What happens when an aging pickup artist of legendary proportions falls from grace and is supplanted by a younger crop of studs? And how does the elder Don Juan deal with seeing his classroom-centered “hypnosis” strategies made obsolete by the bolder, hacker-inspired models of the next generation?
Author Neil Strauss devotes part of his bestselling book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists to just such a real-world changing of the guard. It’s amusing to read the latest in the world of Ross Jeffries, the original “speed seducer,” because I had personally crossed paths with the man back in 1999, and it made a lasting impression.
He’d invited me, as manager of the webzine GettingIt.com, to attend one of his weekend-long seminars teaching geeks and losers how to pick up women. It was as absurd and ridiculous as you would imagine such an event should be.
Later, after we published a negative article about the course and the man, he lashed out, threatened to sue, and then backed down. Just a year ago he returned to the comments section of the article and, in an effort to recover his reputation, questioned my journalistic objectivity.
Thanks, Ross, for allowing me to now expand upon my memorable time at your seminar.
I'd attended according to Jeffries' invite, which allowed two people, a male and a female, to sit in. So I brought the zine's sex editor, Cara Bruce, along. She later wrote about the experience here. Sadly for her, she was extremely tired from partying the night before, and soon after swallowing a questionable “wake me up” pill, she fell asleep during Ross' class. About 30 minutes later, he noticed and jarred her awake by screaming at her. When Cara awoke, she was tripping balls, eyes bugging wildly, and the sight of Ross' hideous mug barking in her face was enough to really freak her out. She grabbed my forearm for support and I led her into the hallway for reassurance before we returned to class.
But it was all the other stuff we saw that day that freaked me out. I expected a playful, if sexist presentation of half-baked pickup advice. But when Jeffries' hostility and aggression came whining to the surface, I became shocked that anyone would willingly sit through such treatment.
Nowadays, Ross is in a fight for his career and his relevance. The next generation of pickup artists, like author of “The Game,” Neil Strauss, who mentored under the best PUAs (including Jeffries) before ascending the ranks himself, are blowing Jeffries out of the water with field seminars where they take chumps into clubs, and proceed to demonstrate, guide, and tutor in the skills of macking (or rather, “FMAC”ing — Find, Meet, Attract, Close) on girls.
Indeed, all aspects of “seduction” (even this term has evolved — it’s called “sarging” now) have been profoundly affected by the Internet since the days of Jeffries' initial groundbreaking workshops that cost upwards of $800 per person. PUAs now openly share their best strategies with each other, and they deconstruct social dynamics like superstar computer hackers cracking code on crystal meth.
"Me personally, I’d never spend money on something I can persuade someone else to purchase for me," says nlpimp in the GettingIt.com article's comments. "And thank God for the Internet, because it allowed me to attain these skills ABSOLUTELY FREE."
But there are certain types of instruction you simply cannot get online (yet). For a price into the thousands, a peacock of a stud will snatch you from in front of that computer, whisk you off in a limo, and toss you into a thumping night club crawling with HBs (hot babes). They'll watch over your shoulder while you steal the show from the very same alpha males that have always taunted you and banged what should have been YOUR cooter.
Ross Jeffries, on the other hand, has a different focus. He's in his mid-40s, so he sticks mostly to the classroom, and teaches his students scripts to memorize and recite, like this "blow job pattern" found on the Internet:
Yeah well, do you like chocolate? (Or is there a food that when you see it you absolutely have to put it in your mouth?) … And then there’s that moment, that moment when the first molecule of chocolate touches your tongue and you know it’s inside your mouth and you just want to keep it there because it’s so rich and so good. And there’s that extra special warmth when you swallow that sweetness down.
If the above seems like it would not quite yield the speaker a blow job in the real world, keep in mind that Ross puts just as much effort into conquering the men he teaches as he does teaching them how to conquer their fears with women. He has built a cult that specializes in humiliating the guys who come to him, using his students' deep inward pain, and hypnotic suggestion. Ross’ sessions are insulated, intense, and very male-centric.
In Strauss' book (a great read even if you're not desperate to learn Lothario's trade secrets), the author, who was already an established writer of rock star biographies before becoming a pickup artist, tells the story of how he too was invited early on by Jeffries to attend a seminar for free. Strauss accepted but quickly became alarmed by Ross' obsessive need to get him to disparage other pickup artists and pledge exclusive allegiance to him.
"You are being led into the inner sanctum of power, my young apprentice," he said to Strauss, "and the price for betrayal is dark beyond measure of your mortal mind."
The darkness of Jeffries’ dominance-inspired methods often shows itself as dark comedy. At one point, Strauss is cajoled by Jeffries to take him to a Hollywood party so he can hit on "real celebrities." At the party, he initially pretends to be Strauss' gay lover, but ends up following Carmen Electra around on all fours, sniffing her ass as if he were a dog.
"I made a mental note," writes Strauss, "never again to take Ross anywhere cool. It was an embarrassment."
Later in the book, when Strauss' close friend and master PUA, Mystery, has a nervous breakdown and is feeling suicidal, he blubbers that he doesn't want be "another Ross Jeffries." In what can only be a painful irony for Jeffries, what he started as a kind of homoerotic fraternity for geeks has, in the hands of his successors, evolved into a valid toolbox for getting laid, leaving him largely alone, outdated, and struggling desperately to maintain even the moniker of "seducer."