My coaching future

by GK on March 26, 2010

I’ve been trying to devise a good compromise between leaving coaching entirely and offering an alternative for guys in the post-Charisma Arts bootcamp era. And since a few of you have been curious, I came up with a plan that should work for now.

As I’ve said, I’m not going into business on my own. (Don’t worry, I’ll still brag about how great I was.) But if you’re still interested in working with me, and I think you can be helped, I’ll be like the Godfather on his daughter’s wedding day: I can’t say no to you.

Here’s the coaching I’ll offer:

  • In-field private instruction: $900 full day (eight hours), $500 half day (four hours).
  • Phone coaching: $50 per hour.

The prices are cheaper than they were when I was with CA, because I wanted to be sympathetic to people in this economy. But my time is precious and I also want to be paid what I’m worth — you won’t find another instructor with my credentials charging less, and you’d get the same high level of service I’ve always provided.  

I’ve got all this covered on my Coaching and Reviews page. If you have questions, just e-mail me.

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The final bootcamp

by GK on March 16, 2010

Consider the Spidey suit more or less thrown away now. At least my swan song was better than Tobey Maguire’s.

After all the bootcamps I led in my 2 1/2 years with Charisma Arts, I had my final one last weekend in San Francisco (I’m still doing private instruction). I was almost hoping to have a rotten time, so it would make leaving coaching that much easier. But my students didn’t do me that favor — they were terrific, and I had one of my most enjoyable bootcamps. Curse them.

I had some raw lumps of clay to work with, too. They weren’t tall or sharp looking, and they had very little experience. One, in fact, had never approached a woman and had dated one girl in his 25 years. I’d suffered through a couple of train-wreck students with similar resumes, so I was a bit woried.

But both were all I could hope for. Although they were nervous, they did what I asked, and by the end of just one day they’d accomplished more than they ever had. I wish my first-ever approach was as good as my student’s — he went up to a very cute 20-something in Union Square and kept it going about 10 minutes before he ran out of steam. And his second approach at the bookstore had me proud as well. The girl even told him he acted as if he knew her.

Saturday night’s session was particuarly fun — as one of them later told me, it felt more like a guy’s night out than a workshop, and we watched each other get into trouble with the ladies there. I barely needed to push them at all. The highlight? Mr. Never Approached surprised all of us as he got his first phone number after talking with a girl for 30 minutes, and he looked great doing it.

Glad as I am to be a civilian now, the whole weekend reminded me of how I wasn’t just a teacher during this gig — I was a role model, and my actions last weekend helped inspire guys to look at life in a different way. I hope to be a role model again in some other walk of life, but this was one of a kind. And I hate to sound cocky, but I was good at this. It’s not easy to leave something I’m good at.

Think I’m having second thoughts? I’m not. I simply have a great souvenir to go out on.

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Walking away from CA

Post image for Walking away from CA

by GK on March 10, 2010 · 7 comments

Talk about going full circle. Three and a half years ago, I left a girlfriend I loved in the name of freedom. I wanted more experiences before I settled down, and I knew I would need those experiences if I were to fulfill a pipe dream I could no longer ignore — my dream of teaching men how to connect with and date women. I took my bootcamp with Charisma Arts a month later.

And here I am, nearing the end of my labor of love with CA — probably the end of my coaching days in general — and my first thought is that I’m free. And that I’ll have an easier time finding a girlfriend now. Your friendly neighborhood GK is throwing his spidey suit in the trash and getting on with his life. Just call me Greg now.

(Was there any other analogy I could make here? Jeez, my ex and I even dressed up as Peter Parker and Mary Jane for Halloween one year. Plus, Spider-Man and I both alternated between journalism and saving people.)

But enough about my nerditude. I know some of you have some questions about what happened with Charisma Arts, and what I’ll be up to next. So here’s a little FAQ for you:

1. So, yeah, what happened with CA?

It’s complicated. I mentioned the nuts and bolts of it in my previous post, and only Wayne can give the full story of why we’ll no longer teach bootcamps and private instruction. But from what he’s said, it’s the combination of a tough economy and Wayne’s lack of enthusiasm for building the in-field portion of his business. You’d probably noticed CA being a lot less active in marketing itself over the last year, so I see this as much more of a slow erosion than a sudden collapse. Many of us saw this coming.

The company will now focus on seminars and products, which it says will make more economic sense and better serve the customers.

2. Will you remain with the newly formed CA?

We instructors have been told that some of us may be kept around when CA takes its next shape, and I’d be interested if I were extended the offer. But I’m not counting on it, and I think most of us aren’t. At any rate, I was looking to move away from coaching sometime this year, so this is just an early start.

