By: David Shaw, Feb 08, 2008Decoding the Asian Playboy, the world’s greatest Asian pick-up artist
Self-described as the “Asian Hitch” and a “hard ass drill sergeant of a pick-up artist instructor,” the Asian Playboy serves as a guide into the underground world of seduction.
In every major city across the world, there lies a more duplicitous subset of the nightlife community. Known as the “seduction community,” they organize themselves into regional chapters called “lairs,” and meet to trade stories or discuss new pick-up tactics and strategies.
Although highlighted by Neil Strauss’ bestselling book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-Up Artists, and VH1’s reality series, The Pick-Up Artist, true pick-up artists generally prefer to operate discreetly, their advances and techniques only recognizable by their peers. They often adopt an appellation to conceal their true identities as they intoxicate the nightlife scene gallivanting as modern day Lotharios, using seduction as their only drug.
Born in Texas as JT Tran — the Asian Playboy aka “APB,” or as he prefers to be called, “JT” — studied aerospace engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology before becoming a professional social swinger. “For me, it was graduating from college, and I go out to California and realize I just sucked [at my social skills],” Tran explained. “So, I decided to do something about it.”
He turned to what he knew best as an engineer: research, self-education, and reverse-engineering the social protocols and processes in the nightlife scene.
On the Internet, Tran encountered the writings of Erik von Markovik, aka “Mystery,” a master pick-up artist featured in Strauss’ book and the VH1 series. He signed up for Mystery’s boot camp as a primer for becoming a pick-up artist. But the real development of a young pick-up protégé begins in the weeks after boot camp, affectionately referred to as “beginner’s hell.”
“There were weeks when I trained four to seven nights a week,” Tran explained about the effort it took to overcome his “approach anxiety,” or the anxiety felt when striking and maintaining a conversation with total strangers, and become “socially acclimated.”
That was four years ago. Since then, he has emerged as a master pick-up artist and entrepreneur who has founded his own company, evolved a new pick-up system called the “ABCs of Attraction,” and now travels around the world running his own boot camps aimed toward Asian and ethnic men. In 2007, he won the title of “The World’s Greatest Asian Pick-up Artist” at the Global Seduction Summit in Hollywood. “It’s actually a little grandiose,” he laughed about the peer-voted honor. “It’s not like there’s a formal body or anything that decides.”
Although he admits “the game” is no different for Asian men, Tran explained the need for an ethnic specific boot camp by stressing the recognition of societal influences from stereotypes and the media. “There will always be underlying perceptions that people have about Asian men — that we’re small, misogynistic, stable, effeminate, have small penises, asexual, etc.,” Tran said.
Noting the sentiment of frustration felt by many Asian Pacific American men, Tran acknowledged that his program was not for everybody. “There’s been a lot of anger. You can either do something about it or you can wallow in your own self-pity. [The latter] are the guys that I can’t help. … They don’t want to take responsibility for their own mediocrity in life.”
The boot camps span three days from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. each day. Three to four hours each day are dedicated to lectures and workshops, followed by hands-on practice at a local nightlife establishment. At the end of the night, the students meet to recap.
At a recent New York boot camp, students ranged from early-20s-to-mid-30s, most were Ivy League-educated, and some worked in finance, consulting and law. They did not seem particularly socially awkward or unattractive, but all were motivated by dissatisfaction with their social lives and wanted to embody more of the alpha male qualities they respected.
Tran wants to teach Asian American men to leverage their ethnicity in dating, instead of ignoring it. “There’s the Asian guy who tries to be as white as possible in order to get girls. And he will. And he hates everything about being Asian. And then there’s a guy who tries to be super-Asian. He hangs out in Chinatown and only dates Asian women. Both of who will succeed in spite of being Asian. What I’m trying to teach is to be successful because you’re Asian.” For example: “Very rarely will people think that we are rapists. You can use that to your advantage. Women don’t have to worry about their physical safety around us. But, we have to be more sexual, be more direct.”
Tran feels little unease about evangelizing a method in which men could potentially exploit weaknesses in women, notwithstanding the fact that the inherent goal of “the game” involves the objectification of women.
“It is true that a lot of this is misogynistic,” Tran conceded. “I try to lead by my own lifestyle, by setting a good example. But at the same time, I don’t teach ethics. It’s up to each guy to decide what to do with it.”
Not surprisingly, many object to Tran’s line of work. “I do get a lot of hatred within the Asian community, especially the Asian feminists. They despise me,” Tran said. “We’re the only ethnic group where the women sexually outperform the men.”
Asian pick-up artists seek to sexually empower themselves to balance the scales and serve as an antidote to the emasculated Asian male archetype. Tran also did not disagree with the characterization that what he teaches are the skills to be misogynists and bed as many women as possible.
“Is there something wrong with that?” Tran countered. “On a sheer population level, white guys are good at that far more than we are. This just puts us on par with everyone else. We’re often the backup plan [for Asian women]. … So when the options [for potential mates] begin to dwindle, it starts to threaten your confidence.”
After all, he pointed out, “I never lie to them,” adding that the only thing he offers to women is a good time.
On the final night of the boot camp, at the Hotel Gansevoort’s rooftop lounge, the Asian Playboy stood against the bar smugly surveying his new protégés. The efficacy of his methods was evident: His students were confidently working the room, chatting with groups of beautiful, well-to-do women — blondes, brunettes, you name it.
“Isn’t this a good time? I’m in my element!” he shouted as he disappeared into the crowd.
Visit www.abcsofattraction.com for the schedule of boot camps. Private boot camps and boot camps in unlisted cities can also be arranged.
Labels: Asian Week, Beginner's Hell, David Shaw, Media, Top Asian Pick Up Artists