Tag Archives: Preparation

Myth #2 About Pickup: Canned Material Isn’t Being Genuine


One big benefit of learning routines: gets you to practice in front of the mirror. Do me a favor. Next time you go out, practice in front of the mirror first.

Benefits of Learning Routines:

  • You can let your personality shine.
  • You can lead a conversation somewhere.
  • You have an icebreaker in a pinch.
  • Gives you self-awareness of delivery.
  • It’s a way to model guys who are successful with women.
  • CAUTION: To avoid becoming a robot… understand WHY a routine works and mix in spontaneous conversation.

Use BOTH Routines AND Spontaneous Conversation

Reason this myth makes me laugh: we use routines all the time. Hell, one of the most spontaneous comedians ever, Robin Williams, used canned material.

He had a few stories he’d tell multiple times. For example, he’d tell a story about how he’s so hairy ladies waxing him asked if they could take a break. (The story begins at minute 4 below)


I’ve heard him tell that story on like five different talk shows.

He used a story that works. But he ALSO improvised, was spontaneous, played off people in the moment.

He did both.

I’d say we’re all like that. We all have “improvised” conversation AND occasionally we’ll use a story we know works. That’s all “routines” are. Stories or one-liners we can pull out in a snap that we know works well.

Here’s another routine Robin used when he talked about his hairiness. It’s at 13:12. I’ve heard him tell this story before, too. (BONUS: if you wanna hear a hilarious story about how the Scottish invented golf, check out minute 5:57. It’s awesome.)


Point is, Robin was a master improviser who also used canned material. Nothing wrong with using canned material. Everyone does it. Just use normal, spontaneous conversation too.

Wait, everyone uses canned material?

Of course. Saying “hey, how’s it going?” is a canned routine. So is “thank-you.” Telling a polished story you know works (think of an uncle who’s told a story you’ve heard a couple times) is a canned routine.

Once again, the trick is to use BOTH routines AND spontaneous conversation.

To avoid becoming a “robot,” understand WHY a routine works so you can invent new ones on the fly, when you need, in the moment.

Using routines vs. not using routines: ain’t an either/or thing. We can use both.

Here’s the other thing. Routines come in handy.

Sometimes when we’re caught off guard and draw a blank, we’ve got a routine in our back pocket we know works. When you don’t know what to say, you’ve got that just-in-case. It’s called being prepared.


Routines allow us to be prepared.

Here’s ANOTHER way routines come in handy: learning to speak “Woman.”

Routines are a Learning Tool

Comparison with learning a foreign language

Speaking “woman” can feel like learning a foreign language, right? The language of flirting, of speaking in code, of speaking emotionally (rather than factually) can feel like learning French.

Quick story: I’m teaching myself to speak Italian with these “Speak in a Week” CDs I pop into my car. They teach you common phrases. You memorize ’em, practice ’em, master ’em.

The idea is: just as a baby learns to speak by mimicking phrases he hears over and over again, so on this CD you mimic some of the most common Italian phrases. And just as a baby learns those phrases and soon makes up his own, so I’ve been able to make up my own sentences in Italian by getting down the “routine” phrases first.


Learning a foreign language consists of learning “routines.” Why should learning to speak Woman be any different?

Learning routines is the same idea. You start by mimicking a few “phrases” that work well when learning to speak Woman. Once you get a feel of what that’s like, you start to branch out and speak Woman on your own. Until you’re speaking it fluently and spontaneously.

Because when it comes down to it, it’s not even the words that are super important. It’s what you’re SUB-COMMUNICATING that’s important.

Having words down ahead of time allows a guy to use words to let his own personality shine. Words are just the surface. The clothing. Sub-communication gives the clothes form. Routines are clothes that show your personality below the surface. And a great personality attracts chicks.


This dress indicates her form. Routines are like this: the surface. Expressing (the indication) words (the dress) hint at our personality (the form). So, expression’s important, not whether you’re using a routine or not. Like driving a car, the driver’s more important than whether you’ve rented the car or not. In other words, a magic trick doesn’t make a magician. The performance of a magic trick make the magician.

