SRC 90th Anniversary
Misc //

Leave Your Fedora at the Door

Tim Asimakis attended a free pick up artistry course and wants his money back.

Sincere Seduction Book

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It’s actually good to go up to women taking photos of themselves and offer to take a photo for them. You can have fun with the camera, perhaps just zoom into one of the girl’s boobs and just take a photo of her boobs. Pretend like you had no idea how that happened, make them laugh and try again.

  • Damien Diecke, Sincere Seduction

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My intentions were always journalistic, but I was still ashamed enough that I used a false name when I signed up for Damien Diecke’s free seminar How To Find, Approach, Charm & Date The Hottest Girls. Damien, head coach at the assuredly named School of Attraction, is a pick up artist, one of those people we’ve talked so much about since Julien Blanc came to Australia to teach audiences how to commit acts of sexual violence.

While Julien Blanc was fringe enough to have his tour cancelled and his visa torn up, the School of Attraction exists firmly in the mainstream.  Its website features glowing reviews from GQ, the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel 9 below a glossy banner promising ‘no-sleaze dating & pickup courses’. But with coaches choosing to go by the titles ‘Friend-Zone Hacker’ and ‘Night Charmer’, I didn’t have high hopes for my evening of dating advice.

Those hopes plunged lower still when I arrived. The dulcet tones of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines masked the awkward silence as sixty odd attendees filed into the seminar room.

After an uncomfortable wait for latecomers, the session opened with a testimonial from ex-student Ryan. Standing gingerly at the front of the room with one too many buttons undone on his good shirt and all the confidence of a year seven debater, he read his speech off painstakingly cutout paper palm cards. “You may find it surprising,” he began, with a clumsy hint of a sly wink, “but I used to be a nerd in high school.”

I didn’t find it that surprising.

***

When ladies are drunk, they get a case of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). One minute you’ll be talking to them, the next minute they’ll be distracted by the shiny disco ball.

  • Damien Diecke, Sincere Seduction

***

Looking around the room, the youthful, fedora-sporting neckbeards I’d been expecting were nowhere to be seen. Instead I was presented with ugly (by all conventional standards), mostly middle-aged (the average person was the wrong side of 40), lonely men. It seemed inevitable that some of them would continue to be lonely at the end of the course, some might become happier, and others would likely use the lessons learned from the School of Attraction to make women unsafe.

Sitting beside me was James.* His jeans were horribly stained, though not in the cool way jeans used to be stained in 2004, and behind his ear sat a big glob of face cream where nobody had bothered to point it out to him. In our brief conversations he explained how depressed he’d been feeling lately. At one point in the seminar we were told to congratulate ourselves and a huge grin spread across James’ face as he copied down the instruction in block capitals. I wondered if he knew that the School of Attraction reserved the right to reject students with mental health issues.

***

It’s no harder to approach a girl if she is sitting even though it can seem more intimidating (though it is harder to check out her ass).

  • Damien Diecke, Sincere Seduction

***

It wasn’t until pick-up pro Damien Diecke took control of the PowerPoint presentation that the ultimate villain of this piece was finally revealed. He was attractive and confident enough I guess (his career would presumably have been much shorter were he not), but his confidence felt laboriously learned. Each point was punctuated with a forced tricolon as this over-practiced Cicero spewed fortune-cookie misogyny at the eager crowd.

“Make her feel like she had to work to get you to like her.”

“A man’s ideal day is one in which he can do anything he wants. A woman’s ideal day is one her man has planned for her.”

The word consent was never mentioned. I felt the tiniest flash of hope when Damien told his cohort of future pick up artists to be honest about what they wanted, and to walk away from women who didn’t want the same things as them. Sadly, this was only important as an aid to prevent men from picking up the “wrong woman”, the woman with nothing going for her except her looks. Nothing suggested that it was because women were human beings deserving of even basic respect.

As the night wore on, women being everything and anything but human beings became a recurring theme. Women were lie detectors. Women were oranges on a super market shelf. Women were prey (as are straight men in a gay bar, apparently).

***

Touch her hand. It is one of the most sensitive places on the human body. If you don’t think touching a hand is sexual, try gently placing your hand on top of another man’s and see how weird it feels.

  • Damien Diecke, Sincere Seduction

***

It took almost two hours for Damien to deliver his lesson in degrading others, interspersed as it was with generic Cosmo dating tips. At every point his students were depressingly diligent. How to make eye contact bled into how to smile bled into how to talk bled into how to secure a number bled into how to date.

And then, abruptly, the advice was complete and Damien Diecke transitioned to salesman. For less than a cheap holiday you can take control of yourself! Roll up and change your life! Your quest to be better begins today! Multiple payment options and gold-plated satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!

I was meant to feel inspired so as that I’d hand over $3,450 for a further 13 weeks of coaching. But watching a quickly growing queue of people reaching for their credit cards in worship of their new saviour just made me sad. Unreasonably sad for myself, sad for the men who were about to pay to learn how to better degrade women, and sad for the women that they would turn into survivors.

With the session ending and Damien struggling to close the deal, he offered me a free copy of his best-selling book, Sincere Seduction: Using honesty and integrity to attract women. Bussing home alone I made the mistake of thumbing through it. The cover displayed that very title, painted onto a sign held aloft by Pinocchio, whose enlarged nose was nothing if not a testament to his dishonesty and insincerity.

I was too tired and too disheartened to try to decode what it was supposed to mean.