Thought Leader Interview Series: Asian Rake

Peeps, I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend. I sure did. It’s a new week, so that means the Thought Leader Interview Series continues. Today we’re featuring one of the smartest guys in pickup, The Asian Rake, who bequeathed us one of the most thoughtful and provocative interviews to date. Be sure to check out his excellent blog, Dr. Asian Rake, and also his website, The Power of Being Asian. Holy cow, this stuff is awesome. Feel free to debate his points in the comments.

Money quote:

“As women continue to gain ground in the professional workforce, especially in socially conservative countries, the male provider mindset will drop away, not entirely, but considerably. In some countries, this might take 40 or 50 years instead of 10 or 20. But it’s bound to happen. When it does, society will have to come to grips with the fact that women want sexual satisfaction as much as men do and that many formal courtship patterns are unnecessary and even irrational.”

Based on your experience, what is your perspective on modern dating and how has it evolved in the last decade or so?

“Dating”? If you mean, a guy and a girl going out on some elaborate or expensive events with the explicit purpose of screening each other (or more likely, her screening him) for a long-term relationship leading to marriage, well, my perspective is that “dating” should have gone out the window ages ago. The fact is, though, it has stayed with us.

Modern dating still evinces vestiges of Victorian era courtship patterns. The full implications of the sexual revolution of the 50s and 60s in the US are still working themselves out in societies all over the world. There is still no consensus over such simple questions like whether a guy should pay for dinner on the first date. A lot of the male provider mindset still persists among both men and women despite the great strides women have made in the professional world and the fact that they can now provide for themselves.

A lot of people have been turning to online dating and matchmaking services, especially in conservative societies like Singapore. Facebook and other social networking sites have made it much easier for people to keep in contact with their extended social circles and more effortlessly expand their social network. But they’re also exposing people to more social risks and discouraging people from gaining in-person social calibration.

How has pickup affected the playing field, and do you see pickup going mainstream any time soon?

With the mainstream exposure of the pick-up community in America in the past few years, a lot of people have been exposed to the basic principles of the Mystery Method, but only a minority really believes it can be done. Even fewer have the courage or social freedom to try them out or have any calibration or practical experience in applying them. So while they have heard of negs or false time constraints, they often don’t understand the principles behind these techniques and have no idea how to calibrate these properly.

The best parts of pick-up draw from research in social and evolutionary psychology and neuroscience. Such aspects of pick-up that would resonate with the mainstream are those that are also found in a range of self-help books. It’s just that in pick-up, they are specifically adapted to attracting women.

The rest of the material will always be too extreme. As mainstream society adopts more of the community’s teachings, the community will and should continue to push the envelope and test the limits. That’s part of the reason for its effectiveness. By definition, the cutting edge will never be mainstream.

Where do you see dating & courtship headed in the future, like in 10 or 20 years from now?

Spending most of the year outside the US and in socially conservative cultures, I take a global perspective. As women continue to gain ground in the professional workforce, especially in socially conservative countries, the male provider mindset will drop away, not entirely, but considerably. In some countries, this might take 40 or 50 years instead of 10 or 20. But it’s bound to happen. When it does, society will have to come to grips with the fact that women want sexual satisfaction as much as men do and that many formal courtship patterns are unnecessary and even irrational.

Do you see any evolutions or new trends emerging in dating / relationships?

The pick-up community is evolving out of its immature reliance on other people’s scripted and canned material. When a critical mass of the community reaches a level closer to what we used to consider “mastery,” they will form a growing consensus that the most important catalysts of transformation are primarily lifestyle, identity, and social calibration. Basically, who you are and how you convey that.

This change will be slow, though, because as guys get closer to “mastery,” they tend to leave the community. I’ve been feeling that draw myself for over a year now. They are happy with their social skills and female companions and become busy mastering other areas of their lives.

