I started taking workshops myself—tons of them." Now, he's bringing that knowledge to other men."How many of you Begin asked for those who had come in order to improve their courtship and pickup skills to raise their hands; only a few did.

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"If you go up to a woman and you appreciate her, that's really different than going up to a woman and pretending to appreciate her so you can get in her pants."Everybody wants good sex," Begin continued, explaining the difference between his program and others.

"Everybody wants a good partner, everybody wants great intimacy, and everybody should have that if they want it.

But what it really comes down to is the feeling of their self-worth, feeling powerful as men, feeling worthy of being loved." Without that, he explained, men may be in dire emotional condition even after achieving sexual success. They looked more alert now, scooted up in their seats. Time-traveling 2,000 years, he went on to detail how, with suffrage and second-wave feminism, women became empowered.

The pavement was wet from the day's long rain, and men were congregating in a penthouse on 23rd Street to learn, together, how to become elite. The group could have easily been pulled from any average New York bar—they were a cross section of the general male population; men of all races, body types, professions, and outfits had come.

But unlike other sizable groups of men, these guys all shared one quality, the very thing that drew them to a free masculinity seminar: They are insecure and want to become confident, with women and with life.

As their students shuffled in, Brian Begin, the founder of the Fearless Man consulting network and community, stood at the front of the room while Dave Stultz, the company's head "coach," hung out statuesque in a muscle-hugging slate gray suit at the back.Their company, which also hosts ,500 three-day workshops, was born from Begin's personal triumph over insecurity: For years he was agoraphobic, so crippled by his emotional ailments, that he could not leave his house—forget confidently dating women.Eventually Begin embarked upon a quest to conquer his fears.He devoured whatever self-help material he could find, even undergoing hypnotherapy training in the 90s.He became a pseudo-anthropologist when he moved into an apartment with a hot, confident couple—people he envied, and then emulated."I used this period to study what I'd like to be—social—and to be outgoing," Begin told me in an interview the day before their seminar."I started meeting a lot of people, hypnotherapists that worked in this arena.