So what if this is the first glimpse of the Logistics Book since Rob and I started talking about it four years ago? Do you know how long it took the Sistine Chapel to be painted? Four years! That’s right, Rob and I are right on par with Michelangelo in creating works of art.

We still have a ways to go until the whole thing is done, but we at least wanted to give you an idea of what to expect. So here’s a sample from the book, and it’s our chapter on first-date logistics.

A couple of notes on this: As we’re still writing the book, this chapter might look different in the finished product. Also, you’ll see that Rob and I mix up some of the first-person references to “I” and “we.” Rob and I aren’t the Borg and we don’t agree on everything, and we’ve had different experiences. So when you see the word “I” used, it refers to one of us, though we don’t see a need to specify which one of us that is.

Enjoy, and we hope to share more with you later.

First-Date Logistics

A quick tangent before we get started

The whole point of dating is to have sex. Not in a creepy way, but just being honest. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a short-term fun situation or you’re both looking for a long-term relationship — our biology, both male and female, is screaming at us to get it on. When you ask a girl out and she accepts, what she’s saying (on a Jurassic level with the dinosaurs and mastodons) is, “I think you are attractive enough to procreate with.” It’s not a conscious thing, it’s just an urge that’s always in the background. Another sidenote: no one would logically choose to have kids. But we can’t help it. Biology demands it. And the modern phenomenon of dating is our culture’s avenue of approach to procreation. So with that established (and even if you don’t agree, you special little snowflake, humor me for a moment), let’s talk about dating.

Two Dating Stories

Let’s look at my hated enemy: the dinner date.

You pick her up from her apartment and drive 20 minutes to arrive at the Italian Restaurant from Hell. During the drive you make small talk about work and the weather. It’s Saturday night, 8 o’clock and the restaurant is packed. You made a reservation, but the restaurant is busy and you end up having to wait with everyone else in the crowded anteroom where a cold blast of wind whips across your face every time the door opens. More small talk.

Finally you’re seated. You’ve run out of small talk. Thankfully the waiter has brought bread.  Garlic bread. You both eat. How’s your food? It’s fine, how’s yours? It’s good.

Will you be having any dessert?  You both look at each other and say no.

Now what? You’re 20 minutes out of your way. It doesn’t really seem like you’ve hit it off enough to invite yourself over to her place. You drive her home and walk her to her front door.  After a hug, you drive home.

So what just happened? It wasn’t a fun date, but it wasn’t horrible; it was probably like most dates that regular people go on every day. Does she like you? Who knows, that hug was maybe good, but you’re not sure. Do you ask her out again? And what do you do then? More dinner? No, she doesn’t want to sit and do small talk all over again. Movies? Maybe.  Dancing? Only if you’re a good dancer, but then if she isn’t, she won’t want to go.

Dude, analyzing murky first dates is hard work.

What if we did it like this instead.

Skip dinner this time, and make plans to go to a bar. It should be nighttime outside, because people don’t hook up during the day. It should be a small bar, close to your house or apartment. A short drive is OK, but a short walk is best. Don’t mistake a small bar with a large, thumping club. Go to a small-but-chill bar. Get there exactly when you say you will, exactly on time. Don’t bother being five minutes early because she will be at least five minutes late.  Women.

Walking in the bar you grab a drink and scan the room for a good place to hang out. Being smart, you avoid any tables where you’d have to sit across from her. You also stay away from any arm chairs. Luckily, there’s space on the couches there. Your second option is one of the small tables where you can sit next to her. If all else fails you’ll settle for sitting next to her at the bar. When it gets crowded later on, standing might work out better but you’ll see how the night turns out.

Want some bonus points? Reserve a booth or table in advance. You’ll avoid the awkwardness of searching for seats if the bar is full, and you’ll look like The Man. Conversely, make enough friends who work there that they’ll treat you like a VIP and make sit-down space whenever you need it. Also, bring cash and a credit card so you can use either as needed. We have spotted poor blokes who were left pining for an ATM at cash-only bars, and we have felt sorry fo them.

She arrives, and you buy her a drink. Tell her that you’ve got the first round. She starts with the small talk but you avoid it: “Yeah it was windy but I didn’t notice it because today I finally think I figured out how to…”

You tell a story – about yourself – that gives her an idea of your personality. You open up and share the story of you, you give her a picture of what it’s like to be you and spend time with you. All of this makes her feel like she knows you, so she starts sharing too. She’ll ask about your work. Feel free to give a sincere answer, but don’t get technical (unless she also understands the intricacies of ferro-magnetic data storage algorithms). Give her the elevator speech in words that anyone can understand. “I write software that lets people pay their utility bills” is fine, if a little dry. It’s better than “I work for Unheard-Of-Company in the Software Entitlements Department and I receive the drafts of code, in C++ of course if you can believe it, from our engineering team and check them for accuracy against our legal department’s standards of compliance for our public utilities clients…So…yeah.”  What you “do” is not as important as who you are. Don’t hide what you do, but don’t dwell on it.  Speak to who you are. How you think. How you feel. How things affect you. When you talk about yourself like this, it de-strangerfies you. When she doesn’t think of you as a stranger, she won’t treat you like a stranger.

