Pick the three words you’d use to describe the perfect seduction artist. If you’re like most women you said, “Married. Middle-aged. Magician.” Rich Ferguson is all three of those, and in 2010 he self-published the culmination of all his cervix-opening techniques in a book called Tricks to Pick Up Chicks.
This book has everything you could need to interrupt a woman on a night out with children’s games and riddles. There are high effort criminal schemes, low effort sexual assaults, and a real “just kidding” attitude to all of it. Grifting women is harmless fun! And if it’s not, no harm done! Maybe I’m not explaining it very well. I’ll let Rich give it a try in his zany disclaimer:
We’re not at full crazy yet, but this gives us a pretty good calibration of Rich’s sense of humor. He’s always “on,” but never funny. He should be “considering the consequences of his actions,” but wants money for adapting card tricks into sex crimes. I’m not even sure what he thinks he’s doing here. Does this protect you from liability if one of your readers follows your instructions to the letter and gets arrested for pulling a knife on a woman he licked? Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we get to the concealed knives and stranger licking, let’s read the introduction (I think he meant “foreword” (Rich is not a good writer)).
Whoever this person is has amazing things to say about the author. “He’s not very remarkable, but I’ve seen others tolerate him. He’ll walk right up to good people as if he’s one of them.” I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a less inspired foreword. It’s written like ad copy for an inflatable doll. Let’s continue…
This person might have gone a little too far on the salesmanship. Instead of saying “this is sort of a dorky way to meet new people, but let’s have fun,” they’re talking like they got an early manuscript of the book and used it to crush ass up and down the Vegas strip. “Guys, listen: these zany jokes and straw wrapper gags are for champion poontangists. You go out without these card tricks, don’t forget one thing: a good supply of unused penis.” Seriously, who the fuck wrote this? Some business major after getting punched in the head for 30 yea–
Oh. Well now I feel bad. And I’m about to do the same to you! We’re going to move on to the introduction, or as Rich calls it, FOREWORD.
If you were worried this magician might have some kind of personality disorder, here he is comparing himself to Spider-Man because he sometimes knows what card you picked. Luckily for “the world,” he only uses his powers for good. Unluckily for the world, he thinks calling a woman fat when she won’t sleep with him is “good.” Let’s stop and appreciate what’s happening here. This man wrote a groping manual for lonely alcoholics and the first thing he compares himself to is a superhero famous for noble sacrifices. He called us, the rest of the world, “lucky” for this choice.
So the origin of this heroic idea is the children who ask him which card trick gets them sex. And he combined this idea with his “vast experience of observation.” Is there anything less than this? Like across the entire scope of the universe, has any idea had less of an origin story than “I’ve met many horny teens and adults, and have spent my life looking at things.” It’s like saying “I got started in panty sniffing by really, really being from Tacoma.” I’m so fucking pissed at this book and I haven’t even told you Chapter 1 is called “Quickies.”
This next part is real and I’m not making it up. I understand you won’t believe me, but I promise this is the first trick of the book. Stop and imagine the worst thing it could be and then read this shit.
I bet even in the darkest imagination of our darkest reader’s soul, no one actually thought the first Trick to Pick Up Chicks would be to sneak something into a woman’s drink, and it’s called “Suck.”
I’m genuinely awestruck by this. The act of explaining why this is a bad idea seems insulting, as if anyone would need it. This is the Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, Champion Fighter of bad ideas. But out of respect for Mr. Ferguson, let’s think about it. Let’s say you switch this woman’s straw for one with a knot in it. In a perfect world, perfect in this case being a world where you put something in a stranger’s drink without being detected, she won’t be able to use her straw. No problem, she’ll sip from t– why is there a strange man laughing at her? Oh, he did something to her drink. That’s fine then.
You know what women love? Knives and knife deception. Ha ha you thought I was kidding earlier when I mentioned concealed knives, but look here! This trick is to hide a knife! In the low stakes world of hitting on imaginary women, it’s hard to fuck up harder than this. He is slipping things into drinks and pulling knives. It’s like his virginity is trying to get him killed.
I understand I have a natural advantage over the author because I’m tall, handsome, and not a magician, but anyone who has talked to a woman knows they’re harder to trick than this. This is a swindle you’d read about in a turn of the century novel about a man who died alone. “You own me a drink,” says the creep touching your hair. “Fucking swoon,” you say. Anyway, this is a real innovative trick, “The Ice Breaker.” What’s next? Tie a cherry stem into a knot with your tongue? You fucking idiot?
Just walk up to a girl and reach into her food or drink. Do a thing widely regarded as the most cliche thing a desperate man can do, but make it a lie. Maybe it won’t work or maybe it won’t, but the joke’s on her because you already smelled her hair.