 3. Do you think this was necessary?

My opinion doesn’t really matter; it’s Wayne’s company, and he can do as he wants with it. I can imagine that if I were teaching this stuff for over a decade, I’d probably want to move on, too. Heck, I’ve done this for 2 1/2 years and feel that way — we instructors age like porn stars. I’m mainly thankful for succeeding with the only company in this industry I wanted to work for.

But hey, you do want my opinion, right? I think the in-field business could have survived this economy with better marketing and leadership — even now, I’ve been selling out bootcamps — and I feel bad for guys who, as I was once, are looking for help and won’t get to enjoy the life-changing experience of a bootcamp or PI with us. Just this week I’ve heard from some of my students telling me how much better off they are since their bootcamps; will seminars have that kind of impact? I hope so.

But for guys like me who care more about lifestyle, dating and honest self-expression than flashy pickup techniques, I do see a void now. And I’ll only say this one time, because I don’t want to sound like sour grapes and I do respect some of our competitors: Every pickup-related company that teaches natural social skills owes Wayne and Charisma Arts a thank-you for getting it started. He was the only guy in “The Game” who came across as a normal person. He took something synthetic and made it organic, and I still think there was no one better. That’s all I’ll say about that.

4. What’s your next move? Will you keep coaching?

I’m still formulating my final answer, but I’m pretty sure it’s this: I’ll no longer be marketing myself as an instructor once I leave CA — I’m presuming that will happen in the next month or so, though I’m not sure — but I will still offer instruction to those who are interested. A couple of you already are. And if you’ve already taken instruction with me, you can still count on me to help (brothers for life, y’all). Once that dies down, I’ll be just another blogger when it comes to women. And I’ll be happy with that.

This may sound ironic coming from a guy who just picked up a woman on camera for a TV show, but I never fully embraced the higher profile that comes with this gig.  Uncle Ben was right: with great power comes great responsibility. And while I’ve relished being able to make an immensely positive difference in people’s lives — a difference few people will ever make — I’ve sometimes felt that I was sacrificing my own happiness for the sake of others’.

No longer will I have to miss seeing my friends on the weekend. No longer will I have to hide my job from girls I meet, or tell a date that I met her while demonstrating for a student, or deal with the awkwardness of telling her I’m off to flirt with other girls this Saturday. No longer will I have to wake up at 6 a.m., fly to another city and charm its residents all in the same day (it was exciting once, but it gets old). No longer will my dating exploits be measured against those of the “PUA” crowd, or will I be expected to remain a player or shoot pickup videos to stay credible as an instructor. No longer will I meet guys who presume I can have any woman I meet (because I can’t). At last, I can be a regular guy again. 

Underneath the hero suit, that’s all I ever was.

Am I going to miss other parts of it? You betcha. I doubt I’ll ever find a job that offers the kind of unique thrills this one has. Who else can pump his fist silently in a bookstore as his student lands his first instant date with a girl? I’ve helped guys in their late 20s and 30s lose their virginity, for Buddha’s sake. It’s an ego trip.

And as we know, Spider-Man and Superman did eventually put their suits back on, so I may feel the lure again. But at 33, I do feel I’m ready to focus on the rest of my life, and that will probably be the higher priority.

5. What about your blog?

It’s staying around, better than ever. If anything, not having to worry about my coaching duties will give me a little more time for it. And now that I won’t have a boss to please, I can be a little more outspoken and consider other schools of thought.

I was judicious before about writing of the women I meet, and I’ll be even more so now. But I know guys learn best from real-life examples, so I will keep offering them.

I’ve already got a great podcast in the works: I’m getting some other CA instructors together for a final podcast with the company. Expect some fun material.

Though I’m still with CA and offering coaching for now, I’ll more or less be a civilian again after this weekend, when I teach my last bootcamp. When it’s over, and I’m hanging out in a bar three months from now, I wonder what I’ll do when I see the next nervous-looking guy standing alone with a drink shielding his chest. Will I turn back to my friends, or will I hear the sirens and follow them?

I don’t know. But it’ll be nice to have the choice.

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The end is nigh

by GK on March 7, 2010 · 8 comments

I’ll be delving more into this later, but it’s time to put on my journalist’s hat and report some news.

My bootcamp in San Francisco this weekend, which sold out a few days ago, will be my last with Charisma Arts, and possibly my last ever. If you haven’t heard the scuttlebutt, Wayne Elise has announced he’ll be ending all in-field instruction at CA and sticking with seminars and products only. So me and my instructor superfriends will soon be going separate ways.

