Living With Pretty – An Introduction

I haven’t really done anything with the blog here, so I figured it’s time to start. I’m starting a new phase of my life this month; I just turned 30 years old, I’ll be teaching a college course for the first time, and I’m about to have a female roommate. A very pretty, much younger female roommate, who I’ll be referring to as “Pretty.”

I normally don’t like pickup blogs that chronicle the goingsout of PUAs. Mostly I just find them boring, they’re lacking on both detail and analysis, full of brag reports, and there’s probably more than a little exaggeration going on. I do however think it can be useful to guys to have a journal for personal reasons. If you do spend the time to go over the details and think things through your analytical skills will improve and you’ll have an easier time applying the theory when you go out.

That said, I think I’m going to be contributing something a bit novel here. Not many guys have attractive female roommates. I never have before, except for a month where one of my coworkers slept on my couch while looking for a place to live. I don’t have a sister either — something many guys have reported as being very useful in understanding women.

So, this ought to be a great way to learn about women better. Also, I’m curious how it’s going to impact my quality of life in other ways. I suspect that having an attractive girl around is going to mean I constantly feel like I need to DHV. This could be wildly stressful, but I’m optimistic that it’s just going to make me a better person. I’ll have to keep the place clean and not spend entire weekends vegging out to Netflix or playing Diablo. Of course there’s the possibility that she vegges out all weekend watching Netflix and I’ll want to join in because, hey, why not spend the day watching Netflix with a cute girl, right? She’s into fitness and that stuff though, so I doubt it’ll be a problem, and certainly no worse than my last roommate who’d lose entire weekends to professional football and who primarily ate frozen chicken nuggets and PF Chang’s.

To help me follow the quality of life impact I’m going to keep track of two numbers: my weight, and how many pull ups I can do, and those numbers are presently 168.3lbs and 7 pull ups. I weighed roughly the same (give or take a pound) and could do 2 pull ups when I first moved in with my old roommate. Before he announced he was moving out (shacking up with his girlfriend) I could do 3, so I’ve come a long way in the last month. And of course I’ll be noting the soft, non-quantifiable changes as well.

And no, I won’t send you a picture.

Most Guys Don’t Get Laid

Half of single men aged 18-29 go a year or more without having sex.

That should come as a surprise. I mean, if you’re even slightly optimistic, you should think that HALF of guys not getting laid AT ALL is absurd! And I’m going to get into why this happens and what we can learn from the data, but first, let’s take a look at the actual numbers.

According to the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Healthy and Behavior, 56.9% of single men aged 18-24 did not have sex in the past year, nor did 46.6% of single men aged 25-29. Combining those two groups, a slight majority of single men aged 18-29 didn’t have sex in the past year. And to clarify, “single” in this study doesn’t mean unmarried, it means uncoupled, so it’s guys without any significant other.

29.2% of single guys aged 18-24 had sex more than once a month; 31.2% for the 25-29 age bracket.

10.2% of single guys aged 18-24 had sex more than once a week; 4.1% for the 25-29 age bracket.

2.2% of single guys aged 18-24 had sex 4 or more times a week; 0% for the 25-29 age bracket.

Why Is It This Way?

Surely most guys would like to get laid, so why aren’t they? I think it’s because most guys rely nearly exclusively on their social circle for meeting girls. In college that can work because you’re always taking new classes, meeting new people, there’s clubs, and you can get an open social circle with lots of new people coming into your life.

But then you leave college, you get a job. This is a whole lot of bad events conspiring against you. So, the first thing that happens is people move. If you move to another city your social circle just vanished. And even if you stay, lots of other people will be leaving and so your social circle is at least very diminished. But you’ve got a new circle, right? You’ve got your new coworkers and they each have their own social circle, so you can expand. …Except that rarely happens. The first obvious problem is that your work place is a lot smaller than college, probably smaller than most of your classes, so there’s just not many people. Then there’s a wider age variety, and you’re probably not going to be hanging out with your 50 year old coworker and his buddies. And your coworkers probably just have small social circles — theirs have diminished for the same reasons yours have.

But then there’s bars! Right? Guys can just go out to bars to meet women, so why are still half of guys not getting laid? Because when most guys go out to a bar, they’re there to hang out with their friends, not to actively sarge. Even if they are really only out to meet women and would rather stay in, and even if their friends likewise only came out with the hopes of meeting women, they still stay in their little conversation bubble and no one ventures out of it. They keep of the facade of “I’m out with my buddies,” and no one gets laid. [Note this can be different if you're going to oontz oontz clubs, your guy friends know what the deal is then.]

