This Is What It’s Like To Be A Woman At A Pickup Artist Training Event

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I’ve always wondered what type of guy spends money on pickup artist (also known as “PUA”) classes and books. Thanks to a little bait-and-switch situation that Gina and I experienced last night, we were able to discover this knowledge firsthand.

A few weeks ago, Gina and I received an invitation to a “spa event” from a well-known local female event planner that specializes in events for women. The Eventbrite invitation stated the event (which was held in the spa of an upscale loop hotel) would feature complimentary cocktails and spa services – nothing more, nothing less.

As we approached the event check-in table, an event participant in front of us was arguing with the man and woman manning the table, asking why he had to fill out a survey in order to enter the event. We were waved to the front, and a woman handed us a slip of paper and told us that we should visit a website and take a personality assessment, because we’d need a sticker depicting our personality type in order to enter the event. For lack of anything better to do, we played along, discovered our personality type and received our stickers.

pickup artist training
As she passed us our stickers, the woman at the desk excitedly explained that we’d want to have these handy for Dr. Peter’s* presentation later. We slapped our stickers on and walked into the event, which was held in the cavernous waiting room of the spa. Ever the wallflowers, we headed to the back wall of the event and leaned there, scoping out the crowd.

“Is it just me, or is it weird that there are a lot of older men at this event and not many women?” Gina asked.

I took a look around, and she was right – for an event that was supposedly being put on by someone who specializes in women’s events, there was a strange mix of people – several dozen middle-aged men, a handful of younger guys and a very small group of women that looked just as confused as we felt. I looked back to the check-in table and saw another girl arguing that she shouldn’t have to take a test to attend an event she’d already paid for.

“Gina,” I said, “I feel like we just got tricked into paying $10 to attend some sort of sales pitch.”

As we stood there, men kept walking by, trying to make eye contact. It was like being in a club, but worse – we were sitting ducks in this small space. About ten minutes after we arrived, an older man with a strong Southern accent approached and introduced himself, and I unenthusiastically did the same. He asked us how we found out about this event, and I explained that we signed up expecting free spa services and had apparently fallen for a bait-and-switch, because there were no spa services to be seen, and the main event appeared to be the elusive Dr. Peter’s shady-sounding presentation.

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In an effort to get rid of him, I joined Gina in staring at my phone. After a few incredibly awkward moments, he piped up again and said, “So, what’s your personality type?”

We pointed rather un-enthusiastically to our stickers that had “PRINCESS” emblazoned across them, and he excitedly pointed the sticker on his chest and said, “I’m a PRINCE! Do you know what that is?”

“Yes,” I replied in a monotone voice, “it’s the exact same thing we are.”

Undeterred, he kept talking, explaining that he was visiting from Birmingham, Alabama. “Birmingham,” he continued, “is definitely a Romantic city. You know, I always thought of Miami as a Performer city, but as I was talking to people here, I realized that it’s more of a Romantic too.”

He continued to babble on, and it took me a few moments to realize that all of these terms were referencing different aspects of the personality test we had just taken. With a sinking feeling, I realized that I had probably just insulted someone who was affiliated with this event by making rude remarks about it.

“So, are you affiliated with this event in any way?” I asked.

“No, no” he responded, “I’m just here as an attendee.”

In confusion, I wondered how he knew so much about this assessment as he continued to ramble. Suddenly, he looked up at the event check-in table and exclaimed, “Ooh look – Dr. Peter is here!!”

“Great.” I responded flatly.

“Have you met him yet?” He said, “If not, I can introduce you.”

“That’s OK, I have no idea what this is even about.” I told him. In response, he asked me if we’d taken the assessment (didn’t we just talk about our personality types?) and began to ramble on about the assessment.

“You know,” he continued, “Dr. Peter and his assessment have truly changed people’s lives for the better! He’s truly doing an amazing thing here.”

After a few minutes of him babbling on about Dr. Peter in a very cult-like manner., I began to get a strange feeling. Trying to make sense of everything, I asked, “So, did you just find out about this event because you were staying at the hotel, or…?”

“Well, I am staying at the hotel” he stated, “and I’m here for the whole weekend. I’m not really sure what’s going on with this event, but this is an entire weekend-long thing. All of us guys are going to spend the weekend with Dr. Peter! We have classes during the day, and at night he’s going to take us out on the town and teach us everything he knows.”

At this exact moment, an older man that looked like the love child of Forrest Gump and Adolph Hitler approached, and it hit me: these guys HAD to be attending some sort of pickup artist training session, and “Dr. Peter” sounded like a PUA with a degree in psychology.