I don’t know what my next move will be in the coaching biz, and there’s a good chance I’ll be stepping away from it. But I am still taking students for private instruction while the current CA is around, and I’ll consider students beyond that as well. One thing I am certain of is that this blog will keep going. So don’t go anywhere. 

Those are the facts. As for my thoughts, I’ll save them for a later post.

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It’s a special week here at Club GK. I’m making my TV debut Wednesday, when I’m scheduled to appear on a local CBS show called “Eye on the Bay” during an episode about dating. For you Bay Area folks, you can catch it at 7 p.m. For the rest of you, it’ll appear on the show’s Web site.

I don’t know if the appearance will help me attract new students, but what I’m really seeking is to get noticed for the cast of “Jersey Shore II.” I may only look Italian, but The Situation has nothing on my one-pack abs.

So, on to today’s topic. There’s a common issue that comes up when I’m teaching students in the field or just giving advice, and that issue is the concept of “practice.” Does it make perfect when it comes to flirting? Depending on the definition of the word, I can make the same rant Allen Iverson famously made. Practice? Practice? I think it’s a waste of time for most people.

I draw a line between practice and experience, and I draw it here: Are you actually interested in the person you’re flirting with? I can think of plenty of students I had to hold back from an approach when, after I pointed out a woman to them, they responded with something like, “OK, but just for practice.”

My response is akin to Yoda’s “Do or do not. There is no try.” If you know she’s not your type, you’re wasting her time and yours. You’re better off playing Farmville on Facebook, and that’s the most tedious thing around right now. Why lead her somewhere if you don’t want to get there?

It’s not that I’m against being friendly with strangers you aren’t attracted to. Above all else, I’m a social coach, not just a dating coach. And taking an interest in all people, be they hot models or grandmas (or hot model grandmas), can help a guy show more genuine interest in the ones he’s attracted to.

But if you’re getting numbers and making dates with girls you’re not into, I call shenanigans on that. Even if it feels good in the short term, it won’t make you better when it really matters. That quickened heartbeat, that adrenaline rush, that shortness of breath that comes with someone who actually is my type has no substitute, and only from experience with those kinds of women did I become more confident around them.

Just to clarify: this doesn’t mean you should only be aiming for 9s and 10s, whatever those are. Just the ones you’re potentially interested in. I’ve already made my sermon against putting numbers on girls, unless it’s with the binary system.

I make one exception to all this: If a guy is too scared to approach women who look attractive to him, even after I push him with all my 147 pounds, I’ll start him off with some practice flirting. But even then I keep it minimal.

I know it’s scarier to approach or escalate when you have something to lose. But it’s with those people that you also have something to gain. So save the practice for basketball. You heard me, Mr. Iverson.

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The space-age way to meet women

by GK on February 18, 2010 · 1 comment

I don’t provide too many video links on this blog — though send any good ones my way — but I liked this one too much not to share it. It’s from the Onion, and the headline is NASA Scientists Plan to Approach Girl by 2018.

The funniest part to me is that I probably would have given a similar focus opener to a guy looking to approach a woman at a laundromat: “It is a casually humorous observation of how socks seem to disappear in the dryer.”

I have to make a confession, though: I was part of the tragic Girl at Borders approach of 2002. But that will never happen again.

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Bachelor pad music, the sequel

by GK on February 17, 2010 · 1 comment

It’s been a while since I released Volume 1 of my Apartment Jamz playlist, and I think I’m due for an update. Especially after I was talking with some friends last weekend about the music they’ve played when they had female company over, and Prince was topping the list.

I love “Purple Rain” as much as the next guy but I’ve got to think we can come up with some fresher tunes for those of you looking to set the mood for a date at home. So I sifted through my collection of recent music and came up with Volume 2. As you might know, I’m an indie-music nerd, and my playlist does reflect that. But here goes:

Diogenes Club — Do You Know How to Feel it?: No pun intended, honest! I just like the song.

Lindstrom and Christabelle — Lovesick

Phoenix — Too Young: If this song was good enough for Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson to romp to in the wee hours, it’s good enough for the rest of us.

Hockey — Work: This one sounds like it could have been done by disco-era Rod Stewart. And we know Rod Stewart is synonymous with romance.

Killa Kyleon — Swang Real Wide: The lone hip-hop entry on this list, and it’s more than worthy.

The Cure — Love Song: Yeah yeah, I knocked Prince as old. But this is The Cure we’re talking about. And I’ll never get tired of this song.

Velella Velella — Brass Ass: This is one of those obscure, funky songs that perhaps I and I alone would play with a girl over. But I chuckle at the thought of a nervous guy sitting on the couch next to his date, wondering when to kiss her, with the refrain “You’ve Got to Own it!” bouncing through his head. Maybe it’ll give him the push he needs.

