Neil Strauss has a Jewish name: Tuvia, from the word tov, meaning good. It was given to him by a college buddy, Dustin, who became a religious Jewish mouthpiece in “The Game,” Strauss’ best-selling book about his exploits as a pickup-artist-in-training and bible to sexually frustrated men all over the world.
Dustin was proof that average-looking American Jewish men can be first-rate womanizers. With one simple glance, he could get a pretty girl at a bar to make out with him in a dark corner, almost like magic, while Strauss looked on with envy. Physically, Strauss painted himself as the classic Jewish neb (although he didn’t call himself that): short, balding and scrawny, with a nose that has a bump at the ridge.
Dustin has since gone from playboy to yeshiva boy. He went to Jerusalem, traded in one-night-stands for Ma’ariv, changed his name to Avisha and now focuses his energy on a rabbi’s daughter — his wife. Meanwhile, Strauss has gone from dateless dud to revered sage of the PUA (pickup art) community, men — and some women — who share knowledge, rules and terminology on the art of seduction. He followed up “The Game” with his L.A.-based “Stylelife Academy,” selling audio programs and tool kits. Last year, he released the paperback edition of “Rules of the Game,” a how-to book filled with self-help messages, field exercises, tested routines and short stories of seduction.
Story continues after the jump.
With astonishing candor and laugh-out-loud humor, Strauss describes his method for rousing a threesome (the dual-induction massage), his seduction of a smelly 60-year-old woman and of a Muslim seductress. But there’s one subject on which he’s conspicuously silent.
During a telephone interview, the L.A.-based Strauss stammered when asked about his Jewish background and said: “My parents are very secretive.”
In “The Game” he scoffed at the name Tuvia and embraced “Style,” his PUA alter ego. But he says Jewish identity played no real role in his quest for his many sexual partners.
“I’m very much a humanist,” Strauss said. “It wouldn’t matter if I were Jewish or whatever. I just find it shouldn’t be segmented.”
If anything, he says “Emergency,” his book about surviving an America in crisis, is written more from a Jewish mindset. He points out that awkwardness around women is not a particularly Jewish malady.
“Everywhere you go there are quiet, frustrated, lonely, desperate men who don’t know how to interact with women, and those interactions tend to be the same. It’s human nature.”
His secret to success?
“I think it was just having an attitude that if someone else can do it, I can do it. And if I failed, I figured out what was my mistake, what went wrong, think it through in my mind, talk to experts and find out what I should have done, then do it right the next time.”
But women, he says, whether they know it or like it, set the rules of the “game.”
“I don’t think woman are at fault for it,” he said. “They need to do it. That fact is, to some extent, no matter who you are, as a woman there are guys who are hitting on you and coming up to you, whether you realize it or not. You need some kind of tool to differentiate who you should spend your time on.”
While he refuses to talk about his Jewish background, Strauss revealed some Jewish influence on his ethics about life and love in a recent blog about the “meaning of life.” He told his fans how he read the Bible one summer after a teacher put it first on the list of the world’s best works of literature. The book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) made a lasting impression.
“I found the life advice of Ecclesiastes very good and accurate,” he said. “Work. Be happy. Die.”