They’re not much to look at, but these professional pick-up artists reckon they’ve got us girls sussed

Belly poking out from under a diamanté-encrusted T-shirt, Marius looks like the world's unlikeliest love guru. As he climbs the conference stage to rapturous applause, he pushes his sunglasses on to his balding head and raises his arms in acknowledgement. "The purpose of any relationship with a woman is sex," he announces. "Remember, taking her out for an expensive dinner is half the price of an hour with a hooker." Honestly, that is exactly what he said.
Welcome to The 21 Convention in Stockholm, Sweden, where men from all over the world pay to be taught how to get any woman they want. And Marius is one of the so-called experts who claims he can teach his 50 new recruits the tricks which will get you into bed within a few simple steps.
Psych and his lurve equation
Marius is a PUA - a professional Pick-Up Artist. He's a man who believes he has the power to pull any woman and he is sharing his particular brand of lessons in love at this international convention - the first of its kind in Europe.
The conventions have been running for three years in America, attracting hundreds of delegates who pay up to £250 for a three-day course to learn fail-safe chat-up lines, pulling techniques and confidence tricks. Today, the crowd, which is made up mainly of 20-and 30-something men, are bemused, while one or two are, worryingly, taking notes.
"They're the most extreme speakers here," convention organiser Anthony 'Dream' Johnson reassures me. Oh, you don't say? It's down to this 21 year old from Florida that plane-loads of the world's finest PUAs have descended on Sweden to teach their skills to an audience that has flown in from the UK, Holland, Spain, America and even Costa Rica.
And brace yourself ladies, next year, the PUAs are coming to the UK. "There's a growing market of European men wanting to learn how to pick up women," Anthony says. "We're holding the 2011 event in London."
Don't cop a feel on the first date, Vince
But just who are these self-styled love gods, charging up to £500 a day to impart their love skills? And why do they think they're qualified to teach men how to handle the fairer sex? From the collection of bad jeans, daft nicknames and, dare I say it, handcuffs as fashion accessories - they don't look like the world's finest seducers.
"I used to be so useless with women," Anthony, a student, explains. "Then I read The Game." Written by Neil Strauss who is hailed as the king of PUAs, The Game is a controversial book that teaches men how to become experts at seducing women by approaching as many ladies as possible using a range of techniques, such as maintaining eye-contact and laying on the compliments. Before he got together with Katy Perry, Russell Brand was a fan, which should tell you all you need to know¿
After reading The Game, Anthony went out on his own every night for four months to practise approaching women. "I had a different girl in my bed every week," he claims. "But I quickly realised it wasn't a good thing. I was becoming addicted to the attention and it drove my friends away. I didn't see them for months - so I decided to channel my energy into something more positive - the idea of a convention to help other men seemed like the perfect idea."
And so Anthony set up The 21 Convention. His self-belief and enthusiasm are infectious. In fact he seems like a genuinely nice guy. "I just want to help other men work on themselves, to become stronger and more confident," he explains.
With five speakers and nine hours of talks a day, the programme is intense. At 43, Vince Kelvin, who used to teach self-help courses, is one of the oldest PUAs here. Standing at around 5ft 6, with a dress sense best described as 'urban cowboy', he's got the most blindingly white teeth and all-American smile I've ever seen. So far, so not a love god. But his chat and charisma make him oddly compelling. And it's not just me who thinks so. He claims his bedpost has over 100 notches - including over 30 women in three months - and one look at his wife Amy, a hot, blonde 30-something,is proof in itself Vince must have something special.
Is Helen laughing at him or with him?
Vince got into the scene after a nasty break-up with his ex-wife. "I hit rock-bottom," he says. "I had such bad 'approach anxiety' that every time I tried to speak to women, I'd imagine my ex-wife was there and I'd go mute." He started reading self-improvement books and working with a hypnotist who taught him to self-hypnotise to convince himself that he could do better with the opposite sex. "I never use it on the ladies though," he quickly reassures, staring deep into my eyes.
He's not the hottest bloke on the block, so what makes him so successful? "Experience, passion and an appreciation of women," he explains. "I remember when I couldn't meet women. I think that's what makes me good at what I do. I've been there."
I'm also surprised by Frederick 'Satisfaction', 28, from Holland. He got into the 'business' after a particularly bad relationship ended, and three years without sex. "I think every good coach should have a basis in social psychology," he says, explaining how he uses his training in neuro-linguistic programming - which combines hypnosis with a language of gestures and verbal clues - when he's coaching other men. Frederick, a former teacher, spends half his sessions delving into his client's personal lives to work out what's stopping them being successful. "More often than not it's their self-esteem that needs to be boosted," he explains.
Richard and his trusty flipchart
Representing London is Richard 'Gambler' La Ruina, 30, who's what your gran would call a 'one'. A master of the traditional 'game', he has a repertoire of subtle approaches, using conversation openers rather than cheesy chat-up lines, piquing a woman's interest by analysing her hand-writing or body language. Off-stage, Richard admits he'd not even kissed a girl until he was 21 years old.
"I studied 'picking-up' books for 12 hours a day," he confesses. "Once I felt like I'd learnt everything I could, I went out to try and meet women and realised that I wasn't scared of them any more. Within about a month, I'd lost my virginity. I was 25."
Being a teenage loser in love is a recurrent theme with the PUAs. Saved by their version of the Bible, they turned their love lives around and then decided to pass on their skills to other men - like the men they used to be. In the process, they've probably also learned to love the sound of their own voices and how to draw a pie chart dedicated to dating achievements, but their success stories speak for themselves.
American coach Psych tells me about the virgin who lived in his mum's basement, who's now married and expecting his second child thanks to the PUAs' help. Meanwhile, Vince cites the man he saved from suicide because he couldn't get a woman. And a quick look at Richard's Facebook shows reams of messages from men professing their gratitude for turning their lives around.
"Yes it's an ear, Richard, so what?"
Nothing, however, prepared me for Jared 'Ratisse' Dwyer, 27, from Florida. The former student, has only been in Sweden for four days, and he's already had sex with three women. He seems to want me to be number four. Despite accessorising his belt with a pair of handcuffs, he's actually the best-looking of the trainers. "Let's go somewhere quieter," he urges, running his hands up and down my arms. OK, so I am single and there is a bit of me that considers it for a moment. But only for research purposes. Don't worry, I didn't.
So who are these guys who have flown in from all over the world to sit in an industrial estate and learn how to get off with women? To my surprise, they're not all clueless geeks. Thomas*, 28, a tall smiley Dutch bloke, wants to learn how to be more confident. "I know it should be easy, but I find flirting so stressful," he says. And Dan*, 30, a gorgeous indie guy with floppy blonde hair is here to work out how he can keep a girlfriend. "Having a relationship is hard," he explains. "I want to learn how to open up more."
There are, of course, a handful of men wanting to meet as many women as possible. "I'm the biggest slut I know," Mike*, 23, boasts. "I've convinced my girlfriend to have an open relationship and I'm here to learn how to meet more women." Nice.
Jason explains why triangles are the key to women
Around three-quarters of the audience have been on similar courses. Some follow their favourite PUAs around the world, and there are books and DVDS on sale, as well as the chance to book into bootcamps or get one-on-one training. Which makes me wonder if I'm in the wrong career. I could easily tell men where they're going wrong with women.
After three days in Stockholm, I'm actually pleasantly surprised with some of the PUAs' teaching. I can't help but think, if men took the basics of it - the confidence and the positive-thinking - and left the chat-up lines behind they'd be far more successful. As for me, as cynical as I am, hanging out with men who love women has been hilarious, ridiculous and surprisingly insightful.
  • The 21 Convention will be in London from June 1-5, 2011. Visit The21convention.com for more information.
'I still get rejected'

