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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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The Pickup Artists of PUAHate

Recently, a friend told me about PUAHate, a website announcing itself as "The Forefront of the Anti-Pickup-Artist Movement." Its mission statement, posted on PUAHate's splash page, reads: "Revealing the scams, deception and misleading marketing techniques used by dating gurus and the seduction community to mislead men and profit from them."

At first glance, this seemed reasonable, even great. The PUA community profits tremendously from young men struggling with anything from simple social discomfort to full-blown personality disorder. I liked the idea of a site debunking PUA myths about picking up women. But when I clicked into the forums of PUAHate, I saw that the stated purpose of the site was generally ignored, and as with many Internet communities, the "anything goes" forum was the one where the conversation was really happening, and the conversation revolved almost exclusively around physical appearance.

The threads about women were offensive in an unsurprising way. “Are ugly women completely useless to society?” asked one. Another pondered, "Have any hot women ever committed suicide?" One user gave the forum a modest proposal: fat women, he said, should be prevented from leaving the house. “What is there for them to do?” he asked, suggesting that it would be best for these women to be kept inside until they reached a healthy body-mass index.

Even more popular, however, were threads that did surprise me: men counseling other men on what types of cosmetic surgery they should get, as to better enhance their chances of sleeping with a woman.

The users of this forum call themselves "incel," or involuntarily celibate. They are on PUAHate, I realized, to debunk PUA myths not because of theory, but because of practice. The PUA techniques didn’t work; they need something else, and, with the PUA obsession with objectification lingering, the “incels” turn their physical critiques of women onto themselves.

•••

The owner of the forum goes by the username Nicholaus. His avatar is a distorted picture of a face, maybe his. He was kind enough to explain a few things about the forum.

What is the mission of PUAhate?

The mission of PUAhate is two things. The first is, what is stated on the site's entry page. The second is, to provide people with a place to talk about whatever (legal) things they want, without having to worry about it being censored, even if what they talk about goes against the point of the site. The users here are allowed to say bad things about the site (or me) if they want, and their posts will not be edited or censored because of it, nor will they be punished by being banned for doing it.

Are these two things that are the mission of the site contradictory at times? Absolutely. Does that make for some really interesting discussions on here sometimes? You bet it does.

Do you think it is a constructive site?

For me personally, absolutely, in that I have made friends with some really great people here so far. Is it constructive for other people? You would have to ask them. It would be pretty arrogant for me to presume that something I created has been good for other people.

Do you think the obsession with physical appearance here is unhealthy?

I don't really think about it, because I don't really participate in that section of the forum where they talk about that stuff (shitty advice). Once in [awhile] I'll pop in there and criticize something they are saying because I don't agree with it, but overall that physical appearance topic isn't interesting to me, so I don't read 99 percent of the posts that are about it. My stance is that every user is responsible for regulating their own personal emotions and interests.

What do you think keeps bringing people back to PUAhate?

I honestly have no idea. Many people over the years have said the site is addictive, and I don't know why that is. I even get addicted sometimes, and I will say to myself, "What the hell, I had stuff to do today, how did I get sucked into being on here for four hours straight?"

On the site, the users say "see you tomorrow" to anyone who says they are done here and are going to leave forever, because usually the person comes back the next day, or within a short period.

Do you think it's misogynistic the way women are talked about in this context? Specifically, the way women are still being treated as objects to obtain?

Yeah, I think it's very unhealthy to think of a woman as anything different than just another person. I have posted about this many times on the site, but to classify women as being "this way" or "that way" is completely retarded to me. I believe that how people act is not based on their gender, but on their personality. For the guys that complain that women are a certain way, you can go find just as many women who aren't like that. So is the thing they are complaining about still a woman thing? Of course not. It's a personality thing.

•••

Nicholaus was incredibly honest about the forum, which I appreciated. When outsiders, or “normalfags” as they’re referred to in the shitty advice forum, breach a small online community like this, they are often made to feel very unwelcome.

Still intrigued by the cosmetic surgery threads, I joined the forum under the innocuous username “p90x guy,” playing into the fitness aspect of the community. I uploaded two pictures, one wearing a hat and one where I slicked my hair back to accentuate my receding hairline. A sample of the responses:

You could be a pretty boy type 6.8 or even 7 if you had a jock NWO hairline. You are a 0 with that hair tho.

(I searched and searched, and still have no idea what a jock NWO hairline is.)

No, he would be 5/10 either way, wrote another poster. Long oval face with no jaw. Totally gay lips, beta eyes, poor height, and scrawny build. Overall beta vibe.

