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(Friedman derived that extraordinarily high figure by counting drunken sexual encounters between students as rape.) Amanda Marcotte, the feminist blogger briefly hired by John Edwards during his presidential campaign, chimed in, accusing Max of a “bone-deep hatred of sexual women”—and also of possible “sexual assault” because he had bragged on his website about sleeping with a drunk girl while a friend hidden in a closet filmed the encounter. Next to her story she posted a photograph of her with Max that she had a friend take at the bar.

In May, feminist picketers so disrupted an appearance by Max at Ohio State University that he needed a police escort to get away. The photo shows a rosy-cheeked strawberry blonde who, although no Scarlett Johansson, is no Ugly Betty either (her C-cup bustline, much in evidence both underneath and spilling over her strapless top, doesn’t hurt).

They all feature pictures of scantily clad supermodel-like females and the same acronym-laden jargon ultimately traceable to Jeffries: a “PUA” is a “pickup artist”; an “AFC” is an “average frustrated chump” who hasn’t paid a guru to learn how to be a PUA; an “HB” is a “hot babe”; an “IOI” is an HB’s “indicator of interest” in a PUA, such as leaning in his direction or “accidentally” brushing his hand.

Jeffries’s most famous pupil is a Canadian-born former stage magician called Erik James Horvat-Markovic who subsequently changed his name first to Erik von Markovik and later to just plain Mystery.

As long as they take precautions against disease and pregnancy, the current wisdom goes, it might even be good for you: a sort of rumspringa for the non-Amish in which you get your girls-gone-wild urges out of your system before you settle down to have babies. ” They will have the permission I didn’t have in my generation to act out, get drunk at frat parties and hook up with somebody.

And buyer, beware: Although nearly all the master PUAs, including Mystery himself, insist that in their former lives they were socially hopeless geeks who had scarcely ventured within five feet of a nubile woman, many of the trainers, at least at Love Systems, have backgrounds in sales or show business and may not really resemble the introverted IT guys and cubicle nerds who seek their advice.

Watching video-clips of workshops in session, with flashily attired mentors strutting and spurting acronyms in front of earnest pupils in search of arm candy will remind you of nothing so much as those all-day “Get Rich Buying Foreclosed Property for Pennies” seminars that target another male yearning.

Most would-be pickup mentors assume new names, perhaps to signify their new identities. David De Angelo of Double Your Dating was born Eben Pagan.

Real Social Dynamics’s Tyler Durden (after the character in the 1999 movie ) is actually named Owen Cook.