Confessions of a pickup artist

Confessions of a pickup artist

What women want and what men need -- one of Asia's premier 'pickup artists,' RedpoleQ, believes he has the answers. As co-founder of PickUp Asia he's preaching them to single men across the region
RedpoleQ in action. At least she's not looking at her mobile phone. Things are on the up.
He goes by RedpoleQ and is regarded as one of Asia’s premier pickup artists. An American citizen, he is the CEO of PickUp Asia, a company he set up in January 2007 that promises to help you get “the kind of relationships you want with the kind of women you want.”

He spoke to us ahead of conducting his first 'Approach Mastery Boot Camp' training in Shanghai, details of which -- and another city-based seminar -- are at the bottom of this article.

CNNGo: Let's get this out of the way: Why the handle, RedpoleQ?

It's a name I've been using since junior high school. It's from a sci-fi book series called "Chung-Guo." Yes, I really am a former geek. Anyway, I use my own name with women.

CNNGo: How do you rate yourself on a scale of one to 10?

A seven? I’m not gorgeous. I wouldn’t have my job if I was. Nobody would believe I was doing this on skill (if I was gorgeous).

CNNGo: You must have some sort of game then. Have you always been good with girls?

Ha ha, no. I went to an all-boys high school, so I didn’t have much exposure when I was younger. I kinda had sex for the first time when I was 15, but I don’t know if you can really count that ... After that, I didn’t touch a girl until I was 19.

CNNGo: So how’d you get to where you are today in the pickup artist 'community'?

It started out with just a few of us in Osaka, Japan who just who liked to go out and meet women. We never intended to turn it into a business. A lot of what we teach actually originated in the U.S. and Europe; we developed our ‘Five Phase Cycle' by making tweaks and modifications to what was already around.

CNNGo: Can you elaborate on the  five phases and the tweaks you had to make?

The Five Phase Cycle follows traditional dating progression, just streamlined so it goes a bit faster.

So what's important? Fun and excitement, connection and  sex, to name a few of the elements that are part of traditional relationships. Those aren't elements of the Five Phase Cycle, but these basics are an important part of any dating progression.

As for the tweaks, you’ve got to account for the language and cultural barriers that exist here. Depending on the language ability of you and your target, the routines we teach have to be run completely differently. And, of course, dating here relies much more on the man moving things forward than it does back in the West.

CNNGo: But the system works?

Once you’re adept at using the system, you can pick up a girl in four or five hours. If I meet a girl during the day and get four phases -- about thirty minutes -- in. I close four out of five times. I've spent most of my time living in Japan, so I'm particularly good with Japanese girls, but I've been spending more time in South Korea this year and I've been busy.

CNNGo: On the topic of cross-cultural relationships, Asia is full of many cultures. Is it a case of one rule or a certain game plan that works across them all? 

The basic principles apply among all cultures, but it's applying it in the right way and understanding the responses you're getting that makes it different. Japanese women give almost no signals, while Korean girls will give mixed signals. In China, though, you have to be very careful because a girl showing you interest could mean she's trying to scam you while a girl showing disinterest could actually be interested.

Girls want to have a good time, and they do love sex, so it’s just about setting things up smoothly for everyone.— RedpoleQ, pickup artist

CNNGo: What are some of the biggest differences, say, from approaching or interacting with an American girl to a mainland Chinese girl and a Japanese girl?

American girls put a lot out there. They compliment guys they like and will often help progress things by inviting a guy back to their house or openly talking about sex. Asian women, though they may be as sexual as (or even more than) Western women, because of culture need to appear more virginal and inexperienced, and will rarely lead the interaction.

CNNGo: Are women attracted to the same thing in men the world over?

For the most part, yes. There are local differences like in terms of fashion or preferred body type. But powerful men are powerful anywhere.

CNNGo: What sort of guys go to your events and classes? 

Our clients are primarily Westerners, but we've had clients from South America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and India to name a few. A good number of overseas-born Asians as well. Recently we've been getting more into the local markets in Hong Kong and South Korea. Overall, though, our clients broadly fall into two categories: One, guys in their early 20s who are late bloomers because they didn't spend a lot of time in social environments, and two, guys in their late 20s and early 30s, well established, and able to get girlfriends, but who want more control over their dating lives so that instead of a crap shoot they have choice.

CNNGo: What do you find they are lacking or needing most?

Most guys need more experience. But it's really a lack of understanding of women and the dating process. Women, especially the most attractive ones, almost always have way more dating experience than guys near their age, and that comes through as (the guy) being weak.

CNNGo: Do you have a particular success story?

I had one student who was Chinese-Canadian doing an internship in Japan. He was a virgin, had never kissed a girl or held a girls hand -- had never even been on a date. He was born missing his index and middle fingers so he only had three malformed fingers on each hand and two toes on each foot. 