How did they know my height? (I am 5’10.)

Another wrote, The fuck is wrong with your hair doofus?

Many more users just uploaded pictures of hats, which was helpful. I was also told to “thicken up,” and go for that “muscle/bad boy/rape game.” One user suggested that I looked like a "white guy trying to be black.” The harshest commenter wrote, The guy in those pics should take up bungee jumping. And leave the bungee rope in his rucksack. Several more posted memes mocking my look and clothes.

The subtext: you’ll need to do more to trick a woman into sleeping with you. You’ll need some wizardry. I poked around the forum some more, hoping to find a user who acknowledged a yearning to go on a date, make a human connection, or make a new friend. I didn’t find one. It was sex and nothing else.

Nicholas had acknowledged the contradiction in PUAHate, but it was much greater than he seemed to want it to be. This forum, actively dedicated to warning users of the perils of PUA sites, was operating on an almost identical premise. What was different, and weirdly gripping, was the near-inherent expectation of failure. This expectation of failure created a deep insecurity and self-hatred, which gave rise not to a healthy support community but to a community still dedicated to the use of deception (in the form of cosmetic surgery) to achieve their ultimate goal: sleeping with a woman.

At base the users of PUAHate direct their anger not at the pickup artist movement, but themselves. They understand at some level that PUA thinking has entrapped them and done them wrong; their attempts to get out of it trap them further.

And I hated all their hat suggestions.

Patrick Kearns is a New York-based sportswriter. He is the New York correspondent and columnist for the Fourth Period Magazine.



84 Comments / Post A Comment

Danzig!

We have to assume that the term "NWO Hairline" refers to the traditional haircut of one Hulk Hogan. The common variant is "skullet"

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Danzig! I prefer eggshell mullet.

peasofmind

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Oh my god though, can we talk about how Patrick Kearns is a total babe, and those internet dudes are obviously just jealous/delusional?! (That was not my take-away from the article by any means, I just feel like it needs to be said!)

Patrick, can you hear me? Take heart! You are not a 5/10! You have very nice eyebrows!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@peasofmind OH! Yes! I wasn't meaning to imply that Patrick here has an eggshell mullet. I was thinking more of Hulk Hogan. Yes, Patrick is a total babe, and those guys have no idea what they are talking about w/r/t lips, because damn, Patrick. Damn.

carolinaclay

really made a masterpiece@y

fabel

Beta eyes? Rape game? D'fuck? (I will try to dredge up smarter things to say, but my initial impression is just, WHAT is this lingo, even?)

fabel

Oh fuck, I feel like an ass. I just 'like'd my own comment with trying to 'like' stonefruit's. STONEFRUIT MY ONE LIKE IS FOR YOU

stonefruit

@fabel first of all, you are very sweet to point that out, and second of all, now you have two of them :)

The whole PUA subculture gave me a bad turn when I first learned about it, which was several years ago I think? It is terribly depressing to think about how much hatred these people have for women and for themselves. Just very, very sad.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@fabel God, liking yourself? That's so beta. Bulk up, fabel.

stonefruit

Help help, my face is stuck in D: and I can't get it to change

D: D: D:

D:

adorable-eggplant

@stonefruit 'Things that exist'... I am also dismayed.

karenb

i can't even handle how negative those comments are, holy crap.

never mind how disturbing it is that a bunch of dudes, who - and this is a generalisation, but - are probably not 10/10 themselves, seem to think that the only women who are worth pursuing are the "hot" ones. UGHJHGFKHYSGDRFGY. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.

i have so much more to say, but it's all coming out I CAN'T EVEN BECAUSE RAGE

HoliandIvy

@karenb
These guys aren't insecure enough.
Like so insecure they DON'T think they automatically ~deserve~ a beautiful woman.

Faintly Macabre

@karenb Seeing as these guys seem like black holes of insecurity and misery, I'm guessing that their insistence on a "10" comes from insecurity as well--because if you can't/don't bag a supermodel, everyone will think you're a hideous loser and laugh and laugh and laugh!

mollpants

“muscle/bad boy/rape game.”

OH GOD

mollpants

@mollpants this is incredibly interesting tho, the whole PUA movement is horribly fascinating. Like a train wreck or an Ayn Rand fansite or something

j-i-a

@mollpants my eyes were just bugging out of my head the whole time i was editing this piece, IT'S CRAZYYYYYYYYYY

Madeline Shoes

@mollpants what exactly IS a "rape game" look? Do I even want to know?Is this a Thing in the real world??

stuffisthings

Gay lips, poor height, beta eyes.