Joker: Digidesign

Feist — Inside and Out: Again, no pun intended. Women like Feist!

Wild Beasts — The Fun Powder Plot: These guys just sound depraved to me. Maybe that’s why I like them.

Hot Toddy — I Need Love: I had to find a way to sneak a Barry White soundalike on this list. And here he is.

The XX — Heart Skipped a Beat: This band’s self-titled debut, released last year, seems made for steamy hipster lovin’, and it was my favorite album last year.

Memory Tapes — Green Knight

Grovesnor — Nitemoves: Bob Seger, eat your heart out.

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A new social sport: The Gregathlon

by GK on February 9, 2010 · 1 comment

Those of you who know me probably know that I’ve devoted much of my life to sports. And now that I’ve been teaching this dating stuff for a couple of years, I think it’s high time I joined the two. 

I’ve been working on this in my laboratory recently, and with the Winter Olympics just a few days away, I’m unveiling a sport they might want to add in Vancouver. Or at least at the Vancouver bars. It’s like a cross between pairs figure skating and fencing, it’s both collaborative and competitive, and it’s meant to give guys a little more fun and motivation when they’re out socializing. And being the humble guy I am, I’m naming it after myself.

That’s right, behold the Gregathlon. You don’t need any equipment to play — your charisma will suffice.

Ten points if you guys can pull this move off.

Improving one’s social skills is a process, and it involves lots of repetition out in the field. It’s something I went through, and it’s something my students and other guys go through all the time. This should be an exciting journey, but as I experienced at times, it can also become a grind. When I see a guy at a bar who looks like he’s punching a clock at work, I know he’s in for a long night.

So, if that describes you lately, maybe this will spice things up. I’ve got a checklist of tasks for you to accomplish while partying, and the tougher the task, the more points you’ll get. I made sure to center the rules not around a “close” or a particular result, but around taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone. That way, you only get judged by what you’re able to control. And without risk-taking, you’ll rarely close the deal, anyway.

Before I get into it, a few notes on the Gregathlon:

  • This is meant to be a game to play with your friends, in a nighttime or party setting. I’d need to skew the rules to make it work for the daytime.
  • You can make whatever bet you like with your friends, but the winner ought to get some kind of prize. A round of drinks will do.
  • If you have the guts to play this game alone, add three points to each of these tasks, because you are a brave man.
  • Although flirting is the emphasis here, it’s not all based on pickup. If you’re just being friendly, you’ll score well.
  • Your friends can’t track everything you’re doing, so it goes without saying that we’re playing on the honor system.
  • This is only a first draft. Even American football went years before the forward pass was invented. Feel free to tweak or add rules as you wish, and feel free to suggest them to me. But your friends should agree to them.

And with no further ado, here are your tasks and the points they earn:

  • Being dared to do something by your wingman and not doing it: minus-5 points — These are the only negative points in the game. If your wingman is making unreasonable requests, you can easily turn the tables on him, so that should keep everyone honest.
  • Approaching a lone girl: 1 point
  • Approaching a group of two girls by yourself: 2 points
  • Approaching a group of three or more girls by yourself: 3 points
  • Approaching a group of guys and girls by yourself: 4 points
  • Starting a conversation with someone who’s working: 2 points
  • Introducing someone you just met to someone else at the venue: 2 points
  • Introducing your friend to a girl/guy they find attractive: 2 points
  • Telling a girl you’re interested in that you like her: 2 points
  • Talking to a girl you like about something sexual: 3 points
  • Making fun of a girl you like: 1 point
  • Touching her in a sexual way (when appropriate!): 4 points — Please, no smacking a girl’s butt as she walks past you. You should already be interacting with her. These qualify as sexual touching: her thigh, butt, hips, belly, face, hair, small of her back, arm around her waist, holding hands, caressing any body part, grinding while dancing, and kissing. Hugging doesn’t count.
  • Asking what her relationship situation is: 1 point
  • Attempting to dance or sing karaoke with a girl: 3 points
  • Talking to her about making dating plans after an interaction of at least 15 minutes: 5 points
  • Telling someone you’d like to hang out another time as friends and exchanging info: 3 points
  • Attempting to exchange phone numbers with her after an interaction of at least 15 minutes, where she knows you’re interested: 6 points
  • Attempting to change venues with her after an interaction of at least 10 minutes: 8 points
  • Wearing an aluminum-foil medal around your neck after it’s over: Priceless.

There you have it. There’s no point total you’re expected to get to. Just try to increase your score each time you get out there, and make it a supportive effort with your friends. Let the games begin.

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