As he introduced Forrest Hitler, I could barely keep myself from cracking up at how fucked up this entire situation was. As soon as introductions were made, I turned to Gina and exclaimed, “Hey! Let’s go check out the spa!” We said goodbye to Birmingham and Forrest and pushed our way through the crowd.

As soon as we walked through the spa door, I yanked Gina into a corner and said, “Gina! I’m pretty sure we are at a fucking pickup artist training session. We need to go to the bathroom. NOW.”

We sat down in the locker room and I told her exactly what he’d said about being taken out on the town and Dr. Peter teaching them “everything he knows.”

We had a momentary freak-out that involved a bit of controlled screaming. After we’d calmed down, we decided to search the name of the assessment we had taken just to make sure we weren’t over-reacting. Sure enough, countless posts and press releases for “Alpha Male” training sessions popped up. Men were paying up to $4000 to attend this guy’s events. As for us? Well, it seems as if we had been duped into attending this event to essentially act as fresh meat for them to test their skills on.

pua training
After hiding in the locker room for about 15 minutes trying to figure out what to do, we decided to just go back out there and see how the event unfolded. After all, we realized, this would make for pretty great blog material.

As we made our way through the crowd, I noticed that all of the men were glancing furtively around with a desperate look in their eyes. I responded by rolling mine at them. I’ll be honest – at this point, I was pretty pissed. The people at this event seemed harmless enough and it wasn’t skeezy, but the fact that the event planner knowingly duped other women into attending such an event really angered me. I had no interest in helping men older than my father work on their pickup skills, and it was incredibly shady that this woman put other females into this situation.

We pushed our way back to our wall and stood there, waiting for something exciting to happen. Perhaps Dr. Peter would come out and brainwash us all into joining his cult? Instead, we spent the next hour or so scaring off would-be suitors with mean looks and people-watching.

“OH SHIT. I just made eye contact with Birmingham again.”

“Hey, that guy is cute… but he’s wearing gym shoes with his dress pants and button-down shirt. What the hell.”

“I don’t know, I think he might be here with Belly Shirt Girl.”

“Fuck. I just made eye contact with a guy that looks like he owns a cattle ranch in Texas.”

“Hey, that old guy is wearing a paisley shirt. Do you think Paisley Shirt Guy is here with Paisley Pants Woman? That would be cute.”

“Damn it! I just made eye contact with Texas Cattle Ranch Guy again.”

“Those guys are super Euro-trashy. Ew, and he’s wearing flip-flops!”

“I think they’re actually gay.”

“Oh… I guess they were duped, too.”

“Ooooh, he’s cute!”

“Lisa, that’s Shoe Guy.”

“Damn it. And apparently Shoe Guy hasn’t learned about undershirts yet. I can see right through his shirt.”

“He must be single. No woman would let him go dressed like that.”

“Shit. Birmingham looks like he’s about to come this way again.”


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After about an hour of this, we were herded into a mirrored workout room in the hotel’s gym, and the door was closed behind us.

“I think we’re about to be sold into the underground sex trade at this hotel,” I whispered to Gina.

We pressed ourselves up against the wall as close to the door as possible. We looked around and realized that the entire room was filled with men… and there was only one other woman in the room. Great.

The elusive Dr. Peter strolled in, picked up a microphone, and began cracking jokes.

“Raise your hand if you think women are interesting” he instructed.

Refusing to participate in this man’s schtick, Gina and I kept our hands down and glared. Two other men in the room did the same, and Dr. Peter decided to make them the butt of his joke.

“You guys didn’t raise your hands! Ha ha ha! I guess you don’t like women. Are you two homosexuals?! Ha ha ha! Ha!!! Sorry guys, my publicist isn’t here to reign me in.”

A group of confused-looking girls wandered in. He turned to them and said, “You ladies must be “Magicians”! I know this because I’m a psychologist.”

“Yeah, right.” I muttered. At this point, I had no interest in being polite, so I picked up my phone and started scrolling through Facebook, barely listening to Dr. Peter’s pitch.

He started by talking about sexual attraction and how it’s the root of every successful love relationship.


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“Humans don’t feel emotional or intellectual attraction first. Only sexual attraction. Every successful love relationship in history began with sexual attraction. If you don’t have sexual attraction first, your relationship will not be successful.”

A woman in the group (who had wandered in with her partner) raised her hand and said, ‘That’s not true. We connected on an intellectual level first.”

