Local Pickup Artist Is at War With Women

Hitchsmall.jpg
Photo by Susan Du
I don't get drunk I get me.

A boys' football coach by day, after hours Russell Carter coaches hardened men in an entirely different game. The playing field is Saint Dane's on a Tuesday night. The ball is in the court of the first beautiful woman who catches his eye -- anyone who rates a nine or 10.

Carter introduces himself. He's 25, tall and muscular with a winning smile. He's a natural comedian, so conversation is easy-flowing. Suddenly he leans in, squinting at the woman's nose. "Wow, you've got a bit of a schnoozle there don't you?" At that point, she recoils, reaching up to cover her face. Carter laughs and apologizes for acting like a kid on a playground. He explains that he likes her but doesn't know how to tell her yet. She relaxes a bit.

In the pickup-artist world, it's a technique called "negging," uplifting a woman's self-esteem, razing it to the ground, and then building her back up again. The thinking goes, if you can control a woman's emotions, you pretty much have her in the "battle for the pussy," says Carter, a newly established dating coach with a handful of clients throughout Houston.

Out in the real world, Carter's technique is known as gaslighting, a form of mental abuse that causes victims to question their sanity, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The entire pickup artist trade is rampant with men who think in terms of "alphas" and "betas," domination and submission, sex entitlement and the objectification of women.

However, feminist frenemy Efe Osaren insists that she's never felt threatened by Carter. He pokes fun to get a rise out of her, but she sees it as a gimmick.

"I genuinely believe he knows he's doing things wrong on purpose, but he doesn't care," Osaren said. "That's why I entertain it, because I get the feeling that he just likes the attention. One of the first things I ever said to him was, 'I think you like to make jokes and play this macho man to hide your insecurities.'"

Osaren grew up rolling her eyes at a patriarchal Nigerian father who considers her gender equality agenda a "phase." She says it's more likely that men who repeatedly reinforce their masculinity are emotionally repressed. Still, Osaren worries that Carter's dating coach business preys on women.

Carter scoffs at the criticism, which he calls "political correctness." He sees the dating game in more black-and-white, animalistic terms. Men embrace their inner hunter, women give up on the notion of tying men down, he says.

Much like Will Smith's "Hitch," Carter boasts his own "tragic" origin story. It was his freshman year at the University of Texas -- Austin, and he was on his knees in the lobby of his girlfriend's dorm, begging her not to break up with him. Carter had been certain that because he was a good-looking football player, he would be irresistible to women. After his breakup embarrassment, something clicked and Carter realized he needed a personality, too.

"I am definitely a better person for it, but at the same time, this whole relationship game is insane," Carter said sagely. Still, there's no doubt the breakup must have been traumatic enough to seriously skew his understanding of healthy relationships.

"Men and women are complete opposites. Men have embraced what we are. It's women who fight it," he said. "At the end of the day, we're animals. We need this release, but you guys hang onto that like you're terrorists."

Women are terrorists...holding on to what now?

"Vagina."

Oh, Okay.

Carter's business model is client-centric. He says he goes out with struggling pickup artists -- young professional nerds and recent divorcees -- at their convenience to bars in Midtown, Montrose and Sugar Land. Carter says he charges $150 a night and averages seven hangouts a week, coaching men in their interactions with about 15 women each session. He also assigns reading: pickup guidebooks The Game by Neil Strauss, The 48 Laws of Power and Mastery by Robert Greene and even Sun Tzu's classic The Art of War.

Somehow, "know your enemy and know yourself" reads a bit more creepy in this context.

Court records show Carter recently completed six months probation for a misdemeanor theft conviction in January (the charge covers goods ranging from $50 to $500). Attempts to contact Carter for further comment were unsuccessful, and he recently deleted his Facebook profile.

Marc Lesnick, organizer of international dating conference iDate, said there's a difference between dating coaches and pickup artists like Carter. Whereas dating coaches help relationship-minded clients with social etiquette, pickup artists are more interested in dazzling women into bed. Dating coaches try to build long-term desirability. Pickup artists play a numbers game in which women are both rated and objectified as "targets."