And of course a lot of guys just don’t have guy friends to go out drinking with. Maybe they’re too much into video games, they can’t afford it, their jobs suck all the life out of them, or they’ve partnered up and are staying in with the girlfriend. They don’t want to be the guy going to a bar by himself because of the stigma and because they have no idea what to do, so they stay at home and never meet anyone.

What To Do About This?

I don’t mean “how can we reverse this trend?” because fuck those guys, I don’t care if they get laid. I care if I get laid, and I care if you get laid. What I want to talk about is how to exploit the fact that these guys aren’t out meeting and seducing women.

Because these guys aren’t out there, almost as many women are going a year or more sexless! For single women 18-24, 50.8% didn’t have sex in the past year, and for 24-29 it’s 43.0%.

So the first thing you need to do is get it into your head that there’s a lot of women who want to be having sex but aren’t. Now, that doesn’t mean they’re going to be DTF the night you meet, it might still take 2-3 dates, but that should give you a lot more hope, and with it, a lot of confidence.

It’s easy to go out into the bar scene, see all the competition, get blown out, and think you’re never going to be able to compete in this environment. But, what I want you to take away from the numbers is that the world is your oyster. There’s far more options out there than you’re realizing, and because so many guys are staying at home, or going out and not approaching, simply by approaching you are miles ahead of (half of) the pack.

It’s also easy to get bogged down in all the pickup lingo and mumbo jumbo. Isolate, escalate, inner game, when to push and when to pull, rhythm 10-2, false time constraints, false take aways, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. That’s all good to know, but not if it means when you get to the bar you’re too much into your own headspace. If you’re in decent shape (not a complete dough ball), well groomed, wearing nicely fitting clothes, and if you can approach and hold even a moderately interesting conversation, you’ve basically got every single thing in your toolbox that you need. All that other stuff just increases your chances, and you may need it in some ultracompetitive environments, but at the typical bar? Open a girl and you may well be the only guy to run competent game on her in a month. Or a year.

The Four Coaches Every Recovering AFC Needs

Please note that these are not in order of importance.

1. Theory. These are the books, seminar videos, blogs and forums. And this is actually where a lot of guys get stuck. There’s so much stuff out there it’s easy to get lost in it all and waste a lot of time trying to consume everything out there instead of going out and talking to girls. Why? Because talking to girls requires work. You have to shower, get out of the house, maybe adjust your budget so you can afford drinks, cabs, or if you’re both poor and in DC like me you have to work around just the metro fare. Sitting at your desk watching yet another hour of videos (some you’ve probably seen before, be honest) is easy.

But you do need some theory. You need the basics. You need to learn some of the common myths most of us grew up believing about women (they pretty ones are scary!) and a few basic rules about how to interact (don’t supplicate). I recommend no longer than 5 hours of this before you get out and make your first 10 approaches, and really you can be pretty set just by watching Wayne Elise’s seminar, it’s less than 3 hours and doesn’t ramble like some of those 8+ hour programs. You should be looking for theory you can quickly consume and then go out and implement, not theory that takes so long to get through that by the time you reach the end you’ve completely forgotten about girls.

2. The Field. The field is king, y’all. Every time you go out into the field and approach women you will come away from the experience knowing at least a little bit more, and sometimes a lot more. It’s a bit like evolution. Without your knowing it, your surroundings will cause you to adapt and over time (a lot of time for most guys) you’ll evolve to survive in this environment. But it’s also a bit of a punctuated equilibrium. Most of the change is gradual, but every once in a while something clicks and you see some rapid progression. Though, there will also be plateaus and setbacks, that’s completely normal.

Now a bit about how the field and theory interact. Most guys read read read, then maybe go out, make three approaches, then go home and spend the next day reading more. They’re mostly trying to learn about what they should do, specifically how to avoid mistakes. That’s completely intuitive and completely backwards. Once you’ve spent your 3-5 hours learning the very basics you need to reverse your order of priorities. Go out into the field, and only when something has confused you should you come back to theory. Theory is a tool for analyzing data, and unless you’re collecting more data you ain’t got anything to analyze. For every 5 hours out in the field, allow yourself one hour consuming theory. Didn’t go out last weekend? Get off Seddit, and spend your Seddit time working on lifestyle instead (you know you could use the extra exercise).

