HE APPEARS out of nowhere, offering a seemingly offhand remark. He solicits her opinion as he joins her circle of friends at the bar. He's confident and implicitly spontaneous. In a seductive ballet, he deftly swings her around so that she faces him while he leans against the bar.
She laughs, if not out of amusement, then out of nervous politeness. He draws her in, whispering inaudibly into her ear. He sweeps her hair from her face.
Her friends offer a furtive glance in her direction to see if she needs an escape. They see her lean into him. Unable to communicate via facial expressions, they leave her alone as her body language suggests that she is interested in him.
One might think this guy is simply a confident, entertaining fellow having a good time. But in reality, he is executing a tried and true routine of seduction. He is Jerry Tran, otherwise known as the Asian Playboy.
Crowned in 2007 as "The World's Greatest Asian Pick-Up Artist" at the Global Seduction Summit in Hollywood, Tran is the Messianic answer to all Asian American men bridled by a lifetime of negative stereotyping in the media.
He is no different than any other pickup artist who travels around the world empowering legions of men to realize their full alpha male potential. Highlighted by Neil Strauss' bestselling book, The Game: Penetrating the secret Society of Pickup Artists, and VH1's new reality series, The Pick-Up Artist, these prophets of seduction proselytize different schools of thought by day. By night, they gallivant as modern-day Lotharios, using seduction as their only drug.
But Tran has also helped dispel some of the pervasive misrepresentations in popular culture about Asian American men, who are often villainized, desexualized and eunuchized in the collective minds of the mainstream.
Born in Texas, Tran studied as an astute aerospace engineer at the Florida Institute of Technology. But upon graduation, he experienced an exigent dissatisfaction with the direction of his social life and sought solace on the Internet, where he encountered the writings of Erik von Markovik, a.k.a. Mystery, a tall, gaunt Canadian-born master pick-up artist of German ancestry.
Tran signed up for Mystery's bootcamp as a primer for becoming a pick-up artist and diligently practiced his newly acquired craft.
"There were weeks when I trained four to seven nights a week," says Tran, 30.
For four long years, he observed and then reverse-engineered the social protocols that existed in social circles. Gradually, he developed his own system of the pick-up artistry called the "ABCs of Attraction," which leverages the use of ethnicity as an added advantage in the game of seduction. As a chronicle of his progression, he maintained a blog about his success in the field. It found a devoted following.
In 2005, Tran received a desperate call from the mother of a male devotee who was beaten up by a gang of neo-Nazis in Toronto. She requested his assistance in developing a better sense of self-confidence in her son and offered to pay all of Tran's expenses in exchange. This was the Asian Playboy's call to duty.
Since that fateful day, Tran found his calling as a sergeant of seduction, drilling Asian American boys into the new world order of the new Asian American man: sexualized, confident, dominant. But he has found that not all are receptive to his message.
"There's been a lot of anger [among Asian American males]. You can either do something about it or you can wallow in your own self-pity," Tran says.
The ones who wallow are the ones who Tran can't help. "They don't want to take responsibility for their own mediocrity in their life," he explains.
Asian feminists have also voiced their objection to the inherently misogynistic principles that underlie the game of the seduction.
"They despise me," he laughs, "[but] I'm not an ethics instructor-I'm a dating coach."
At a recent New York bootcamp, fellow compatriots were quick to jump to the Asian Playboy's defense.
"The feminists have a problem with the fact that he calls himself a playboy," a young pick-up protege named Saffron explains. "But they don't take issue with the idea of a [white] playboy."
Indeed, there was a strong sense of fraternity among this motley band of brothers fused by a shared experience of struggle and a common ideology of seduction. All of them ready for the sexual liberation of Asian American men.
"I get the girls that every white man wishes he can get!" the Asian Playboy cries, leading the charge for seductive empowerment, with his coattails sashaying in the breezy gust of the collective sighs of relief from socially-indigent Asian American men everywhere.