So the other day most recent OKTrends, which routinely analyzes OKCupid's dating-site user statistics, came up with the paradoxical finding that, at least for women who are contacted by men, it seems that women who are rated beautiful by some men and unattractive to others are contacted more often than women who are uniformly rated beautiful. Or universally rated cute.
Economist Alex Tabarrok closed his analysis of the analysis with an uncharacteristically acute observation about rules of attraction.
In the marriage market what you want is not so much to increase your attractiveness to the average person but rather to the one person who will cherish your unique features. Thus--conditional on attracting a decent number of suitors from a reasonable pool etc.--what you want to do is accentuate your unique features even if doing so reduces your average ranking. In short, heteroscedasticity makes you hot.
Source: Marginal Revolution
I think that's a wonderful insight. I also think it may illuminate the one genuinely positive benefit of so-called "pickup artist" techniques: inducing yourself to make contact with more people than you might naturally be inclined to do. Because I think that more than any specific "technique" is the actual "trick." (To the extent they don't actively antagonize women, e.g. "make the ho say no," PUA "tricks" may be useful for conversation starting. But I'm almost certain that graduates of, for instance, Dale Carnegie courses are going to be more universally successful.)
Update: Incidentally, when I mentioned Dale Carnegie a minute ago I wasn't damning with faint praise. It's an awesome course not only for public speaking or self-esteem but for developing genuine, generous interest in other people -- the key, incidentally but non-trivially, to its promise to help you "win friends and influence people." It's pretty good stuff.