Gay lips, poor height, beta eyes.

...

j-i-a

@stuffisthings beta eyesssssssssssss

mollpants

@jia @stuffisthings With these beta eyesssssss
One look at you and I can't disguise
I've got beta eyesssss
I feel the magic between you and I

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@stuffisthings Beta Davis eyes!

stonefruit

@stuffisthings

Beta eyes, they're watching you
They see your every move

Urwelt

@stuffisthings Please, please let "beta eyes" mean "wears glasses" and not like, "has kindly looking eyes". I want so much for PUAs (failed PUAs, whatever) to believe in their heart of hearts that women despise poor eyesight as a sign of weakness.

adorable-eggplant

@Urwelt One time while hiking my boyfriend lost a contact and had to wear an improvised eyepatch. I was pretty convinced a bear was going to sense our weakness and eat us. But we survived and I still love him. [and he still loves me, despite the irrational fears, so it's a win all around]

ETA: And someone else fell and was bleeding a bit, and I was terrified, so it's not just mates & weakness, but the vastness of nature and the fragility of all human life. Just for the record.

stuffisthings

Pretty sure this is what they mean by "jock/NWO hairline" btw:

fabel

@stuffisthings JC Denton!!

stuffisthings

@fabel I love JC Denton because his name sounds like a Macys menswear store brand.

deepomega

@stuffisthings A BOMB.

Jaya

It's so sad because the founder seems like not a complete asshat? Yes, women are just people like anyone else, with a wide range of feelings and motivations and personalities! Good job!

But then he created this pit. And the reason is "to provide people with a place to talk about whatever (legal) things they want." I hate to break it to him, but isn't that just...literally anywhere?

stuffisthings

@Jaya I think the key line is this:

They are on PUAHate, I realized, to debunk PUA myths not because of theory, but because of practice. The PUA techniques didn’t work; they need something else.

It would be like if someone started a site about fad diets and how they didn't work; it wouldn't be a huge surprise if the forums filled up with body-shaming and eating disordery stuff from people who still desperately want to lose weight.

mollpants

@stuffisthings I just went on the forum (I mean I had to) and there was one whole thread that was, in so many words, "it would be ok if every woman (but my mom) died, we'd just need sex robots and a way to reproduce."

They might actually be worse than PUAs. D: D: D:

Jaya

@mollpants "Remember, men will have always have the power. If all it takes is some fake idea of feminism in their mind for women to become slutty w/o committment, it's worth it." I just gasped at my desk so loud people turned around.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@mollpants I....don't know if they know that this would mean they would all just be fucking each other's moms.... :D :? D:

katiemcgillicuddy

@Jaya "if you bang a fatty NONE of her friends will ever touch you because they think fat-cunt is your league and that they are well above you." And then a lengthy discussion about the "fuck ladder".

Gentlemen, I'm starting to see why you can't get laid!

Jaya

@Jaya Wait there's a ladder? Oh man, I need to refresh my sex ed.

aphrabean

@mollpants Pretty much anyone who refers to themselves as "incel" = terrifying, horrifying views of women.

Lily Rowan

@aphrabean I MEAN SERIOUSLY.

Jesus.

peasofmind

@aphrabean

Right!? Do people refer to themselves as "involuntarily friendless" or "involuntarily Xbox-less" or "involuntarily boatless?" OMG ENTITLEMENT, hello.

errata stigmata

@peasofmind I'm currently inpiz (involuntarily pizzaless) myself.

bombazinedoll

@Jaya I thought none of her friends would sleep with you because that's friencest, and it very frequently ends poorly.

Ralphooo

@katiemcgillicuddy The bizarre implication is that these males would never consider sticking around with the "fatty" they were attracted to, no matter how nice, cuddly and warm she turned out to be. Instead, they look forward (from the very beginning) to trying to sleep with her friends.

These men (or more likely adolescents) are not looking for anything like a relationship. Instead, they are hoping to find a sort of no-charge prostitute. But, funny thing, a regular prostitute might be exactly the person they need. They can choose one by her looks, pick a different sex worker every time, and actually go on to have sex with a whole group of the first one's "friends" (or anyway her co-workers).

