Neil Strauss, "The Game" author and pickup artist master, relaxes in his gold cowboy boots.

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The pickup artist (PUA) lives to "sarge." In PUA parlance, that means he lives to stroll up to a woman he doesn't know and initiate a successful conversation. But in the realm of pickup artistry, making small talk with an attractive gal is far more complicated than merely saying "hello." There's a specific order of events that must occur in order to maximize the chances of success. And what constitutes a successful sarge? That depends on the PUA's intentions, but generally, it involves a telephone number, a kiss or a one-night stand. If the sexual target -- aka the woman -- is "lucky," the suave guy just might contact her again.

Due to the heteronormative male-chasing-female dynamic inherent in pickup artistry, women can't flip the script and start sarging into conversations with men, either. Instead, women are often characterized as the passive prey, gussied up and hoping to be hunted down by a handsome hunk.

In 2005, former celebrity interviewer and biographer Neil Strauss unveiled the PUA and his sexually strategic lifestyle to the public in his best-selling book, "The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists." It's often referred to as the bible of pickup tactics, and like the bible, "The Game" is something of a personal salvation story about Strauss.

In his pre-PUA existence, Strauss described himself as physically undesirable to women and socially awkward to boot [source: Strauss]. Then, like a fervent disciple, he embedded with PUAs for two years initially as a magazine assignment, following in their acronym-spouting, pseudonym-bestowing footsteps. Under the guidance of dedicated PUAs around the world and continual practice hitting on women and building up his self-esteem in the process, Strauss transformed into a bona fide lothario, allegedly wooing dozens of women with his stealthy seduction maneuvers [source: Strauss]. His conversion complete, Strauss even adopted the PUA nickname "Style."

Since publication of "The Game," the seduction community, as PUAs are collectively referred to, has attracted massive publicity, as well as skepticism. Yet what many people don't realize is that these guys have been trading tips well before Strauss stumbled into the ranks.