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August 12, 2007

The Pickup Artist

Okay, I don't know how many of you out there have caught the new VH1 show - part of it's stellar non-musical reality TV programming that we've come to love - called The Pick-up Artist. (Sadly, it has nothing to do with the Robert Downey Jr. movie of the same name and yes, I realize I just aged myself by making a reference no one born later than 1983 could ever get).

As a woman (or really, as a human being) I find the whole premise of the show offensive to begin with. But hey, I love me some bad reality TV. So when I saw commercials for this show (while watching Scott Baio is 45... and Single, oh the shame) I admit I was intrigued. Mostly because I can't imagine the star, Mystery, could ever be a "master pick up artist" (or any kind of pick-up artist for that matter).

Mystery is scary. He wears more makeup and jewelry than I do. I'm serious, he is crazily over-accessorized. What was with the goggles? Are we supposed to believe that while he's not hitting on chicks and/or teaching young men to do the same... he's a part-time pilot? He also seems to have a hat fetish, which is a shame because unlike most of the men who keep their heads covered to hide the fact that they're balding (ex. Bret Michaels... allegedly!) he has a gorgeous head of hair. I mean, really. I need to know what kind of conditioner he uses. Is it Pantene? I need to get some for myself because my hair doesn't have half the shine and body that his does.

Anyway... his hair aside, even though I'm not all about looks... I would never sleep with someone who looked or dressed like he does. And I have really low standards. Any guy I've ever dated will prove that.

Also I don't get the name. Why he is so mysterious? What is the mystery? Is it "how can a guy who looks so much like a woman pick up chicks?" The name even has a kind of drag queen vibe to it... like "Miss Understood".. I guess the way he dresses, he almost is like a drag queen. I guess you could say he's a male impersonator? Or, um a man trapped in the body of a... um... stylish man? I don't know...

Anyway, Mystery has two sidekicks (who we're supposed to believe are former students of his) "Matador" and "J-Dog". Again, where are they getting these nicknames from? Did Flavor Flav give them those names on his show? Matador's name obviously comes from his success with um... bulls? Isn't that kind of gay? Seeing as bulls are male... so wouldn't "Cowboy" be more appropriate. (Actually scratch that idea, that sounds even gayer. Almost like, Village People gay). Where's Rodeo when you need her? Also, every time I say his name in my head I'm shouting in it a Spanish accent: "Mah-tah-doooooor!"

J-Dog on the hand (who clearly didn't get the memo about the "double-g" thing) has kind of a punk Pepe Le Pew thing happening with his hair. I can just imagine his original lessons with Mystery, being told "you need something edgy to make you stand out. I know! Let's paint some stripes in your hair! Yeah! Also... can you fake a British accent?"

Truth be told, if Mystery, Matador or J-Dog came up to me at a bar, I'd be so turned off and freaked out that I'd probably run away screaming. (Okay, maybe I wouldn't literally run away screaming. I'd probably let them buy me a drink and then I'd calmly walk away while rolling my eyes and then go talk shit about them in the ladies room).

Of the contestants (yeah did I forget to mention that if they don't "learn" well enough they get eliminated and sent home one by one, oh don't worry, these guys are used to rejection) only a few stand out enough for me to make fun of... There's a slightly pudgy Asian guy who is adorably clueless about women. At one point while at the bar he says to a girl "I'm just not good at talking". His name is Spoon. Yeah, I don't get it either. My mother watched a few minutes of the show with me and has decided that she wants Spoon to win... and also date me.
"Why can't you bring home a nice guy like that?"

"Um... you want me to bring home a chubby Asian guy with glasses and a teddy bear t-shirt... who is on a
reality show?"
The rest of the cast is a handful of stereotypes... the typical gawky nerd with glasses... the "old" guy (a 45-year-old virgin, aw)... the chubby guy... the "women think I'm gay" guy... etc. There are a handful of guys who if I saw them in a bar, I would actually find more attractive than the so-called experts on the show. In fact, I'm so turned off by the cockiness of Mystery, Matador and J-Dog that I'd be more likely to go for one of the lovable "losers" in a heartbeat. (There was a guy one time who talked me up at the bar with stories of how he used to wet the bed as a child... and I actually ended up dating him briefly, so yeah, I do have low standards). None of guys on the show seem that hopeless except for the fact that they don't know how to talk to women... or people... or animals... or inanimate objects.

