Facebook Andrew Mashiko was once a pick-up artist. And before that he was an average frustrated chump - in pick-up slang, an AFC. He had just divorced. He was alone and worried he would stay that way.
He flew to Texas for a workshop with the man who called himself the world's top seducer, Adam Lyons. Then he paid for Real Social Dynamics RSD seminars, where he studied how to intimidate attractive women into submission, using aggressive physical techniques and a knowledge of psychology.
On Tuesday he had his visa cancelled on the grounds he was promoting abusive behaviour towards women. There had already been a petition calling for his deportation , and according to reports the wanted man was not even in the country anymore. He had flown out on the weekend. Jeff Allen More than a year ago, in November , another RSD instructor had to cut short his Australian tour after protests against his seminars. His visa was also cancelled.
The RSD controversy raises questions about what is acceptable pick-up behaviour, at what point a seduction workshop becomes simply a users guide to preying on women, whether RSD is a violent outlier or part of a spectrum of sleaze. Mashiko's journey is set against the broader story of the evolution of the pick-up industry. A new wave of dating coaches are careful to distinguish themselves from PUAs. Instead of focusing on how to pick-up women, they speak about forging meaningful connections.
Instead of speaking about the kinds of personas that women find attractive, they speak about how men can express their "true self". He says Allen always intended to be be deported, his Australia tour was a PR stunt.
Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, Neil Strauss tells the story of how, frustrated with his own romantic life, he stumbled upon a mysterious subculture of pick-up artists, and then pursued them through online discussion groups, learning their skills through workshops, before finally becoming a recognised PUA himself. Neil Strauss Supplied Eventually the mansion disbands, the community breaks apart, and a new company rises from the ashes: Foreknowledge made the seduction techniques significantly less effective.
But not just any personality. Namely the personality of someone who sleeps with lots of women. Diecke believes popular media teaches a lesson that "nice guys finish last" and men that treat women badly are rewarded. He says the RSD controversy is symptomatic of a wider anxiety about how to be attractive. All say what distinguishes them from PUAs is "intention" - whether a man is setting out to be manipulative, to deceive, to break hearts. But they also say they would also never teach the abusive techniques taught by groups such as RSD.
They focus more on confidence and conversation topics. His methods of attracting women includes choking strangers. Twitter "It's about knowing who you are and not having to manipulate people for your own benefit," says Manak.
Mashiko says he focuses on teaching men how to have meaningful conversations with women, to think about and understand what kind of partner they want to attract, and how to be open and upfront with their intentions when they meet women.
A good intention, according to Mashiko, is about ensuring "the person is in a better place in their life for having known me than before". The trouble is intention is difficult to verify. Or to put it another way, how can we ever be sure our intentions are only good? To get a deeper level of rapport with someone you need to have a private conversation, not in front of their friends. There's a lot of things that work.