“Standing in front of the famous Savoy hotel in central London, I wait with a group of students as they finish handing over £600 to the founder and head coach of Street Attraction.
Eddie Hitchens moves himself centre-stage as the men arc around him for their introduction to bootcamp.
“Hi, I’m Eddie. I’m a heterosexual sex addict… I’ve been doing Game since 2005, been coaching since 2011.” (There is no such thing as a sex addict. This is a narcissist who does not know what he is, that he believes he is addicted to sex when he is addicted to control and fuel. His belief in being a sex addict is caused by his narcissism. It is the basis for justifying his entitlement to instinctively manipulate other people into behaving like him and to instinctively manipulate victims into giving him control and fuel (he sees it as having sex with him). The belief is also blame shifting. His narcissism causes him to believe that his actions are driven by being a sex addict and as such he has no accountability or culpability for what he does, he blames the addiction. This is the subtle blame shifting of a Mid Range Narcissist. He does not know what he is, he does not accept he is to blame and exhibits a sense of entitlement, a lack of emotional empathy for his victims, grandiosity in being the founder of Street Attraction and a lack of accountability for his actions.)
“Game” is a multi-million pound business where men teach other men how to pick up women. (It is actually where narcissists exert control over other people, which includes teaching other narcissists certain behaviours, teaching normals certain behaviours and victimising normal and empathic people. It is not about picking up women, it is about asserting control over people who are viewed as appliances.)
There’s nothing new about men trying to pick up women.
But in this digital age seduction coaches are selling courses online on how to bed as many women as possible, as quickly as possible. (The technology reach of the narcissist in action.)
They are part of a growing global industry linked through a network of internet video channels with hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
In these videos and bootcamps, only the men are taught the rules.
The women aren’t even aware they are part of a game.
A game that can lead to persistent harassment on the street and dangerously blur the lines of consent. (Substitute this for hoovering, no boundary recognition and the unconscious viewing as an individual as an object.)
Hitchens signals to the rest of the group to introduce themselves, including me: an undercover journalist posing as a new recruit.
It’s an international mix. There’s a chef from Amsterdam, a former US navy officer, a software engineer from Brazil, a computer programmer from Dublin, and a doctor from Manchester. Then it’s my turn.
“Hi. I am Michael Gibson,” I say, while fighting the psychological battle to remember my undercover name, “I am a ‘day game’ beginner who has recently broken up with my girlfriend of six years.”
And, just like that, I’m deep into the weirdest experience of my life: a journey into the so-called seduction industry. (A journey into the dynamic of narcissism and the creation of fuel matrices.)
This man is now in prison waiting to be sentenced for threatening and abusive behaviour towards young women.
His name is Adnan Ahmed.
But just a year ago, he was styling himself as a “pick-up artist” called Addy A-Game. Ahmed hung around Glasgow city centre with his fellow “wing men”, secretly filming his interactions with unsuspecting women on the street. (A narcissist acting in tandem with other narcissists or normals. The secret filming demonstrates a sense of entitlement to act in this manner, a lack of emotional empathy for those who are being approached in the way that Ahmed did so (see below) and the fact that they are being filmed without their knowledge and a lack of accountability for these behaviours. There is also evidence of grandiosity as labelling oneself “a pick-up artist” by labelling the behaviour as a narcissist as some kind of artist. The term pick up artist however once again obscures what Ahmed actually is – a narcissist.)
One of his university classmates tipped me off that Ahmed had uploaded over 250 videos, including some of those he secretly filmed, on to his YouTube channel, boasting of his sexual conquests. (Sense of entitlement, grandiosity, lack of emotional empathy, lack of accountability, Provocation.)
Behind a list of controversial and provocative titles – such as “closing girls with boyfriends” and “fat girls should blame themselves” – lay long misogynistic monologues, with Ahmed giving out advice for anyone who wanted to watch. (Objectification, sense of entitlement, lack of emotional empathy, blame shifting, provocation)
“The reason you’re doing it is to get laid,” he said in one video. “Only the brave get laid.” (Actually, the conscious belief is that it is being done is to have sex, but it is solely about a narcissist seeking fuel and control over victims. Those victims include both the normal individuals who are misled into thinking this approach is acceptable and naturally the victims who are those subjected to these invasive techniques. Note the grandiosity associated with declaring “only the brave get laid.”
I tracked down two women who had been approached by Ahmed.
Both said that their encounters with him had stuck with them.
