How to stop dating the girl?

by GK on September 4, 2009 · 2 comments

Blogging inspiration can come to me from strange places, and this week it came to me from a girl I dated earlier this year. I’d mentioned a date with her in my post about being in the moment, and although I think she’s good people, I stopped calling her after three dates.

So I just found out she has a dating blog (it’s a popular subject in the Bay Area), and she recently devoted a post to going out with a dating coach — namely me. Talk about the tables being turned! I thought it was hilarious and had to share it with friends, but it’s also a bit weird being the subject of someone else’s “field report.” I only write about my experiences with women to educate and to show that I practice what I preach, but I am sensitive to what she might think if she read about it. So I try to be nice.

She was nice, too, but she didn’t like the way I cut off contact with her without telling her it was over, and I can understand why. I’ve been on the other end of the chopping block, and it’s easy to over-analyze with questions like, “Was it something I said?” or “Did I have broccoli stuck in my teeth?” Or maybe the person agrees it should end but doesn’t want to wonder.

Just a friend? Friend?

Just a friend? FRIEND?

I’m sure there are guys who find themselves facing the question of how to break things off with a woman, so I thought I’d delve into that now. Mind you, this is for girls you’ve been dating a few times, not a serious girlfriend.

The best way to decide, in my opinion, is to adopt the “do-unto-others” policy. Like many guys reading this blog, I’ve been on the receiving end of the “Let’s Just Be Friends” talk, and we hate it so much, we turned it into a pickup acronym that can be used as a verb. In turn, I’m reluctant to drop the “friends” bomb on a woman — in part because I find it disingenuous. The chances of us actually becoming friends after dating are slimmer than my beloved Denver Broncos’ chances of winning the Super Bowl this year.

I’d rather she simply not respond to my calls a couple of times, at which point I’ll get the picture and move on. So in most cases, this is what I do as well. This way may be a little cold, but dating is like a summer day in San Francisco — it can start out warm but cool off quickly. It’s also more honest than using some cliche like, “I’m really busy right now.”

There are variables to this, of course. Such as whether we’ve dated more than just a few times, connected a lot emotionally, have had sex, or are likely to see each other around because we share the same circles. Or maybe I really do want to be friends — it has happened. But unless more than one of these apply, I’d rather cut off contact to avoid any further headaches and awkwardness.

For instance, a friend of mine recently tried telling a couple of women that he was no longer interested, only to have them protest and try to change his mind. One of them was briefly stalking him (yes, it happens to men, too), and he was fueling it by trying to be nice and responding to her. So sometimes it pays to be the jerk.

Now, if you’d rather a girl quickly tell you it’s over and then not speak to you again, then go ahead and do that with her. Just keep it short. And if you’re going to be mean, make sure she doesn’t have a blog.

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What if you forget her name?

by GK on August 26, 2009 · 3 comments

So, let’s say you’re taking up that Project 52 idea I tossed around last week, and you’re out meeting some ladies and taking names. Only if you’re anything like me, you can’t remember all their names.

I think it’s a good idea to exchange names early in an interaction, just to establish that you are in a conversation and not just flipping channels. And I find that if I’m using her name during a conversation, it gives us a more familiar feel. But I’m bound to forget her name sometimes, and I’ve seen other guys stress out over what to do in that situation.  Perhaps they’re worried about this kind of scene happening.

Regardless of whether her name rhymes with a part of the female anatomy, I’ve never been burned by forgetting her name, and it’s an easy problem to fix. Basically, there’s an honest way and a sneaky way to have her repeat her name. I prefer the honest way, but both work for me.

The honest way is simple: “Hey, I have a confession to make. I already forgot your name. What is it again?” Yup, that’s all you have to say. Remember, women often forget our names, too, so she might be glad you brought it up. Just try to remember it by the first date.