But Carter believes he's got what women want all figured out.

"In this world, the highest thing a man can be is a king. The highest thing a woman can be is a queen," he says. "Is a queen more powerful than the king? If a king is too busy kissing a queen's ass and not taking care of his kingdom, she's gonna be like, 'Ugh, you're some dumbass king, man."

In Carter's world, women have already lost "the battle for the pussy." The best they can do is wait for men to surrender in old age.

My Voice Nation Help
22 comments
Olympia
Olympia

My guy friends in their 40s and 50s have no trouble bedding 20-somethings simply by being honest, saying they'd like to hook-up occasionally for casual and fun sex, nothing more. Don't see the need for subterfuge.

thorwilliams1
thorwilliams1

Oh lord, just wait for jef with one f to come in a write a white knight column on the oppression of women and how he needs to get his daughter out of Texas because of pua like him in houston.

Voltaggio
Voltaggio

I often feel, like a character in a George Bernard Shaw play, that women are the real hunters and we men are the prey. And they shoot for keeps.

AC87164
AC87164

If this guy approached me in this manner, I would throw a drink in his face. Let's see him action and really see if he could "succeed in his battle." 

Jessica Peterson
Jessica Peterson

Women are terrorists holding on to vagina?!? What the what? Wrong on many levels.

debs.munoz
debs.munoz

Why would he agree to be interviewed? He couldn't have thought this was going to end well.

MelADavis
MelADavis

Just another man trying to put on the illusion that he actually has the ability to control whether or not a woman likes him to begin with.  

Nicki Stacy
Nicki Stacy

Would love to know why the college girl broke up with him. If she sees this article, I bet the only thing she regrets is not doing it sooner.

Nestor Sanchez
Nestor Sanchez

You may have just unintentionally gave this man more business. But you definitely got him more attention.

Rick McDowell
Rick McDowell

Sad thing is, there's always going to be weaker minds in both respective sexes to empower prefators of this caliber, and the disgusting "culture" it encorages. I'd assume watch a capable woman break his nose, as opposed to seeing this level of misogynistic behavior perpetuate.

Veronica Carr
Veronica Carr

what trash. he needed a personality so he developed one of the more repulsive ones possible?

RoosterMcGee
RoosterMcGee topcommenter

guys like this give guys in general a bad name...

h_e_x
h_e_x

Sad little man taking money from other sad little men. If that's the only way they know how to get laid, then that's pathetic. Those books are a laugh riot and women know when guys are taking cues from them. Sure, they might work on the more naive women, but that's because they are unfamiliar with it. 

Again, if you have to gaslight a woman to make them talk to you, you are a sad, pathetic child trying to live in an adult world.

eudemonist
eudemonist

Lol, Carter--that guy's a trip.  He does have some killer icebreakers, I'll give him that.  Not sure how well he treats women once he's got 'em, but hella conversationalist.

h_e_x
h_e_x

Scary stuff. This is the kind of rhetoric that encourages rape because it demeans and dehumanizes women.

h_e_x
h_e_x

@debs.munoz The guy bald face lies to women in their face and thinks that's a good way to get with them. Something tells me "good decisions" and "thinking" aren't things he's familiar with.

eudemonist
eudemonist

@MelADavis  You don't believe your posture, handshake, appearance, grooming, sense of humor, or confidence level influence how others perceive you? 


h_e_x
h_e_x

He has one, he just doesn't like it. The bravado and negging belies a broken psyche.

MelADavis
MelADavis

@eudemonist @MelADavis they do to a point, but there isn't anything that a man can do to make a woman like him.  He can further justify her own initial attraction, or make her question that initial attraction, based on how he acts.  

eudemonist
eudemonist

@MelADavis You're correct that it's only to a point, and I think this dude would entirely agree with you on that.  Win some, lose some, all that.

However, there _are_ things that can tilt that initial impression in a favorable direction, though--being "on point" when a woman first notices you gives you a much better chance of initial attraction than having your finger up your nose.

Some factors are within our control, and some factors are outside our control.  Manage what you can and you increase your chances, is all.  Nothing is certain.

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...