Soon enough, you’ve had a few rounds and are feeling good. You’re sitting close, touching each other when you’re laughing. She’s having a good time. She asks what you want to do.  You tell her that you want to go to another bar. This one’s even closer to your house.

You stop by, say hi to some friends and have another drink, your night is slowing down and that’s fine, That’s what it does. You tell her that it’s time to go home. She hesitates, testing you, seeing if you’ll own it. Girls hate guys that ask permission. You walk home together holding hands.


So the above stories have shown the same date ending two different ways.  What made the second one more successful was basically two things: 1) better conversation and 2) logistical escalation.

Logistical escalation is the use of timing, people and places around you to advance you toward sex. For example, in the first date, they went to a restaurant far away from either of their apartments or any realistic place where sex could happen. In the second date, they were close by, so sex was on the table, and it was just easier (you can lose the vibe driving around in a car).

So lets dig into that topic.

Where You’re Taking Her and its Proximity to Your Place

Listen, you may love the veal parmesan at Carmella’s Bistro, but if it’s across town and it’s not easy for you to get there and back then it’s not a good logistical choice for a date. Good logistical choices are cool bars (and even restaurants) that are close to your house simply because it’s easier to get there and back.

You’re with you date, having a good time. You realize it’s time to go and before you know it you can both be back at your house. When you’re far away you have to drive or take a cab or the subway and all of that can let insecure thoughts in.

Believe us, women are aware of these details; we’ve had dates where it was the girl who intentionally parked her car near our place before the date because she knew it would make it easier to invite her in afterward.

If you’re driving with her, at best you can hope that there’s not a lot of traffic. And if your neighborhood has difficult street parking at night, good luck. On the subway it’s a victory if it doesn’t smell like piss. But cabs are a different story. The only bad thing about cars is that you’re focused on driving, so it’s hard to keep you and your date having fun. But in the back of a dark cab its easy to pull your date close to you and fool around. What’s more, with the prevalence of car services like Uber and Lyft, you don’t even need to stand in a cold street whistling at cabs.

But what if you don’t live in a fun part of town, or even in a fun town itself? Move! I’m completely serious. A single guy should be living in the part of town with all the nightlife. Yes this will cost more, but it will be worth it when you see the improvements it brings your dating life. Women will commute to see you, rather than the other way around, and you’ll never have to worry about how to get her home.

As an added benefit, since you’re so close to all the bars you’ll have a better chance at getting to know their staff.

Bar Staff

How much does a drink cost? Six dollars? How about $12 or $18? The real answer is the drink doesn’t cost anything when someone buys it for you. When the bar staff likes you you’ll drink for free, they’ll make you look good in front of your dates and you’ll feel more at home.  In order to make sure that they like you, stop by before the rush hits and just chat with them.  Be a great tipper as well. And don’t creep on the hot female bartenders (unless they initiate it).

The same thing applies to doormen. A few years ago I went to an after-hours bar pretty regularly. One night I was talking to a girl who was also talking to “William,” one of the bouncers. Instead of trying to steal the girl away from him, I just started talking to him, telling stupid jokes and having fun. When the night ended I had made a new friend, and I got the girl too. But the story doesn’t end there. Every weekend I’d stop by the bar, even if I wasn’t planning on going in just to say hi and shoot the shit with William. Often I’d stop by with a girl and William would pull us out of the line and let us right in. When I stopped by with a group I made sure to introduce all of the single girls to William. It was a great situation that ended one night when I stopped by and the new bouncer told me that William wasn’t working there anymore. I haven’t been back since.

Her Next-Day Logistics

As I got more experienced, I learned that I couldn’t stay out all night, bring a girl home, and then expect to get up at 7 a.m. for something important, like catching a flight home for the holidays. Some nights, I learned, have to end earlier than I’d like.

When you’re at the bar with your date, ask her what she’s doing the next day. Most often she’s not doing anything important, but if she’s doing something really early, keep that in mind. Don’t let the night drag on longer than it needs to. Also, if you have to end a date early in the night, have a backup plan. Meet another girl, go to another bar or meet up with some friends. Stay flexible and it will keep you from looking needy.

