Described as the documentary that ‘every woman needs to see’, The Pickup Game is exposing the dangers and techniques of the elusive pickup industry.
The multi-million dollar ‘pickup’ industry has been shrouded by obscurity and secrecy since its beginnings in the 1980s. With hundreds of self-proclaimed pickup artists declaring they can make women fall head over heels in love with them, the industry has been rife with unsavoury and unethical dating techniques for decades. UK-based filmmakers and brothers Matthew and Barnaby O’Connor have since decided to expose the dangers and controversy of the industry through their documentary, The Pickup Game, which offers a view behind the industry’s veil with unprecedented access to various contributors that have operated within the space. Speaking with BN1 is Minnie Lane, one of the industry’s only female coaches who features in the documentary. Early on in her career, she realised the danger of pickup companies and left the industry to start her own coaching company that offers a more genuine and honest way of teaching dating advice.
Here, Minnie delves into the corrupt practices of the pickup industry and details how building your self worth is the only secret to success.
In your own words, how would you describe the Pickup industry?
A vast, largely underground industry of mostly men teaching other men how to get women into bed. Like any industry of its size, there is a wide range of characters involved. Some of the advice is relatively harmless, but unfortunately, there is a significant dark side to the industry, with men teaching others how to manipulate, control and even sexually abuse women. This side is as dark as it gets, with three men currently in jail for an incident that happened during a ‘coaching’ session.
What was your experience of working in the industry when you first started out over 10 years ago?
During the time I worked in the industry, I always felt conflicted. On one hand, I could see the majority of the students were decent guys who just needed a little help. They often would gain confidence and start to get more interest from women, but something also didn’t feel right. I started to analyse the advice and realised it was hugely flawed with very damaging long-term consequences for everyone involved. I saw so many coaches turn from decent guys into emotionless predators. They weren’t happy at all and the same pattern was getting passed onto students. I left and worked on a better way of doing things.
How does it differ now?
The industry has changed a lot in the past few years from pressures like this documentary and #metoo. The advice is generally better these days, but there is also a lot of disingenuous rebranding going on with people advertising ideas like authenticity and self-development when they are actually teaching a hybrid of self-development and ego-development. There is a real lack of understanding in the world about the difference between these two ideas and it can be very difficult for a student to tell the difference between a good coach and a bad coach. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of bad teaching going on.
How does your practice differ from that of the original ‘PUAs’?
In many ways, it’s the opposite. Pick up techniques teach men to subtly disconnect from themselves to create an alpha male character they can confidently ‘play’ to attract women and avoid rejection. I teach men to go further into themselves and get rid of fear-based blocks that are in the way of their natural confidence instead. I also teach them to understand the dynamics and building blocks of creative conversation rather than giving them packaged lines and routines. It takes courage and vulnerability to attract a partner who’s genuinely a good fit and to become truly comfortable with intimacy.
Tell me about the Pickup Game documentary and what it is trying to portray?
The documentary exposes the dark side of the industry and also shows how slippery the slope can be from learning a few simple routines to becoming an emotionless, ego-fuelled womaniser. It’s a warning to both men and women.
How beneficial do you think this documentary is to watch, especially for women?
The main benefit of this documentary will be the raising of awareness. These behaviours simply won’t be able to survive once people are able to quickly recognise them. I think anyone can get value from this documentary, as it exposes the human condition and the consequences of following our egos, which we’re all guilty of in some ways.
Do you think it’s important for the pickup industry to be called out and exposed?
Yes, but not for the purpose of blaming and shaming. The purpose is to try and make things better, which anyone can do once they recognise the error of their ways. Many people have ditched the pickup industry and found true love. People end up victims of this industry because they don’t realise there is a better way. We want to point out that there is, and the alternative is love, connection and real relationships.
How can women recognise the signs of PUAs?
There tends to be a game of ‘push-pull’ with PUAs, so if you feel you’re getting mixed signals or start to feel very confused about a man’s intentions or feelings, it’s best to respect yourself enough to walk away. The best advice I can give women is to work on their own self-worth. The worst pick up techniques are designed to subtly target women’s insecurities and knock their confidence, so they don’t work on women with high self-worth.
What advice would you give to men who are actively seeking the help of a PUA?
I have a lot of empathy for men who get sucked into the industry, as it can be very unclear where to turn for decent advice. Again, my advice is to work on your own self-worth. Try to let go of the past, accept yourself in the present and develop a clear picture of the best possible future man you could become. Take steps each day to get yourself closer to that person and recognise your contribution to the planet. There’s nothing more attractive than a man who truly knows himself and does what he can to make the world a better place.
Finally, what can viewers learn from the Pickup Game?
We can all be reminded of the true cost of seeking short-term pleasures and power trips, instead of long-term love and true connection. Unfortunately, we live in a world that often encourages us to value the wrong things and there are serious consequences to our wellbeing when we follow the wrong path. Strong relationships have been shown time and time again to be the strongest predictor of happiness and longevity. It can take courage and commitment to build true, lasting connections with others, but it’s always worth it.
The Pickup Game is now available on V.O.D across Amazon Video, iTunes, and Google Play Store.