Then there’s the sneaky way, for if you’ve been talking long enough to exchange phone numbers and you still don’t remember her name. As you’re putting her number in your phone, you could ask, “How do you spell your name?” Even the most common names have alternate spellings (Lisa vs. Leesa, Amy vs. Aimee), so it’s unlikely you’ll look bad. You could also ask her what her full name is.

But really, the honest way works just as well. You’ll be glad you’re not calling her Mulva later on.

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I had a comical little experience at my neighborhood bar last night that I thought I’d share, as a shining example of why being genuine and expressive with women beats technique the same way rock beats scissors. 

I was catching up with my buddy Doug — or Trey, as I call him after our podcast on threesomes — and soon after taking our seat, we noticed several groups of good-looking women sitting around us. I was really just looking to catch up with Doug, since we hadn’t hung out in a month or so, and we’re seeing some cool women already so our motivation is less, but we would have been nuts not to take advantage of that kind of gift.

And then the girl repellent showed up. I saw two guys surveying the scene like sharks, and they took turns approaching the women and getting promptly blown out by them. I felt a mixture of sympathy and titillation as I watched them — if they looked bad to me, they must have looked awful to the women who were also watching them get rejected before being approached themselves. If you’ve ever watched “A Night at the Roxbury,” you know what I mean.

You don't want to be these guys at the bar.

You don't want to be these guys at the bar.

In fact, what minutes before had been a hot-girl convention was turning into a ghost town, as the women kept leaving while the guys kept bombing. It was hilarious — I haven’t seen a room clear out like that since Michael Richards was making racist jokes.

I’d normally give any guy kudos just for making the effort — I did just write a post about that, after all — but something seemed off about these guys, even though I couldn’t hear a word they were saying. They seemed to be working rather than having fun, and they were uncalibrated — they didn’t bother to talk to the girl’s friends before focusing on her. Add the fact that they were wearing white sneakers and torn jeans in a classy bar, and they deserved what they were getting.

Considering my line of work and their modus operandi, I couldn’t help but wonder if these were Community guys. Then one of the guys sat near Doug and I to hit on another girl, and my hunch was probably confirmed. She was likewise not showing him much attention, and then we heard the guy use the phrase “I’m gonna call you a brat.” I know exactly what cocky school of thought that line comes from, and so might you.

The girl made some “WTF” faces as he vainly tried some more tricks with her, and she finally excused herself to the bathroom, leaving her poor, equally attractive female friend to suffer his advances. Doug was sitting to her right, and true to his good-guy roots, he came to her rescue.

In fact, he turned to her and told her he wanted to rescue her, and she seemed happy with that as she turned away from the other poor dude. I proceeded to watch Doug charm her by doing no more than being himself. 

I enjoy watching Doug talk because he’s so expressive and enthusiastic about the topic, he could make shopping for roof tiles sound interesting. The girl was a better-than-cute blonde visiting from Germany, and Doug went right into talking about the travels he’s taken, and as he revealed himself, she increasingly warmed to him and asked repeated questions to learn more about him. He asked her questions, too, but from the way he asked them, I could tell that he was truly interested in the answer and not forcing conversation. He wasn’t even really flirting with her, but he had her hooked.

There was nothing flashy about the exchange — it would make for bad reality TV. But it was real and fun, and devoid of so many misguided lines and techniques that guys try to get a specific reaction from a woman. Slavery to technique prevents a guy’s true self from showing, which is ultimately what’s going to attract the girl or not. No “method” is immune from that, not even what I teach.

So the next time you find yourself wondering, “What do I say to her next?” I suggest taking the focus off the topic or getting a reaction, and putting the focus on leading while being in the moment. Then, you can call her a brat.

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Setting goals for meeting women

by GK on August 19, 2009 · 3 comments

I thought I’d pass along an old idea I came up with that helped me come out of my shell with women during the bad ol’ days — I’ve rarely discussed it over the years, but some recent students have found it interesting.

