The art of ‘picking up’ – Sun Media

The classroom is not what I was expecting.

Instead of being full of students who’ve marinated their bodies in cheap cologne and spent hours perfecting their coifs, eight or nine respectable-looking young men sit in chairs. Some are university students. One (unsurprisingly) works in computers. Others are salespeople who can’t quite seem to close the deal”¦with women.

Each of these lovelorn men have dropped a grand for an intensive weekend seminar in Toronto on how to charm women, as taught by Adam Lyons, the man who is currently ranked the number one pick-up artist in the world.

The teacher is not quite as expected, either.

Instead of a greasy misogynist sleazebag, Lyons is charming, enviably charismatic, respectful and sincere. “I’m the one man in the industry that stands against the rest of it,” Lyons later tells me in a phone interview. He says that he considers himself more of a dating coach than a pick-up artist. He is happily married.

Also happily married is Canadian author/playwright/columnist/bombshell Claudia Dey, whose latest book, “How To Be a Bush Pilot: A Field Guide to Getting Luckier” (HarperCollins, 2010) tackles similar topics as Lyons’ seminar, albeit from a female perspective.

It was only fair to interview both of these experts in the ways of lady-charming in order to get advice from both genders.

The first and most important tip offered seems obvious.

“You’ve got to get out there and actually get talking to somebody,” Lyons says, explaining that a lot of men just stand around at bars talking to their friends or playing videogames instead of meeting new people. “If you’re not going out there and talking to anyone, don’t expect anything different to happen in your life.”

At a loss as to where to meet available women? Lyons recommends scoping out the local coffee shop near work, frequenting clubs and bars and getting set up by mutual friends.

For the club-going set, Lyons warns against approaching women at last call solely for the purposes of not going home alone. That pretty girl standing at the bar is a human being. She has a mom and a job. Maybe try getting to know her as a person?

Lyons also maintains that mixed company is best when hitting the town. “You want to be sure that you’re going out and about with girls, not guys. Hanging out with guys just makes you look like a shark…(hanging out with women) shows that you’re sincere, that women like you and that you have options. You’re choosing the girl rather than just being desperate.”

Above all else, Lyons preaches confidence and suggests that a great sense of humour will put just about any woman at ease. And that’s half the battle right there.

Claudia Dey thinks that the single biggest mistake that men make when trying to meet and mingle with women is pretending to be something that they’re not.

“They don purple top hats, spritz themselves with Silent Seduction Pheromone cologne, and hoist their biceps like balloons,” Dey writes via e-mail. “The primordial mathematics: If you present a distorted version of yourself, you will be presented with one in return.”

Dey’s top tips for charming a lady, aside from being true to yourself, include being a gentleman, flirting like it’s an art, having an air confidence and/or mystery, being able to make a woman feel good about herself using questions or compliments and above all else, make like Bill Murray. “Your humour is our striptease,” she writes. “Never underestimate funny.”

But, as Dey notes in “How To Be a Bush Pilot,” even the textbook-perfect approach could end in abject failure:

“Remember, Bush Pilots: despite your efforts, she directs the traffic.”

Wise words to live by.

Sexy Typewriter blogs about her dating failures – online and otherwise – at