Pick-up artistry is the idea that there's a certain set of actions that, when used, will make women swoon, give you their phone number and go home with you. The idea entered pop culture in 2005 with the book The Game , and reached its nadir in "The Pick-Up Artist," the Vh1 show where Mystery, a pick-up artist, showed regular guys how to land dates.
To me, pick-up artistry has two sides. It's good if it teaches socially awkward guys skills to interact with people and if it instills confidence in guys who are afraid they have no game. But the word "game" is part of the problem. When guys start to think about getting girls as prizes for winning the competition the idea goes too far.
In fact these techniques actually hurt men, because they pretend to teach confidence but really they're teaching false security. Men aren't learning how to connect with women, they're learning how to trick women into thinking they're genuine, which may feel better at the club or bar, but is actually worse in the long run.
So the idea of inner game is a welcome change. Classes like Pickup 101, Ultimate Man and the Authentic Man Program acknowledge that "outer game" might score you a phone number, but it probably won't find you a life-long mate.
In an essay for Common Ground, Andy Isaacson attends the Authentic Man Program, where dudes learn to tune into their bodies, remain grounded as they approach women and let the conversation flow naturally instead of trying to manipulate it to get a phone number. Basically, the class shows guy how to be natural and comfortable. It's like group therapy in the guise of learning to pick up women.
The article also gives a history of pick up artistry. Who knew that there were classic books in this genre? Apparently How To Pick Up Girls! was one of the first.
I'm glad to hear that inner game is overtaking outer game as the cool pick-up technique. If it has to come in a how-to-get-girls package, at least it's a step in the right direction. Hopefully these guys will realize that landing a girlfriend won't automatically make them happy—the self-knowledge they gain from the course is what they're really after. After all, self-knowledge is a net positive, no matter where it comes from.