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.