Beth was walking home alone through the main shopping street in Glasgow city centre after finishing her shift.
It was a dark November night and Ahmed stepped into her path.
She was 17 at the time. Ahmed was 37.
“He was like, ‘oh are you Russian?’ Beth recalled. “He was mentioning when he was in Ukraine or something and he had hired prostitutes. He was saying that I’d be like ‘better than prostitutes’. [He had] just a horrible manner.” (No boundary recognition, invasive behaviour, provocation, no emotional empathy, no facade, sense of entitlement.)
He said his name was “Addy”. He kept on asking for her phone number. (No boundary recognition, sense of entitlement.)
He kept trying to touch her. (No boundary recognition, sense of entitlement.)
“I’d said no countless times,” Beth said. “I gave excuses and he was like: ‘Oh it’s fine, like, just give me your number, whatever’.” (No sense of accountability, sense of entitlement, no boundary recognition.)
Beth was shaken and thought that he would leave her alone if she agreed to give him her number. (An understandable but misplaced response. This action of course will have provided fuel, control and encouraged Ahmed further. Beth ought to have walked away from Ahmed to a place where there were other people and called the police.)
“He knew I was going to the bus stop, and he knew I’d be alone for around an hour waiting for my bus.
“So I stayed on the phone to my mum for around 30 minutes beforehand talking her through the situation, and her just trying to give me peace of mind.”
Beth knew this was not just a chat-up. It felt wrong. (Correct although of course Beth does not know what is actually happening and what this person is.)
“It’s not harmless,” she said. “I spent like the whole night kind of terrified.” (The adverse consequence of engagement with a narcissist.)
A friend of Ahmed secretly filmed him as he approached 20-year-old Emily, a Glasgow-based student. Ahmed then uploaded the video to his YouTube channel. (Sense of entitlement, lack of emotional empathy, lack of accountability.)
Emily only found out their conversation was available online when I told her.
Her experience is something I’ve heard from many women who have experienced street harassment. (The behaviour is hoovering during the seduction stage, but is indeed harassment.)
“The ridiculous thing is, in that entire conversation I’m sitting there trying to figure out a way to let him down gently,” she explained. (The impact of emotional thinking taking Emily to an incorrect response.)
“We don’t want to be called ‘a bitch’ for rejecting someone. We don’t want to be called ‘rude’ for just closing the interaction down.” (Such responses are the ignition of heated fury to being wounded of challenged).
In the video, which has since been deleted, Ahmed boasted that if he had met Emily on holiday, he would definitely have had sex with her. (Sense of entitlement, lack of emotional empathy, grandiosity, gathering of fuel.)
Or, as he put it, it would have been a “same day lay”. (Compartmentalisation and objectification.)
“That infuriates me… for him to so painfully mis-read that is frustrating,” Emily said.
“Men assuming that women want to have sex with them is part of a considerably larger problem in our society. He probably didn’t think much by it, just saying this person’s a ‘same day lay’. That interaction was completely misreading my signals.” (His assumption is based on his sense of entitlement, lack of boundary recognition, lack of emotional empathy and objectification of Emily.)
Emily and Beth were not alone. I made a video for BBC Scotland’s digital platform The Social on what I’d found out about Ahmed. It went viral with about two million plays online in the first few days.
There was a demonstration on the streets of Glasgow led by a group of concerned women. At the Scottish Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she had been “shocked and appalled” by what she had seen in my report.
And women kept coming forward. “This man stalked me for months waiting outside my work”… “This guy asked if he could ‘walk me home’… then got so aggressive with me”, “I told him my age and he kept talking to me. He was such a freak”.
Nearly all the stories were about uncomfortable encounters. Many seemed to cross the line from persistence to harassment. Some – it later turned out – were criminal. (These are Ahmed´s seduction hoovers. They are rudimentary and show a huge sense of entitlement to keep behaving in this manner and a lack of accountability – his narcissism causes him to see these women as targets and fair game without giving him any insight into what he is actually doing. He has no culpability for his behaviour, he sees it as justified, it is just part of the game to him.)
Many more than a dozen women gave details to the police following the publication of my report. Within two days of the video being published, Ahmed had been arrested and charged with a string of incidents of threatening and abusive behaviour.
When I first began investigating Ahmed, I did not know that he was part of a wider seduction industry.