These men are often replaced by boys re-inventing the wheel, looking for the magic bullets and surface embellishments to a f-cked up interior and a fragile foundation. Eventually, if these boys continue pushing themselves and persevere, they’ll realize they have to fix the foundation and start from ground zero. Ideally, each successive generation of newbies will start at a higher level. In this way, there can be advancement across the board.

Over time, the cutting edge will move into the area of managing relationships, the shadowy land lying beyond attraction, comfort, and seduction. There have been guys who theorize about this topic, but it’s still in its infancy.
The past year also witnessed an explosion of material on social circle game. The developments in this area will target more specialized segments in terms of socio-economic class and sub-cultures.

What’s your best piece of advice for someone jumping into the dating pool?

If you’re just starting out and haven’t read any other community e-books or products, then get my Dating 101, which you can find on my website. Okay, now that my shameless plug is over with, I’d recommend the following for guys. The most important factors are all long-term processes.

  • Get a fashion and grooming makeover. Pay for an image consultant if you have to. It’s not because looks matter, though of course they do. It’s because your outward appearance dramatically affects the way you view yourself and how you sub-communicate your self-image. Theoretically, this is the easiest and quickest step.
  • Get a fitness plan and a personal fitness coach and start getting into the best shape of your life. This isn’t just to make you look sexy, but more importantly, for you to feel energetic and exude vitality.
  • Develop a lifestyle you are proud of. Make your life generate social value passively. It’s like passive income. Live your life the way you want, and with little additional effort on your part, other people will find you immensely attractive.
  • Do daily affirmations and visualizations based on your ideal self, your archetype, the kind of man you want to be.
  • Practice being observant. Train your mind to notice quirky details and interesting things in your environment.
  • Learn two or three simple opening lines. Then…
  • Go to a lounge that you like, smile, head straight to the bar, and talk to the first person you see.

What’s on the horizon for the Asian Rake in 2009?

2008 saw a lot of changes in my personal and professional life. And I moved around in three different countries.
I’m looking forward to 2009 being a year of settling down and being grounded for a little while. Then again, I say that every year, and I still end up traveling the world! I’ve gotta say, it’s an extraordinarily liberating feeling that comes from knowing you can move to a new city anywhere in the world and, with an investment of five minutes during the day and another few hours in the evening, have in your life a brand new girlfriend or two. This makes it highly tempting to travel around.

We hope to release the Power of Being Asian product early in the new year. I’m super pumped about it. It’s been a long time coming and encapsulates many of my thoughts and experiences from the past few years. We’ll also be rethinking how we do our personal coaching and making the overall educational experience more efficient and transformative.

Here’s the original post that inspired the interview series. Be sure to check out the interviews with the other thought leaders:

  1. Thought Leader Interview Series: Sinn
  2. Thought Leader Interview Series: 30
  3. Thought Leader Interview Series: David Wygant
  • The Dateable Dork

    The first sentence of this interview is hilarious and so true. Dating as an elaborate screening process? Of course. I think if everyone owned up to this, the “dating” scene would be a lot different.

    The Dateable Dork´s last blog post…I should really buy stock in Kleenex

  • Infinity

    Would be great to just get that screening nonsense out of the way, right?

    But what IS dating anyway these days?

    Infinity´s last blog post…Cool Stuff Coming Next Week

  • Holly Hoffman

    I came away with the same question as Infinity. Maybe a follow-up question is needed, Lance. I want to know if dating as we know goes out the window what he thinks has replaced it. I can infer, but I’d like to hear his answer.

    Holly Hoffman´s last blog post…Do Your Job Like It’s Your Business

  • Lance

    @Holly @Infinity, why don’t you guys leave your definition of dating in the comments or blog about it? Certainly a worthy topic to tackle.

    Most PUA’s don’t believe in “dating” because they can get the sex and the relationships without all the courtship business.

    For me, dating is a loose term, and I use that label for whenever I go out and do something fun with a girl, like getting drinks or partying or whatever, AND we have some kind of physical relationship established. I also use the term dating if I’m in the early stages of a relationship, as in “me and so-and-so are dating.” So, I imagine Rake has dated plenty of chicks or is currently dating someone, by my definition, although perhaps he doesn’t use that label.

