Keeping Score

Get a girl in record time, then get another one

 Well, some people try to pick up girls / And get called asshole / This never happened to Pablo Picasso — Jonathan Richman, “Pablo Picasso”

We’re upstairs at the Red Door when Bashev sees his target: four girls in a flurry of tight pants and spaghetti straps. They’re hot babes. HBs.

It's a warm Friday night, and the Midtown rooftop is packed with well-dressed, attractive twentysomethings. Beautiful people in the know go to the Red Door, and the owners ward off everyone else by not even having a sign.

Al Cameron
Al Cameron

Before I know it, Bashev's in the girls' midst, and I think, What is he doing? A solo sortie like that takes guts. But Bashev's been studying fast-seduction for three years. He told me earlier he doesn't usually try to pick up girls ("to sarge") with wingmen, but I offer my services anyway. If we run into a pairing that includes an ugly girl (UG), I may have to -- in fast-seduction lingo -- jump on the grenade.

Bashev decided earlier to use one of his favorite stories. If a girl asks what the 24-year-old does, he's not going to say he's an engineering grad student at Rice. He's studied hypertechnical concepts at Amherst and the University of Massachusetts, but big freakin' deal: Women don't like the "ultra-rational" mind, he says. They like the unpredictable.

He spends most of his time in class, bogged down in technical studies. He once worked on a project titled "Automated Synthesis of Numerical Programs for Control, Simulation and Animation of Virtual Robots." Women don't want that dude, he says. They want mystery, romance, fun.

Bashev once took a girl he liked to his computer lab at school, where he deconstructs algorithms and multivariable calculus. He wooed her for a semester with linear algebra and software design methodology. Unbelievably, she split.

So that's why he'll get women to ask what he does, whereupon he'll point to his shoes and casually say, "I'm a foot model." Tonight, I'm to be his colleague, a model of the posterior. He doesn't expect them to really believe it; it's just supposed to distinguish us from the endless succession of cheeseballs who drop the same tired lines.

Bashev is tall and lean, with short light brown hair and a friendly Bulgarian accent. So he should have an edge, but by the time I work up the nerve to actually say something like "Yes, you heard correctly; I'm an ass model," a girl with long black hair has already shot him down. He didn't even get to his foot-model spiel. So he just opens with one of her friends. He asks if she thinks American reality shows are really real.

The first girl looks at me, rolls her eyes and says she doesn't care in the first place. I just stand there and do a really good impression of a dude who has nothing to say.

Bashev's not a bad-looking guy, but he's not getting anywhere. In the parlance of fast-seduction, these girls have just demonstrated the bitch shield. It's kind of like an electrified razor-wire force field they activate to fend off idiots at places like this. It doesn't mean the girl's a bitch. It means she's acting like one to protect herself from the silk-shirted vultures who want to talk about their Beemers and Bulovas.

A genuine pickup artist (PUA) can penetrate the bitch shield through sheer wit and charm. But Bashev's not an official PUA, and pretty soon we're treated like we're invisible. The girls eventually form their own continent and drift away to a table. Bashev smiles, shrugs it off. He's just getting warmed up. There's plenty more sarging to take care of. I head to the bar while the lazy lion of the Serengeti surveys the scene.

When I return from the bar with reinforcements, I see that Bashev's fellow fast-seducer has arrived. He says to call him Mr. X. They met at the Austin PUA Summit, held last Valentine's weekend, when some of the top players in the biz gave seminars on how to close the deal, as well as open one in the first place.

By the end of the evening, the Bombay-born Mr. X will explain why most women are here tonight: "They're hoping that Prince Charming is going to sweep her off her feet, take her home and give her a nice rogering."

When it comes to going after women, guys have been hoodwinked for the last 20 or 30 years, Mr. X says. Flowers and boring old dinners don't work. Women need mystery, excitement, romance. That comes naturally to some guys. But what about everyone else? What about the average frustrated chump (AFC)?

Fortunately, there's an entire online industry built around turning castoffs into Casanovas. The brand names differ, but the fast-seduction concept is the same: You don't have to be rich or extremely handsome to get the most beautiful girl in the bar. Whether you're looking for a girlfriend, a wife or a one-nighter, there are techniques that, if properly applied, can make you the kind of guy you say you hate but secretly want to be.

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