So many guys come to me and other instructors looking for Game, that golden fleece of charm that will help them become social superstars. But too often, it isn’t lack of game that’s holding them back. It’s that they’re simply not trying enough to meet people. It’s like a baseball player complaining about not hitting enough home runs while he refuses to swing the bat. Only women aren’t throwing 100 mile-per-hour balls at your head.

I hardly find it a coincidence that as soon I began taking the initiative to meet women — and away from the Internet — I began to succeed with them. Way back in 2001, when I was in a new city and in the depths of my virginized solitude, I came up with something I called Project 52. I printed out a sheet of paper with 52 blanks on it, and I set the goal of filling it with the names of women. The idea was simple: meet one woman per week for a year.

Looking back from where I am now, 52 women is hardly a large number to meet in a year. I can work a weekend bootcamp and meet that many. But that was way more than I’d met at the time, and for the first time, it forced me to hold myself accountable. When I set goals, I have a purpose, and I become determined to fulfill them.

I put the piece of paper up in my bedroom — I had no women coming over, so I didn’t have to worry about explaining — and gradually filled the blanks. I began inviting myself to friendly gatherings in the Bay Area and built up a social circle. I still lacked pickup skills, but at least I was meeting girls through other people, which still gave me opportunities.

I fondly remember the 51st and 52nd names I added less than a year later. I’d been bragging to my co-workers about my newfound pickup knowledge — mind you, I still hadn’t accomplished much — and they dared me to approach some women in a local bar. The following night, there were only two attractive girls there, but I went right up to them and had them eating out of my hand. My colleagues looked at me like a super hero. It was one of the rare times I’d done a thing like that, and although I still had much to learn about leading women, I felt like Peter Parker shooting spider webs for the first time. I was ecstatic.

As much as anyone, I’ve felt the ghost of approach anxiety, and as an instructor, I empathize with guys who feel it now. But no amount of knowledge will help you if you don’t look to yourself first to take action. And the catalyst for action can be goal-setting. There’s a reason why so many of my students get instant dates with women during the day, as my two guys did in Seattle last weekend. It’s because I make that their specific goal.

So come up with your own Project 52. It can be as modest as mine, or more ambitious if you’re further along. But if you’re not meeting people, make a plan and hold yourself accountable. That effort, combined with the kung-fu knowledge you’ll learn from me, will make for a fun and dangerous combination.

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Cougar party!

by GK on August 13, 2009

For my Bay Area readers, I had to pass this one along. One of my main wingmen notified me of the National Single Cougars Convention, billed as America’s “first-ever” (!) convention of older single women and younger prey, I mean, men. It’s happening Aug. 28 in Palo Alto.

Cougars aren’t my thing — I’ve never been with a significantly older woman, and at 33 I’m not even sure if I qualify as cougar bait anymore. But if I weren’t busy with a private instruction that weekend, I’d be all over this event just for the entertainment factor. I can’t help but picture three 40-somethings in leopard-print skirts, drinking cosmos as they gang up on a jittery 22-year-old software engineer while dancing to Lady Gaga. Where were cougars when I was 22, by the way? 

Someone, please try to attend this event and let me know how it goes. Rowr.

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The Club Survival Guide, Part II

by GK on August 7, 2009 · 3 comments

So, presuming you’ve done the right things before getting to the club, as we’ve discussed in Part I, here are some tips on what to do when you’re there:

Lay the groundwork, and mingle early: If you’re a newbie, I strongly suggest getting to the club early, when the energy is lower and the music isn’t as ear-splitting. Before the madness starts, you can improve your logistics and your mood. Snag a couple of seats for later on, and chat up the staff or other clubbers to get them on your side. If you’ll be drinking, give the bartender a nice tip so he’ll take care of you later, when he’s getting swamped and you want to order shots with a girl.

I should also note that women are less likely to be approached early, when the alcohol factor is lower. So if you want to help yourself, you can meet several hot girls early, then excuse yourself. An hour later, when they’re dancing and fending off clueless guys, you’ll have a much easier approach on your hands.

