Type the words “pick up artist” and “seduction community” into a search engine and the floodgates will open to an underworld of mind-boggling jargon and acronyms—“gurus” expounding “methods” for the “AFC” (“Average Frustrated Chump,” FYI).
Innocent journalistic research is how it all started for Neill Strauss, and he ended up living in a house christened “Project Hollywood,” with three other men going by the names of “Mystery,” “Sin” and “Herbal,” and penning cult bestseller The Game—the book which is singularly responsible for bringing the inner-workings of the seduction community into the mainstream. So, a brief word of explanation for the unenlightened: the seduction subculture, spearheaded by American Ross Jeffries in the early 90s, is a men’s movement which seeks to develop a set of foolproof techniques for going out and seducing women (“sarging”). The name of “the game” then is self-improvement and sexual success, via seminars, forums, bootcamps—and a whole host of pseudo-scientific theories based on evolutionary biology and the female psyche.
The “lair” (another pseudonym) is the local club – the inner sanctum and meeting point for men devoted to the art of seduction – and now, Barcelona has its very own, in the form of BCN Lair. Currently boasting 160 members, it has hosted seminars and workshops from internationally renowned love gurus and experts. While the media has been quick to ridicule the seduction community, with particular backlash from women’s groups, who have branded it a misogynistic approach to sexual conquest, advocates such as Strauss maintain that it is essentially a resource for building confidence; the male equivalent of the sex advice that has been dished out in the pages of women’s magazines such as Cosmopolitan for decades.