I’ve since discovered that he is just one of dozens of pick-up artists online. They share seduction techniques and cross-promote each other’s YouTube channels. (These individuals lack emotional empathy by promoting such behaviour and fail to see, since they lack insight, that they are actually engaging in ensnarement of victims for the purposes of their fuel matrices and the assertion of control. Instead, their narcissism blinds them to this and causes them to believe that it is a legitimate practice of seducing women and becoming more proficient at some kind of skill set – like learning to play cricket or become a better angler.)
When it came to promising quick results, one group stood out from the crowd: Street Attraction. This company offered what they describe as bootcamps that would have men “attracting beautiful women within two days”.
Students were promised online tutorials, follow-up guidance and one-to-one lessons on how to master their masculinity. (Hoovering for the purposes of gathering fuel and control, which is masked in language which sounds macho and masculine.)
Street Attraction had more than 110,000 YouTube subscribers. Its founder Eddie Hitchens even charged for viewing one of his secretly recorded sexual exploits. (Sense of entitlement, boundary violation, lack of emotional empathy, objectification by commoditising the experience.)
“Recording such intimate stuff in general isn’t easy,” Hitchens explained in one video.
“If a girl knows that she is being filmed she obviously won’t act in a natural way and most certainly won’t allow herself to be seduced for fear of her reputation being ruined.
“Because we [Hitchens and his accomplice] wanted to capture real reactions it had to be filmed covertly. Guerilla-style.” (Sense of entitlement, lack of emotional empathy and again note the grandiosity by comparing such behaviour to a form of guerrilla warfare.)
What’s more, Street Attraction had trained Adnan “A-Game” Ahmed. The bootcamp he attended was filmed and uploaded on his YouTube channel.
That is why I ended up outside the Savoy hotel in central London at a training course for aspiring pick-up artists.
It was a sweltering day and I was wearing a thick quilted-coat to hide a camera and microphone.
There were six students at the bootcamp and my coach was Street Attraction’s founder Hitchens.
The first task was to approach a woman within 30 seconds.
I, like the rest of the students, dispersed across London Bridge which was awash with uniformed police and colourful protesters taking part in an Extinction Rebellion event.
Eventually, I bumped into a couple of women who were standing watching one of the spray-painted bandstands where musicians were doing a sound check.
I had no idea what to say. It was the first test of the day and I was already struggling. I asked a couple of women whether this was some sort of gig.
“No,” one smiled, “this is a protest.”
My question was so naive that it actually worked. (Nothing actually worked, it was called having a conversation. Most people would reply when spoken to and the protestors at the Extinction Rebellion would include a higher than usual number of empaths, thus it was a hunting ground.)
I was chatting away and eventually the other woman offered me a flyer.
The conversation ended politely. I said my goodbyes and returned to the pack.
This is what pick-up coaches call a “cold approach”.
I was told it does not matter if I fancied the woman or not.
Hitchens pointed out a “target” and we were sent to approach by blocking their path. (Provocative, sense of entitlement, lack of emotional empathy.)
The bootcamp students were now mic’d up so that Hitchens could listen in and critique our performance. (Lack of boundary recognition, sense of entitlement.)
Not that the women knew that.
The irony was not lost on me. I was using covert filming to expose a group who were secretly recording women. I had to ingratiate myself without implicating myself to maintain my cover.
And the approaches made me feel uncomfortable. All the time, I kept on thinking about my sister and cousins and what they would think if they were on the receiving end of the students’ advances. (The journalist exhibits emotional empathy. He would not engage in this behaviour usually because of his natural aversion to such behaviour, his lack of a sense of entitlement, his boundary recognition and his accountability for his actions. Furthermore, he has safe-guarding empathy whereby he actively thinks about how such behaviour would impact on the behaviour of others.)
Dr Rachel O’Neill, an academic at the London School of Economics, has studied the seduction industry for 10 years.
“There’s an idea that seduction essentially provides a blueprint that men can follow as a way of interacting with women,” Dr O’Neill later told me.
“So you’ll be given a more or less scripted set of lines, routines that you can follow.
“Most training camps now will spend the majority of their time out on the streets, in bars, cafés, museums, any public space, actually practising these techniques, putting them into action.
“And that means often unwillingly drawing women into these interactions.” (Note how somebody studying the “seduction industry” fails to identify what it actually involves.)
Some of the women we were told to “approach” looked like teenagers and I told Hitchens I thought they were too young. (The emotional empathy of the journalist again.)
I am 31, and I did not want to approach someone who looked half my age.
Hitchens, who was 34 at the time, took me aside to explain why I needed to be less selective.
