A fascinating book by a Rolling Stone mag journalist, Neil Straus aka "Style". The term "AMOG" - Amog is a pickup slang in seduction community, . Amog Stands for Alpha-Male Other Guy. It Means PUA(Pickup artist) uses Psychological, physical, verbal and social tactics to eliminate a potential rival--usually boyfriend or other guys accidentally in the group. The term Amog can also stands for "Alpha male of the group". In seduction community, it believes that if you prove you are a Alpha Man, then you have demonstrated high value, and build attraction for the female. The attraction to the female is a critical step in the process of seduction.
He was the first person I'd met since joining the seduction community who didn't let me down.
His name was Tom Cruise.
"This is going to be great, man," he greeted me when I met him at wheelie school. He smiled, complimented my adventurousness, and smashed a friendly elbow into my chest. It was the exact same AMOGing gesture that Tyler Durden had written about in London.
He wore black bike leathers with a matching helmet tucked under his left arm and two days of stubble on his chin. "I'm training to jump a trailer," he said. He pointed to a mobile home sitting just off the track. "It'll be bigger than that one. But it's not that hard."
He squinted at the vehicle for a moment, visualizing the feat. "Well, the jumping's not that hard. It's the landing that's difficult."
He cocked his right hand and slugged me in the shoulder.
Tom Cruise was the perfect specimen. He was the AMOG that Tyler Durden and Mystery and everyone else in the seduction community had been trying to emulate. He had a natural ability to remain dominant, physically and mentally, in any social situation without seeming to exert any effort.
And he was the living embodiment of all six of Mystery's five characteristics of an alpha male. Nearly everyone in the community had studied his films to learn body language and regularly used terminology from Top Gun in the field. There was so much I wanted to ask him. But first I needed to confirm something.
"So what made you pick me for this article?"
The dust lifted off the track and blew around us as we clutched our bike helmets under our arms.
"I dug your New York Times piece," he replied. "You were writing about the dating guys."
So it was true.
See, I wanted to tell him. Seduction is seductive. But I couldn't, because as he remembered that moment, Cruise let out a laugh. And Cruise doesn't laugh like ordinary people do. His laugh takes over a room. It comes on just fine, a regular laugh by any standards. You will be laughing too. But then, when the humor subsides, you will stop laughing. At this point, however, Cruise's laugh will just be crescendoing. And he will be making eye contact with you. Ha ha HA HA heh heh. And you will try to laugh again, to join him, because you know you're supposed to. But it doesn't come out right, because it's not natural. He will squeeze out a couple words sometimes between chuckles—"It's not real," in this case. And then he will stop, as suddenly as he started, and you will be relieved.
We spent the next week together visiting various Scientology buildings. It's no secret that Tom Cruise is a member of the Church of Scientology—a religion, self-help group, charity, cult, and philosophy started by the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s. But Cruise had never taken a journalist into that world before.
The more I learned about L. Ron Hubbard, the more I realized that he was the exact same personality type as Mystery and Ross Jeffries and Tyler Durden. They were wickedly smart megalomaniacs who knew how to synthesize great bodies of knowledge and experience into personality-driven brands, which they sold to people who didn't feel like they were getting what they needed out of life. They were obsessive students of the principles that guide human behavior. But the ethics of and motivation for their use of those principles made them controversial figures.
On our last day together, Cruise took me on a tour of the Scientology Celebrity Center in Hollywood, where I saw a classroom full of students being trained to use e-meters, devices that measure skin conductance. When curious civilians come into the church, they are hooked up to e-meters and asked various questions. Afterward, the interviewer goes over the results with them and tells them why they need to join the Church of Scientology to fix their problems.
Students were paired up in the classroom, role-playing the various scenarios that can occur during an interview. They had large books spread out in front of them. Everything the interviewer (or auditor, in Scientology terms) utters—every response to every contingency—was contained in those books. Nothing was left to chance. No possible convert was going to slip through their hands.
