Attendees are shepherded to bars for hands-on experience by master-PUA “trainers” with their own pseudonymous monickers (Captain Jack, Hi Roller, Keychain, and so forth). Mystery’s website, Venusian Arts, doesn’t list prices, but the three-day workshops marketed by Venusian Arts’s top competitor, Love Systems—run by Nick Savoy (real name Nicholas Benedict), a business partner of Mystery’s until a nasty 2007 split—cost ,997 apiece, with a 9 deposit.
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At the Hampton Inn where Max was staying, he introduced Courtney to his dog: “Say hello to the new slut.” The next morning, after some sessions of “jackhammering a sidewalk,” as she described his sexual technique (although she did concede that he was a “great kisser”), he handed her $20 for the taxi ride of shame back to her apartment. A.”, feminist Jaclyn Friedman, who inexplicably blamed Max’s perverse success with females (half his fans, perhaps the more enthusiastic half, are female) on abstinence-only sex education, sniffed that she found his “antics revolting,” blasted his “unapologetic misogyny,” and accused him of contributing to a campus atmosphere that allows 150,000 young women to be raped every academic year.
(Friedman derived that extraordinarily high figure by counting drunken sexual encounters between students as rape.) Amanda Marcotte, the feminist blogger briefly hired by John Edwards during his presidential campaign, chimed in, accusing Max of a “bone-deep hatred of sexual women”—and also of possible “sexual assault” because he had bragged on his website about sleeping with a drunk girl while a friend hidden in a closet filmed the encounter. Next to her story she posted a photograph of her with Max that she had a friend take at the bar.
Jeffries’s most famous pupil is a Canadian-born former stage magician called Erik James Horvat-Markovic who subsequently changed his name first to Erik von Markovik and later to just plain Mystery.
Most would-be pickup mentors assume new names, perhaps to signify their new identities. David De Angelo of Double Your Dating was born Eben Pagan.
Watching video-clips of workshops in session, with flashily attired mentors strutting and spurting acronyms in front of earnest pupils in search of arm candy will remind you of nothing so much as those all-day “Get Rich Buying Foreclosed Property for Pennies” seminars that target another male yearning.
In the late 1990s, Mystery developed a precise and exacting “algorithm” of moves and routines—pre-scripted lines to be practiced in the field—that are virtually guaranteed (according to Mystery at least) to lure a female into your bed after just seven hours in her company from a cold turkey meeting in a public place. Mystery advises his readers not to bother with any female who rates lower than a 6 (“OK-looking,” in his parlance) on the 1 to 10 scale, while assuring them that if they follow his advice, they can readily score a “supermodel hot” 10.It helps, of course, that there’s currently a buyer’s market in women who are up for just about anything with the right kind of cad, what with delayed marriage (the average age for a woman’s first wedding is now 26, compared with 20 in 1960, according to the University of Virginia-based National Marriage Project’s latest report); reliable contraception; and advances in antibiotics (no more worries about what used to be called venereal disease). On the one hand, she decried the double-standard unfairness of labeling a girl who fools around with too many boys a “slut,” and, on the other, she lionized “the Slut” (her capitalization) as the enviable epitome of feminist freedom and feminist transgression against puritanical social norms. It’s the underlying theme of Eve Ensler’s girls-talk-dirty titled “Sluts” has made so many women’s studies reading lists that term-paper mills sell canned essays purporting to dissect it.No-fault divorce, moreover, has pushed the marriage-dissolution rate up to between 40 and 50 percent and swelled the single-female population with “cougars” in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. A group calling itself the Women’s Direct Action Collective issued a manifesto in 2007 titled insisting that “a woman should have the right to be sexual in any way she chooses” and that easy availability was “a positive assertion of sexual identity.” In other words, if people call you a whore because you, say, fall into bed with someone whose name you can’t quite remember, that’s their problem.In May, feminist picketers so disrupted an appearance by Max at Ohio State University that he needed a police escort to get away. The photo shows a rosy-cheeked strawberry blonde who, although no Scarlett Johansson, is no Ugly Betty either (her C-cup bustline, much in evidence both underneath and spilling over her strapless top, doesn’t hurt).She is also grinning from ear to ear, her smile as wide as a cantaloupe slice.All the sites, many of them with chat rooms for seeking advice and trading conquest yarns, peddle self-help books, CDs, DVDs, and other merchandise.