Should the first date be on a weeknight or weekend? There are pros and cons to both.

I like keeping the first date as casual and low-pressure as possible, and weeknights can facilitate that. Her friends won’t be talking up her Big Date that could make her nervous or guarded around you. You’re also likelier to avoid crowded bars on a weeknight, and we think weekends are best reserved for seeing friends or women you’ve dated for a while.

On the other hand, if she wakes up at 6 a.m. for work, a weeknight date could torpedo your hopes of taking her home that night. Still, we’ve learned that if a girl wants to hook up with you that night, she’ll endure some inconvenience the following morning. Even if that means getting out of your bed at 5 a.m.

Another argument for weekend first dates is that some women, especially when you’re online dating, prefer to keep a first date brief. A Friday night date will garner more commitment from those girls, and possibly enhance your chances of a hookup at home.

Bottom line: It’s really up to your own logistics and what you feel most comfortable with. Don’t bend over backward with scheduling in the hopes you’re going to get some; date on your own terms.

Bouncing to other Bars

If you noticed in the dating story earlier, the guy who had the successful date started his night at one bar and then took his date to a different bar later in the evening. You might be wondering why he did this. Why do you need to switch it up like that? And can’t you spend all night at one place?

Lets start out with the why. We bounce from one bar to another because when you start the date, you’re basically strangers meeting up. You arrived separately, and it makes sense that you could leave separately. But if we shirk that trend and instead leave together to go to another bar we now are arriving together, and it will feel natural to leave together. Or at least that’s the theory behind it. For whatever reason, it works, though we’ve also managed to take a girl back after just one venue. Now, let’s talk about the practical applications of starting the night at one place and going to another (and another, and another if we need to).

When you start the date at Bar One, you’re assuming that it’s going to have the right vibe or energy. Chill, relaxed, not too loud but not too quiet. A few patrons but enough room to move.  But as the night goes on, the energy in a room tends to change depending on the other people in it. A chill bar can turn rowdy and then all of a sudden you’re ducking out the door because you’re avoiding a fight. Similarly, you might find out that a large group of Japanese businessmen have taken over your bar and are loudly doing karaoke to Piano Man. OK, maybe that could actually be a fun date. What if instead a conference of mommy bloggers was in town and had taken over your bar to talk about their kids? My eyes are glazing over just thinking about it:

“Little Jimmy just learned how to tie his shoes!”

Fuck you.

In a perfect world you would go on a date and then back to your place or her place.  But in reality it’s more normal to start at one bar and then try out a few more before you two call it a night. I highly recommend having about three bars and a plan for how you’re going to spend the night between them before heading home. Use a map like the one on, where you can chart all the bars in your neighborhood.

Quick Side Story about how bouncing to another bar helps

Immediately after I graduated from college I moved to another town where I knew literally no one. I made plenty of mistakes, but one thing I did right was meet up with other people who were new to town. You can use sites like (or even I think they have a meetup-like service) to do the same.

One night myself and another guy took two girls to a concert/outdoor festival. It was the type of place where you could wander around and listen to music and talk to vendors. When the sun went down, everyone crowded onto a hillside to sit on blankets and listen to music. Long story short, I flirted hard core with both girls right in front of everyone. I just owned it. One of them (the girl who later went on to be my GF) told me that when they (the girls) excused themselves and went to the bathroom together they both talked about how cute I was. (I’m not cute, by the way, but I just flirt hard.)  A couple of hours into the concert we were all buzzed and feeling good. But we were like 20 minutes outside of the city. So wanting to keep the vibe going, I suggested that we leave the festival and go to a bar back into town.

And what about when you get her back to your place?

Here’s the kitchen, here’s the bedroom, let’s have sex

The No. 1 mistake guys make once they get a girl back to their place is they plop down on the couch and put on a movie. That couch is like a magnet from which you can never get unstuck. Inside the girl’s head she’s thinking, “If we get off this couch we’re going to have sex,” and at this point it’s real enough that she might be second-guessing herself. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Let her make her adult decisions however she wants, but there is a way to avoid all of this.

Skip the couch entirely. Throw your DVD player out the window. Only use your bedroom for movie watching. Watch a movie on your laptop, or mount a TV on your bedroom wall and watch from the comfort of your bed. Seriously, do not have a DVD player in your living room.

Don’t make a big deal out of it when you get home; just put on a movie in your bedroom and jump in bed. Put on a boring movie so that you can focus on each other instead of it. And if the movie ends before you’ve made a move on her, you messed up.