So if I’m understanding this one correctly, you… and I want to make sure I’m getting it exactly right… you steal her phone to get her information and then pretend to be a telemarketer. This is a genuine maniac’s idea of an idea. How does this conversation go in his imagination? “Ha ha, I’m not actually a telemarketer. You fool. I am the man who stole your phone and got your number. Look behind you. See that middle-aged magician touching you? He is me and he has a knife.” No, but I’m being serious: what is going on? What the fucking shit is next? Severed baby doll heads?
Oh my god.
So right alongside all these tips from The Elderly Stalker’s Guide to Bitch Slaying are these wacky party tricks for someone’s 7th birthday. This is supposed to be a book about seducing adult-aged ladies and he is running up to strangers at the park and blasting water out of his nose. And then what? What conversation happens after that? “That didn’t really come out of my nose. Hi. The name’s Rich. Give me your phone, I have a knife.”
I hate this more than anything, and I recently read “loose doll heads are a great way to meet women.” So I want to be as clear as I can with my words here: this is Garfield trying to do a rape joke.
Give her a lingering, finger stroking high five. No one will know. If she complains, call her a liar. You can do anything you want to a woman if it’s just hand touching stuff because it’s technically legal and you’ve already smelled her hair.
“Women love bee attacks, and you don’t even need real bees,” says knife hiding author of Tricks to Pick Up Chicks.
“Here’s nothing, you cow. You clumsy whore, I’ve taken your coin!”
I don’t know how these are still surprising me, but Jesus Christ. Rich Ferguson’s seduction advice is to wait for a woman to drop a quarter, bend down to not pick it up, and then leave. Why would anyo– oh. I get it. Looking up her dress and masturbating to it later is such an ordinary part of this guy’s life he didn’t even think to mention it.
This is going to sound insane, but there is still a lot of Chapter 1 – “Quickies” left. Rich moves on from violating the personal space of women and the rules we all live by to list some pick up lines that don’t do anything. Those are his words, not mine, but I agree.
By now you’ve realized Rich doesn’t have much respect for women. Imagine writing any of this if you thought women had any intelligence or agency. “I tied your cherry stem in a knot, real person with no defenses against the endless siege of losers exactly like me.” But Rich also has no respect for men. Here he is explaining to those poor fools, those many men who believe pick up lines are sorcery, that they are not. Again, we are so lucky this mighty trickster only uses his powers for good. I can’t get you ready for these, but you are going to hate them.
This fucking guy set up this section by saying, “I know you think this stuff works every time but it might not.” And then he tells you to hold up a pack of sugar, tell a woman she dropped her name tag, “immediately laugh,” and do a sugar pack magic trick. This is how a grandpa tells you he’s running out of time, not how you seduce a woman.
I like the idea of walking up to a stranger and guessing how big her tits are, though. “Because your s-shirt says GUESS,” you could explain while she’s deciding the best way to handle another awful stranger.
“The moment you let your guard down someone like me will kill you,” reminds Rich Ferguson to every woman he meets.
She might not really take off her clothes, but the jokes on her because you’ve already pictured it. To make no difference whatsoever in the seduction progress so far, place a small clutch of spider eggs on her shoulder.
Wait, no. No. This motherfucker is just reading the mugs out loud in a Spencer’s Gifts. What am I supposed to say about this? When it’s someone’s job to come up with pick up lines and they are literally telling you bumper stickers they saw outside a lingerie football league game, there are no ridiculous directions to take it. Its failure is already beyond any hypothetical concept. “Fuck this soulless monster,” is my joke.
That panties one is a Gallagher line. I’m not kidding; it really is. Which means Rich Ferguson was watching a Gallagher special and thought, “You know if you take out the exploding watermelons, a lot of what this racist man is saying could be quite seductive to women.” Here, let me find an original one. Okay, here we go:
This is somehow worse than approaching women to tell them about Hot Topic shirts you’ve seen, but it may comfort her because it has the subtext of, “Don’t worry, young lady. I was chemically castrated by the state in 1975.”
No one is going to believe this book is real. You could buy this book on Amazon, open it up and see I didn’t doctor any of this and you would still be mostly sure I’m pulling a prank.
Rich starts a new section called “One Liners.” Like the “Pick Up Lines” section, it is a random list of buttons found on a passionate grade school librarian’s signature vest. I cannot imagine why these are two different sections. I’d normally insult something like this by calling it two identical lists of half-remembered Gallagher jokes, but that’s proudly what it is. That’s how this magician fucks.
“Fake tits!?” you stammer at your dream girl. “Because y-your shirt said GUESS,” you add as you pee your pants, you piece of shit. Another notch on the Rich Ferguson futon slat. Ha. These breasted fools are practically asking for it by wearing a shirt with a word on it.