If you’re not going to dance, you can still pick up: Personally, I think going to a dance club and not dancing is like going to the pool and not swimming, but to each their own. Some of my best wingmen can meet girls at clubs, and even leave with them, without approaching them on the dance floor.

The key is to park yourself in a high-traffic area, such as an entryway or the bar. But just as on the dance floor, commitment is crucial. If you don’t try to stop her, she’ll probably leave you in her dust. Also, you can look for girls sitting down, possibly taking a break between dances.

Still, even if you didn’t meet her on a dance floor, there’s a good chance she’ll want to go there. If so, it helps to know enough about dancing to keep her company for a little while until you can lead her off again.

The best dance technique is fun: There are a zillion dance instruction videos on Youtube, both by the pickup community and the non-pickup community. So you can look there for some demonstrations, or just watch the guys at the club who know what they’re doing. (I suppose I should have a video too, but those grainy guerrilla dance club videos aren’t my style, and I’m too poor to buy proper equipment.) Once I became comfortable dancing with strange women, I realized that the moves don’t matter so much as the energy and fun I’m having.

I’m not doing any specific kind of dance, and there’s little structure to it — I just freestyle it and incorporate everything I know, mixing sex appeal with goofiness. I’m still using the one salsa spin I learned 10 years ago, and if the song calls for it, I’ll break out the robot. For the greenest of green dancers, I suggest learning two things: staying within a song’s rhythm, and learning the step touch. I found a Youtube video here that demonstrates the latter, and even though it’s so basic it’s funny, it’s a good starting point. Dance from side to side with some rhythm, and you’re good enough to dance with a girl. Take some classes for a better understanding.

But seriously, if you want access to a lot more attractive women — at a place where most guys can’t approach them — learn a dance step or two. On the list of qualities women find attractive, it’s even higher than taking out the garbage.

If you’re going to be on a dance floor, you should dance: Do not, I repeat, do not be the guy who stands there with a drink in your hand, checking out chicks as they dance around you. I find a line of those guys in every club, and there’s a reason why it’s called Death Row.

Another dance-floor mistake to avoid: getting into a conversation with a girl. This isn’t happy hour — her focus is on dancing, and if you try conversing with her, she’s going to see you as a fun parasite, sucking her energy away. Keep the talk short until later. 

Let her see you before you approach: Some guys like to approach a woman from behind before she even knows he’s there, but it’s not my style, and it creeps some girls out. If I see a girl I want to dance with, I’ll make solid eye contact as I dance closer to her.  

You don’t need to make approach after approach on the dance floor, sweating it out. Just start dancing by yourself, or with a friend. I’ve got a 6-foot-5 wingman who is unusually smooth for his height, and the two of us are good at getting attention just by dancing on our own. We’re having so much fun that girls often will dance closer to us so we can easily approach them — many times I’ll turn around to see a girl looking at me, we’ll lock eyes, and before I know it we’re dancing. It’s the Tractor Beam Approach — we get pulled toward each other somehow. Keep an eye out for cougars — they’ll approach you flat out.

Watch out for dance circles: I find these girls are the toughest to approach — still worth it if you’ve got the hots for one of them, but even if she likes you, expect her friends to make it tougher for you with some “girls’ night out” alibi. Unless you’ve got the energy to take them all on and win them over, better to wait until they split up.

Don't go overboard with the dirty dancing.

Do not just grind her: The girl already thinks you’re drunk — you don’t want her thinking you’re a needy perv, either. Although I’m quite physical on the dance floor, I build up to the serious grinding by keeping some tension.

Here’s an example of a sequence I’ll do: I’ll take her hand, twirl her, let her twirl me, dip her, pull her close, push her away, pull her back in, crouch to her knees while touching her then stand up by brushing up against her chest, dance apart from her some more, pretend to walk away from her, then take her hand and bring her close to me. The grinding comes amid all that, and more.

As for how to grind, I usually follow her rhythm if she’s a good dancer. Going side to side or in a circular motion with your hips will get it done.  

