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A few years ago, I became fascinated with The Game, a book by Neil Strauss about professional pickup artists. Adopting the nickname Style, Strauss infiltrates the seduction scene and, under the tutelage of a master of the Venusian arts known as Mystery, soon becomes a world-class PUA himself. Noticing the similarities between Mystery, Style and myself, between their techniques and aspects of the BBD (my personal philosophy of cool), I made it my mission to meet and “sarge” (pick up women) with them. I sent Style an e-mail expressing my admiration and requesting an interview, signing the letter “Blackjack.” He very graciously blew me off, so I thanked him for his time and moved on.

 

Then last year, VH1 aired The Pickup Artist—a reality show in which Mystery and his PUA partners J-Dog and Matador attempt to transform a pack of duds into studs. After the show one night, I decided to go for it: I wrote to Mystery on MySpace and invited him to be a VIP guest at our 2007 Stony Awards in Hollywood. Five minutes later, I received this:

Hey Blackjack,
Sounds VERY interesting. VERY. I’m about to watch my segment on Conan O’Brien in my hotel room in NYC— I return to Hollywood tomorrow. Call me …. Mystery

A few weeks later, I’m on the green carpet at the Knitting Factory, when in walks the enigmatic one himself—peacocked to the hilt in a huge fuzzy cowboy hat, feather boa and video iPod belt buckle playing an episode of his show, with a gorgeous babe on his arm. We immediately hit it off, and over the next few hours develop a mutual respect and kinship. The next night, I attended a party at Mystery’s place, where I met his co-stars J-Dog and Matador and a few of the other guys from the show. While sharing a joint, Mystery and I naturally began to discuss what he calls “smoking dynamics”—the concept of using cigarettes and/or weed as tools of seduction. This is a topic I have quite a bit of expertise in: As a High Times staffer (and a decent PUA myself), I’d spent the last decade using weed to meet and get to know women. Mystery, on the other hand, came to cannabis late in life, not having smoked, drank or taken any drugs until the age of 32.

 

“Once I finally tried pot, I took a liking to it right away,” he confesses to me. “It’s definitely improved my life. It gives me a sense of cognition … like when writing a book, for example,” he says with a smirk, showing me a copy of his PUA manual The Mystery Method: How to Get Beautiful Women Into Bed.

 

“Smoking is part of a social cohesion,” he observes. “There’s a culture to it. If, for instance, I’m at a public gathering, it’s logical for me to have a cigarette behind my ear. This way, any lovely ladies who might find me curious or attractive enough to want to interact with me can ask me if I have a light. That’s important, because the difference between getting or not getting the girl could be as simple as whether or not I have a light for her. So always carry a lighter!”

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