Of course, there is also the chance that it makes more logistical sense to go back to her place. In this case, take heed to be just as prepared as we told you to be in the chapter on getting ready. Have a condom, and have a plan on how to get back home after.

But guys, what if one of us doesn’t want sex on the first date? Can’t we take it slow?

Look, we’re not saying it’s intercourse or bust on the first date. Different people have different timeframes. Some girls will go to great lengths to avoid the temptation of sex on a first date, including not shaving their legs. (Our solution? Keep a women’s razor handy.) Many, many relationships have formed when sex happened on the second date or beyond. On the other hand, many many relationships have been squandered by the guy playing it asexual and not making any move early on.

Look at it this way: there’s really no penalty for making a sexual move. Even if she turns you down, a part of her will be impressed that you had the guts to try. Just kissing for a few seconds, or maybe just some playful sexual banter, might be as far she’ll go on the first date, and it’ll be enough to set the table for a second meeting. In many other cases, she’ll go a lot further. But there is a penalty for playing it safe and not making physical contact — if there’s no oxytocin firing off in her body, she’s less likely to want to be around you a second time. That’s not us, that’s science.

For more information on how to handle the logistics on a second date or after, we’ll have a chapter on that.


Stickk goals

Why, hello there! It’s been a while. I’ll skip the usual excuses about being busy with work, yada yada, and give one bonus excuse for not blogging. Rob and I back are back to working on the Logistics Book, and we intend to have it ready by early next year. To the random guy I met in a bar who shamed me for not writing the book sooner, you win.

In the next few days I plan to release a portion of the book on this blog just to give you a sneak peek. So keep your eyes peeled for that.

For now, I’m going to give some props to a website that exercises the best technique I know of for curing approach anxiety: It creates real consequences for sitting on your ass.

The site is called Stickk. It hardly has a fancy design or UI, but perhaps it’s better that way. The focus is on getting things done — or else. Fail to achieve your goal, and you’re going to pay through your wallet, possibly to charitable causes you don’t like.

You can choose any goal you want: Hitting the gym every day, eating better food, etc. But what I and some friends have done is transfer this into the social realm and see if Stickk gave us a little extra push in taking risks with women. Sure enough, it did.

We each took different approaches with our goals. One friend set the goal of completing the 30-day challenge from Simple Pickup, another sought out to approach one girl per day, and in my case, I set the goal of taking one risk per day. About half the time, I wanted that risk to involve women.

For the truly stubborn, Stickk gives you the choice of paying real money if you fail. You set the dollar amount, as well as who gets your money. The recipient can be a person, or a charity you either like or don’t like. Examples are Republican and Democratic groups, pro- and anti-gun control groups, and pro- and  anti-gay-marriage groups.

To help keep you honest, you can enlist a friend (or enemy) to be your referee, which gives him the final call on whether you achieved your goal.

It’s one thing to walk home in silent shame after chickening out and not approaching a hot girl. It’s another thing to know you’re going to have to pay your rent money to a cause you despise. Granted, this can create a little too much pressure for some people, but for most of us, raising the stakes helps us focus on doing, rather than on what the outcome will be. Stickk and other goal-setting programs like it are showing a great understanding of psychology.

This is probably why so many guys paid large sums of money for bootcamps like mine — even if they weren’t going to learn anything groundbreaking, they had enough financial and physical pressure (me pushing them to approach) that they were almost guaranteed to do more than they were doing. I take at least a little credit for their results — I was pretty bad-ass, after all — but this basic fact wasn’t lost on me.

As for the Stickk challenges that my friends and I have taken this year, we’ve passed them all, in some cases with big money at stake. The one month I took my challenge happened to be my most active month with women all year. And I find the extra pressure to be fun and keeps me from being bored when I’m out — pressure and purpose go hand in hand. My favorite risk wasn’t approaching a girl, but something else: taking my birthday cake alone to a bar and offering it to everyone there.

Perhaps for my next Stickk challenge, I’ll pick finishing that book. Want to be my referee?



A feel-good message from a friend

by GK on July 23, 2013 · 0 comments

There are days I forget I was ever a social coach, and then there are days that remind me why I’m so glad I did it. If I’ve ever coached you, feel free to drop a note like the one I just received from one of my first students:

Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that (name redacted) and I got married in June.  Thanks again for your coaching!  I never would have made it without you!

Not that I was doing this to get guys married or find them any particular outcome. But he’s clearly happy, and that makes me happy too.



As usual, what it took to bring me out of my Blog Hibernation was a simple question from a reader. Honestly, if you want to guarantee that I’ll write something in a week, no matter how busy I am, just email me with some woman-related quandary from your life. I’m like one of Pavlov’s dogs. I can’t help myself.

