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Spoiler alert: Tips from new pick-up artist app

May 02, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • A screenshot of the app A Better Man by pick-up artist and author Neil Strauss.
A screenshot of the app A Better Man by pick-up artist and author Neil Strauss. (HarperCollins Publisher )

You've heard of apps that help you lose weight, and apps that help you exercise, but on Wednesday author and pick-up artist extraordinaire Neil Strauss launched A Better Man -- an app that helps awkward dudes pick up girls.

You might consider A Better Man a virtual coach that helps you learn the art of hitting on women by giving you real-life assignments and encouraging you to interact with strangers, no matter how uncomfortable it feels.

The core of the app is a series of timed missions that begin at Level 1, and get incrementally harder as you advance.

To help you get comfortable talking to strangers, a sample Level 1 mission requires you to make a comment about the weather to someone you don't know -- just something like, "Wow, beautiful day today."

The mission is complete once one person responds to you -- even if their response is just "get away from me." 

Not too hard, right?

But by the time you get to Level 4, the missions become more tricky. In one sample Level 4 mission, the app asks you to dial a random local number on your phone, and try to get a stranger to recommend a good movie.

This one is tough, so Strauss provides a sample script within the app:

"Hi, is Katie there? No? Well, maybe I can quickly ask you this instead?" Don't pause here and give them an opportunity to say no. "I want to see a movie tonight. And I was wondering, have you seen any good movies lately that you’d recommend?"

If the person on the other line is hesitant, he suggests you throw in a "because."

"Providing a reason, no matter how illogical (such as 'No, I'm serious because I'm in a rush'), psychologically influences people to accept unexpected behavior,"  he explains in the app.

You might say that A Better Man teaches young men social skills. You might also say it teaches them the art of manipulation.

I think both are probably right. 

One unintended effect of the app is that it teaches women to be skeptical of even the most benign interaction with a male stranger.

Yesterday on the train an uncomfortable looking man interrupted my reading to point out several helicopters that were hovering in the sky.

At the time I thought he genuinely just wanted to show me helicopters, but maybe he got a sneak peek at Strauss' app and was just checking off a mission.


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