Charm school for men teaches the art of the pickup, or keeping the conversation (and the kino) going Reyhan Harmanci, Chronicle Staff Writer Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Charm School Boot Camp instructor Dan Williams -- or the Social Hitchhiker, as he's known in the pickup community, is offering the lesson of the day to a table of men at the Bamboo Hut in North Beach on a recent Friday night.
"OK guys," he says, "I don't want to see you alone. You know what we call that -- lonesome row. I don't want to see you standing alone, ever. [Podcast: Reyhan Harmanci talks to two pickup artists.]
"Also, don't end a conversation too early. Don't end a conversation before someone, like, pushes you away and says, 'Go away,' " he says, grinning. "Seriously, you can talk to someone for much longer than you think."
The five students, ranging in age from 22 to late 40s, and ranging in career from college student to financier, nod. Their faces are tight. Each has paid $1,600 to spend two and half days learning the art of the pickup from Charisma Arts, a company founded by one of the best-known names in the pickup world, Wayne Elise, a.k.a. Juggler. They have spent most of Friday afternoon in a small room in the Westin St. Francis Hotel, getting to know each other, their instructors and the basic tenets of the Juggler method. They've learned some new words -- "kino" means touching, "PUA" means "pickup artist," "SOI" means "statement of interest," "the vacuum" is the space in conversation that happens after you ask a question.
They're role-played and checked in about their feelings. They've asked many, many questions. Some have taken notes.
But now it's time to take those lessons into the field.