3. A Good Wingman. If you’ve been around a seduction forum for any amount of time you’ve seen plenty of posts along the lines of this: “Hey, I approached a girl with X opener, and she said Z, what do?” These posts always have the most minimal amounts of information, but seduction is all about context, nuance, and specifics. What was your body language like? Your vocal tonality? Her body language? What angle did you approach from? How was your eye contact? How busy was the venue? What time was it? What was she doing when you approached? Did her boyfriend show up right after you got blown out? Etc, etc. Basically, unless you’ve got high quality audio and video of the approach, there’s not much advice you can get from the internet.

You know who’s got high quality audio and video though? Your wingman. No, he’s not filming it. He’s just got eyes and ears. He can absorb much of the relevant information and provide you with the kind of feedback you need.

When looking for a wingman you need someone who knows the basics of pickup theory, who has a similar style to you (some guys are very aggressive assholes, some are cheesy romantic charmers, both can work), and he’s someone who’s willing to provide feedback. Too often guys looks at their wingmen just as someone to stand next to and talk with so they don’t look like an awkward loner loser. And that is useful; social proof is incredibly powerful. But you also need to be able to observe each other and provide feedback. Be willing to do the same for your wingman. Also, minimize the unsolicited advice (don’t come across as a superior douchebag). And, when giving advice know it’s as important to focus on what went well as what went wrong. Very easy to get caught up on the negatives, but while it’s important to know what to fix, it’s just as important to know what to keep doing.

4. Yourself. This isn’t some new age hippy feel good item. I mean you really need to turn yourself into a serious analytical resource. Too many guys have just switched their own brains off and demand to be treated like helpless little children with the answer spoon fed to them by the guys who’ve actually put in the time and energy to figure this stuff out. Some stuff can be given to you like that (see #1 on this list), and you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but this is all going to be really general basic stuff. If you want to get good at pickup you really have to learn to think for yourself, and this is something that’s going to do double duty for you (and a bonus third duty for the rest of us).

First duty: You’re basically going to internalize your own wingman/coach/guru. The more you try to figure out solutions on your own the better you’ll get at it, and the faster your analysis will become so that instead of working through things the next day you’re able to realize what happened just after it happened, then get faster and see it as its happened, and then you move into ninja mode and see things coming before they even happen and can steer the interaction how he wants. It’s Quizat Haderach level game.

You need this because you’re the one in the interaction, you can feel its vibe, and you can give yourself advice fast enough to make conversation in real time (even someone talking in your ear doesn’t match the efficiency of your own brain talking to you). There are times when you need an outside point of view, especially for things like watching body language. But, there’s a lot even a great wingman can’t see. The most important bits of the interaction are things only you have access to, so if you don’t learn how to process them yourself there is literally no one else in the world who can help you.

Second duty: People who think for themselves are more interesting an attractive. This should be a big “duh” moment. Who do you think a girl will find more attractive, a guy who can solve his own problems, or the guy who has to run to a forum every time he encounters the slightest difficulty? Women, men, everyone admires personal strength, but it’s something you have to build up by repeatedly working things out for yourself.

This will also convert you from a value taker to a value giver. When you work things out for yourself you stop asking people to give value to you, and you acquire the skills to help other people when they need help with their problems.

Third bonus duty for us: It’ll improve the forum. Ideally, seduction forums should be about 90% posts that are either insights gained from someone dealing with the same situation 10-30 times, or questions from people who’ve encountered the same problem 10-30 times and have attempted to fix it in a number of ways but are still failing. Those types of posts add value and contribute to a growing knowledge base that can be shared by all. A post asking for help on a problem you could figure out with just 30 minutes of reviewing basic theory and moderately intelligent thinking really doesn’t help anyone else but you – the answer is already out there and what you’re doing is asking for it to be duplicated because you can’t be bothered to find it. That’s the same as the kid who raises his hand in class and asks a question with an answer that’s clearly explained on the syllabus. Come on man, class time can be used for better stuff than that.

