I’m waiting in a Manhattan diner to eat lunch with the most famous Asian “pick-up artist”—a man whose craft is seducing women, and teaching other men how to do the same—in the world, when a chunky, 5’5” 33-year-old gentlemen with a Fu Manchu mustache sits down next to me. “I’m JT Tran,” he says, extending his hand.

A short Asian guy, Tran does not exactly fit Western society’s archetype of a ladies man. “I’ll never be tall, dark and handsome,” he admits. “No one looks at me at first sight and thinks, ‘He’s the one.” What Tran does have though, is “game,” a concept as universally understandable yet undefinable as the Taoist “Dao.” Like the “Dao,” it can be mastered with time—at least that’s what Tran claims.

Tran’s Facebook is bedazzled with photos of him kissing and holding tall, beautiful women at high-end clubs around the world. He officially defines himself as a “dating coach,” and pens advice columns for LA Weekly, speaks at Ivy League universities, and runs “Asian Dating Bootcamps.” These three-day retreats allow virginal Asian males to study Tran’s secret methodology, “The ABCs of Attraction,” after which they are taken “into the field”, to clubs and malls, to practice techniques under his supervision.

Tran wasn’t always like this. He remembers being a shy middle child of a Vietnamese immigrant who could barely make eye contact with others. “Like most Asian American males, I was a late bloomer,” he says. “I didn’t kiss my first girl or go on my first date until I was 20. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or how to make friends, so I mostly stayed home and read books.”