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Ottawa pick-up artist Luke Howard's ‘daygame’ is narcissism, misogyny and delusion

Luke Howard, a self-styled pickup artist, stalks women in Ottawa’s streets.

He calls himself a “Dr.” and hypnotist who helps men with social anxiety talk to women in the daytime, without the aid of booze. He secretly records his attempts to get phone numbers on video.

In the wake of online backlash — via the hashtag #CorneredInOttawa, which women use to share stories about street harassment on Twitter and Tumblr— Howard has taken the videos down and issued a limp mea culpa.

He wrote, word for word, “I have started conversations with hundreds of women in public places and if as few felt uncomfortable then you are genuinely and truly sorry.”

The media, as it must, has taken his man-hero routine somewhat seriously. And I’ll grant that it’s not wrong, on face, to help others improve their social skills.

But let’s get this straight: Everything about Howard is wrong.

He’s lied. He said 99.9 per cent of women like his advances. So far, 24 women have complained about the way he approached them on the street, say #CorneredInOttawa organizers. At least one has filed a police report. Layla, 33, didn’t want to give her last name for fear she’d be trolled online.

“Giving a woman a compliment in the street is not harassment,” Howard wrote. But Layla said Howard told her she looks like Tracy Chapman (she does not) and that he’s “always had a thing for Tracy Chapman, I’ve always wanted to f—k Tracy Chapman” before he referenced jerking off.

Howard said he doesn’t corner women, but Layla told me every time she took a step, he took a step. She felt trapped and afraid to get aggressive.

Howard is ineffective. Some women say they spoke nicely to him, hoping he’d go away. Layla made up a fake boyfriend. Some gave him their phone number so he’d leave them alone, and then never responded to calls or text messages.

He’s making it harder for others to have non-creepy encounters.

“He’s the exact reason why women don’t like being approached in the daytime, and might miss out on actually normal dudes,” Layla told me. “My guard goes up just from a guy asking an innocuous question.”

Finally, Howard said he’s “Always been about love and connection and bringing people closer together.” But we all know picking up is just about sex, a highly unlikely outcome of his methods.

So, guys, do not take notes. Howard’s “daygame” has no game, just narcissism, misogyny and delusion.

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