Here’s a question from a reader I’ll call Patrick. It’s not his real name, but it’s in honor of the late, great dancing fiend Patrick Swayze:

I know a girl from Modern Jive dancing that I do. I have come to love dancing and have been doing it for about 1.5 years. Despite what rumours may say, I have never been on a date with any girl I’ve met at dancing!

Anyway there’s a girl that also goes dancing and she is one of very very few that make me feel butterflies when I’m around. Problem is, I’ve known her for aaages, maybe almost since I started dancing. But I don’t actually know her. I’ve never had a proper conversation with her. I dance with her every week and have seen how she acts with others, often close by me, but I still haven’t talked to her properly.

I just realised why I probably never got to know her properly: her name! When I first asked her name many months ago it was while dancing and I couldn’t hear her properly. Incidentally, she’s never ever called me by my name either which is strange! Maybe she forgot it?!

Bottom line GK, I want to go on a date with her. Talking to her during our weekly dance classes/events is difficult. The only ‘best’ opportunity is after dancing when we all go to a loud bar. But that’s not very conducive to get to know someone you don’t know very well. It’s fine to fool around people you’re comfortable with. I’m not really at that stage as I don’t have any inside jokes with her and she doesn’t know ME well enough to understand that she can be herself around me.

Please help GK! What are my steps?! What a strange situation that I touch her every week for 3 minutes and then it’s as if we’re strangers again! Please give me the truth medicine even if I don’t want to hear it!

Patrick, you can call me Dr. G and pay the receptionist on your way out, because I’m about to dispense some important-but-bitter medicine on you. I’ve talked about the important of shutting up and leading, but never this literally.

I actually looked up modern jive dancing because I’d never seen it before. And that’s when it fully hit me: you are being the Fred Astaire of wussy boys.

Seriously: You’re telling me that you do THIS with her all the time but you can’t think of anything to talk about?

Let’s put aside the fact that you’re able to do something very attractive that maybe 1% of the men out there can do well. Not to mention the incredible physical rapport you must have worked up with her by now. I’ve been doing salsa class long enough to know that with women who are truly trying to learn dance, you don’t want to be as aggressive as you would in typical club game. (Read my club guide for more on that.)

But 1.5 years is long enough to waste a logistical gold mine like this. You have a wealth of topics you could discuss with girls in your class because of what you have in common, but in waiting so long you’ve put this girl on a pedestal and fed your butterflies a Texas-sized diet. Rather than see things as opportunities, you’ve seen them as barriers. Yes, she may think it’s odd that you haven’t talked to her yet, but there’s only one way to find out.

So what if you forgot her name? It sounds like she probably forgot yours too. This is one of many ridiculously easy ways to start a conversation with her. Own up to it and she’ll probably smile at the tension of that being released. Or you can make inside jokes about one of the many things you guys both see in that class: the weird instructor or the girl who will only dance in leopard-print pants.

Or you can just talk shop with her: maybe there’s a move you’ve been trying to get right that’s giving you trouble. And if ever there were an opportunity to transition to a place where you’re alone with her, the gods could not think of a better one than practicing together. Every day in college dorms around the world, socks are put on doorknobs by couples who got together so they could “study.”

If the after-class bar is too loud, why not invite her to a quieter one? Just tell her that you’d like to get to know her better. She may reject you, but at this point that’s a million times better than continuing to do nothing. Come on, this girl is letting you feel her up every week and you’re worried about her name! You’re like a big bear, man!

Do you see that the common denominator with all these tactics is leading? I hope you do.

There also seems to be the bigger question of why you don’t take an interest in other girls from your class or use your dancing to meet girls in other venues. I’m sure part of it is simply gaining confidence with your dancing — after six months I’m finally there with salsa — but you have a skill that most women want in a man, and you should be using it. This will also keep you from getting too worked up over any one girl.

Go get ’em, Patrick Swayze.


Field report: the Grouper date

by GK on April 15, 2013 · 13 comments


Comfort is a two-faced bitch. It lures us away from the jagged rocks of pain to the soft shores of protection. It is a great time-saver and facilitator; it might even be fun for a while.

Comfort is also our undoing, robbing us of our potential. It’s the difference between Bilbo Baggins staying in the Shire as a Hobbit, and fighting a dragon as THE Hobbit.

So, let’s keep this in mind when I offer my thoughts on Grouper, a self-described “social club” offering a new spin on online dating — although they never use the word “date,” and you’re hardly ever online. After using Grouper three times, I’ll say this: it’s one of the most comfortable ways of meeting women that a guy is going to find. Take that for what you will.