Now, get this counter-intuitive thing.

I’ve ALSO found having words down ahead of time also allows me to be in the moment more. Crazy, right? Because I already know what to say… That frees me up to pay attention to women’s body language, play with my own delivery, make connections between different topics. I tune in more, and I can take the conversation somewhere more easily.

Let me give you an example of how routines can help you listen, in case that sounds too crazy. Piano.

Comparison with learning piano

Right now I’m learning to play a “routine” Beethoven wrote on the piano. I’m learning the notes (i.e. the words), but the real juice isn’t just in the notes. It’s how I play the notes. The expression from within. The delivery. Knowing what the notes are ahead of time allows me to listen to myself play, express myself better, and be in the moment.


A “routine” written by Beethoven (this here’s the “Appassionata Sonata”). If learning a routine in pickup is a bad thing, does that mean learning a routine for piano is a bad thing too? By the way, the point isn’t to play every note correctly. The point is to express them.

It’s the same damn thing with learning a routine in pickup.

Not only that, but by taking the time to understand why a “routine” by Beethoven works well, I can go on to create my own compositions, and improvise my own stuff on the piano.


I learn the rules from the masters, master the way they speak, and then can make up my own stuff using my own voice later.

In fact, this is EXACTLY how stand-up comedians learn to be funny.

Comparison with stand-up comedians

Last comparison, I promise.

This is what I’ve heard about how stand-up comedians learn to be funny. They model guys who are funny. Duh, right? They may even practice a few of their bits.

Well, if professional comedians do it why is it some moral issue that a guy who wants to learn how to be more successful with women do it?

And comedians go on to create bits for themselves… they don’t just blindly mimic the masters forever and ever. Some bits may come from improv. But they PRACTICE and POLISH those bits into material that goes into the can (their head). And they go on to kill at a show.


A comedian getting his routine down before he hits the stage. The best pickup artists do the same thing.

Couldn’t you say if comedy was just about the words, anyone could do it? The juice is in how they deliver the words (and how they time it). In other words, the sub-communication, the character they play, may be even more important.

That’s why it’s so important to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE your routines in the quiet of your home before using them in field.

::: A good rule of thumb in how to practice :::

Practice a routine five times to get it to memory. Practice five times in front of the mirror to see your body language. THEN practice your routine on five sets.

But note once again how comedians use BOTH routines and improv.

My point is, even stand-up comedians learn to be funny by learning routines! So why then is it somehow “morally” wrong to learn how to flirt, start interesting conversations, and tell great stories by learning a routine? Especially since pickup IS a performance art.

When we open a group of girls, it’s a lot like being on stage. Routines allow us to practice being our best self live with people… people who often want to dismiss us before wanting to accept us.

Learning routines can prevent that from happening. They’re are a fantastic learning tool. And they make AWESOME ice-breakers.

Routines Make Awesome Ice-Breakers

Ever tried to wing a conversation? Don’t they become these go-nowhere conversations that turn into factual small-talk conversation?

Um, no thank-you.

Having an ice-breaker in your back-pocket makes it sooooo much easier to open a conversation. Once the icebreaker is done, now you can mix in normal, spontaneous conversation.

Ah, much better.

So, routines allow us to be PREPARED when talking with women. What a concept!

It’s another reason condemning routines makes me laugh. Oh-kay. So just go in unprepared and pray awesome conversation magically happens. Yay.

No, no, no, no.

Like Alexander Graham said:


Or Will Smith: “I’ve always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness for practice and preparation.”

If you wanna succeed in the pickup arts, take the time to prepare. That’s what learning routines are about. Being prepared.


Again, take the time to rehearse, practice, prepare before hitting the field. Will make your success rate go up. Guaranteed.

One last Robin Williams video. At minute 2 he talks about how his free-flow also has discipline, thought, and preparation behind it.


Yes, be spontaneous. But for God’s sakes, there’s no need to wing it.