I almost didn't take him on as a client because I didn't want to be the next guy to let him down. Within three months of working with us he lost his virginity and continued to see that girl until he went back to Vancouver.

CNNGo: Have you developed your own style around this pickup system?

Well, a lot of the community is geared towards one-night stands, and that’s really not my style. But our guys and the system that we teach is geared toward setting up dates and getting to sex on that first date. It doesn’t have to be that first date, but if our guys execute properly they’ll also get to that 80 percent success rate. Obviously girls come on the dates really dressed up, wanting to have a good time, and they do love sex, so really it’s just about setting things up smoothly for everyone.

CNNGo: So is it just about sex and getting laid, which some might say is a bit shallow?

This job would be a lot easier if it were just about sex and getting laid, but it would also be a lot less interesting. This is really about men who want to have more control of their dating lives. And that means developing skills and adding in interpersonal tools they didn't have before.

It means changing behavior. And when you learn that you can change your behavior, to get the results you want from life, you realize that you have more power to influence the world. We had a guy quit his banking job to pursue a career in stand-up comedy.  Several have started their own businesses.

CNNGo: What about women? What do they need or what are they looking for? Do you do any courses for women?

We haven't done courses for women. I have the philosophy that women are pretty good at being women, and that when men learn how to be men then most problems would be eliminated. Obviously, this isn't entirely true, but since men are responsible for leading the relationship I think its best to focus on them.

Plus, women have advice coming from all directions. Sure, a lot of it is bad and goes quite counter to what we teach men, but it's designed to protect them against making mistakes with guys.

Men who are willing to make the kind of investment that our clients make in time and money are exactly the kind of men that women should be with because they are putting effort into improving themselves so they can have better relationships.

CNNGo: If you had one bit of advice for guys -- or girls -- what would it be?

My one piece of advice for guys is to read "The Way of the Superior Man." I don't agree with everything the author David Deida says, but it's a great way to start and will put you on the right track. 

For women, do your best to look your best. I know it's tough and it's unfair, but you never know when you're going to meet "that guy," so be ready.

CNNGo: Can you share with us a simple lesson or tip?

Men, the worst thing you can do is judge women. I met a guy and I asked him what kind of woman he's looking for and one of his criteria was that he didn't want a woman who would sleep with him on the first date.  

It's things like this that make life difficult for women. Like a lot of guys, he looks at how a woman treats him and assumes she must be like that with everyone. To use extremes, a woman will no-way, no-how ever sleep with the busboy at the local diner, but put her in front of Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp, she'll be ready in 30 minutes or less.

So it's not about the girl, it's about who you are, and if you work on that, then more women will be more attracted to you.

pickup artistCNNGo: Do you have a go-to move?

Well, I guess the thing I do the most is stroking the back of a woman's head and down their hair. I like to do that pretty early on in the interaction.

CNNGo: Any favorite venues in Asia to meet women?

My favorite venue of all time is Club Circle in Seoul, which is currently being remodeled. My current Seoul favorite is Eden. In Tokyo, Camelot is great, and in Hong Kong, Billion is the place. In Shanghai, a lot of the venues were really nice and I loved Shelter and J-Z Club as venues, but for meeting women, Muse is more my style.

CNNGo: Outside the playground, tell us about doing this as a business. How did it develop?

Even in the beginning it was organic. The first clients we had contacted us before we were offering courses and asked if they could come down from Tokyo to Osaka to work with us. They were happy with their results and they told their friends, who told their friends.

Then one day we got an e-mail from some guys in South Korea. They asked if we could come over and run our programs there. So we did. And it keeps happening like that. In Hong Kong, we were invited to be interviewed for a TV program.

One of our clients moved to Shanghai and met a bunch of guys who didn't have anywhere they could learn from experts with local knowledge so we ran a program in Shanghai. Recently, we heard from a guy in Vancouver who's into Korean girls and we're talking about doing training there.

CNNGo: Will you be a professional pickup artist all your life?

No way I could do this forever. The hours are terrible. And as glamorous as the lifestyle may seem, keeping PickUp Asia running is more about office work than partying everyday with beautiful women, and my focus on the business has definitely had a negative impact on my personal relationships.

I still meet a lot of women and I have good times, but when you never know when you're hopping from place to place, it's definitely tough on relationships.

I don't necessarily consider myself to be a "Pickup artist." I'm just a guy who wanted to have better relationships with fantastic women and I seem to know a few tricks that other guys don't. I'm an entrepreneur at heart, so there will be another -- or many other -- businesses in my future.

On Thursday, November 12 at 8pm, RedpoleQ will be at the Xintiandi Starbucks running a mini-pickup artist seminar in advance of his 'Bootcamp' this weekend. See his website, PickUp asia for more details.