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The Pickup Artist's Guide for Women

Kelly is a writer and enjoys observing social interactions in all types of environments.

Confidant woman making the first move.

Confidant woman making the first move.

I recently read The Game by Neil Strauss. It's about the art of picking up women. It's an interesting enough read, but what I found frustrating is that the same advice doesn't apply to women. It's all about some men's twisted approach to the game, but it's also about the hope that a man might confidently walk into a bar or a bookstore and walk away with a phone number or a kiss, regardless of his looks. Don't women sometimes want the same thing?

A Female Pick-Up Artist?

As a woman, it can be flattering to be hit on. It can also be creepy. I like to make my own choices and would rather be the pursuer. I don't think many women are afraid of being bold, I think they're afraid of rejection. So here's a bold lady's insight on how to take the lead while avoiding getting shut down.

Below, you'll find Neil Strauss' 13 detailed steps to the game for men and my version, applicable for when it's a woman picking up a man. These rules don't apply when a woman is getting hit on, only when she's the one taking the lead and trying to get a guy.

Can you hit on a guy and then change your mind?

And please remember, if you think you're interested in someone but change your mind midway through the conversation, that's okay. All you have to do is excuse yourself and walk away. You started the conversation, you can also end it.

How to Pick Up a Guy: Tips for Female Pickup Artists

1. Smile when you walk into a room. If you see someone you're interested in, catch his eyes a few times before you approach.

(Strauss's rule for guys: "Smile when you walk into a room. See the group with the target and follow the three-second rule. Do not hesitate—approach instantly.")

The approach is similar but not quite the same for women. Smiling, radiating positivity is attractive, so it's a good position to put yourself in. After a quick scan of the room, you may find someone you think is worth approaching. Don't go over to him right away—instead, try to catch his eyes a few times before going over to plant the seed in his head that he's the one checking you out, and not vice-versa. Now you're in his head, and you're still radiating positivity, so of course, he'll be attracted to you. After settling into the room, don't wait for him to come to you. A lot of men are cowards, and it could take them all night. Walk over to him and his friends.

2. Don't improvise at first. Use a memorized opener followed by another memorized line or two.

(Strauss's rule for guys: "Recite a memorized opener, if not two or three in a row.")

The same goes for the women on this one. Preferably, say something that gives the guy a bit of power, something that makes him feel like maybe you're the one unsure of yourself and you're not quite sure what's going on. (While in reality, you have your 13 steps on lock). Ask, What do you guys think? Is it a whiskey or rum kind of night? What are you drinking? or "Do you know anything about the band?" This will give him confidence and allow him to do some mansplaining. Nobody likes to feel belittled or obligated, and everyone likes a little ego pat.

3. Include the whole group when you ask your first questions, but subtly let him know that he's special as an individual.

(Strauss's rule for guys: "The opener should open the group, not just the target. When talking, ignore the target for the most part. If there are men in the group, focus your attention on the men.")

As for women, definitely include the whole group, but make it clear who your target is. If it's a group of guys include everyone but keep making eye contact with the target. If there's any physical contact, don't touch anyone but him.

What if there are girls in the group?

Then you have to start off by addressing them. Girl-on-girl confrontations are easier than you think. Choose the most "alpha" female and compliment her. (This will be the one who is talking the most or has the attention of the group. Don't confuse this with the hottest girl in the group. Good hair does not always translate to power.)

Compliment her on something specific. But not her physicality because she'll get self-conscious and shoot you down or make you feel like a creep. Try "Wow, that scarf is amazing on you!" or "Hey I just wanted to come over and ask you about those shoes." You don't need to ask any further questions, she'll immediately start telling you where she got it or how much it cost, and then her friends might start chiming in about their own style, and before you know it, you're "in." If they don't warm at all, then they don't want you there and you should leave immediately. If they do accept you, then maybe you've become their friend-for-the-night and they will actively help to set you up with their single guy friend who they've probably already friend-zoned.

"Smiling, radiating positivity is attractive, so its a good position to put yourself in."

4. Call someone out on something, with style.

(Strauss's rule for guys: "Neg (light insult wrapped in a compliment) the target. Tell her, 'Its so cute. Your nose wiggles when you laugh.' Then get her friends to notice and laugh about it.")

Do not do this to men. Passive-aggressiveness gets you deemed a frosty bitch. But sass is a different story. Give your target, or one of his friends, shit for something. Be direct about it and make sure it's on-point, but say it with a smile so they know you're doing it all in good fun. Everyone will respect your attention to detail and that you have a little fire. It shows you're not dead in bed, whether they consciously make that association or not. If they come back with something witty, great! If it's about you, take it lightly and try to laugh it off. Leave it there, don't make it into a contest or, even worse, an argument.

