Pickin’ up some girls at the bar

By Jordyn Marcellus

I’m an average, frustrated chump. No one ever taught me how to meet girls, nor did I ever learn how to attract women. I always thought that you were born with that skill, ingrained and unlearnable. After hanging out with Allen Bubich– creator and panel moderator of Keys to the VIP– I’ve realized how totally wrong that idea really is. Over drinks at Hotel Arts’ bar, Bubich explains how the skills learned in picking up women translate not only to romance, but can lead to success in every part of life.

“Having ‘game’ is the ability to convince a woman who isn’t initially sexually interested in you and showing her your worth,” he says. “This skill is powerful because, at the end of the day, the product you’re selling in any situation is you.”

It seems almost absurd, but it’s true. There’s an old saying about how self-confidence is the most important thing for a man to have– hence the adoption of the red power tie as a sign of domination by business gurus. Self-confidence makes the difference between the guys who sulk into their beers on Loser’s Row near the Den’s dance floor and the dudes who always seem to be going home with the most beautiful girls. Bubich confirms that the cliche is true and further explains that it doesn’t just apply to picking up women.

“In the seduction world, confidence is the most attractive attribute you can have,” he says. “In the business world, when someone’s giving you one or two million dollars to create a television show, they’re investing in you. They want to see if you have the confidence to be a caregiver to that money. They want to see that you’re well-spoken, educated and your resume is straight before they invest in you, just like when you’re in the bar.”

With Neil Strauss’ The Game being required reading for every teenage boy who fancies themselves a player, there’s now more than ever a movement developing amongst men to learn the arts of the so-called Pick-Up Artist. Despite what some people may see as an attempt to cash in on the popularity of this subculture, the show has been in production far before the 2004 publication of Strauss’ book.

“I registered Keys to the VIP with the Writer’s Guild of Canada around 2001,” he says. “We started shooting the pilot in 2003. It took us a year to shop it and then we were on air in 2005. A lot of people think that we’ve piggy-backed onto this PUA movement [but] Keys has been in the works a long time before it was actualized. Did we get lucky because the PUA movement is now getting momentum? Absolutely.”

There’s a major Canadian connection to this burgeoning subculture. One of the numerous founders and one of its most influential members, Mystery– the titular pick-up artist in VH1’s The Pick-Up Artist– is a Canadian. The movement first started fomenting in the clubs and bars of Toronto as Mystery began to teach his students tried-and-true methods to meet women in the bar scene. When questioned on why there’s such a Canadian connection, Bubich is quick to fire off an answer.

“It’s Toronto,” he points out. “The reason why the art of seduction was birthed in Toronto was because women from Toronto are, frankly, stuck up! If you go to Toronto and you have no game, you’re going to get blown up. You’re going to get embarrassed. A lot of women in Toronto take great pleasure in stealing a man’s pride from them. I think a guy like Mystery probably got fed up with that at some point and said, ‘I’m going to take it upon myself to learn something and treat this like a science and change my life.’ “

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