About My Job: The Dating Coach

by Conor Friedersdorf

A male reader writes:

I'm a professional dating coach (a la the movie "Hitch). I try not to associate with the "Pick Up Artist" moniker, but some refer to it as that as well.

This is what people don't get about the whole recent men's pick-up-chicks advice going on the last five years or so: it's basically self-help in disguise. Most of the time and effort is dedicated getting socially maladjusted and frustrated men some basic social skills, more in-touch with their emotions, and some semblance of confidence going, not to mention a much-needed hobby or two. The whole movement is often demonized as a bunch of sex-crazed predators lying their way into women's panties all over the country. First of all, let's give women a little more credit -- pick up lines never work. And second of all, we're talking 30-year-old virgins and 40-year-olds who still live with mom here. They couldn't be predators even if they wanted to.

I've been doing it for three years and unfortunately, for the last year, I've started to avoid the whole, "what do you do for a living?" question with most people. It always creates a tedious 20-minute conversation/explanation/defense depending on who I'm talking to.

And seriously, what the hell is the big deal? There has been women's dating advice for decades -- some of which is pretty toxic in its own right. There's been marriage counseling and relationship advice for decades as well. But a significant amount of the population, when confronted with the idea of a male dating coach or a men's community with the purpose to get better with women, they recoil in horror... calling it manipulative, misogynistic, exploitative, dishonest, etc., etc.

Why? Because men want to have sex? Because it encourages men to want to have sex with women? Since when was that immoral? I'll admit there are some bad apples in the industry, but what industry doesn't have a few bad apples? Still, the amount of judgment that's rendered is totally unnecessary.