“Doesn’t matter,” he told me. “Even if she’s underage, it’s not illegal to stop someone…That was a good target.” (Sense of entitlement, lack of awareness, lack of emotional empathy, failure to “fit in”, lack of accountability).
Day two of the bootcamp. We sat on the steps of Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square and listened to coach George Massey tell us about the day’s lesson on “LMR”.
LMR stands for “last minute resistance” to sex. It is regarded by the pick-up artists as a women’s token attempt to reject sex – an obstacle to be overcome. (Sense of entitlement, belittlement (the reference to token), lack of emotional empathy.)
“You have to be the one to lead,” Massey explained. “The whole vibe is you take responsibility for it. ‘Yeah, I know, I am just an animal I couldn’t resist’” (Ironically, this is not taking responsibility for it, it is blame shifting by blaming it on the “animal” and demonstrates the lack of accountability and also magical thinking.)
In one of his videos, Hitchens stated that you should “carry on escalating” if a girl says that you are “going too fast”. Hitchens then goes on to say: “If she says, we’ll definitely have sex next time, you can reply with: Why waste time? It’s arrogant to assume that there will be a next time.” (More irony amongst the sense of entitlement, lack of boundary recognition, lack of emotional empathy.)
“There’s an idea with LMR that women put up a certain amount of supposedly token resistance prior to having sex,” explained Dr Rachel O’Neill. “And this is something, again, under seduction logic that women do as a way of trying to safeguard their reputation. And the thing that’s really worrying about this is that it creates a situation in which a woman’s ‘no’ can never be legitimately heard as a no.” (The word “no” is never accepted by a narcissist because it threatens the narcissist´s need for control. A spoken “no” must always be turned into an actioned “no” by removing oneself from the narcissist – i.e. imposing no contact.)
Massey introduced us to the next coach Richard Hood. Massey called him the “King of LMR”. Hood sounded more like a high-pressure salesman than someone genuinely interested in what a woman might want. (That is because he is not, he is interested in control and fuel, although he does not know that.)
“When you get to the apartment tell her to take her shoes off – as soon as you walk through the front door – you start taking your shoes off, it’s basically the first part of escalation,” he told us.
“Some girls can be annoying. If they are already in their shoes and their jacket they’ll be like ‘okay, okay, that’s enough for tonight… we will leave the rest for next time’…Obviously that’s frustrating”
He told us that men can be too preoccupied with consent. (Lack of boundary recognition,sense of entitlement, lack of emotional empathy.)
“Sometimes guys are a bit too shy or a bit too scared to keep pushing forward [be]cause they [men] want like… they want so much consent. I mean that they want lots of like… a written permission slip from her like, you know, ‘it’s okay that we go all the way’. ‘Cause it’s a nuance, obviously, you have to… you have to feel out the right moment, and sometimes it is your job to push things forward and lead.” (Such reluctance would not be exhibited by the narcissists but by the normals who do have some emotional empathy, but this would be reduced as a consequence of the “teaching” by these narcissists. The normals think that it becomes acceptable to behave in this way as it is “seduction” and consequently the issue of consent is sacrificed as a necessary victim of achieving the seduction. )
I asked criminal barrister Kate Parker for her professional opinion on teaching men how to overcome last minute resistance to sex and showed her some of the coaches’ videos.
“I think it’s really troubling, because it’s encouraging these young men to bypass any red flags that are put up by these women and that they should be sensitive to and alert to, and responding to,” she told me. “From what I’ve seen, there doesn’t seem to be any sexual offences there, yet. But the more they teach last minute resistance, and the more they teach these young men to ignore any signs of lack of consent, the closer we’re getting to sexual offence territory.” (It is not the female victims who are putting up red flags, instead it is the individuals engaging in these techniques. She is correct about the drift into criminality.)
Five months after the bootcamp and I was back in London – this time as a BBC journalist to challenge the pick-up coaches I had met.
After weeks of refusing to engage with me, (Rejection of accountability, silent treatment provided to the threat to the narcissist´s control). I found Eddie Hitchens coaching another group of men. I asked why he pressurised women into having sex. He was outraged.
“That’s completely wrong,” he said. “That’s completely wrong. You have twisted it completely out of context… Bro. It’s an art. It’s an art… It’s completely consensual. (Projection, Grandiosity, Defelction, Delusion.)
“We actually help men…so if anything we help prevent rape culture to help prevent them get involved in anything illegal or non-consensual.” (Delusion, Grandiosity, Deflection. Response to the journalist´s Challenge Fuel which threatens Hitchens´control.)
