Two young men in their early 20s who were hoping to become professional dating coaches say they were duped by their sweet-talking teachers, Chengdu Business Daily reported Thursday.
The two young men, known only by pseudonyms, quit their jobs and traveled to Chengdu, capital of southwestern Sichuan province, to attend a seven-day “pickup artistry” (PUA) master course. The two were looking forward to lucrative careers as dating guru, but now they’re accusing the training program of being a scam that cost them nearly 30,000 yuan ($4,600) each.
Both men were registered members of Langji Education, an online community where men can learn how to better approach women. In July, they saw a community notice about a Langji Education coach training program. “Many coaches in the community are masters of PUA, and most of them claim to have monthly salaries of over 100,000 yuan,” one of the men told Chengdu Business Daily.
The men said they were promised they could stay on as teaching assistants after the initial week, but things did not develop as the two expected.
The day they arrived in Chengdu, they were told to buy clothes and visit hair salons to improve their looks. Over the six days that followed, the duo attended classes on marketing and PUA skills, and were taken to luxurious entertainment hot spots, accompanied by photographers tasked with improving their social media profiles. On the last day, instead of the promised teaching assistant jobs, they only received graduation certificates, along with an offer to become salesmen.
An Yusheng, a manager at Langji Education, told Chengdu Business Daily that the staff who made the job promises had not followed the company’s rules and had been fired.
PUA courses have been gaining traction in China in recent years, as more and more “leftover men” look for help in their dating lives.
On its website, Langji Education promotes itself as having solved the dating problems of 88,548 men, with 18 professional coaches specializing in fields like speed dating and “creative conversation.” An said all of the company’s coaches had valid certificates for emotional consultation.
Cai Yuping, a psychologist at Beijing Harmonious Heartbeat Education and Consultation Co. Ltd., told Sixth Tone there is no such thing as an “emotional consultation” certificate. “They may just use these certificates to fool people,” Cai said.
When Sixth Tone posed as a potential customer and contacted Langji Education on Thursday, a salesperson said that they offered courses on emotional consultation that one could pass an exam to get a certificate. The salesperson also said it was possible to stay on as a teaching assistant after the courses, depending on performance.
According to Chengdu Business Daily, the city’s Administration for Industry and Commerce is investigating the case to see if Langji Education is indeed involved in education — a field for which the company has no license.
In a tongue-in-cheek letter posted Thursday on its public account on messaging app WeChat, Langji Education apologized for not being able to offer the two young men a teaching assistant position, but said that they simply weren’t good enough with women.
Additional reporting: Yu Dingzhang; editor: Kevin Schoenmakers.
(Header image: A man asks a woman for her WeChat contact information in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, March 7, 2015. Lei Jia/ VCG)