28-year-old virgin Rian Turner was bounced from The Pickup Artist this week. According to his bio, he considers himself the “patron saint of the overlooked,” something he’s proud of. In a recent chat he told me he’s fine not being like all the other guys in the house. Despite his elimination, Rian was proud of how far he came, and made it clear that his outlook on playing “The Game” doesn’t include nailing everything that moves. During our chat he was candid, admitting that his honesty is what made the world of pickup a little harder for him; indeed, the self-proclaimed “dad” of the house was open about every subject that came up, from how he felt when Greg left him hanging, to all those tears he shed this season.
Did you think you’d be safe from elimination because your wingman Greg’s errors were bigger than yours?
Mystery‘s own words were “This is a wingmanship challenge”. It’s about trust and supporting your partner, so I did everything I could to make sure my buddy got a make out, and he didn’t return the favor. I can appreciate that he didn’t know which girl I was targeting, but he didn’t even make an effort. At least I made the effort. I was trying to juggle two women, but I have some of the same software that women do – as they refer to it, the “anti-slut defense” – women like to have plausible deniability for their actions. I have that too; I didn’t want to go in for a kiss unless I was reasonably certain she wanted one. I could tell physically she was giving me IOI’s but verbally she was telling me no and, ah…silly me, I was listening. I’m sorry but I’m a straight-forward person. If someone tells me no, I assume they mean no.
It does seem like the game of pickup requires some acting, and you wanted to be yourself as much as you could?
No offense to the other guys, but I don’t think they really played up the fact that unlike them, I was trying to do this completely honestly. I didn’t want to use any of their lines or openers or anecdotes for things I hadn’t done. I was trying to be completely legit, which was my own little handicap. It would have been easier using their material instead of crafting my own, but I was trying to be as honorable and truthful as I can.
Read the rest of the interview after the jump.
It definitely looked like you had better luck with your day game. Was it a lot more natural to you?
Oh yes, it was. The club environment is a different creature, one I’m not used to. You can tell I was definitely more comfortable during the day.
It seems like since the show is all about you guys being taught, the fact that elimination looms at the end of each challenge is kind of a downer.
Yeah, people online suggest that show would be better by having fewer guys go through the whole thing and then at the end pick a winner.
Exactly, since you made so many leaps and bounds, you might have benefited if it was structured differently.
Um, I think I did pretty well. I feel pretty good about my progress.
True, I think you’re definitely one of the ones who made the most progress.
I think in the end it came down to, okay, I don’t have the experience of some of these guys and that’s why they think I didn’t pull the trigger, like “Oh well he couldn’t go for the full make out,” and I’m like “Well, no. I’ve never kissed a girl legitimately until tonight and I have two girls fighting over me right and now I’m having trouble keeping my mind straight.” Had the other guys been in my situation, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did more with it, but they had the precedent factor, they’d kissed before and weren’t self conscious about it. I had never kissed anyone open-mouth, not even the technical kisses that I had gotten were all closed-mouth. We sort of leap-frogged over kissing straight to how to pleasure a woman’s erogenous zones in a more romantic setting.
You didn’t even kiss Erin the Sexologist during the night vision session?
They didn’t tell me we could. You might have noticed another time on the show, the time we were inviting girls up to the VIP and they had told me I should have invited the entire group up and I was like, you didn’t say I could and I wasn’t sure of the rules.
Tell me about your acting, since you mentioned it on the show.
In high school I was involved in the drama club and there was a theater program at my college and I ended up hanging around in that for about five years, so I have a decent amount of training. I just got my license so I’m going to auditions and plays and whatnot. One of the nice things about my interest in theater is that I wasn’t nearly as sheltered as say, Brian.
What do you mean?
With Brian, he had a pretty sheltered life and on the show it may have looked like his wild and crazy nature was intentional – it wasn’t. The problem was he had no filter and he was very naïve. He was a fun, great guy but I was glad when he finally went home because I was like, wow he’s starting to absorb some bad stuff. Sometimes the guys on the show would suggest stuff for him to do perhaps as a joke but Brian didn’t realize it. For instance Greg told him to suck on Erin’s nose but he did it because he believed Greg and thought it was a good idea.
What did you think of Mystery?
On the show he definitely comes off a bit cool and detached, but if you watch the extra videos you see his personality a lot more. You can see a glimpse of the man he was before he became “Mystery.” It was pretty easy for me to accept what he had to say during our lessons and you could believe what was behind it. It was harder for me to hear it from Matador because you look at him and think “Really? YOU had trouble with girls?” He is the male archetype. And while we’re on the topic, when Kosmo came in, it took me a while to open up because I couldn’t quite believe him. It always felt like he was “on.” He didn’t seem quite real. I’m a pretty amiable person but if somebody seems phony to be I’m gonna be more cautious with them.
Was there any drama in the house? I can’t seem to get any juicy gossip out of you guys.
When we were in the house we would just hang out. There was no animosity – not like last season, with the fights with Joe D. and Pradeep, and Pradeep just being a general irritant in the group – we were all friends. I read that you like my handwriting – I’m the one who wrote the poems on the chalkboard [in our recap of Episode 2 we mentioned our fondness for the chalkboard poetry posted in the house.] On one of the bonus materials online, Matt calls me out as the house dad – every morning I’d wake up early and I’d do the dishes and make sure the towels were laundered and write a new poem on the wall.
You seem so ready to settle down!
Ultimately, yeah I’d like to settle down and have a nice relationship with a girl, but to a certain degree I don’t want to get into a situation where I settle for the first girl who comes along. I just need to get out there and have some experience so I can recognize the right girl when I find her. One of the things I was actually a little disappointed about that wasn’t highlighted on the show, especially because they would always use the “I’m Rian Turner and I’m a 28-year-old virgin” bit, was they didn’t touch on the fact that I’m okay with that, unlike some of the other guys, I’m not in a rush to get laid. It’ll happen when it’s right but for me, sex is just an extra variable, I want to take things one step at a time and get good at kissing first, then making out, then foreplay. It’ll come, but with so many people sex is the end-all be all.
Is it a matter of finding the right person, or do you want to wait till you’re married?
It’s more of the former, but granted there is that romantic fantasy of doing it for the first time on your wedding night. I’m not ruling out that I’ll have sex before marriage, but it’ll have to feel right.
Considering this show is somewhat about watching you all hook up as entertainment for us, the viewers, it seems like it doesn’t really fit into your view of sex and love.
Actually, it’s helpful just the same, but it’s what you do with the tools you learn. Guys are free to express their sexuality however they want, and there was the specter of “To be a good pickup artist the end goal is to have sex with a woman,” but I’m like “Yeah, but it doesn’t have to be within the first seven days of knowing her.” I feel a little vindicated because I’ve shown to people that you can be a guy like me and still succeed.
Was it hard to watch yourself on TV?
No, I enjoy seeing the world through different perspectives – seeing how they cut the footage together is just someone else’s way of interpreting in.
And did you think the footage of you came across as true to who you are?
On the whole…except I don’t think I cried quite as much as they showed.