I called the hotline number that fed to Ross Jeffries’ Speed Seduction system, and the irony of the situation quickly dawned on me. Here I was scrambling to get in contact with the man who inspired Tom Cruise’s pick-up-artist/self-help guru character in Magnolia, and I was attempting to do so in the same exact way Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character did in the film. The only difference was that Hoffman was able to use the tactic to get in touch with Cruise’s Frank Mackie (granted, it was a life or death situation), while I only received an email address that could have been quickly ascertained had I committed to more internet research. (Perhaps I should have mentioned to the lovely telemarketer that Jeffries’ father’s condition was dire, and one of his last wishes was to speak to his son?)
By the tone and inflection of the woman’s voice — “He gets A LOT of emails” — I figured my correspondence would get lost in the shuffle of men scratching at his digital door begging for the secrets of sensuality to be slid underneath. Can I SEDUCE you into an interview with a very popular website? read the subject line. Send. (I decided to continue writing this piece with the hopes that Jeffries would get back to me but also with the awareness that he might not.)
One of the best parts of Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic drama, Magnolia, is Tom Cruise’s performance as Frank T.J. Mackie. In fact, it’s one of Cruise’s best performances, period. If you haven’t see the film, then take a gander at the video below (if you’re into drum and bass music, you’ll appreciate this even more), which is the most profane Cruise has ever been with exception to Tropic Thunder.
Anderson was on Marc Maron’s latest WTF podcast, and during the discussion of Magnolia, the auteur dropped a little gem acknowledging Ross Jeffries as the inspiration for Cruise’s Oscar-nominated role. Mackie is one of Anderson’s most charismatic and engrossing characters, but who is this Ross Jeffries guy?
Jeffries website, Seduction.com, houses a short bio on him:
Ross Jeffries is the founder, creator and Master Teacher of the worldwide seduction community. Featured as the mentor to Neil Strauss in the best selling book, “The Game,” RJ has taught, coached, and mentored thousands of men around the world, since 1991, guiding them to the success with women they truly desire and deserve.
After a brief perusal of his blog headlines, this man’s function in society began to come into focus even more:
“Bring In 2015 With A Bang (Literally)”
“Touching Technique That Drives Her Crazy”
“I’m A Perpetual Mental Masturbator”
At the center of Jeffries’ Seduction website is the Speed Seduction system, which claims to be the “Fastest And Easiest Pathway To Rapid Success, With The Women You Truly Desire!” The basis of the program is something called NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming. If you take a stroll through the vegetation of various definitions of NLP, you’ll come across definitions like this one from NLP University:
(NLP) is a pragmatic school of thought – an ‘epistemology’ – that addresses the many levels involved in being human. NLP is a multi-dimensional process that involves the development of behavioral competence and flexibility, but also involves strategic thinking and an understanding of the mental and cognitive processes behind behavior.
A more distilled definition of NLP brings us to a system that is based on cognitive and behavioral processes, one that allows you (I’m trying to not use the word “brainwash”) to inundate yourself with proven abilities of success while also instilling influence into others through the use of “linguistic patterns.” Here’s Jeffries discussing putting his program to use back in the early stages of his career.
(It was at this point in the writing process that my phone rang — a Beverly Hills number. To stay ahead of bill collectors I usually screen my calls. But, this was Beverly Hills, and I’m a fame whore. So I picked it up.)
“Ross Jeffries doesn’t exist,” the voice said.
I was taken aback.
The man on the phone identified himself as Paul Ross. No, he was not Ross Jeffries, but he knew so much about the man. Were they related? Did they work together?
“Ross Jeffries was a character I created,” Ross explained. “A loudmouth, obnoxious, larger than life, sort of a bit of a showman to get the message out there, to be a loud mouthpiece. That character doesn’t really meld with who I am today.”
I felt like I had unplugged from the matrix. Everything that I had learned in the past hour or two was a lie. I wasn’t even sure if the office I was typing this piece in was made of four walls and a roof or just a sequence of numbers.
“Here’s the interesting thing: Paul Thomas Anderson thought that they were going to portray a real person,” Ross told me. “They didn’t realize they were portraying a character created by an actor. Tom Cruise didn’t realize that he was studying a character. He thought he was studying a person. He created a character based on a character. Very few people know this.”
If Ross Jeffries “doesn’t exist,” then how about his teachings? We’re they, like Jeffries, just a facade?
“That’s still there, that’s still valid. There’s just no Ross Jeffries,” Ross said. “There’s no Santa Claus (laughing). As I’ve grown as a person, that character (who) would bang every girl in sight — it doesn’t really fit who I’ve grown to be as a human.”
Indeed, Jeffries doesn’t exist; even his Twitter account is an extension of his character. His friend Tania Raymonde was an actor on LOST for several seasons, and he said he regularly discusses with her the intricacies of playing a role. “The entire craft of acting is a fascinating thing. It fascinates me.”
Paul is a practicing Buddhist now. He’s changed the direction of his NLP programs to focus more on business, wealth, and overcoming traumatic experiences. It’s not just about getting laid anymore.
“I’ve never expressed hatred towards woman,” Ross said. “I no longer hate anyone. That part has been burned out by my Buddhist practice. I don’t deny gender differences, either. You can call me anything. Names don’t bother me anymore.”
Ross didn’t have the time, nor did it seem like he cared to explore in detail with me, the exact machinations behind his change in philosophy, but it was clear he was no longer wholeheartedly in the seduction business. “I don’t want to promote Seduction.com,” he said. “This is not what you expected, is it?”
“No, it’s not,” I replied.
As for Cruise’s portrayal of his character in Magnolia — did they get it right?
“Mackie is more manic. Mackie is far more misogynistic. He’s basically taking stuff from where I was in 1998,” Ross explained. “He’s also much shorter than I am. Remember when Mackie had the audience take out their calendars? I didn’t actually give them physical calendars, but I did have them say ‘By the 5th of May I’ll be having my way. By the 8th of June I’ll have their poon.’ That kind of rhyming stuff I got from Muhammed Ali.”
Paul Ross is continuing to use the name Ross Jeffries, because it’s “a brand,” but even though the focus of his seminars and programs have shifted more towards the arena of self-improvement, he’s not altogether abandoning his role as seduction guru.
“I’m temporarily stepping back from it so I can find a better way to teach it. I’m not getting out of it completely.”