Musicians practice their guitar before going on stage. Basketball players practice their foul shots before the big game. The master pickup artists practice their routines and prepare before going out into the field.

Yes, Mystery, Neil Strauss, Matador, Discovery all practice routines in front of the mirror (and prepare themselves first) before going out into the field.

Why would you go on a stage not knowing what to do?

And here’s the irony. Like we said already, it’s EASIER to have spontaneous conversation (and listen and be in the present) when you know what you want to say ahead of time.

So. Routines make awesome icebreakers. They allow us to open a conversation with ease. And to lead it somewhere.

But wait, I can hear an objection: “Routines are not genuine because I’m using someone else’s stories.”

Aren’t Using Routines Not Being Genuine Though?

Sure, if you’re telling a story that didn’t happen to you, that’s a lie. I do NOT encourage that.

But good news! It’s so easy to personalize a routine to fit your style and voice. Just personalize the damn thing and make it genuine for yourself.

Shit, and why NOT stand on the shoulders of people who are successful?

That’s ANOTHER thing about this myth that makes me laugh. Implied is the idea of you’ve always gotta be original, new, different. So much so it’s conventional to be unconventional.

Besides, the best artists first learn from the masters by modeling them, building on them. Then they find their own voice in the process.

Hell, even Newton said he could see far only because he stood on the shoulders of giants. Da Vinci learned by imitating masters that came before him, too. Hell, Mozart mastered the sonata from Papa Haydn.

So, why not model guys who’ve been successful with women and adapt to your own style? That’s not being genuine?

Hahahaha! Please don’t make me laugh so hard.

I even heard this interview with Tucker Max once, someone a lot of people would call a “natural,” and you know how he said he learned to be more successful with women?

He stole lines from guys who were more successful with women than him. He’d see a guy use a line that worked, he’d steal it, and adapt to his own style. He used their “routines” to model himself after them, and found his own style in the process.


Tucker Max, who penned “I Hope They Served Beer In Hell” and is known for being spontaneous as hell, said he learned how to be successful with women by stealing lines from guys who were better with women (back when he was still learning).

Fuck. Even Tucker Max uses canned material now and then.

But it’s obvious. We all do! If a person claims they don’t, he’s just lying to himself.

How To Avoid The (Possible) Pitfalls of Routines 

Let me just repeat this one important point, though.

To avoid becoming a “routines” robot, it’s important to understand WHY a line or routine works, so you can make up your own stuff.

Also, it’s important to mix in spontaneous conversation.

But that’s so obvious, it almost goes without saying.

The good news is in using other material that works, it gives you an intuitive sense of what works and what doesn’t. By copying, modeling, and following the masters, you become a master yourself.


So, yes don’t say things that aren’t true of you. But if there’s a line that works and it’s true to you and it helps you to speak the language of Woman… Use it.

You’ll have something in pinch, you’ll be prepared, you’ll showoff what’s within you, and it makes it a helluva lot easier to have spontaneous conversation.

Let me say it again. Routines are such a great learning tool, and a great tool to have in the back-pocket.

So, next time you’re in a bar or a club or even on the street, see a beautiful women, want to approach her, and draw a blank… you’ll know what to say!

You’ll already have an opener in the back of your mind. No matter how intimidatingly beautiful the woman is. You can deliver it without even having to think about it.

You can START the conversation and LEAD it. And holy shit, is that attractive.


With routines, next time you see a woman on the street who takes your breath away… you won’t be intimidated. You’ll know exactly what to say.

Done right, routines are wonderful. That means:

  1. practicing in the mirror (before you hit the field)
  2. understanding why a routine works (so you can make up your own shit later), and
  3. combining it with your own spontaneous conversation.

You’ll be speaking Woman fluently, communicating awesomely. Your personality will shine through more. You’ll be socially freer. And you’ll be more self-aware.

I’d say that’s the REAL reason to get into game. To know thyself and become a more excellent man (that attracts women naturally).

Now, speaking of routines, there’s another myth related to this one (about routines) that irritates me: that natural game is better. Holy cannoli. Let’s talk about that one next.