Here’s a quick lowdown for the uninitiated: Grouper started here in San Francisco and New York and has since spread to other U.S. cities. A “Grouper” matches one guy with one girl, and although the company takes great pains not to call the event a date, you must each find two single friends of your gender to go. I suspect this formula will gain popularity with younger, techier crowds who don’t want the anxiety of approaching attractive strangers.

It goes something like this:
grouper formula

All the prep work is done for you: there are no online profiles to sift through, no email exchanges and no planning where to go. These factors will be pros or cons depending on your viewpoint, but I mostly consider this an improvement over standard online dating, where scanning profiles and sending emails can be an eye-gougingly dull experience. Yes, at least you exercise choice with OK Cupid, but we’ve covered the downside of that.

The price includes a free first drink, making the cost of this endeavor far cheaper than traditional arranged group dates like Table for Six, or even your average first date. So that’s a plus, too.

You will not know what your Grouper partners look like before you see them, nor will you have any information on them other than a generic-sounding promise that the girls are “super cute.” I suppose that’s more comforting than being promised that they have “great personalities,” but the matching system, based on people’s Facebook profiles, seems as sophisticated as throwing at a dart board.

I’ve been on three Groupers with the same two wingmen, and we each took turns being the guy who signed up. We have plenty in common, but not so much in common that we should get the same type of girls each time — for example, one of us is a hard core Burning Man guy whereas I’m quite the opposite. But diversity was hard to come by.

Leaving physical attractiveness out of it for a minute, all nine of the girls we met were in their mid-20s, white and of mainstream tastes. Virtually all of them lived in or hung out often in the Marina, which is the Never Never Land for ex-frat boys and sorority girls. None of us are compatible with Marina girls beyond a drunken night of hooking up to songs by Ke$ha.

Based on my Grouper outings, here’s a quick cheat sheet for any guys considering your own:

Get fun wingmen you can trust, and have a game plan: I had the first part of this down — my wingmen are great friends — but our first time out we didn’t consider the logistics of having a six-way encounter where we’re all sitting at a table. Unless you want polite chit-chat the whole night, you need to switch seats and isolate at some point. The girls came together and will have pressure to leave together, so your insta-date odds afterward are slim unless you’re really hitting it off.

Give the point man first dibs on a girl: Even though my friends and I have different physical tastes, we agreed each time on who the best looking girl was. So to avoid any conflict or miscommunication, I advise giving first dibs to the guy who organized the event. My secret code for calling dibs was looking at the girl and saying, “How about those Giants?” Smooth, I know.

Don’t be shy about escalating: I find it ironic that while Groupers seem marketed to shy people and uses a “no labels” mantra, you need to exercise some PUA skills to close the deal. Grouper doesn’t give you the girls’ contact info afterward, so you will need to get her number by the end of the encounter, probably in front of everyone.

Now for the recap of my three Groupers:

No. 1: Thumbs up on the bar Grouper chose, and I liked being able to get Scotch as my free drink. As for the girls, it was a three-headed Marina monster. They could talk about sports, visiting Western Europe, and drinking, but that was about it. One of the girls was good looking enough that one of us probably should have gotten her number just for the hell of it, but we didn’t regret it.

No. 2: The best I can say about this one was that the girls were all nice (in fact, all nine of the girls we met were nice; social conventions sort of require it). However, none of them were remotely interesting to us, physically or otherwise, and the bar had a DJ blasting music so loud we could barely talk. After this one I had to talk one of my wingmen into doing a third Grouper, on his condition that I write this review. So I hope you’re happy, buddy.

No. 3: I was the point man for this one, so I was fortunate that one of the girls was cute. Yes, she lived in the Marina, but at least she was apologetic about it. I got her number but she didn’t return my texts afterward (was it my Giants line?); still, even soft rejection felt like an improvement. The bar was solid, and we took an inspired Groupergram — you’re encouraged to take a creative Instagram photo of the six of you. It was my idea to have the five of us simulate surgery with knives on my shirtless wingman while the bar manager watched in horror.

Grand total for three outings: None of us is swearing off Grouper forever, but none of us would rely on it for dating. Combined, the three of us spent $60 and over six hours of our time. We had a whopping one phone number (that didn’t lead anywhere) among the three of us. We had perfectly safe, pleasant conversations in safe settings with nine friendly girls who mostly did not attract us (the feeling may very well have been mutual).

But phone numbers are beside the point. This is more about the costs of comfort. There might be little to lose in talking to three pre-selected women, but for many guys I suspect there’s also much less to gain. Personally, I would rather exercise my own judgment in meeting my kind of girls — and the risk of immediate rejection is an asset, not a liability.