Better yet, since they seem to dislike women so intensely, why keep trying to associate with the opposite sex? Someone ought to gently remind them there is no law saying they ever have to shame themselves by being seen with a female.

karenb

i wonder... is this just a few steps from what is going on with japan, and the (simplification) generation of young men who literally do not even want to bother with women or relationships? promiscuity in japan is less socially acceptable, that may be the key difference. (the women also are pretty uninterested, as getting married is pretty much the deal knell of your career)

cmaurat

Ugh, MRAs are a very particular kind of blight. They should probably be prevented from leaving the house. What is there for them to do? I suggest that it would be best for these MRA types to be kept inside until they reach a healthy outlook on women and themselves.

Ralphooo

@cmaurat What is an MRA?

leonstj

I expected from the headline this to be a site where men pretend to espouse feminist ideals for the sole purpose of gettin' some. ]

(which, honestly, I'm so terrified by that concept that, while I will argue on behalf of feminist ideals in any conversations where relevant, I am loathe to identify myself as a 'feminist' in non-anonymous situations unless asked by someone if I consider myself to be one - though this probably says more about my individual neuroses than about the world at large)

bombazinedoll

@leonstj I say don't worry about it, and if anyone accuses you of calling yourself a feminist to get laid, ask them if they really think that feminist ladies will just sleep with any dude who quotes Betty Friedan at them? (It might be a pre-req, but generally not the only requirement)

Ralphooo

@leonstj As a man who would be inclined to call himself a feminist, I think I can reassure you. I do not believe the boys (men??) we are talking about would be able to say anything pro-female. It would burn their lips too much.

With respect to myself, I have learned that, thanks to Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and so forth, most people have the idea that a "feminist" is some kind of fascist man-hater. So I too hesitate to use the word. Instead, I say I am pro-female, in favor of full equality for women, and so forth.

tactfactory

@leonstj Your post is probably the thing I was happiest to read on this whole depressing page. I am just so happy any time I hear a man refer to himself as a feminist. It seems like so many people think that's not possible?

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Alpha on the streets, beta in the sheets.

RNL
RNL

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose That actually exactly sums up my sexual persona.

rosaline

Things that the Internet says NWO might stand for:

New World Order (conspiracy theory about the emergence of a totalitarian one-world government, something about the Illuminati)
New World Order (yes, there are two. This one is a professional wrestling stable, which is apparently what a team of wrestlers call themselves)
Northwest Ohio
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research)
North Wiltshire Orienteers (can join for £5!)
Natural World Organization

Guys, I'm really torn on if I want to interpret "NWO hair" as "conspiracy theorist hair" or "Dutch researcher hair."

adorable-eggplant

@rosaline My vote is orienteer hair, but that is probably this:

And the Kid from UP would never but a PUA. Never.

Tragically Ludicrous

@rosaline My salary is paid by the NWO! The Dutch one. I always forget what the English translation is, and I've come to say en-vay-oh instead of en-double-u-oh whenever I encounter that acronym.

stuffisthings

@rosaline are you sure it's the Dutch one and not the conspiracy one? Are you SURE you're sure?

rosaline

@Tragically Ludicrous Well that settles it, I'm going to go with Dutch researcher hair in honor of your employer!

Madeline Shoes

@rosaline IDK, I lived in Northwest Ohio for a brief time, and the hairlines on the jocks there were pretty sexy*.

*Untrue. There is nothing sexy about the Greater Toledo area.

Oh, squiggles

Omg. Look, if you are having problems finding a woman to sleep with you, A. you are the problem, not women, and B. maybe don't ask advice from dudes with the same damn problem?

Also, is the beta thing supposed to be someone who is not an 'alpha male'? I won't go into all the ways that is problematic/limited thinking, but there is this: Give me all the beta males, I will fuck their brains out. If you think of yourself as an 'alpha male' then my vagina wants nothing to do with you, kthxbye.

Elitist and Dull

@Oh, squiggles PREACH. Why does it never occur to these guys to ask advice from guys who actually score?

Oh, right. Those guys are "jerks," because "I'm a NICE GUY and women only like jerks!" Sure, pumpkin. Never had anything to do with your personal hygiene or your attitude or your expectations. ALWAYS been that you were too nice. Clearly you need a mentor who has a XXXXL "no fatties" t-shirt.

adorable-eggplant

@Elitist and Dull & @Oh, squiggles Y'all, I lol'd. Thank you, thank you.

lbf
lbf

@Elitist and Dull "ask advice from guys who actually score" is the premise of PUA. You're thinking of "ask advice from guys who actually score and aren't piles of human garbage", and I don't think those guys would readily give (well, PUA's dont give they sell) advice to someone like a member of PUAhate.

