Dressed in tight leather pants, patterned vest and a V-neck muscle shirt, Matador, of VH1’s “The Pick-Up Artist,” cut an intimidating figure Wednesday night in Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall.
As part of the latest event in the Sex Week at Yale series, Matador spoke to a packed audience for 90 minutes, revealing tips and tricks from his unusual trade: seduction. Mystery, the creator of the VH1 program, could not attend because of illness.
“The Pick-Up Artist” is a reality television program pitting eight socially tactless men against each other in a quest to become the “Master Pick-Up Artist.” Mystery and his “faithful wingmen,” Matador and J Dog, educate and evaluate the competitors.
Offering a brief summary of the pick-up routine known as the Mystery Method, Matador led his audience through the three major steps: attraction, comfort and seduction. He began his talk with a lengthy discussion of his past, regaling the audience with a litany of awkward personal encounters.
“I got girls, but not ‘quality women,’” Matador told the crowd.
This and several other moments were punctuated by laughter from the audience. Speaking in bits of pick-up jargon like “cutting a thread” — stopping conversation — and “stacking forward” — redoubling efforts — Matador continued, detailing the proper way to approach a girl.
Adopting an over-the-shoulder body stance, the pick-up artist explained, “I’m not so invested in the conversation, and I’m willing to walk away. That should suppress any discomfort she might experience right off the bat.”
Matador described the “tribal” existence of some places in Africa in order to convey the “way in which we used to live.” The social roles of prehistoric men and women heavily influence the way people approach sexual interactions today, he explained, and primal instincts continue to affect how we behave.
Outlining how to work a “cold approach,” in which men seek out women in nightclub environments, Matador emphasized a man’s need to assert himself as a leader and protector. Working off of pre-formed material can be helpful, he added.
“If you do these things, and you systematically hit these objectives, it is scarily consistent how well you can guide interactions any way you want to go,” Matador said.
After the “attraction” stage, Matador moved on to the “comfort” stage. As the most time-intensive part of the Mystery Method, this step involves developing a rapport with the “target” in order to gain her trust, Matador said. He recommended cultivating a body of knowledge that lends itself to good conversation.
“You know when you have a good conversation?” asked Matador. “It’s a harmonious free flow of information.”
Finally, Matador spoke about seduction — specifically, the arousal process. Women cannot be talked into sex, he said, especially as an act that is just as much about giving as receiving. He emphasized the need to ensure that sex takes place somewhere that is clean and comfortable and has a well-stocked refrigerator.
“You want to make sure your place is sex-worthy,” he said.
While at least a third of the audience left before the end of Matador’s presentation, student reaction among those who remained was fairly positive.
When asked whether she found the pick-up techniques offensive because of the attitude toward women they might seem to suggest, Victoria Wild ’08 responded, “No, not at all. I thought it was pretty hysterical.”
In general, students interviewed said they found the talk more entertaining than instructive.
“I actually came more for the guys’ reaction in the audience than anything,” Sofia Medina ’09 said. “I feel like a lot of the guys here maybe need to learn just how to use the respect aspect of it.”
Other students noted that, beneath its sensational exterior, the Method possessed a certain practical value. Techniques could easily be adapted for social networking and interview situations, they said.
“He definitely had some good points,” Wild said.
But Rosa Li ’09, who led the Yale Precision Marching Band in storming SSS, playing Akon and Bon Jovi, before Matador’s presentation began, disagreed. While formalized seduction methods are helpful for men who have trouble approaching girls, she acknowledged, “the idea of having a scripted way to get a girl into bed” is in poor taste.
Other Sex Week at Yale events on the schedule include a lingerie fashion show hosted by AIDS research and awareness groups, along with the Great Porn Debate featuring Ron Jeremy, Vivid Girl Monique Alexander, Craig Gross and Donnie Pauling.