    I thought it was interesting what he said about the gray area of relationship management. Something I’d like to dive into.

    Lance´s last blog post…Thought Leader Interview Series: Asian Rake

  • lisaq

    “Eventually, if these boys continue pushing themselves and persevere, they’ll realize they have to fix the foundation and start from ground zero.” Bingo! I think we all need to fix the foundation and start from ground zero…not just to be successful in ‘dating’ (or whatever term you want to use) but in finding what we want in life…whatever that may be.

    As far as a definition for dating goes, I think that’s probably as individual and varied as all of us and our perspectives are.

    lisaq´s last blog post…Dating DNA

  • Kat Wilder

    His seven steps to get back into dating actually are steps to life, really, whether single or not. Because if he and other PUA are now looking into “relationship management” (which is a helluva lot harder than meeting people, let me tell you!), then you have to follow those “rules” — fitness (think how many people put on pounds after marriage!), lifestyle, observant — AND learn to ebb and flow with another person’s “rules” and behaviors.

    I may be old-fashioned, but courtship, and slowly getting to know someone, with lots of flirting and teasing and seduction and “mental foreplay” is pretty cool. So, too, is being genuine and interested (and interesting) when meeting people. Then you don’t need to spend money of people’s pick-up tricks.

    Kat Wilder´s last blog post…But I don’t want to do it all myself!

  • The Asian Rake

    Thanks for the great comments! I love the diversity of perspectives your blog draws, Honey and Lance!

    I did the interview on the presupposition that I was speaking to people within the “community” so I assumed that people would know what I was getting at when attacking “courtship” and “dating.”

    But of course, all of these words—“dating,” “courtship”—have a long history and mean different things to different people.

    That’s why in my first answer, I described “dating” in a specific manner and rejected that definition of “dating”: An ELABORATE or EXPENSIVE event with the EXPLICIT purpose of screening the other person for a LONG-TERM relationship leading to MARRIAGE. Emphasis is on the all caps words. And I said that “dating” OUGHT to go out the window not that it already has.

    I realize that this is a packed definition. I’m a philosopher by training, so please forgive my sometimes overly pedantic prose.

    The key points here are that this kind of “dating” is costly and inconvenient, and there is an explicit agenda of evaluating someone as a marriage prospect. This is still the prevailing model for dating in conservative societies.

    Notice that I didn’t say anything about teasing, flirting, or seduction. After all, those all things that the community and I teach!

    What do I propose as an alternative to the traditional view of dating?

    This goes right to the topic of what the community has come to call, “Day 2s,” and gets at the reason we use the term, “Day 2,” rather than “date.” The Day 2 generally refers to the “first date” (unless there is an instadate, which occurs when you go out with the person on the same day you meet them; the principles are the same though).

    In my Dating 101 audio course I spend a considerable amount of time explaining Day 2s.

    The principles behind a good Day 2 apply to every date preceding physical intimacy, as well as to most dates thereafter, though especially on special occasions, you can certainly make exceptions by putting in more time and effort or spending more money.

    When I run my Day 2 strategy successfully, not only do I have a lot of fun, but my love interest also has a wonderful time, and we both get to know each other better in a more relaxed and natural manner. So I think the cardinal rules of Day 2s are far superior for both parties involved.

    In my Dating 101 audio course, I cover in much more detail the principles of an effective Day 2. But this is what I can say in this small space.

    A good Day 2 should be:
    -Fun and light
    -As stress-free as possible
    -Convenient for both parties,
    -Conducive to conversation
    -And most of all, fun.
    Did I mention that it should be fun?

    When there’s a lot of investment in terms of money or time or effort on the Day 2, then there’s going to be a lot of social pressure. This will generally cause people to be nervous and not act as their genuine, natural selves.

