Mojo, Casanova consult books to woo Dallas’ singles scene

Mojo was at Sherlock’s Baker St. Pub & Grill with a few friends when he decided to try out some of the methods he’d learned recently. There was a beautiful woman sitting at a table surrounded by four jocks and Mojo, a shy, average looking guy, thought “Why not?” He had picked his target.

He walked over and began talking to the four guys, paying no attention to the woman. He hoped that by removing her from being the center of attention in the conversation, the woman would be intrigued. When he finished making friends with the guys he walked away and went back to the pool table where his friends were waiting for him. Moments later, the woman approached him by herself. Mojo had successfully isolated his target. They began a game of pool together and to his surprise, the beautiful woman began flirting with him.

“I was so in awe that a woman as beautiful as her would be interested in me,” Mojo said. “This stuff actually works. It blows your conception of what you thought was reality.”

Mojo said that thanks to “The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists” written by Neil Strauss, a former writer for the magazine Rolling Stone, he successfully went from being an AFC (average frustrated chump) to a PUA (pickup artist). The book’s main characters, who use the pseudonyms Mystery and Style, are the inspiration behind his own pseudonym: Mojo. He refuses to be identified by his real name.

He believes it’s the book that started it all and the reason he became such an active member of the Dallas Pickup Artist community, which as of now has about 2,500 members who usually meet every couple of months to give each other advice and exchange their preferred methods of picking up women. “The Game” is bound in black leather and across the top of the cover there are small, gold silhouettes of women in different seductive poses ending with the silhouette of a man who seems to be standing confidently. At first glance, it certainly doesn’t look like a book someone with good intentions would read, but Mojo, along with the thousands of other members of PUA communities around the world, is convinced that is not the case. Still, there are many people who resent the PUA community for objectifying women and encouraging men to strategically get only one thing: sex.

Even though the name and presentation are misleading, Mojo insists that the PUA community is much more than people think it is.

“Make no mistake,” he said. “This isn’t about sleazy guys, it’s about self improvement and becoming a better person.”

Mojo recently got married and although he admits he found it hard to settle down, he believes being a PUA has given him the knowledge he needs to keep things exciting in his marriage.

Matthew Hoelscher is a life coach who blogs for YourTango, a website dedicated to providing expert advice on dating. He wrote an article in which he makes three arguments about why this is the case. One is that pickup artists are so used to living wild and free that when they do settle down it is because they’ve really thought it through and are ready for commitment.

“Contrary to popular belief, a reformed player can make an ideal husband,” Hoelscher said.

Ogewu Agbese, another member of the Dallas PUA community, has also found the community helpful and inspiring. Aside from rare articles like Hoelscher’s, Agbese believes the media is largely responsible for the negative assumptions people tend to make about PUAs.

“In my experience, when someone writes an article about our community, it tends to be in the tone of ‘Ladies, be on the lookout for these scammers!’” Agbese said.

I was standing in line at Barnes and Noble holding what I understood to be some sort of sacred manual to the society of PUAs, hoping to get a better insight on what the community says they aim to do, when a middle-aged man standing in line behind me interrupted my conversation with the cashier.

“I’m sorry, but I feel the need to warn you that what you’re buying there is garbage, complete garbage,” he said, waving his hands in the air urgently as if a bomb were about to explode.

“Have you read ‘The Art of Seduction’ by Robert Greene?” Without giving any time to respond, the stranger added, “There’s a difference between taking a shot at a bar and getting a flower, you get what I’m saying? ‘The Game’ is the shot, ‘The Art of Seduction’ is the flower,” he said.

Although Greene’s book does look classier with its black and pink design with the title displayed vertically down the middle, is there a real difference? The stranger bought the book and had it wrapped for me. He introduced himself as Casanova, his own pseudonym not faring well for the argument he was making. While initially I found myself put off by his confidence, 30 minutes later I was still standing there talking to him. That’s when I thought, “Wait, is this it? Am I being picked up? Or as Casanova might prefer, seduced?”

Casanova insisted that “The Game” was for guys who are only interested in getting close to women sexually, while “The Art of Seduction” teaches you how to communicate better with people in general.

“It’s about learning about different types of people, both male and female and what their needs, desires and personalities are like,” said Ingeborg Ransom-Becker, a student and a fan of Robert Greene’s work.

“The idea is that once you know how to approach each type of person you can seduce them into anything you want… be it sexual or not.”

Ransom-Becker considers “The Art of Seduction” to be one of her favorite reads.

Whether it’s Mojo or Casanova, it may be as simple as the saying “Don’t judge by a book by its cover.” The two may be more similar than they think.

Christie Hartman, an author, scientist and dating expert believes the Mojos and Casanovas of the world, like any other large community, may be composed of the good guys just as much as the bad.

“Unfortunately, it’s the bad ones that get all the press,” she said.

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