The Number Close: A Key PUA Strategy in The Game

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What is a number close? How did Style the PUA use the number close technique?

A number close refers to a pickup technique where the end goal is to secure a woman’s number. The number close is part of the Mystery method, and was adopted by other PUAs, including Neil Strauss aka Style.

What is a Number Close?

Mystery didn’t know that the seduction community existed, so he conducted his own research. He studied women and their reactions when he tried to hit on them. Over 10 years, Mystery pieced together the principles of social interaction and the patterns of male-female dynamics.

Mystery developed techniques that incorporated magic with the lessons he’d learned. His strategy—which he dubbed the Mystery Method—broke down into these steps:

  1. Keep her wanting more. Create a false time constraint and say that you have to leave, but that you’d like to continue this another time. At this point, she should give you her number (PUAs call this a number close). 

Mystery’s whole strategy was designed to pick up women subtly. Rather than coming on directly and forcefully, Mystery instructed men to take their time and build the anticipation so that the woman would want to be hit on.

Style Impresses at the Workshop

It was the first night of Mystery’s workshop, and, as Mystery and Style prepared to take their students into the club for some on-the-ground training, Style felt intense pressure to prove himself in front of Mystery and the students. 

Style had a chance to put his skills to the test when a pair of gorgeous, confident-looking women walked into the bar. Style was nervous, but he knew all of the strategies—now he just had to use them with confidence, or else the women would see right through him. 

Style thought strategically. A successful pickup was a multistep process: 

  1. Approach: The women were facing the bar, so Style approached on the left side of the so-called obstacle, who sat between him and the woman he wanted to pick up. 
  2. Get in position: Style recited an opening line, and, meanwhile, he thought about how he would maneuver around the obstacle to get next to his target. When the women responded well to his opener, Style said that he wanted to show his target something, which was a ploy to move next to her. 
  3. Join them: Now Style needed to find a way to sit down, because if he spent too much time standing over the women, they would start to feel uncomfortable. Since there were no open stools, he instructed his target to stand up so that he could perform a trick—and, as soon as she did, he sat in her seat. 
  4. Develop rapport: Style joked with his target that he’d stolen her seat, and when she joked back, he knew he hadn’t overstepped. 
  5. Create a false time constraint: Style told the woman he had to leave soon, in order to ease any concern that he might hang around all night.
  6. Number close: When Style’s artificial time constraint was up, he told the woman he’d like to see her again while he was in town. With no further prodding, the woman wrote down her number and handed it to Style. 

Style’s performance demonstrated not only his credibility, but the credibility of the Mystery Method, giving the workshop students hope that, with some training, they could achieve the same.

Success Reveals Style’s Inner Doubt

One day, Style nervously approached a woman in Office Depot. Following the prescribed routine, he negged her, showed her an ESP trick, and made up a false time constraint. 

Style asked the woman how they could continue their conversation, and, to his surprise, she offered her phone number and email address. PUAs never give their phone numbers and never ask for a woman’s number directly—they must get the woman to offer her number. 

The woman had claimed to be a model, so when Style got home, he looked her up online. He discovered that he’d just scored the Playmate of the Year’s phone number. 

Although Style was thrilled, he felt unworthy. He’d learned the strategies, but hadn’t yet built the confidence to back them up. He never called. 

From Number Close to Kiss Close

Prior to Mystery’s workshop, Style had gone out every night to practice seduction. He’d mastered a routine that consistently helped him number close—but his pickups never went any further. 

Style had to get out of his head and get over his nerves in order to attempt a kiss-close. 

Style’s impressive success on the first night of the workshop gave him a confidence boost. But when he met the woman at a cafe a few days later, he couldn’t shake his anxiety. Despite her indicators of interest (IOIs), Style couldn’t bring himself to kiss-close.

To Pick Up a Woman, Be Willing to Lose Her

As Style watched Mystery’s pickups, Style realized what he was missing: He had to be willing to lose a woman in order to make moves bold enough to get her. 

Mystery had made a strategically impressive pickup on the first night of the workshop, and now he was sitting with the woman at a cafe and trying to figure out how he could get her to have sex with him. 

Mystery claimed he’d had a haircut earlier in the day and that he needed to take a bath, offering for the woman to come and help him wash up. The woman, who had a boyfriend, declined. 

Seemingly unperturbed, Mystery said goodbye and bluffed as if he was about to leave. The woman looked deflated. 

Mystery took a few steps, then turned and told her he was going to take a bath at a nearby hotel instead of going back to Marko’s apartment. He repeated his offer for her to join him—if not, he said, he’d email her in a couple weeks when he was back home in Canada. 

The woman paused briefly, and then she joined him.

A number close is one of many techniques that Style and other PUA used. The number close was meant to lead to potential future dates.

The Number Close: A Key PUA Strategy in The Game

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of Neil Strauss's "The Game" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full The Game summary :

  • The secrets of the Pickup Artist community in seducing women
  • How key Pickup Artist leaders fought with each other and split the group apart
  • 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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