At one point during the show, Mystery sends the guys off into a "real bar" with "real women" who "aren't paid actresses" (okay, sure) to test how pathetic they actually are... They were all pretty pathetic.

Whoever wins at the end of the show gets to be Mystery's new ultimate master pick-up artist and work with him and Matador and J-Dog. Now, no matter how well they do in the "contest" you just know the new ultimate master pick up artist isn't going to be the old guy or the fat guy... not to be mean, but can you really see them hanging out with Mystery and Matador at a club? It's kind of how you knew Bret Michaels wasn't going to pick a black chick on Rock of Love, but he kept Dallas around for two whole episodes just to prove that he has nothing against black chicks. But just to ensure that it wouldn't be a black chick, they cast the most volatile black chick in the world. So let's just say that my money's on a big-breasted blonde winning, but I digress.

It's just not even fair for a 45 year old guy who's slightly balding to compete with the other guys and pick up women in their 20s at a bar like the younger guys. It's just not a fair playing ground. He could probably get some serious tail with a 35-55 crowd but with the under-30 women he's just "that creepy old guy talking to me at the bar".

Overall, this show just about broke my heart. I felt so bad for these guys. Not because they're "ugly" or "awkward" or "nerdy" or whatever... just because they were so scared and so sad when they got rejected. I actually felt guilty about every guy I ever rejected in a bar, while watching this show... Well, okay, not every one. Not the ones who were assholes... just the hopelessly clueless dorky ones. I feel so terrible now, looking back!! It almost makes me feel bad about every guy I made fun of in Dumb Things Guys Say. (Almost. But don't worry, Dumb Things Guys Say will never die).

I get that any guy can meet women if he's confident, etc but I think if Mystery, Matador or J-Dog were ugly it'd be a whole different thing. "Game" can't be everything. I think at least part of what's going on in that bar is that the chicks would rather talk to the hot guy than the short, fat, ugly, and/or old guy. Even if he is wearing a furry top hat (what the fuck was up with that? - he looks like that chick from 4 Non Blondes - uh oh, did I just age myself again with that reference? Oh well).

I also want to say for the record, that I felt that showing a clip of two dudes (the chubby one and the "not gay" one) bending over in Speedos at the pool was a tad unnecessary. The show should have had a parental guidance warning for Gratuitous Speedo.

At the end of the episode, Mystery tells the guys, "Who you are today dies here. Tomorrow the education begins". Wow, that was heavy. But why didn't they get to have a kick ass Native American ritual like the guys from Mission: Man Band?

This show should be called Mission: Man Whore.


Slightly Balding 45 Year Old Guy said...

The show package is not geared to really explain the PUA phenomenon. The elimination trope is unneccesary as well. And Spoon was the coolest guy on the show! His indie rock tshirt, rubber-banded topknot and Sharpie'd fingernails were, to my mind, a kind of nerd peacocking that he could have gone with in a hipster dive bar (instead of that plasticy-weird club that they keep going back to).

Well, what do I know, I am a "slightly balding 45 year old guy" myself. Man, my doppelganger on the show scares the shit out of me!

Anonymous said...

Lady first/last comment for you:

Let the men do their stuff... you do yours - test men/reject the losers(dont feel bad dats your job. That how men know their worth as MEN - just like only supermodels get to be that with all the attention they get in at least first 3 seconds). Mystery only has a theory for Men. By the way dont get into manhood initiation stuff - you may end up thinkng men are nuts!! and IF you rejected mystery Let HIM know!! that would be something

Anonymous said...

uh get a life lady. this is a GUY show. You wouldnt understand it cause like I said earlier, its a guy show. Its like me complaining on what happend on another episode of Barney.

Anonymous said...

hahaha... it's a GUY show about picking up... WOMEN.

Barney and Mystery do have a lot in common. They're both extremely tall and oddly terrifying.

Anonymous said...

Nice to know another girl watched that.
The show just is now shown in Germany, and I think it's very much like a car accident. Crazy, but you just can't look away. I keep wondering which girl falls for a not-so-very-nerdy guy saying "Do you first brush or floss?" for the 10th time on this show... well, as the "Mystery" guy claims to have spent ten years wandering about on the lookout for the best come-on line, there's not too much he's come up with.
I should try making money with classes like that myself.

Anonymous said...

I think Mystery gets away with it because he's actually quite good looking and non threatening cause he's a bit girly looking with his make up, like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.