5. Continue to address and subtly "woo" the whole group.

(Strauss's rule for guys: "Convey personality to the entire group. Do this by using stories, magic, anecdotes, and humor. Pay particular attention to the men and the less attractive women. During this time, the target will notice that you are the center of attention. You may perform various memorized pieces like the photo routine, but only for the obstacles.")

This is pretty much the same for women. But no guy likes a super Chatty Cathy. If you drone on and on about something, you might find your target's interest and eyes start to wander. If someone else starts telling a story, let them take the stage for a moment. Be an active listener and responder so that everyone, including the guy you're hitting on, feels like you are interesting.

6. Don't play negative games. Stay open and positive.

(Strauss's rule for guys: "Neg the target again if appropriate. If she wants to look at the pictures, for example, say, "Oh my god, she's so grabby. How do you roll with her?")

Don't do this. Just don't. I don't know how anyone—man or woman—puts up with negging. Stick with the positivity route.

Conversation is flowing smoothly.

Conversation is flowing smoothly.

7. Make sure he isn't taken.

(Strauss's rule for guys: Ask the group, 'So, how does everyone know each other?' If the target is with one of the guys, find out how long they've been together. If it's a serious relationship, eject politely by saying, 'Pleasure meeting you.')

This step is completely unnecessary for women. If a lady is there with her fella and you approach the group, she will make it clear that he's taken. Do not underestimate the intuition of another woman.

8. If he's not making his mutual interest obvious by now, leave.

(Strauss's rule for guys: "If she is not spoken for, say to the group, 'I've sort of been alienating your friend. Is it all right if I speak to her for a couple of minutes?' They always say, 'Uh, sure. If it's okay with her.' If you've executed the preceding steps correctly, she will agree.)

This step is also totally unnecessary for a girl to say to the guy. By this point you will have made it clear who you're interested in and the target will probably turn his back to his friends and start having a private conversation with you. If he isn't catching on to any of your subtle but obvious signals then he's not interested or has no game and either way you should walk away.

9. If you're ready for physical contact, make it fleeing.

(Strauss's rule for guys: "Isolate her from the group by telling her you want to show her something cool. Take her to sit with you nearby. As you lead her through the crowd, do a kino test (touch test) by holding her hand. If she squeezes back, it's on. Start looking for other IOI's (indicators of interest).")

As a woman, you can start physical contact as soon as you want. But make it fleeting. Don't hold their hand. Don't put your arm around them. That's a guy move. Instead, when you say "You crack me up," follow it with a shoulder squeeze. "That's quite the hair" and straight-up touch their hair. Guys like being touched. Just don't be clingy about it.

10. Let him impress you.

(Strauss's rule for guys: "Sit with her and perform a rune reading, an ESP test, or any other demonstration that will fascinate and intrigue her.")

Don't try to impress him with your tricks or your life credentials. Let him impress you. Or let him teach you something. It helps to act like you're impressed. "Wow, I never knew so much went into mulching a lawn. Fascinating!"

"Guys like being touched. Just don't be clingy about it."

11. Repeat steps 1,2,3,5, and/or 9.

(Strauss's rule for guys: "Tell her, 'Beauty is common but what's rare is a great energy and outlook on life. Tell me, what do you have inside that would make me want to know you as more than a mere face in the crowd?' If she begins to list qualities, this is a positive indicator.")

Just don't. Skip ahead. Guys do not need this much baiting. You'll be good with some combo of 1,2,3,5, and 9.

12. Leave a little room in the conversation.

(Strauss's rule for guys: "Stop talking. Does she reinitiate the chat with a question that begins with the word 'So?' If she does, you've now seen three indicators and can get closer.")

Stop talking and resist the urge to fill the silence. A lot of women try to make other people comfortable in tense or awkward situations. Sometimes this translates to filling silences with random rambles instead of letting the pause hang. Let it hang this time. Make your body language obvious. Step closer to him. Give his side a little squeeze. Make eye contact with your face close to his. Hopefully, he'll take the fucking hint.

13. Ask about kissing. . . then get his number and leave.

(Strauss's rule for guys: "Say, out of the blue, 'Would you like to kiss me?' If the setting or circumstances aren't conducive to physical intimacy, then give yourself a time constraint by saying, 'I have to go, but we should continue this.' Then get her number and leave.)

Here we are. The final step is the only step that men and women share when practicing the pursuit of the game.

Mission accomplished!

Mission accomplished!


I have observed, been a recipient of, and been an active participant of these steps. It's a straightforward route to the art of dating. And I think it's much more exciting than swiping left or right. I urge you, meek and brash alike, be a little daring and give this a try!