What they were rehearsing, I realized, was a form of pickup. Without a rigid structure, rehearsed routines, and troubleshooting tactics, there would be no recruitment.
One of my main frustrations with sarging was repeating the same lines over and over. I was getting tired asking girls if they thought spells worked or if they wanted to take the best friends test or if they noticed how their nose wiggled when they laughed. I just wanted to walk into a set and say, "Love me. I'm Style!"
But after watching the auditors, I began to think that perhaps routines weren't training wheels after all; they were the bike.' Every form of demagoguery depends on them. Religion is pickup. Politics is pickup. Life is pickup.
Every day, we have our routines, which we rely on to make people like us or to get what we want or to make someone laugh or to endure another day without letting anyone know the nasty thoughts we're really thinking about them.
After the tour, Cruise and I ate lunch in the Celebrity Center restaurant. He was clean-shaven and ruddy-cheeked, wearing a dark-green crewneck T-shirt that fit his body like a glove. Over a healthy slab of steak, he discussed his values. He believed in learning new things, doing the work required of him, and competing with no one but himself. He was strongwilled, centered, and resolute. Any thinking that must be done, any turmoil that must be resolved, any issue that must be handled was solved first and foremost in a dialogue between Tom Cruise and himself.
"I don't really keep counsel with others," he said. "I'm the kind of person who will think about something, and if I know it's right I'm not going to ask anybody. I don't go, 'Boy, what do you think about this?' I've made every decision for myself—in my career, in my life."
Cruise leaned forward in his chair, resting his elbows in his lap. He was low in his seat and his head was parallel with the surface of the table. As he spoke, he expressed himself through gestures as subtle as changing the aperture of his eyes. The guy was born to sell things: movies, himself, Scientology, you. Whenever I criticized myself or made an excuse for myself, he jumped down my throat.
"I'm sorry," I said at one point, when discussing an article I'd written. "I don't mean to sound like one of those writer guys."
"Why are you apologizing? Why not be a writer guy? Who are those guys? They're talented people who write about things that people are interested in." Then he continued, mockingly, "No, you don't want to be one of those guys who's creative and expressive."
He was right. I had thought I was done with gurus, but I needed one more. Tom Cruise was teaching me more about inner game than Mystery, Ross Jeffries, Steve P., or my father ever had.
He stood up and slammed his fist down on the table, hard—AMOGstyle.
"Why don't you want to be one of those guys? Be one of those guys, man. I mean it. That's cool."
Okay. Cruise says it's cool. Case closed.
As we talked, I realized that out of all the people I'd met in my lifetime, no one had their head screwed on more tightly than Tom Cruise. And this was a disturbing thought, because nearly every idea Tom Cruise expressed could be found somewhere in the massive writings of L. Ron Hubbard.
I discovered this when Cruise had his personal Scientology liaison bring a heavy red book to the table. He opened it to the Scientology code of honor, and we discussed it point by point—set a good example, fulfill your obligations, never need praise or approval or sympathy, don't compromise your own reality.
When Cruise promised to send me an invitation for the center's annual Scientology Gala, I began to worry that this wasn't about an article for Rolling Stone at all. It was about getting another convert to Scientology. If that was true, he'd picked the wrong person. At most, he was introducing me to a body of knowledge I could draw from, like the writings of Joseph Campbell or the teaching of the Buddha or the lyrics of Jay-Z.
After our meal and study session, Cruise invited me to the president's room to meet his mother, who was taking a course in the building. "Let me ask you something else about that article you wrote," he said as we walked.
"A lot of that stuff is about trying to control people and manipulate situations. Can you imagine all the effort they're putting into that? If they took that effort and put it toward something constructive, who knows what they could accomplish."
The interview ended. The article was published. And Tom Cruise and I would meet again. I would be a different person then, but he would be the same. He would never change. He was an AMOG—and he had AMOGed me. However, he hadn't converted me.
He had his church. I had mine.