I’d still recommend Grouper to a guy who just wants to go out and meet lots of people and maybe hook up with a girl or two. But if you’re looking for girlfriend material, I’d take the bumpier road.


I haven’t done the online dating thing for a while, but one thing that annoyed me was that you couldn’t browse a woman’s profile without her knowing it — which sucks if you want a closer look at her photo before you decide on writing her, or if you need a second look after browsing earlier.

And if you’re really indecisive and need a fourth or fifth look, you might wonder if you’ll find a flirty restraining order sitting in your inbox.

A friend of mine showed me a hack for this problem that you online daters might want. It’s simple: just get a thumbnail zoom for your browser so you don’t have to click on the profile.

Two popular add-ons are the Thumbnail Zoom Plus for Firefox and Hover Zoom for Chrome. As you can see in the photo here from OK Cupid, you can get a much more definitive look at her face this way (trust me, she actually has eyes).

Of course, you’ll still need to click on her profile for all the other information, including secondary photos. But at least this way, you can put the magnifying glass away some of the time and maintain your anonymity while still keeping track of who’s viewing your profile.



Guys often talk about something “working” or “not working” on women. His cocky remark about being too sexy for his sweater. The way he touched her hand at juuuust the right emotional spike in the conversation. His invitation to watch “Parks and Recreation” at his place.

It’s fair enough that we talk this way — we men are results oriented. But there are great pitfalls to keeping this mindset with women, and we’re not just talking about improving your odds of getting a girlfriend or getting laid. We’re talking about keeping a consistent understanding of who the hell you really are.

I’ll get into the deeper stuff in another post. For now, let’s talk about the misconceptions of a man’s technique “working.” It reinforces the illusion that we hold all the cards in seduction — you push the right button, you get the right result. You know why she went down on me, dude? I rocked that NLP shit and used the word “taste” like 50 times!

For guys who have been dissed more times than a telemarketer during dinner, this is a tempting illusion. But when you get out there enough, and you’re honest with yourself, you’ll start to realize that seduction isn’t a video game where you’re in God Mode. It’s more like a nuclear submarine: you both have to turn the key.

If something “worked” on her, it’s because she wanted it to work. This isn’t always a conscious decision by her — one woman may not like jerks, but she only sleeps with them — but it’s important to keep in mind that if she wants you, the means don’t matter much as long as you do SOMETHING confidently.

This interest from a woman isn’t necessarily digital. If I had to break it down, I can think of four progressive categories she’s going to be in. Just tucking this away in the back of your mind might help you to better direct your energy and your monthly texting allowance. Here we go:

Level 1: She’s not interested in you at all (see above example)

This red light isn’t as easy to spot as you might think. I’m told that in Eastern Europe, a guy knows where he stands from the minute he approaches her — either you hit an iceberg and sink, or you enter a friendly port. Not always so out here on the West Coast.

Common signs: You approach her and she’s just not engaging you at all; she’s insulting (not teasing) you; she’s happily in a relationship; she’s very friendly but won’t play along when you flirt with her; she’ll agree to see you for drinks, but is it cool if her friend comes along?; she won’t call or text you back; she’s telling you not to call her; she’s Kate Upton.

Level 2: She’s not really interested in you (like in this scene).

Most of a guy’s wasted time and tricks are with these girls. Oh, if only we can pile a few bricks of charm on our end of the scales, she might tip our way. And maybe we did hook up with her once or twice. But chances are that she was just killing time with you. Bummer.

I’m reminded of the Paris Hilton “pickup” that was described in “The Game.” Not that I think she’s attractive, but she was considered hot, and it’s treated in the book as some powerful demonstration of PUA technique. When in fact, he just rattled out some douchey lines that kept a douchey woman interested long enough to give her number. They never heard back from her.

But we’ve all been that douche, including me. Maybe it started off with sparks in a high-adrenaline environment, like a club or a  vacation, and you hooked up. And it was totally that push-pull maneuver that made it happen. Or maybe you were just the only decent-looking guy at the party, and she had no one to trade up to. Feel free to try with these girls, but treat them like a lottery ticket and don’t invest much time in them.

Common signs: You get her number, but she’s only reachable through text, and she takes days or longer to text you back; she says “maybe” a lot when you invite her out; she always has a friend visiting or some trip that gets in the way of you seeing her; after you hook up for the first time, she becomes much tougher to reach; she’ll go out with you, but it’s the second date and she won’t kiss.

Level 3: She’s genuinely interested in you

This is the sweet spot, my friends. This is where we really want to be, because this is where using technique or fooling her becomes irrelevant. She already likes you. All it takes from here is to Shut Up And Lead.

