I generally avoid pickup-artist-related content — it’s one of my favorite parts of being retired from regular coaching. But when Tre Tre sent me a Salon article about the Simple Pickup guys on YouTube, I felt compelled to investigate.
I’ve watched all 19 videos on the Simple Pickup channel (I’m making this my excuse for why I’ve taken so long between posts), and I suspect I’ll be contradicting myself here. Because I was genuinely entertained by the guys, and I do think they have something important to teach. But the videos aren’t really meant to be educational. Kind of.
You see what I mean?
For the uninitiated, here goes: Simple Pickup are three ordinary-looking Southern California guys — Jason, Jesse and Kong — who appear to be in their mid-20s. The slickly produced episodes are spent coming up with outrageous-yet-honest ways to flirt with women on the street in the pursuit of phone numbers, and they collect many of them. In the process they made me laugh more than a few times.
To get an understanding of their “Jackass”-like stunts, just watch the opening seconds of the above video, where Jason gets on top of a cafe chair and shouts a random Internet meme, then uses it as an excuse to approach a girl.
The threesome also offer tips on how to talk to women, such as making eye contact. Just from Kong’s LOL-inducing impersonation of Mystery, I can see they’re well aware of the seduction community, and much like Jon Stewart, they straddle the line between entertainment and information. Their popularity is undeniable — they’ve got almost 130,000 subscribers.
So, do they get the GK stamp of approval? If I actually had a stamp?
I could make two reviews here: one review of Simple Pickup as entertainers, and one of them as role models on how to meet women. Because a Salon article with the headline, “Are these the greatest pickup artists of all time?” and the stance that Simple Pickup videos are the answer to frustrated guys seeking help, is no small claim.
The entertainment part is, well, simple: these guys are a riot. Unlike so many of the self-absorbed pickup dudes out there, they seem like normal, fun guys I’d enjoy hanging out with. They mix bravery, vulgarity and humility, and I can’t think of another show like it. If you don’t mind cringing at hearing a guy in tight shorts tell a girl she likes semen on her face (she’s not offended), you’ll enjoy this.
Evaluating the videos’ instructional value is much trickier.
The underlying message of the show is that a guy can say anything to a woman, as long as he believes in it, and connect with her. Well, not anything. But they’re generally right — getting a woman’s number is easy and should be fun.
As inspiration, the videos are tough to beat. They’re aimed at a younger crowd, but if at any age you can’t get in the mood to meet women after watching the guys flirt with wrestling catch phrases, you might as well consider castration. I know I’ve headed out with a hop in my step after watching them.
While it’s easy to question the guys’ game when the videos are so highly edited, I’m no hater: they seem legit to me. I’ve been close enough to the industry to know of some staged pickups on camera and I can smell a fake — this doesn’t look fake, and there are some teachable moments:
- Their overall vibe and body language is well worth studying. They display just the right amount of indifference, fun and confidence.
- While dressed as a “Jersey Shore” douchebag, Jason does a great job of showing commitment in getting a girl to stop and talk to him, even when she had to feed her parking meter.
- When they’re not going for shock value, their approaches are straightforward and charming, such as Jesse’s approach that led to walking off with a girl (one of the few closes that go beyond a number).
- Jason gives a textbook example of approaching a girl who’s sitting with another guy.
- Though I’m sure much of what they say is scripted for humor, they also respond with wit when challenged. Such as here.
- The way they laugh off being rejected is perhaps more instructive than anything.
- We don’t see much seduction out of them beyond phone numbers, but they do have one nighttime video in Vegas where they each appear to pull women to their hotel rooms, and they make it look good.
I should add that all this content is free, and the guys are generous about responding to their viewers. That’s more than I can say about all the seduction gurus who charge a king’s ransom for their products with little to no engagement.
Now, for the criticism. There’s an abundance of content over context here, and if we’re going to call the men of Simple Pickup instructors, the show could use more of the latter.
I agree with much of the advice the guys dispense in their five “Simple Tips” episodes. But I didn’t care for their first one, which is about how to touch a woman. While you can kiss a reluctant girl right away in a club or pull her closer when she moves away, it doesn’t mean you should. This might especially mislead guys who aren’t club-goers or who are just not that aggressive. It’s one time where the show’s stars seem too “pickupy” for my taste.
Finally, getting a woman’s number — that’s the show’s title — is so easy, it’s not necessarily an accomplishment. If the guy didn’t connect with her or rushed the conversation, often a woman would rather hand over her number and not respond rather than outright refuse him. I’ve always emphasized instant dates over numbers with guys, and that’s where the real results come.
Now, perhaps the Simple Pickup guys would say the numbers are beside the point. What they’re really teaching is how to behave confidently around women, and I might buy that argument.
But because we rarely see an interaction that lasts more than a few seconds at a time, it’s tough to know what happened between the approach and the number or how long they talked. Or if they actually date any of these women. For instance, we see Kong end up with a number after she had initially turned him down. But we don’t see what happened in between, and like so many of the numbers they get, we can’t tell how solid it is.
Showing the meat of a conversation might make the show less entertaining, but it would make it more informative for a beginning guy.
Maybe that’s the ultimate stunt the guys haven’t exploited yet — use no stunts at all for one episode. Broadcast an interaction from start to finish and show how you can connect with a girl without the dick jokes.
So yes, I’m contradicting myself. Despite the Salon article’s contention, I don’t see the Simple Pickup guys as an evolutionary leap in teaching men how to connect with women. There’s still no substitute for in-person coaching. But if I have to choose between them and so many of the PUA gurus out there, I’ll gladly put on some Spandex and join them in their next adventure.