This is the perfect opener when you’re following a woman to her car or grabbing her ankle from a sewage drain.
Is it a red flag when a man’s opening line contains the word slut and bitch? I hope not, because this is a great line for picking up a confused woman with no sense of humor on her first day outside, and that’s my type.
“YOU ARE NOT SAFE, MY DEAR,” implied the magician to the missing girl.
What’s the deal with this flawed premise with an obvious, actual answer? And why do they call it airplane FOOD when you can shape it into a human vagina probably better than the real thing?
This will sound unthinkable. Impossible. But we aren’t done with Chapter 1 – “Quickies” yet. Rich has included a series of insults you can preload for those rare occasions when chloroform jokes don’t land. Most of them are pompous references to seventh grade biology because women aren’t like us fellas getting Gallagher jokes mostly right. They’re stupid.
“You plebeian wench. You shall never again know love like the time I said to your chest, as you may remember, IMPLANTS?”
This is almost an idea. It would take a miracle for someone to take this as an insult and there will never be a situation where it makes sense, but it has the rhythm of a joke. It might be an appropriate thing to say after a bachelorette party tells you to fuck off and you proclaim, “Very well, I shall leave you with this!”
“Fine, I guess you can kill me, mister,” she replied.
“It’s your own fat fault for being in public,” hissed the world renowned pick up artist known as “The Ice Breaker” as he slid the chain of scarves back into his mouth. “Fucking waste of scarves!” he complained.
At this point, why are we dancing around it? Just punch her in the face, Rich.
The Ice Breaker sat at his typewriter and tried to condense his vast experience of observation into a tidbit of wit. He had it. He had it. “Go where you’re not wanted and stay there. Say something fucking meaningless.” Elsewhere, a forbidden hole leading to a world of darkness grew larger.
I have some bad news. We aren’t done with Chapter 1 “Quickies.” After his section on awesome shit you can say to women rejecting you, he wrote a section on awesome shit you can say to women rejecting someone else!
And if you’re standing behind Rich you can say, “The bird and mouse are gone, the third opossum gets your panties, your stinky whore panties.”
Wait, hold on, stop. Did Rich recycle this murdery “One Liner” to use as a “Line if She Blows Someone Else Off?” How? And I don’t mean how could a writer be this careless and lazy, I mean how brain make cuddle line choice? Are you supposed to deliver this after you witness a mauling? “Um, I can’t help but notice you are receiving unwanted attention; I shall like to throw my hat into the ring as well, m’lady.”
“Boy, some of the guys in here are real creeps. I’m sorry you had to go through that. Au chante, I’m Rich Ferguson. Magician. You won’t believe the poop joke I once saw on a refrigerator magnet, and nothing else.”
“So by my logic, ladies, which is quite formidable, that means my penis is off the clock.”
We did it! We made it! This is Chapter 2 – “One Night Stands!”
This chapter is mostly old magic tricks with pervy names and insufficient instructions. For instance, here is how you seduce someone by weaving a tourniquet around your fingers with rubber bands. “Rubber Penetration,” you call it to help women understand, okay, this magician in the bar is hitting on me, not panhandling.
Rich, you idiot. If a woman agrees to a stranger’s request to “pull my finger and close your eyes,” she has already been kidnapped by one of the other murderers.
This might work if you told her, “You dropped your name tag, Karate.”
I’m not trying to be difficult, Rich, but this is bullshit. This has never and could never work and if you were capable of talking a group of women into giving you their phones and playing a rigged calculator game, you would have already talked them into sex.
YOU DROPPED YOUR NAME TAG, KARATE STRAW!!!
There isn’t a woman alive who wouldn’t immediately see through this, but that’s not the point. The point is, you want to trigger a woman’s adrenaline as quickly as possible because it gives her flesh a richer flavor.
Tell your dream-girl, “and that’s how you make nine dollars, you thirsty bitch.”
This is going to be one of those where I don’t make a joke because this guy just suggested you tell a woman you’re not going to put your mouth on her, and then you do, but you also tell her she’s not worth a dollar, only in a fun way to let her know you have a great personality.
Enough of this sincere bullshit. Let’s move on to “Scams.” Here’s a good one where you… wait, this is another one where you grab a stranger and put your mouth on them. “Oh my, I thought you were my friend. She also has very gropable breasts, what a mixup. Hi. Rich Ferguson. Fucking obvious sex criminal.”