Don’t Know What To Say? Your Approach Plan Is Backwards

If you’ve ever been an AFC, then you’ve likely experienced this scenario:

You’re at a bar, you spot a cute girl who you’d like to approach, but oh no! You can’t think of anything to say! So, you sit there and try to come up with some sort of situational opener. And then 5 minutes pass, 10 minutes, a half hour, and now it’s going to be weird if you go up and approach because she’s seen you sitting there trying to think of something to say. She doesn’t want to talk to some creeper who’s spent the last half hour obsessing over what to say to her. So, you give up, go home and cry into your pillow.

If you find yourself hitting the “I don’t know what to say” wall, then your approach plan probably looks something like this:

Spot Target –> Think of Something to Say –> Open

You get hung up on the second step, so you do a Google search for pickup lines, you go to a forum (like this one) and ask for help, and you try to get a new approach plan:

Think of Something to Say –> Spot Target –> Open

Hey, much better plan, right? You won’t get blocked if you show up to the venue with a few openers in your backpack. Problem solved! And, for a lot of guys, this does actually solve the problem, at least for an evening or two until they need to think of new openers. If that system is working for you, awesome, stick with it.

But, some guys still find themselves blocked. They forget the openers, or once they’re out in the venue they seem to corny, incongruent, stupid, or out of context to work. Hm… go back to trying to think of a situational opener, stall, fail, go home, cry cry cry.

If this is the situation your find yourself in, I’m going to propose a different approach plan:

Spot Target –> Open –> Think of Something to Say

What? I must be crazy, right? Am I actually suggesting that you walk up to the target, make eye contact, open your mouth and have fully committed to the approach before you even have an idea of what to say?

Yes. Exactly that.

You know what’ll happen? You’ll probably say something. It’ll probably be stupid, the conversation will fall flat pretty quick, the girls will reject you, turn their backs to you and go back to talking to each other.

But you opened!

Remember, you need to be focused on the process. If your sticking point is that you’re not approaching because you can’t think of anything to say, this is the exercise you need. Get to the point where you can force yourself to walk up to a girl and say something. Once you have that down, then you can focus on saying something good. Break the skills down and work on them piece by piece instead of trying to master all parts at the same time.

And really, after a few crash and burns you’re going to start saying something moderately decent, like “Hey, you’re pretty, I’m Billy.” Not great, but is she going to stick around to hear the next thing you say? Absolutely. Now you’re striking out one line later into the conversation! Progress!

Hopefully that helps some of you, and for the more daring out there looking for some lulz, here’s an even weirder approach plan:

Open –> Spot Target –> Approach

“Roll Tide! YEAH! ROLL DAMN TIDE!” (Look around, spot target who is now looking at you.) “…Hey.”

What Did You Do Today? — Eliminate Rubbish Time — Act With Purpose

This is more general advice for self improvement and getting the most out of your life, but having an exciting, dynamic, interesting life has never hurt anyone in getting girls, so it’s worthwhile to discuss here.

Imagine there’s a girl you’ve been out with a few times, and later this evening she’s going to come over to hang out (and then sexy times), and when she gets in and plops down on the couch, she’s going to ask “So what did you do today?”

(Without lying) Do you have a good answer? Is your answer one that’s going to make her want to listen to you and feel lucky for being in your life? Or is your answer immediately going to bring her mood down and increase the odds that later on you’re going to hear “Not tonight, I’m tired from work and not really in the mood”?

Now I don’t care that you don’t actually have a main squeeze and no one presently gives two shits about your day, I want you to pretend that at the end of every day someone is going to ask you that question. And you should have some answer. It doesn’t have to be pulling a golf ball out of the blowhole of a beached whale or trashing a chain coffee shop by crashing a piece of corporate art into it. But there should be something.

Today I read a bit of The Dead Zone, did some writing for a graphic novel, I cooked a turkey breast with orange chipotle glaze and bacon habanero guacamole (I’d never made the guac recipe before), and I watched The Rum Diaries. Not exactly painting the town red, but these experiences are cumulative. It’s like diet and exercise. Are you going to drop 15lbs of fat and gain 15lbs of muscle in one day? No. But if you keep at it day after day, eventually you develop a really good physique. If every day you find something interesting to do, it adds up and over time you develop an interesting personality and an exciting life.

There are thousands of possibilities to do something interesting every day. Some of them are small, like cooking an interesting recipe, but there’s always something you can be doing. How many museums are there in your city that you haven’t visited? How many memorials? If you live in New York have you been down to Battery Park? Seen the Alice in Wonderland statute in Central Park? Checked out the view of the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island Ferry? If you can’t find something to do, you’re just not trying (especially true for anyone living in a major city).