Professional pick-up artist, Jared 'Ratisse' Dwyer, 27, from Florida, explains why he became a PUA


"When I was growing up, I was crippled by low self-esteem. Too terrified to ask girls out, I thought everyone was better than me. Then, when I was 17, I met a Russian girl called Anna in a shopping centre. We had a real connection and, a month later, I had sex for the first time. It was amazing and it made me see myself in a completely different light. Anna thought I was attractive and fun to be around, so I decided to believe that as well, even after she dumped me a few months later for someone else.
After reading The Game, something suddenly clicked in my brain. I'd always been quite analytical, so I decided to start studying dating as a science in a bid to find the love of my life. The first thing The Game advised was to try going out three-to-seven times a week, so I bit the bullet. Bars, clubs, shopping centres I tried to chat-up every single beautiful woman I saw.
The Game also explained compliments were a good opener, so I memorised some routines. Of course I was still nervous, but even when women turned me down, I was still proud of myself for trying.
Over time it got easier and my success rate improved as I became more confident. I'd get a kiss, then a phone number, then a date and then sex. Before long, I was sleeping with around 20 women a month, but it didn't make me feel sleazy. I was looking for love after all.
I couldn't believe how successful I'd been, so two years ago I decided to help other men struggling with dating, too.
Now I charge $750 (£510) a day to teach them how to connect with women - how to go in for the first kiss, how to change their opinion of themselves. But it's up to them to put my teaching into practise.
I still get rejected occasionally, but now I take it all in my stride. In the last three years, I've slept with more than 140 women, and been in love twice. However, I won't stop until I've found the person I'll spend the rest of my life with."

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