“No, see, it’s a hundred dollar bill. Only not the kind you’re thinking of, dummy. The kind where you owe me one hundred dollars. And you agreed, so you have to. Let me explain it again because sometimes my superior intellect confuses lesser life forms. Sometimes ‘bill’ means a second thing and I led you to believe the wrong one, you yeasty, imbecilic animal. The name’s Rich, but they call me ‘The Ice Breaker.’ You remind me of my mommy, I hate you.”
This is the plan of a child who learned what “drunk” meant a moment ago. Rich’s idea is to pretend to be drunk until you’re alone with her and then “instantly become sober?” That’s a fucking horror turn in a movie you thought was a college romp. Can you even call this a scam? This is lying to a woman and then no one sees her again.
We all love a night out with our friends, teaming up to lie to women. Let’s read Chapter 3 – “Threesomes.”
This might have worked on the day they invented women, but it seems almost embarrassing today. It also requires someone to be worse at hitting on women than you, and I would honestly love to see what Rich Ferguson’s idea of picking up a girl would look like if you were trying to tank it. Do you accidentally strangle her rather than joke about strangling her?
You already knew this next one would eventually show up:
“You can change your shirt in front of me. If you w-want. Also, did y-you know that blowjobs are how you say hello in Blind? Help, I’m a character from an ’80s comedy, how did I get in your world? Call me Ice Breaker. Sagittarius. And, oh yeah, I can’t see.”
This whole book has been a collection of criminal-adjacent schemes to rub your elbow up against a furious woman’s boob and call it a sexual conquest. And now, after all that, Ferguson’s whole plan is “send your liar friend over to meet and befriend a whole group of girls and talk them into playing board games. Ah, but here’s the key part no one tells you– choose the one you want to fuck!”
Like every pickup artist, staring at women who won’t talk to him has made Rich Ferguson think he’s good at reading body language. And like every person who runs out of sexual wordplay ideas after three, Rich Ferguson has named this chapter “Chapter 4 – Body Language.”
Like every pickup artist, shaking a woman’s hand and her leaving his life forever has made Rich Ferguson think he’s good at decoding handshakes. “Here are some things that may or may not be true for reasons you couldn’t possibly know,” says the absolute dipshit.
After 11 tips about handshakes and foot placement, Rich Ferguson remembers smiles. “Smiles are good, reader, I’m helping you,” says the goddamn total fucking dipshit.
As the man faking disabilities to invade the spaces of women, this shouldn’t come up often, you are going to want to look out for open signs of contempt. If a woman is pantomiming her disgust at you, Rich says you have three options. One, harass her friend. She won’t care, she knew what she was getting into when she sat next to your first choice. Two, draw attention to your failure. Everyone! This tease heard almost all of a Gallagher bit and now she’s pretending she’s not into me! Three, do something amazing. No need to elaborate, you’ve always had this option for when the Gallagher stuff didn’t work. Or four, leave her hanging as you leave. Walking away after humiliating yourself is a real power move. I’m leaving, me, because this whole group of man-hating lesbians are the ones who can’t tell a Gallagher joke! If there are any other body language experts in the bar they will know you are the real winner when you slink back to your girl-watching shadow.
Sometimes women bump up against you, but this is never an accident. You must follow them. Or pretend to be offended. Please try anything, this is the closest you have been in years. She touched you, not the other way around this time! You, the main character of the universe! The sexy big boy who could have any woman he wanted but doesn’t because the world is lucky he only uses his powers for good!
“Chapter 5 – Rules of the Game” is not that. It’s a violently random list of 60 things Rich Ferguson thinks he knows about what he thinks is dating. It is sixty phrases a sleeping prisoner would mumble if he was being held on charges of chicken sex.
It only took him five entries before Rich made the rule “When what you want doesn’t match up with what a woman says, she’s wrong.” Oh no, this is a really bad one for me not to add a joke.
“thankyou for the large penis sex prize you awarded to me, lady mayor. i trust my secret identity of karate vigalante is safe with you.”
“oh no this was meant for someone else. hi, this is blond guy from the bar. the one with the knife who recited a poop bumper sticker for you.”
“lol the dumb female is buying it”
“wait that one really wasn’t meant for you”
The last ten entries are Rich coping with the reality of his situation. He wrote an entire book about picking up chicks and it was several pages of 1950’s best fart jokes and the Revenge of the Nerds scenes they had to cut from the television broadcast. It has taken such a toll on him he can no longer get laid in his imagination. “She’s the one loosing out on someone with a great personality,” he weeps, spelling the word losing wrong for the 11th time with his terrible personality.
“Be sincere” says the stranger groper at the end of a book about deceiving women. “She technically can’t reject you if you’re lying,” says the man who just told you to be sincere. I have so much more to say, but like a desperate lonely man insisting you let him do a very long calculator trick and refusing to go away, I’m going to leave you wanting more. Always.