David DeAngelo and the  “Cocky Funny” PUA Technique

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "The Game" by Neil Strauss. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.

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Who is David DeAngelo, and what was his role in The Game? How did he know Neil Strauss?

David DeAngelo was a PUA who called his strategy “cocky funny.” David DeAngelo was one of the PUA gurus Neil Strauss met early in his journey into the PUA community, and he incorporated the cocky funny strategy into his own methods.

David DeAngelo: Cocky Funny

David DeAngelo the PUA had entered the seduction community as a student of Jeffries, but he broke out on his own after Jeffries allegedly hypnotized and seduced DeAngelo’s girlfriend.

DeAngelo developed and promoted a strategy called cocky funny, which was a hybrid of arrogance and humor. 

DeAngelo wrote a manifesto on cocky funny and distributed it through an online seduction newsletter called Cliff’s List. It was so well-received, that Cliff—who operated Cliff’s List—convinced DeAngelo to turn the 15-page guide into an e-book, which DeAngelo titled Double Your Dating. He went on to build a business by the same name. 

DeAngelo was unique among the gurus in several ways: 

  1. He wasn’t particularly charismatic or emphatic. He was a regular guy who was sharing what he’d learned through experience. But he was more organized as a businessman than the other gurus (for example, DeAngelo scripted his entire seminar), and he was a skilled marketer. 
  2. He presented his material in a way that was palatable to the public. He excluded or rephrased anything that seemed creepy or degrading toward women—except his suggestion that aspiring PUAs get tips on picking up women by reading a book on dog training. 
  3. He didn’t even use the word seduction, because it implied that he was tricking women into having sex with him. Instead, DeAngelo said he was teaching attraction, which entailed self-improvement that caused women to naturally gravitate toward him. 
  4. He didn’t engage directly with the online seduction community. He stopped posting on the underground seduction world’s message boards, and he operated his business solely in the public world. 

DeAngelo’s Background

David DeAngelo the PUA had been an unsuccessful real estate agent in Oregon when he decided to move to San Diego for a fresh start. DeAngelo was lonely in his new city, so he started teaching himself seduction tactics through online research and befriending men who were successful with women. 

Along the way, DeAngelo met Riker, who was a student of Jeffries. Riker encouraged DeAngelo to practice seduction online, because facing rejection via instant messaging was less intimidating than face-to-face. DeAngelo took his advice and developed a strategy based on how women responded to his approaches. 

DeAngelo discovered that women were actually more receptive to his pickup when he relentlessly teased them in a playful way, which he dubbed cocky funny.

Zan’s Cocky Funny Field Report

One of David DeAngelo’s PUA followers, named Zan, was a master of cocky funny. 

Zan appeared to be genuinely cocky, playing up his seduction skills and touting his stories of conquest. Zan always assumed every woman was interested in him, and he insisted that if he believed it with enough conviction, the woman would, too. 

If a woman tried to reject Zan, he played dumb and acted as if the woman wasn’t making any sense. 

One day, Zan posted to Mystery’s Lounge about the cocky funny routine he used to pick up waitresses:

  1. When the waitress first came to the table, he pretended like he didn’t notice her for a few seconds. When he supposedly realized she was there, he appeared very interested in her. 
  2. He looked her up and down—long enough for her to notice, but not long enough to be creepy. Then he turned his body fully toward her, smiled, and winked. 
  3. He asked for her name as a means of breaking the ice. 
  4. Every time the waitress returned, he teased her that she kept coming back because she wanted to be around him. She started to play along with the game, which established a rapport. 
  5. He joked with the waitress that he’d call her, but he didn’t earnestly ask for her number. The purpose of the exchange was purely to make himself memorable.
  6. The next time he went to the restaurant, the waitress remembered him, so he picked up with an increased level of familiarity, putting his arm around her and saying what a good couple they’d make. The cocky funny strategy created a buffer that allowed him to push the boundaries, because she never knew whether he was being serious or joking. 
  7. He continued the jokes about dating, such as apologizing for not calling her last night, and chastising her for being a negligent girlfriend. 
  8. He transitioned from joking to serious. He created an opportunity to talk to the waitress one-on-one, and he asked her if she wanted him to call her.

Zan wrote that not only had he used the same routine on the other waitresses in the restaurant, but he also expected them to tell each other about what he’d said. He said that it was actually strategic that the waitresses knew he’d hit on all of them, because it created social proof—the idea that someone is more desirable if others are interested in him.

David DeAngelo the PUA developed his strategy based on his own experiences. As a top PUA guru, David DeAngelo helped guide Neil Strauss in the community.

David DeAngelo and the “Cocky Funny” PUA Technique

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  • The secrets of the Pickup Artist community in seducing women
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  • What author Neil Strauss took away about women from his years of training

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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