“‘I was thinking about how sexy it would be to kiss you,’” world renowned pickup artist Wayne Elise told a group of young Rick Santorum fans. “You can say that [to a girl], it’s cool.”
Elise, better known by his handle “Juggler” from Neil Strauss’ notorious pickup memoir The Game, was offering advice to attendees at conservative mega-conference CPAC on how to improve their dating game. Remember that old VH1 reality show The Pickup Artist with that lanky host called “Mystery” teaching people how to insult girls then hit on them when their self esteem is shattered? This is one of his top rivals, charging upwards of $5,000 for a one-day private session.
But on Thursday, young socially conservative activists got it for free. One tip, he noted, was to introduce sensuality into early conversations with girls — like the above quote — to keep from falling into the platonic zone with your target.
“Most guys fall into the category of not being sexual enough, so that girls will easily see them as friend material and the guys have a hard time getting out of that,” he said. “I think one of my ideas that connects to conservatives is that it’s OK to wait but you definitely want to show the person you’re sexual and sensual.”
A crowd of a couple dozen people, mostly media, but with a handful of genuinely rapt fresh-faced conservatives of both sexes thrown in, hung on to his every word. Sometimes they threw in their own advice and observations. As Elise joked about which Republicans were the “hottest,” two giggling college girls with Santorum stickers shouted in perfect unison “Mitt Romney’s sons!” Shortly afterwards, Elise asked a slick-haired Republican to describe his perfect girl. His answer: 5”7, good hair, nice skin, and “works for FOX News.”
The breakout session, sponsored by TeaParty.net, was billed as an opportunity to “learn everything from how to avoid scaring away your own personal Dagny Taggart in the first five minutes of the conversation, to whether Tea Partiers and Occupiers can share something more than a dislike for bailouts.” But in practice, Elise mostly stuck to his tried and true methods for dating in general. In comparison to “Mystery,” who promotes using memorized pickup lines, Elise instead espouses broader tips and tricks.
Like the following four examples:
1.”How do you make them feel comfortable? You talk about your weaknesses,” Elise said. One audience member chimed in with a good one liner to lighten the mood: “I’m Rush Limbaugh’s drug dealer.”
2. On dates, “try to outlaw questions,” Elise said, prompting some quizzical looks from participants. “Say ‘I’m not going to do any questions, I’m going to make statements.’ Why? Because statements say something about you.”
3. Here’s a tip: “When you walk up and you’re talking to the cute girl in a group don’t just talk to the girl. Bring other people in.” In a related tactic, should you see a hot girl in a bar do not approach — instead befriend a less attractive group and then recruit them to help you seduce her.
4. Good date idea? “Tell her you want to take a polaroid camera, walk around Soho in New York or somewhere comparable here, Georgetown maybe, and take pictures together — that’s a fun date.” But one Republican consultant from Sag Harbor, New York had a better one. “A gun club works really well for that thing,” he said. “It’s conservative, it’s fun, most women haven’t done that before…you get to look like you know what you’re doing.”
Still, at the audience’s prompting, Elise offered at least some conservative-specific ideas from his own experience as a libertarian in Los Angeles.
“The problem with conservatives on dating: we’re too uptight!” he said. “Liberals have the reputation for being fun, we have to go on the date and have fun without smoking pot.”
By far the biggest question on participants’ mind was whether true bipartisan love was possible. On this point, there was some surprising optimism in the room: Andrew Simon, a blogger for African American GOP site “HipHopRepublican.com,” suggested it might even be easier.
“You save yourself from those godawful dates where you see someone and they’re both conservatives and it becomes one giant pecking contest to see who has the coolest contacts,” he said. The audience wasn’t sold, though. “DC,” one muttered dismissively.
At the very least, the session was an opportunity to acknowledge one of the less discussed dynamics of CPAC. Unlike most conservative gatherings, which often resemble Bingo night at the retirement home, the annual conference is usually dominated by college Republicans who bus in en masse. That means the dating scene is sizzling.
I asked Adam Tilsley, a student in from the University of Maine, whether he thought he heard any news he could use at CPAC.
“Oh yeah without a doubt,” he said. “Who knows, I might have a secret admirer.”
Photo from Icons Jewelry / Shutterstock
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.