PUA Terms: Lingo of the Secret Seduction Community

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What PUA terms do members of the seduction community use? What do these terms have to do with different PUA gurus and their methods?

These PUA terms are all a part of overall PUA strategies. The first step for Neil Strauss in the PUA community was taking workshops, understanding PUA terms and PUA jargon, and applying them.

Neil Strauss Joins The PUA Community

Neil Strauss, a journalist and the author of The Game, always struggled with women. Since he was a teenager, he felt self-conscious and awkward around the opposite sex, which led to rejection, creating a vicious cycle. 

Despite years of failure, Neil still wanted to date and have sex with women—he just couldn’t figure out how. Neil assumed that it took natural charisma and confidence to pick up women, and that he simply didn’t have it. 

Then, in the early 2000s, when Neil was in his early 30s, he got a call from a book editor who wanted him to write a book modeled after The How-to-Lay-Girls Guide, a manual for picking up women. The guide sourced advice from dozens of pickup artists (PUAs), and it had been circulating in an online community of men who exchanged tips and advice in the art of seduction. 

Neil took the assignment and began a two-year journey, during which he became a member—and then a guru—in the world of PUAs and wannabes. This book chronicles the two years Neil spent in the seduction community, the characters he met there, and their various hijinks. Along the way, he exposes readers to many of the methods that pickup artists (PUAs) use, as well as the history and context of this underground community.

The Seduction Community‘s PUA Terms

When Neil plunged into the seduction community’s online world of websites and message boards, he discovered an entire subculture. People used aliases—Neil’s would become Style—and they used a jargon that included PUA terms such as: 

  • AFC: average frustrated chump
  • AMOG: alpha male of the group
  • HB: hot babe
  • PUA: pickup artist
  • Sarging: picking up women

Members of the community wrote posts sharing strategies, divulging details of their exploits, or asking for advice that included these pickup artist terms. Beyond the virtual world, men in cities around the world gathered weekly to share techniques and then go to clubs together to put the tactics to use. 

The community’s leaders were a handful of PUAs who had reached guru status, each of whom taught disciples his distinct set of rules and principles of the pickup game. The gurus used a combination of psychology, magic tricks, and hypnosis to seduce women. 

Neil decided he wanted to meet all the gurus, and he planned to integrate techniques from each. The first guru he met was a Canadian magician named Mystery.

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, using the already existing pickup artist terms Style learned: 

  1. Walk into the club with a smile. A smile indicates that you’re confident, fun, and, above all, an alpha male. 
  2. Select a target (a woman you want to seduce) in a group. Don’t pick up women who are standing alone. 
  3. Follow the three-second rule: When you see a woman you’re interested in, approach her within three seconds. If you wait longer, you risk either overthinking it or staring at her too long and looking like a creep. 
  4. Approach the group confidently and start conversation with a scripted pickup line, such as, “It looks like the party’s over here” or “Did you see those two girls fighting outside?” The lines are simple; they’re just meant to get people talking. 
  5. Ignore your target. Instead, make her friends like you—especially anyone who would be likely to try to interfere with your pickup attempt (such as male friends). Winning over the group makes you seem like the life of the party, while ignoring your target makes her more eager for your attention. 
  6. Further provoke your target with a neg, which is a backhanded compliment or vague insult—for example, offer her gum after she talks, or tell her that her hair would look better if it were up/down. The neg reinforces your lack of interest and further injures the woman’s self-esteem.
  7. Isolate your target. Use an excuse to get her away from the group, such as saying that you want to show her something. 
  8. Look for indicators of interest (IOIs). For example, if she asks you a question about yourself, or if you squeeze her hands and she squeezes back. 
  9. Demonstrate an interesting skill, like a magic trick or an ESP test, to impress and intrigue her. 
  10. Once you get three IOIs, try to get her to kiss you by saying, “Would you like to kiss me?” This question is fool-proof: If she says, “yes,” you get a kiss (PUAs call this a kiss-close). If she says, “maybe,” you can say, “let’s find out,” and go in for a kiss. If she says, “no,” then you can deflect and say that you weren’t asking for one. 
  11. 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. Using this knowledge and the pickup artist terms he learned, Style became a full-fledge part of the pickup artist communitty.

Improving His Game 

It had only been a month since Style’s pickup education began while attending Mystery’s workshop—and soon he’d be helping Mystery lead a workshop. Style began training rigorously to improve his game in the six weeks before the next workshop, including learning different PUA terms and PUA jargon.

Style read books on a range of related subjects, including: 

  • Social dynamics 
  • Flirting 
  • Body language
  • Sexual technique 
  • Women’s sexual fantasies
  • Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), per Jeffries’ method
  • Magic and mind-reading, per Mystery’s method

Based on what he read about different subjects and PUA terms. Style also: 

  • Corrected his gestures and posture to make himself appear more confident 
  • Took singing and speech lessons to make his fast, muffled speech slower and clearer
  • Wore bright clothing and flashy accessories for peacocking, including fake piercings, feather boas, and light-up necklaces

Style went out constantly with Grimble, his wing Twotimer, and Jeffries. Style studied their sarging techniques, and he tried to emulate them, keeping in mind the many PUA terms and PUA jargon he’d studied so he could keep up with them.

Once he learned the PUA terms, Style began utilizing different methods when he went out. The PUA terms are specific to the community and made him feel as though he was a part of it.

PUA Terms: Lingo of the Secret Seduction Community

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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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