Don’t go for the makeout too soon: Even if she reciprocates, you run the risk of being seen as just another horny club guy. Save the kissing for later and you’ll have a much better chance of keeping it going.

Get her off the dance floor to connect with her: One girl told me weeks later she was impressed when, after we’d been dancing for a while, I said something to the effect of, “Let’s take a break. I want to get to know you better.” If you want to close the deal with her, whether it’s making future plans or leaving the club with her, you will need to connect off the dance floor at some point, even if the attraction is mostly physical.

Don’t duel with any guys: I rarely run into the alpha-male issue, but when it happens, I don’t lose my cool. If a guy comes between me and the girl, I’ll be friendly with him without letting him take her away. If the girl isn’t committing enough to me — attention spans can be short in clubs — I’ll simply call it out and put the ball in her court. But getting hostile with a guy will only get you trouble.

Find out about her friends: I can’t beat the logistics drum enough, and here’s another example. Get her friends on your side if at all possible. Sometimes they’ll do everything they can to stop you, to the point where you’ll have to sneak her out of the club (with her consent, of course), and sometimes they’ll leave the two of you alone or drive you and the girl back to your place. I’ve experienced both extremes, but being friendly puts the odds in your favor.

If I had to guess what makes clubs scariest for guys, I wouldn’t say it’s the energy necessary — it’s the leadership. It’s not just a dancing thing — clubs do make leadership crucial throughout the night, and too many guys are unsure of how to do it. But leadership can be learned — it was for me, and I teach it now — and clubs offer an excitement and spontaneity that I’m hard-pressed to find anywhere else. So give ’em a chance. If nothing else, you’ll get some exercise.

If I left anything out, and I probably did, feel free to mention it in the comments. Here’s a little prize for you guys for reading all this.

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The Club Survival Guide, Part I

by GK on August 5, 2009 · 1 comment

I hesitate to call this a survival guide, since it might only add to the intimidation that some guys feel from dance clubs — that fear of being surrounded by Woman Godzillas in high heels and short skirts, and not knowing what to do amid the blasting noise. But hey, survival guide has a nice ring to it, and I’ve done much more than survive by following the guidelines I’ll be sharing with you. This first part will focus more on what you do before you’ve met the girl or socialized.

Know what you’re getting: Let’s say you’re a guy who lives for hip-hop, and without doing your research you pay a $20 cover to enter a club that plays deep house all night. That might ruin your mojo and keep you from being social. I always try to look at the event calendar to know what kind of music to expect, and if I haven’t been there, I’ll research the club on Yelp or ask friends to get some opinions on it. For you San Francisco guys, I use SF Station — they have an active nightly calendar that can hook you up with some discounts.

Be in the right mood when you head out: This part is crucial, and you can read my post on energy for elaboration. I like having a pre-party with some friends or getting some exercise whenever possible to get me in the zone.

Set a goal for the night: What are you really looking for? Do you want to just goof around with your friends and have a good time? Do you want to make friends? Do you want to meet a woman you can see another night? Do you want to make out with a girl or leave the club with her? It amazes me how I often get what I wanted before I got to the venue, and if I had nothing in mind, I’m likelier to get nothing.

If you’re inexperienced with clubs, and you’d like to take a girl home, it may seem pointless to aim so high (though you’re still capable of it). But at least set small goals — dancing with a girl or meeting the staff, for instance. That way you might feel you accomplished something, and you’ll be likelier to come back another night.

Know your logistics beforehand: This applies night or day, but there’s a reason why it’s one of my Big Four. Logistics can make the difference between having a memorable night and going home to drown your sorrows in midget porn. These are all examples of managing logistics:

  • If your goal is to get into some post-club activities with a girl that night, be prepared for it. For instance, if your friends are depending on you for a half-hour ride home and you meet someone, you’ll either need to pay their hefty cab fare or mumble to yourself in frustration during the drive back. Also before the night starts, know where and how you’d take her somewhere else. And for Buddha’s sake, keep condoms with you.
  • If your club is popular, and waiting on long lines isn’t your thing, show up early or get on a guest list so this won’t happen. Or if you’re a high-roller and with a few friends, you might spring for bottle service. This would create the added logistical benefit of having a place to sit throughout the night. (Although I’ve had fun crashing other people’s tables.) Making friends with the staff, which is a good idea for several reasons, can also get you past the lines.
  • Know the lay of the land inside the club. If you haven’t been there, it pays to show up early so you can scout some quiet spots should you need them.

