Between the ages of twelve and fourteen, when I was at my most awkward, I worked as a bagger at a grocery store: Steinberg’s in Alexis-Nihon Plaza. There was this cashier that me and the other lowly baggers looked up to. He was a good looking guy in his early twenties. I swear he must have slept with half of Montreal. I’ve never met a better pickup artist. He could get half a dozen phone numbers on a Saturday afternoon. While he was working! It was insane. And he made it look easy. We called him the Steinberg Stud.

I remember hanging on his every word in the break room, with the other zitty dorks, as he revealed the masculine mysteries to us in hushed tones. He referred to his seduction technique as “The Scratch Ticket Strategy”: “If you wanna win the lottery, what do you do? You buy a lot of lottery tickets, right? It’s really that simple, guys. Just keeping buying them until you get a winner. Same is true of tail. If you wanna get a lot of ass, you’ve gotta hit on everything that moves. You’ve gotta be shameless.”

Unlike Tucker Max, author of Assholes Finish First (2010), the Steinberg Stud wasn’t trying to trick women into sleeping with him. He wasn’t a misogynistic asshole either. He was just an extremely friendly guy who put himself out there again and again and again. So far as I could tell, women liked him because he was (a) really good looking, (b) extremely charming, and (c) genuinely interested in them.

As Nassim Nicholas Taleb makes clear in Antifragile (2012), people who are successful at something are often blissfully unaware of why they’re successful at it. They might think they know why they’re successful, but they’re often dead wrong. He refers to this as the “green lumber fallacy”, after a trader who made a fortune buying and selling green lumber without knowing what it was. He thought green lumber was actually green as opposed to freshly cut.

The reigning king of the pickup artists, Daryush Valizadeh (Roosh V), has obviously fallen prey to the green lumber fallacy. What a profoundly delusional idiot this guy is! He actually thinks that his sociopathic skills are what gets him laid. Of course it’s obvious to any objective outside observer with common sense—indeed, even to hard-core feminists like Laurie Penny, who loathe him—that he gets laid a lot because he’s hot: “Roosh is tall and well-built and actually rather good-looking for, you know, a monster.”¹

—John Faithful Hamer, The Myth of the Fuckbuddy (2018)

1. Laurie Penny, “I’m With The Banned,” Medium (July 21, 2016)