The Ask Chris Valentine Special: Batman vs. the Pickup Artist
By Chris Sims
Q: How would Batman have foiled The Art Gallery Scheme? — @NielJacoby
A: Ah, Valentine’s Day, a time when one’s thoughts turn inevitably to the complex art of love and dating. Well, that’s how it is for most people, anyway; I tend to just think about Batman, no matter what day it is. With this question, though, I can do both at the same time, because the infamous Art Gallery Scheme is not some daring heist in Gotham City.
It’s actually an elaborate scam set up to woo a lady, as envisioned by that douchebag Mystery.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Mystery, he refers to himself as a “Pickup Artist,” which basically means that he dresses like Dragon*Con threw up on him and tries to lure women into bed through a combination of stage magic and psychological manipulation. Throw all those factors in together — the flamboyant costuming, the ruthless methods, the card tricks, the fact that his name is “Mystery” — and he’s basically the closest thing the real world has to one of the Arch-Criminals from Batman ’66.
As I understand it, his methodology basically involves drawing as much attention to yourself as possible — hence the heavy accessorizing and a hat collection that truly boggles the mind— and then playing a conversation like a poker game. You watch for tells that let you know if you’re on the right track and you bluff to make it seem like you’re bringing more value to the table than you actually are. Usually, that bluffing just takes the form of subtle insults that chip away at a lady’s self-esteem until she’s vulnerable enough to be led like a scolded puppy into night of regrettable passion.
And then there’s what I have dubbed The Art Gallery Scheme, a con so sinister, time-intensive and Machiavellian that it’s like a deathtrap the Riddler would build if he was trying to bang a sorority girl.