In one of the more drastic makeovers on The Pickup Artist this season, Matt went from zero to hero in the blink of an eye (and a wax of the chest). While he could often be found dressed in a dapper suit while wooing the ladies with his signature Oceans 11 opener, when we talked to him he was honest about how dorky he felt repeatedly using that line. Now that the show’s over, Matt discussed how he feels about losing to Simeon, not to mention how often he keeps up with his manscaping.
First of all, congrats for being one of the last two men standing. Did you get together to watch the finale with any of the other contestants?
I just had a small thing at my house – Simeon stopped by and watched it early and then went to a larger party to watch with Mystery and Matador and those guys but I decided not to go because it was his moment in the sun and I wanted to hang back.
Do you still hang out with him?
I see Simeon quite a bit because we only live about a mile from each other – for a national show it’s kind of interesting that the finalists only live a mile from each other. I also see Brian from time to time. I’ve seen everyone except Todd since the show has ended. It’s funny that Simeon and I did so well in that wingman challenge because we are complete opposites. He’s Mr. Flash and I’m Mr. Subtle. He’s Mr. Hyper and I’m Mr. Calm, so it’s funny how well it worked out since we are total opposites.
Read the rest of the interview after the jump.
Do you get recognized in public now that the show’s over?
Oh yeah, I didn’t think I would be but I get recognized quite a bit. It was pretty embarrassing, I was out to dinner with my folks last week and someone came up to me and said “I just want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving and I hope you win!” and that was pretty awesome. I didn’t think I’d get noticed since I don’t have the outfits like Simeon or the hair like Brian, I look pretty normal. When I go out with Simeon though, he definitely gets recognized, he is just like, he’s the Mr. T of the show with all the jewelry hanging from him and painted nails, he always gets noticed.
Was the show everything you’d hoped it would be?
It was a fantastic experience. Beyond the stuff we learned about pickup, it consistently forced me to push my boundaries and step out of my comfort zone which isn’t something I do often. I’ll be willing to take more risks now when it comes to work or various other things now, I really found the ability to push myself. I also made some great friends and I learned that I can be successful with women. Filming the show was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, it’s just physically and mentally demanding process, but I’m so glad I did it and I would do it again.
Do you think it takes a certain type of person to be successful at pickup? Because when your friend Chuck visited, he seemed to resist the whole game of it.
You have to go in willing to do things you might not be comfortable with. In a lot of ways I think that’s why Simeon won, he committed to this project 100%. Whereas I may have committed 90% or Greg may have committed 70%. It’s reflective in the standings of how everyone did how committed to the process you are. My friend went in not caring about what he was learning but caring about me doing well and helping me out, but the material wasn’t interesting to him. Simeon’s friend Ryan was 100% committed to the process just like Simeon and that was reflected in how well they did.
Were you ever self-conscious using and repeating the same canned opening lines?
Absolutely. I was aware at every step of the way how it sounded and everyone gives me a hard time for using that stupid Oceans 11 line, but the whole reason I used that line over other ones is that it’s so random and confusing, most of the time the girls would be like “I don’t know what that means,” and in that confusion I’d go into my next bit of material. I used it because it was so random, but those openers are. . .I haven’t used one of them once since I’ve been home. It’s not my style and I’d rather be off-the-cuff. I did want to show that I was a good student and that I could do it, so that’s why I continually used the same material, to prove to them I was listening to Mystery and that I could use what they were teaching and be successful.
A lot of times they would cut to Mystery and Matador and Tara in the surveillance truck and they’d even say “He’s not using the material we taught him,” so it seems like they definitely didn’t encourage “off-the-cuff.”
I would have Matador in a tizzy when I would start my banter, they would get so mad because here I was having a conversation like I was talking to a friend and they’d give me a hard time and they would say “You’re at a club, not a country club,” because I would sound so formal. I had to be conscious of it and in the end I think I used a little too much of my own banter and didn’t pull it out in the end. What’s funny is that a lot of people say “Simeon may have won but a lot of girls won’t go back for a second date with him, but with you, Matt, you establish the comfort and you may not have been as successful or gotten a kiss as fast, but people will want to see you again.”
Both of your final challenges were so close, for instance your reward challenge was to see who could kiss-close the fastest and you only lost by 20 seconds, what do you think set Simeon apart to make him the winner?
One of the things Simeon did was, he was willing to sexualize encounters right away; he was a bull in a china shop. I was always more cautious and reserved and I wouldn’t think about getting that ball rolling. I think I could do as well as him – just not as fast. My philosophy was to build comfort first, and in a challenge where speed is of the essence, that’s not going to work for me. He definitely had the advantage in the final episode because speed was so important.
Any regrets about the show?
No. The whole time you’re there you’re wondering what’s going to happen with the power of editing but I really think the show did a tremendous job portraying the people that we were, it was an honest portrayal of who we are. Obviously there are some things that are embarrassing, kissing a mannequin, being hooked up to a bio-feedback machine and having a stripper come out, but in the long run, it really just showed the kind of people we were. People have called me and said “It’s awesome to see the Matt we know on the show and that you didn’t change,” so I consider it an honor to have been on the show. The one piece of advice I got from my mom before the show was “Don’t embarrass the family,” and after she watched she was like “You really did us proud. That seemed like an amazing experience.”
Aww. Was she nervous about you doing the show or did she have reservations?
Everyone I told had reservations. If you think about it, the premise is not flattering. Socially awkward lovable losers? That’s not a tag most people want to have but just by appearing on the show you’re admitting to that role. When you see the transformation though, well, everyone got a kick out of watching me grow over eight weeks.
Do you plan to keep going with pickup maneuvers?
I’m looking for a particular type of girl and I don’t want to pick up on girls for the sake of picking up on girls, it doesn’t interest me as much as it does some of the other guys. I am using some of the skills I learned on the show, but doing pickup…I’m going to leave it to the trained professionals. I’d rather hang out in a bar, that’s my comfort zone, and you have to recalibrate what you’re talking about when you’re on the show trying to pick up a girl in a club. I liked to make a lot of references and when I’d use my best material in those clubs, I’d get no response. My friends are like “It was hilarious when you quoted Predator that time,” but that material wasn’t working in the field. Now, if I were to use that in the types of places where I’m comfortable, it works really well, so it’s a combination of what they taught me with what I already possess and pickup is a lot easier.
How much did your makeover affect you? Your new look is pretty impressive.
It had a significant effect – most of the time I set up mental barriers because I had these physical insecurities, and knowing those weren’t there anymore was a huge relief. I was able to take chances I might not have taken before. A lot of people say it’s not about the physical stuff, but in my reality, my physical insecurity had been so ingrained over years and years and to get rid of that was a weight off my shoulders.
Are you going to keep up with the chest waxing?
Funny you should mention that, I have. I got it done about eight weeks ago and have another appointment soon. It can be expensive though! I’m a man of modest means, but especially in the summer, I think I have a new pre-summer ritual.
You gotta maintain.
Yeah, you gotta manscape, as we say in the biz.
As a girl, I understand where you’re coming from, we’ve had these grooming rituals forever.
Oh yeah, you guys have to do all kinds of stuff, I get no sympathy from you.
Well, we don’t have quite the square footage that you have.
Yeah, it’s not over in five minutes for me, it takes some time.