Her boyfriend agreed, insisting he’d had absolutely no attraction to her until he got to know her intellectually. I thought back to several relationships I’d been in in the past. I had absolutely zero attraction to them, yet once I got to know them on a personal level, the attraction later developed. Many people (women in particular) have probably had similar experiences.

Dr. Peter became flustered and tried to argue against them, insisting that there had to have been sexual attraction. They didn’t budge. After several minutes of back and forth and him trying to get them to agree with him, he gave up.

“Fine!” he exclaimed, “You guys can just go ahead and be the one out of 100 that ruins the Bell Curve! ha ha ha ha ha!”

At this point, he moved on to some “reptilian brain” bullshit.

He continued to babble on about sexual attraction and the difference between the needs of men and women in a relationship. Spoiler alert: men want sex, women want feelings. Fucking groundbreaking.


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“For example,” he continued, “porn is incredibly popular among men for this very reason, whereas women want feeling… which comes in the form of vibrators, ha ha ha ha ha. Vibrators are the ultimate objectification of the male body. Ha ha ha ha ha.”

At this point, we had been trapped in that room for around 15 minutes. I looked to my right, and Birmingham was leering at a very petite Asian girl that was there alone and began to corner her in, groping her shoulder. This was my cue to get the fuck out of there. The few women that were in the room began making a break for it, so Gina and I followed suit. We walked back into the main event space, where a handful of the women who had clearly been duped remained. We realized that this event wasn’t going to get any better and decided to cut our losses and get the fuck out of there.

I don’t know how much those men paid for this particular event, but if past events are any indication, then they likely dropped somewhere between $2500 – $4000 for the pleasure of acting as Dr. Peter’s groupies attending his PUA bootcamp for the weekend. Of course, that’s not including the men from the UK who also paid for a plane ticket all the way to Chicago to attend this event.

Of course, for men who can’t make it to one of his live bootcamps, Dr. Peter offers a wide array of subscription options, including the option to pay $37 per month to access his tips.

While I didn’t subscribe to his website, I did do a bit of recon on this “doctor”. Gems from this man’s advice I found scattered across the web include insights such as, “Symbolically, a woman’s purse is the genitalia.” 

Does this mean my purse giving off the wrong impression about my lady parts?! I like large purses, and I never clean them out. I guess I’m doomed to never have sex again because men will think I have a large, messy… you know what? Nevermind.


Another tidbit of advice states, “…She’ll test you by backing away to see how you react. If you maintain your composure and confidence, you’ll pass. She’ll likely take you back closer, meet your eyes, tilt her head, and open her mouth slightly, ready for a kiss.”

Why, yes! It’s almost like he can see right into my mind. I always make it a point to back away, then step forward, then tilt my head and leave my mouth hanging open before kissing someone. As a friend pointed out, “I think he’s thinking of some sort of exotic bird… not a woman.”

Oh, and let’s not forget this valuable piece of advice: Dr. Peter recommends that men wear white sunglasses at night, because then all the bitches will come flocking towards you in da club. (Let me know how that tip works out for you, gentlemen!)

To be fair, my issue wasn’t with Dr. Peter (although the stuff I found on his website does make me want to vomit). My issue is with the female event planner that tricked other women into attending this event. I won’t disclose her name, but I will say that what she did is an incredibly shitty thing.

As for the men that attended this event? Well, I certainly hope they get their money’s worth out of this weekend. Personally, all of them seemed like nice-enough guys, albeit slightly social awkward and wayyyy too old for the girls at the event. They easily approach a woman without scaring her off.

Men: I don’t care who you are, it’s safe to say that you probably don’t need PUA training, “expert” advice or anything of the sort to become better with women. I’ll give you two “PUA” tips, all for the low, low price of Free 99.

1) Be yourself. Pickup lines don’t work because they’re fake and disingenuous and just  make you appear to be sleazy.
2) Make her feel safe and approach her like you would a friend. 9/10 times,  women reject a man’s advances because they feel threatened. If you don’t come on too strong, don’t smother her, don’t make her feel as if she needs to “escape” you, then you’re already ahead of the game.

Women of Chicago: I have a tip for you, too! If a man approaches you and asks you what your personality type is this weekend, run.


*Note: Names have been changed. Birmingham’s name was not really “Birmingham”, and the doctor’s name is not Dr. Peter, and the details of his program have been changed (personality types, etc.) Oh, same goes for Paisley Shirt Guy, Belly Shirt Girl, and Forrest Hitler. Sorry to disappoint. 


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