Richard Hood denied teaching men how to pressurise women into having sex and said all the women were recorded with their consent.
“We never film girls. We’ve had actresses,” he told me. So you’ve done nothing wrong? “Correct” And you don’t think you’re breaking the law? “Of course not.” (Lie, Deflection, Rejection of Accountability, response to Challenge Fuel offered by the journalist through the First Line Of the Twin Lines of The Narcissist´s Defence – Denial.)
After I spoke to Richard Hood, Street Attraction deleted the secretly filmed video I questioned him about. (Revision of History)
Then, shortly before my documentary film was to be broadcast, YouTube removed more than a hundred videos posted by Street Attraction.
A YouTube spokesperson told me the platform had “terminated the channels Addy A Game and Street Attraction.
“YouTube strictly prohibits explicit sexual, graphic or harassing content.
“Nothing is more important than protecting the safety of our community, and we will continue to review and refine our policies in this area.”
Another Street Attraction coach called George Massey later told me he saw his role as “helping people in the dating field”. If he has ever said anything inappropriate to a man seeking support, he said, no-one has ever told him. He said he gets letters of thanks from men who are now in healthy relationships. He added: “I don’t claim to be impervious to error”. (Delusion, Denial, Grandiosity, False Contrition.)
Hitchens denied telling his students that they should approach teenagers. (Lie.)
“Not true,” he said. “The thing that I teach is exactly this. Find out how old the girl is before you do anything sexual, anything flirtatious… You guys are basically misrepresenting what we’re doing. It’s absolutely disgusting and we’ll see you in court.” (Response to Challenge Fuel, Denial, Lie, Revision of History, Threat, Projection, Provocation.)
Meanwhile, back in Glasgow, Adnan Ahmed’s trial has concluded.
One 18-year-old victim who gave evidence described being stopped in a shopping centre by Ahmed, who is now 38.
“He put his hand on my back, at my waist. He put his hand on my cheek and tried to kiss me. I threw my hands up and asked him what he was doing. There was no conversation at all. Then I asked a member of the public if I could stand next to them because I felt vulnerable and isolated. He was bigger than me so I was scared to cause a scene.” (Sense of entitlement, Provocation, No Boundary Recognition, Lack of Emotional Empathy, Physical Assault.)
Giving evidence, Ahmed said his approaches to women were harmless and said that he stopped as soon as he found out if they were 17 or younger. (Lie, Denial.)
The jury disagreed.
Ahmed was convicted of five charges of threatening and abusive behaviour and was remanded in custody for sentence.
He had already spent nine months on remand in jail.
While the case was going on, Rita was at court to support the women. She was one of the women who had blown the whistle on Ahmed’s activities, and it was her call to the BBC that set me off investigating A-Game.
Rita had thought she knew “Addy”.
They were both students at college in Glasgow where they were studying towards a degree in social work. They both lived in the Glasgow area, they shared a car pool to class.
That was until Ahmed missed a day of college, giving one of Rita’s classmates the opportunity to show the rest of the car pool exactly what Addy got up to in his spare time.
Rita was shown a series of images of Ahmed with half-naked women from his Instagram account and YouTube channel. (Sense of Entitlement, Objectification, Grandiosity, Boasting.)
“I was kind of in floods of tears and thinking, what is this, is he like a pimp or is this a prostitution ring?” she said.
“I started looking at the videos and I just felt sick. I felt physically sick. It wasn’t about how to chat up a girl, it was much darker, much darker. They [the women in his videos] don’t know they’re being filmed. They don’t know they’re being recorded. So, right from the off it’s seedy, it’s underhand.” (Indeed, but once again, she does not actually realise what it is.)
“I’ve realised, you know, it’s a universal problem” said Rita. “I just want women and young girls to be aware that there are these predatory men, in our colleges and in our workplaces.” (But again fails to realise what they are.)
Thus, this undercover journalism highlights another way in which narcissism and narcissists are operating, by co-operating with or instructing other unaware narcissists, by manipulating normal men who do not realise what is actually occurring and whose emotional empathy (it is limited but it is there) is put to one side because the normal men are manipulated into thinking that this behaviour is acceptable as part of becoming more proficient at “getting women” and manipulating female victims, some of whom are normal or empaths.
It is a useful piece of journalism and combined with my narration acts to demonstrate how our kind behave. It also, once again shows the absence of knowledge about our kind.
Not once in the article is the word narcissist used by the reporter or those interviewed.