    Also, if you are explicitly evaluating someone for a life-long commitment (marriage) in the early stages of dating, then you’re creating a huge amount of pressure and setting up unrealistically high expectations of what you can find out from such “dates.”

    Instead of making promises about entire lifetimes based on just a limited number of dates, it’s far better to take it a step at a time.

    “I don’t know what will become of us ten years from now, but I do know that I want to be with you today and to see you again tomorrow.” That kind of attitude is a far better approach to “dating.”

    The stipulation of being against “explicit” screening is important as of course, we all “implicitly” screen for qualities that we want. In fact, I recommend it. Go check out my article on Believability, in which I go into detail about Screening and Qualifying as a technique. You can find this in my Best of the Blog section on my sites.

    This old-fashioned view of dating still exists not just in Asia but also in segments of America and Europe, and I think it severely handicaps both men and women from presenting their best selves and from finding ideal partners.

    Cheers, The Asian Rake.

    The Asian Rake´s last blog post…Feature Article in Shin Ming Daily News

  • The Asian Rake

    Wow, just realized how long that comment came out to be, lol. I guess my verbosity extends to the printed form as well 😛

    Well, it’s 5:20AM here in Asia. I just came back from Canada, and I’m still jet-lagged, so… might as well write a bit more, lol.

    A quick edit on the “explicit” thing. I should have written that what is explicit is not the screening per se but the *purpose* of the date as screening.

    Rather than making the purpose as just “having fun and getting to know a cute guy/gal,” the bad kind of dating makes the purpose “to screen this person as a potential spouse or long-term partner.” This has negative practical implications.

    Happy New Year!

    The Asian Rake´s last blog post…Thought Leader Interview with Lance

  • Travelling Kiwi

    Excellent series. Just one question…. When someone (be they male or female) is used to being able to pick up (for a date/casual sex/whatever) an attractive member of the opposite sex with only an investment of ‘five minutes during the day and another few hours in the evening’- how does this person remain in a long term relationship? Do they get into/remain in LTRs? Or do they quickly become bored and start to look again for the next boy/girlfriend/person they can pick up? After all, when your outstanding pickup skills allow you endless choice of potential companions, why would you choose to commit to only one?

  • Jonsi

    Traveling Kiwi, my skills aren’t that good, but many PUA’s do enjoy intimacy, monogamy, and long term relationships. Lance, for example, tends to advocate social artistry over pickup: creating a vibrant social life that extends to males and in your career. Everyone involved in pickup has different goals, and those goals change over time. Some people have a 2 year span where they are focusing on career goals so they don’t want a relationship, and when that is over the want something more serious. Ultimately, having options does not mean you are more likely to play people; it gives you experience regarding who does and does not work well with you, so when you do commit, you’ll have a better relationship, and equally as important IMO, you’ll be less likely to really hurt someone else by stringing them along for a few months until you realize it isn’t working, thereby giving them the freedom to find someone more amazing for them with less emotional pain and baggage. It’s a win win, which is why women should learn it too!

    Jonsi´s last blog post…Still Sick

  • Khiem

    To Traveling Kiwi:

    A person who can pickup anyone with minimal effort would choose to commit to someone because of the emotional depth (depth of intimacy) you can only achieve in a committed relationship.

    Most players or PUAs only look at people as static so they decide to have multiple partners for variety.

    But the more masterful lovers realize that you can achieve variety through the depth of emotion and through the experience you create with that one person.

    People are dynamic so if you can challenge each other to “be more” every time, if you can explore one another’s different sides and facets every time, why would you need someone else?

    Alternatively, if you have something good with someone (and assuming you are coming from a place of power and choice), why would you want to jeopardize the good thing you already have with that one person?

    With trust and respect with one person, you can explore a lot deeper things. Having multiple partners don’t always allow for that same kind of intimacy.

    Khiem´s last blog post…Thinking The Natural Way

  • Lance

    Khiem, thanks for stopping by and commenting! A great comment, too. I’m a big fan of your blog and think your stuff is great. Cheers.