How To Win Over Any Woman

A guy who’s literally written the book on impressing even standoffish females shares his secrets.

By Caitlin Ascolese

magine being the kind of guy who could stroll into a crowded room, walk up to the hottest woman there, and walk away with her digits… even if she was with a guy. You’d have to be a famous actor or a squillionaire, right? Maybe not. According to Erik von Markovik, aka Mystery, all it takes is the right approach. A founding father of the pick-up artist movement — a subculture detailed in 2005’s best-selling book The Game by Neil Strauss — he’s developed a three-part system designed to win a woman’s affection. In a new book, The Mystery Method, he explains the step-by-step process that promises to turn any guy with enough practice and patience into a bona fide chick magnet. We talked to Mystery about how it works.

What’s the basic premise of becoming a great pick-up artist?

Everyone wants to meet a high-quality individual—that’s what we all want, and we all want to be in love. The key is introducing
“I say no to women more than I say yes.”
yourself without telegraphing that weird, creepy feeling of someone who’s too interested or desperate. My logic is that if you get out in public more than you stay home alone, you’re on your way.

How often do you suggest going out?

It’s just a guideline, but in the book we say that when you’re starting out, go out four times a week and talk to twelve girls a night. You’ll start understanding what works for you and what doesn’t. Getting up the courage start a conversation with a stranger has to become instinctual. But that takes practice, and each time you do it you’ll be less nervous.

What’s the biggest mistake guys make when they’re approaching a woman?

Taking too long to move in. When you see a woman you’re interested in, you have three seconds to approach her. Any longer, and she’s going to notice you watching and get creeped out. A woman doesn’t want someone who’s scared or intimidated. Another mistake is not paying attention to her friends. A guy should get accepted by the group and prove his value first, before he hits on the woman.

You recommend changing locations once you meet a girl, whether it’s going to another area of the bar or asking her to go for a meal somewhere else. Why does this make a woman more attracted to you?

It’s better to hang out for five hours in five venues because when she looks back, she’ll have more memories of more fun. If
“I pick a woman up because I want to fall in love.”
you’re out with your friends and she’s out with her friends, you can ask if they’d like to meet up with your group for something to eat. So you leave with your friends, she leaves with her friends, and you all wind up at the same place. It’s a subtle way of establishing trust: It shows you’re genuinely interested, you follow through on a plan, and you’re not just trying to get her alone.

What’s an easy way for guys to be more attractive to women?

Hang out with women. If Margaret is looking at John, and he’s surrounded by women but he’s not trying too hard to go after them, Margaret will see John and feel attracted to him. It’ll pique her curiosity because he has value. Then there’s a challenge—she wants to know, “How can I meet him? Because he doesn’t need to meet me.”

What about his clothes?

You don’t need to wear outrageous clothes, but it is nice to wear one interesting item so that if a girl finds you attractive, she can come up and say, “Oh, I like your hat.” Make it a little easy on her—she wants to meet you!

Can a woman make the first move?

Yep, for sure. But even a hot girl can creep a guy out. She should do the proximity thing, which is ubiquitous in every culture in the world—even apes are hardwired to do this. Get five to eight feet away from the guy, put your back to him to talk to your friends or order a drink, and then look over your shoulder at him. Then the guy can tap you on the shoulder, and you can respond with a big smile and say “Hi.” It paves the way for the guy to naturally start the conversation.

If a guy gets good at this, how many women could he meet in, say, a week?

No man who values women thinks in those terms—it only takes one woman to make your day or your year. Realistically, though, you could get three numbers in a night. It takes at least 25 minutes to really connect with a woman, but an average of 40. There are some programs that promise you can get her number in three minutes, and you can, but you’re never going to talk to her again. We call those numbers “wood” —they’re worth about as much as the paper they’re printed on. It takes longer to get a number from a girl who will actually want to see you again.

Do you believe in true love?

Of course I do. I am designed to be in love. I don’t pick up a girl because it’s fun to pick her up, I pick her up because I want to fall in love.

But is it ever tempting to just be a total player, since you’ve mastered the skills?

I’d rather be the Casanova and have fewer, quality partners than the Don Juan who just goes for quantity. I say no to women more than I say yes.

Is there any aspect of meeting women that still makes you nervous?

I get a full-blown adrenaline release every single time I approach a woman. It’s the same feeling as sticking your head over a 30-story balcony.

Neil Strauss’ account of your subculture has been optioned as a movie. Which actor do you hope will play you?

Someone said Johnny Depp, but that would be embarrassing. People would meet the real Mystery and go, “Oh, really? Forget that.” I heard that Sacha Baron Cohen, who plays Ali G and Borat, might play me. That’d be really cool, because that is a great man. Have you seen his wife? Well done! She’s so lovely. Respect!

Caitlin Ascolese is a freelance writer in New York City.

This book can be purchased from

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