-- It was a Friday night in South Beach, Miami, and the clubs were thumping, the ladies were dancing, and an entourage of men were on the prowl.
But this particular group of guys were there as part of a three-day bootcamp to teach them how to pick up women.
It’s an intense workshop led by Matt Artisan through his company, “The Attractive Man,” designed to teach men how “to approach,” how “to engage” and how to “close with confidence.” A three-day workshop with Artisan can cost about $1,000 up to $2,500, plus food and drink.
“The cool thing is when guys come to me or my company, we’ve done all that trial and error and we know what works and what doesn’t work,” said Artisan, noting he has approached at least 3,000 women in the last six years.
“Because every time I see someone I want to talk to I talk to them,” Artisan said. “That could be one woman a day. ... In Miami, they’re everywhere. It could be 10 a day.”
The first exercise Artisan has his participants go through is perfecting their body language, intonation and technique with talking to women in a classroom-type setting. He then brings in a model and has them has them go through the motions with her, before he takes the group out on the town to practice in public.
ABC News' “Nightline” followed Matt Artisan and a group of guys he was working with during one of his three-day sessions to see if Artisan was successful in scoring dates for his bootcamp participants. Watch what happened HERE.
Even with the rise of dating apps like Tinder and Bumble in the $2 billion a year online-dating industry, so-called “seduction bootcamps” for men continue to be popular. Artisan said that while dating apps can help make the initial connection, his workshops teach men what to do after meeting a woman.
“Those sites can put you in front of the girl but then you still have to present yourself, you still need to attract her,” he said.
To “attract her,” many bootcamps encourage men to be assertive and own their swagger, but the tactics of some have come under fire, such as infamous pick-up artist Julien Blanc, who has numerous videos online giving men what he says are tips on how to get women into bed.
But Artisan claims his bootcamps offers a softer, more authentic approach, and said he got his start from being really shy and awkward.
“High school was tough. ... [I] didn’t have a lot of friends,” he said. “Ever since high school ... it was something I just obsessed over it, like I wanted to be able to the get the hottest girl.”
But the success these seduction bootcamp companies promise, not to mention the high price tag, has created an online community of pick-up artist haters, dissatisfied costumers calling the industry fake and others saying pick-up artists degrade women.
Harris O’Malley is a self-proclaimed “reformed pick-up artist” who is now happily married. He said he owns up to his past, but no longer embraces it.
“I was very manipulative,” O’Malley said. “I was using a lot of techniques that at the time were very similar to compliance provoking techniques used by high-pressure sales tactics.”
O’Malley said he used to teach men to think of women in terms of numbers and “points.”
“We tended to refer to them not as women but as “sets,” he said. “You would want to go to that ‘two-set’ over there instead of ‘those two women.’ ... There’s definitely an ‘eight’ or a ‘nine’ or that person is a ‘six’ or a ‘five,’ and that really reduces them from being individuals to just a set of points that you can use to keep score as to who is doing the best that night.”
Now, he said he uses his old pick-up artist persona only as fodder for his website and books.
“I think the worst part of the pick-up artist community that I have seen over the years is the idea that women are stupid, that women are gullible, that women all only respond to one kind of guy, that you have to be this raging macho jerk,” he said.
Matt Artisan agreed that there is a dark side to the seduction bootcamps.
“I worked with a lot of different companies and there are companies that teach things that I would not recommend. They objectify women, they clearly objectify woman,” he said, adding that those companies teach that “it’s not about getting to know her, it’s not about connection, it’s about the fastest way to meet her and have sex with her.”
Even though Artisan’s website boasts that he can turn men into Casanovas through practicing the art of seduction, and he wrote a book called “How to Turn Her on Through Text,” Artisan said it’s “all things girls want too.”
“Women want to be turned on a man ... even by text,” he said. “It could have a negative connotation but when you look at it, a woman wants to be turned on, she wants to have something that isn’t just a platonic conversation.”
He even has a positive spin on how he views the term, “pick-up artist.”
“I don’t find it offensive,” he said. “I just see it as part of self-development and helping guys with this part of their life. ... We are just focusing on relationships and focused on the early part of the relationship. Meeting women, getting your foot in the door, starting that process.”