The rise and decline of the art of picking up

Pick up artists
Pick up artists

Picking up, once a dominant cultural phenomenon, has now been taken over by online dating. Will it ever make a resurgence?

Ever approached a likely lad or lass in the hopes of getting their phone number, or even a date? “Picking up” a member of the opposite sex involves approaching them in an attempt to create a romantic relationship. But, much like the way reading books has changed dramatically with the introduction of technology, so too has the art of picking up.

In the last decade, people have begun to opt for online dating over conventional methods of meeting people, and the stigma of online dating is slowly vanishing.

So how has the pick-up culture changed? To answer that question, you just have to look at your mobile phone and the rise of dating apps.

Tinder, OKCupid, eHarmony and many more online dating networks have gained popularity across the world. Today, five per cent of Americans have found their husband or wife thanks to online dating.

So how does this affect pick-up culture? It doesn’t necessarily make pick-up redundant, but many see it as a far riskier means of finding a relationship compared to online dating. It’s not surprising to see a decline of physical approaches in the real world.

“I definitely do see the appeal. You don’t even have to leave your bedroom and you can speak to all these gorgeous girls. All you have to do is send a message. It’s amazing. Really it is,” says pick up enthusiast Matt Do, 20, a student from Sydney. “With online dating you do not need to go and personally introduce yourself to the girl. You can simply sit in your bedroom and send a message with almost no social consequences.”

Recently, there has been an increase in men and a handful of women trying to bring back real life pick-up. On YouTube, Simple Pickup, a Los Angeles based group who found fame by creating videos of themselves approaching women, demonstrated how simple it is. While it wasn’t a tutorial, it garnered interest because Simple Pickup experimented with unorthodox methods (e.g. picking up using a helicopter) in a pseudo-comedy style. According to them, it works.

“I do agree that pick-up is far more effective for establishing and maintaining relationships compared to online dating,” says Matt. “This is because in pick-up you can be 100 per cent yourself and convey your personality to the girl you are approaching fully.”

Another YouTuber, Willy Beck, produces a variety of tutorials about mindset, approaching, and various demonstrations on his methods. He also offers life coaching sessions about mindset and confidence building. So too does JT Tran, whose tutorials and other miscellaneous videos are usually aimed at Asians. He teaches the basics of dating, approaching, and even online dating. He also interviews women regarding dating. While it is racially controversial, revolving around Asian men exclusively targeting white women, he nevertheless represents the resurgence of pickup.

At the end of the day, pick-up never really died out, but it might have dwindled due to more convenient and accessible options. Some still prefer pick-up because of the human interaction, but it seems both will be around for years to come.  Roger Lee

Photo by Ben Atkinson-James

About Roger Lee 5 Articles
Roger is a journalist with a decent unhealthy interest in gaming, anthropology and DIYs