The story of my friend SW’s courtship comes to mind. The girl he liked wasn’t just busy — she was in med school. It took a little persistence on his part, but she always wanted him to lead her. Everyone wins this way: she feels wanted enough to make time for you, and you feel like you got something worth pursuing.

Common signs: She asks you questions about yourself when you first meet; she responds to your calls/texts quickly or initiates them; she moves closer when you touch her; she teases you in good fun; she might not have a certain night free, but she’ll suggest alternatives and offers her own date ideas; she has sex with you (duh) or is at least intimate with you.

Level 4: She’s really, really interested in you

This might seem like a great place to be, and it can be in the short term. But chances are this is not the woman you really want.

I’ll be blunt here: If you’re not rich/a celebrity/have model looks and a woman is openly hitting on you and providing no challenge at any point in the seduction, she’s probably unattractive (read: slumpbuster), crazy, desperate for a relationship or getting back at someone. You won’t feel satisfied because you didn’t earn her, and she might realize at some point that her interest in you was superficial. Consider these girls for a one-night stand or short fling, preferably away from your zip code, but that’s it.

Common signs: She laughs at everything you say, even the non-jokes; she compliments you over and over again, even when you disqualify yourself; she won’t take her hands off you; you’ve been out with her a couple times and she’s already talking about wanting to get serious; she doesn’t stop you at any point the first time you have sex, or she even initiates the whole thing; she calls or texts you all the time.

If you agree or disagree with any of this, give me a shout.


My thoughts on Simple Pickup, revisited

by GK on February 23, 2013 · 1 comment

Some readers have been suggesting I make a return visit to Simple Pickup, those rapscallions with the wacky Youtube videos and balls of steel. Being a man of the people, I had to comply.

In a post I wrote over a year ago, I was impressed with the guys’ humor and ability to inspire, but I questioned whether their over-the-top videos were really instructive of good, natural game. Some of Simple Pickup’s many fans have pointed to their more recent content and said it was indeed more grounded.

Having checked out their site again, that does seem to be true.  They’ve also got a fully realized business going now, and contrary to some of my recent dissing of the pickup community,  I would actually recommend Kong, Jesse and Jason to the 23-year-old me. So, yeah, I think they’re legit instructors.

Their Youtube videos are as funny as ever — I love watching them cockblock each other while keeping a straight face. And their Barney Stinson videos are close enough to being “normal” pickups, though they’re clearly going for entertainment with all of these.

And hey, the boys were on Nightline! Despite the mandatory belittling interview from ABC, I’d say they handle themselves quite well there.

The three amigos are also blogging regularly, and from what I’ve read, the posts include exactly the kind of practical, non-weird advice I would hope to see. They don’t cram techniques down your throat like so many others, though they’re good at pointing out what works for them. The main principles they repeat involve being courageous and a good leader — ideas I’ve certainly endorsed as an instructor.

In fact, in a recent post they closely echo what my buddy Tre Tre wrote about being in the moment, which is way more important than technique. Here it is:

 A guy who she can depend on when it comes to decision making, is a guy she’ll love. But, how do you do this? It’s called LISTENING & EXPERIENCE. As in, the more you get out there and interact with people, try new things, read, and staying active – the more you’ll be able to obtain the necessary information to deal with a whole lot of situations.

They’re also spot on in their three-part series on club game. It was almost as good as a certain other blogger’s series on club game. Cough cough.

The one area where my philosophy seems to differ from Simple Pickup’s is their insistence on “being sexual” early and often. That might work in a club environment, but it’s really only a good idea for certain personalities and certain situations. In San Francisco, I’d say it’s often a bad idea at the beginning because sexual aggressiveness tends to be frowned upon. Damn hipsters.

As for producing “normal” pickup videos that can teach, the guys are indeed doing that, though I can’t access them because I’d have to pay for their “Project Go” membership. Still, it looks like a good deal. (If there are regular videos that I can look at, please let me know and I’ll check them out).

You  can either pay $10 a month to get some uncut videos of the guys in the field, with their analysis. Or for a $20 membership you get the videos, plus access to interact with the guys. I don’t see any one-on-one coaching available, which I still think is best for a beginner, but it’s a very reasonable price, unlike some of the cynical “in-field-footage” DVD scams that some pickup stars have charged in the past at ridiculous prices (I’m looking at you, Neil Strauss).

While there are still many charlatans and opportunists out there, the dating industry seems to have matured to a point where it’s harder to charge an arm and a leg to learn “seduction secrets.” Because in truth, there are no secrets. It’s about who can best inspire confidence. For guys in their 20s and early 30s, Simple Pickup seems like a great resource for guys who want more women and less weirdness. Well done, players.

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