Maybe everyone should ask for advice from guys who don't "score" but, like, hook up with girls the kinda like and like, get in relationships, maybe, see where it leads, and maybe find a person with whom to make a good team, and wow we're getting married omg! Everyone should live like me is what I'm saying.

koume

Maybe it was supposed to be PUAHats, not PUAHate.

25319959@twitter

How could you write this and not mention "Bone Law," the insane theory that they have where your entire physical appearance / sexual attractiveness is determined by your bone structure so there's nothing you can do to change it? I recommend following @puahate_txt on twitter for well-curated excerpts from this forum.

peasofmind

@25319959@twitter

Hahahaah, it's like the more depressing sibling of ladder theory. :-/

lbf
lbf

@25319959@twitter A true heir to @pua_txt! Thankls for making my day, brother.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

I almost forgot to comment on how Nicholaus should not be saying things are "retarded," regardless of his apparently pro-women intent. I almost forgot because everything else was so horrible I got distracted.

adorable-eggplant

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I had the same exact comment in my mind. I read that and thought, "Oh dear, no. I'll mention that as a p.s. in a comment." And by the time I got to the end of the article all my brain had was static and ... and blinking rage. So I forgot, but thank you for mentioning!"

tea for all

i draw some comfort from the fact that by the looks of things, these men are not getting laid, and so a) probably will not reproduce and b) are not being rewarded for their (lack of?) efforts.

RNL
RNL

@tea for all YES YES YES! They are celibate! Praise the day!

RNL
RNL

@tea for all You know, I had an awesome slut phase, slept with lots o dudes, and I was even really thin then! Thin and blonde! And I'm quite sure I wouldn't have slept with anyone who exuded even a whiff of this stuff. I hope. Oh god.

YOLO Submarine

I was really enjoying this article until it compared PUA level deceit and vileness with just not wanting to carry 24/7 a physical trait that was entirely determined by chance, not choice or merit. Not everybody that has had plastic surgery wants to trick everybody into having their ugly children, you know. And I'm mentioning children because one's genetics should be no one's business other than the person's and whoever is going to procreate with him/her. One's intentions, on the other side, are relevant. I, for one, would rather come across a pair of pinned back ears than a fake "I love you".

1031939486@twitter

But then he created this pit. And the reason is "to provide people with a place to talk about whatever (legal) things they want." I hate to break it to him, but isn't that just...literally anywhere?
Hotel in Hanoi

lbf
lbf

@1031939486@twitter STRANGELY RELEVANT

WilmaGrajs00

Im making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do, www.Best96.com

WilmaGrajs00

Im making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do, www.Best96.com

Arcadius Pole@facebook

PUAhate site is just a joke even for puahaters, don't you get it people? That self hatered and women hatred is just trolling each other borat style where no one realy knows if this is serious or not (I hope so). The only treads worth reading are those reveiling PUA scams.

glitterbitch

they probably only said your lips look gay bc they were so turned on when they saw them

Ana Laura Guerrero Rodriguez@facebook

well seems like PUAhate mission is to build hate on 20 something virgins towards women. if you are pathetic is nobody's fault. is ridiculous how this men built hate against women using the excuse of "feminist" when a girl dont want to have sex with you because you are ugly then that is end of story grow some balls and take rejection in the way that is. i fucking hate guys who feel jealous of women or cant take rejection.

Rick Miller@facebook

I was just doing a search after the mass killing by Elliot Rodger
of women who rejected him and he happened to be a member of this antiPUA site. How crazy is that?

Holyterror

These guys are yelling bullshit in an echo chamber. Women love "beta" males, an the assessment of Patrick's looks is totally off -- the lips are dreamy, as are the eyes, and his hair is quite abundant and looks great on him. It's hard to know where to even start with these people, though stopping using the word "gay" to put other men down might be a good start.

Kirsten Stringham@facebook

O thank God! Article containing level-headed and interesting assessments. Sanity. Humor. What an amazing relief to find myself in this refuge. I've been googleing PUA and PUAhate for hours and I was starting to develop this awful doubt that normal people were just a part of my imagination and that even seemingly caring interactions could be the facade of really hateful unreasonable people. I got sucked into a galactic internet fright hole. So Patrick and all commenters here, thank-you. Never underestimate your normalcy; it is amazing. And I know this will sound very incel/NiceGuy but.. I just enjoy spending time with you.

Caba Aba Baba@facebook

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Attention survivors of PUAH.

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