There are, of course, other logistics to consider as you’re getting into trouble during the night. Check out Part II.

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Before I get around to my club survival guide, I wanted to tackle one crucial aspect of conquering clubs — and for socializing anywhere else: good energy.

I’m not talking about any mystical force that surrounds us and binds us — let Yoda have that. I’m talking about good ol’ tangible energy — the kind Winnie the Pooh has lots of and Eeyore lacks.  One big common denominator that separates my good interactions with women from my bad ones — even more than the conversation topic — is how much fun I’m having in that moment. It’s the reason I often don’t need to hear a student’s conversation with a girl — if he looks like he’s enjoying himself, it’s probably going well.

I think it’s important to project a fun vibe whenever socializing — unless you’re picking up women at funerals — but at clubs the importance is magnified. Have you ever tried quietly shaking hands with a foursome of bachelorette-party girls shaking their tails to “Get Low”? If so, you may get my drift. 

One skill I’ve honed in recent years is how to flip the switch — going from my usual low-key self to a whirling dervish when I’m in a higher-energy environment. And here’s a stunner: it’s not with Red Bull and vodka (OK, maybe when I’m in Vegas). I’m really just allowing my fun side to show.

Here are some tips you might try to flip your switch:

Get your energy up before you head out: I’m an extreme case when it comes to this. My fellow CA instructors got a good idea of my pre-partying routine when we were sharing a hotel room in Austin last year. I was singing in the shower to Cristina Aguilera, then pacing the room as I listened to Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” on my iPod. But considering I never made it back to the hotel until after breakfast, let’s just say my quirky routine worked well that night.

When I was apprenticing with CA, my friend and I would do the robot dance to Daft Punk at his place before a night out. For you, a simpler routine might help: perhaps good sleep and diet, and some exercise. Maybe a funny movie or playing the guitar. But think about a time when you have had good energy, and figure out how you got there.

Hang out with energetic people: I can resemble a sponge in that I absorb what is around me. If the people I’m with are having fun and putting out good energy, that’s likely to rub off on me. If you’re going out alone, look for some fun people — a store employee, a bartender, the DJ — and talk to them.

Talk to people quickly: Inertia is a killer. If I’ve been standing around in a bar quietly, it’s going to increase my anxieties and sap whatever energy I had entering the place. On the other hand, if I build some social momentum right away, I find I’m much more eager to approach people as the night goes on. Call it Snowball Theory — I’ve repeatedly seen other low-energy guys get in a social mood simply by being social.

I usually don’t go out alone, but when I do, I might start by going up to a couple — they’re often bored and love the attention — and make friends with them before excusing myself to flirt with some girls. It gives me an instant cheering section that I can always return to. And it doesn’t hurt that other people are seeing me being social before I approach them.

Have a drink: Seriously! I think drinking at night gets undeservingly frowned upon by people who are into this game. I know my limits, and I think it’s dangerous to look to alcohol as liquid courage, but one or two drinks do help me to relax.

Go where you like the scene: This sounds simple enough, but I think some guys look for “pickup” places that don’t necessarily fit their personalities. If I’m going to a high-energy place, it’s imperative that I like the venue, the crowd and the music. I’m no professional dancer, but when I start hearing 80s music or certain other dance music, I can’t help but shake my hips and find someone to dance with.

I’ve got a private instruction tonight, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to start head-banging. Here’s a fun song that might help you flip the switch at night:

Queen — Don’t Stop Me Now

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