Eliminate Rubbish Time

Rubbish Time is any time you spend not acting with purpose. Sunday afternoon you turn on the TV to watch some football. It’s not even the team you root for playing, it’s just two teams you don’t give a shit about, but you still watch just because it’s on. Then your team is on, so you watch three more hours of football, and hey, there’s a game on after that, so might as well watch it. And then there’s Monday night football tomorrow.

My roommate and I are both in the same grad program, and at one point in our first semester he asked how I had time to do so much extra reading outside of what was assigned for class. I’d read the first three Game of Thrones books, I re-read The Game, and there were a couple other books in the mix. The answer was pretty simple. Unlike him, I didn’t lose my entire weekend to watching football (he’d also spend Saturdays watching the college games). And, while he was sleeping in until 11:00am or noon, I was usually up around 7:00am getting shit done.

All that time you spend watching TV just because it’s on and you’re not going to bother thinking of something else to do, that’s Rubbish Time, and you need to eliminate it. No more 14 hour Jersey Shore marathons. When you’re sitting on the train on your commute to work, take your headphones off, stop playing Angry Birds, and do something productive with that time.

Rubbish Time vs. Down Time

I’m not saying that you can’t spend a few hours watching football or something else on TV, or playing video games, or whatever it is you do for fun. Recreation is just fine and dandy. It helps us to relax and maintain some sanity. Plus it’s fun, so there’s that. You just have to be conscious of what you’re doing.

The difference between Rubbish Time and Down Time is acting with purpose.

Block off a certain amount of time for unwinding and zoning out, but don’t let it consume your entire evening or entire weekend. You can zone out on the couch for half an hour after you come home from work and before you’re going to make dinner, but after dinner no more mindless zombie couch time, or mindless zombie Reddit time. You’ve had that time already, and you’ve still got a few more hours you can spend doing something interesting. Read a book. If you play guitar, work on that for a while. Go for a walk around your neighborhood (you know you need the exercise). Read the newspaper or SCOTUSBlog. When I watch a movie, it’s not to kill time but because I’m interested in writing and story telling, so I’m actively paying attention to what’s going on, the dialogue choices, the pacing. It’s not just what you’re doing, but whether you’re doing it with purpose.

How This Relates to Seduction

There’s the obvious connection that I started with: Being active makes you interesting, and interesting people are more attractive. That’s just the generalized idea that self-improvement always improves your game. There’s also the fact that you’re going to be out in the world more and thus have more chances to meet someone. But, eliminating Rubbish Time will improve your game in a far more direct way.

By eliminating Rubbish Time, you’re creating a habit of acting with purpose. This habit will propel your game forward. When you get to the club, are you going to hang out in the corner clutching your drink to your chest, standing with your friends on death row not approaching any women? Nope. That’s just mindless zombie club time, and that doesn’t fit in with your new habit of acting with purpose.

Instead of hanging back thinking to yourself “I don’t know what opener to use” your instinct will become “I’m here to chat up girls, there’s a girl, let’s go chat her up.” Approach Anxiety? Gone. Three Second Rule? You don’t even need it, it’s become completely internalized. Outcome Independence? You’ve got it in spades because your mind is focused on your purpose, approaching and taking action — it doesn’t have room to care about getting blown out.

You can’t just conjure that sort of purposeful power out of thin air on a Saturday night when you’ve spent the previous six nights as a lifeless mass on the couch. Purpose needs to become a habit, an all-the-time thing.

Ready, Steady, Wayne Elise

Wayne Elise (“Juggler”) as a guest on the British cooking competition show Ready, Steady Cook. You’ll have to sit through the cooking part of the show to get the seduction advice, but the little bit of it is very solid. It starts at about 6:00 into Part 2.

If you don’t feel like watching, here’s the synopsis:

Guys tend to make one of two mistakes, either they show interest too early or not at all. Too early and you say you’re interested in her only for her looks; too late and you’re in the friend zone.

Other tips are to discuss things in emotional terms, smile more, and if you’re going to juggle just start juggling, don’t preface it with “Heyyyyy guyyyyssss! Pay attention to me, I’m going to do something! …Guyyyyysssss!!!!”

Mystery vs. Intrigue

It’s a rather common — and mistaken — belief that building an air of mystery around yourself will make you more attractive. And it’s easy enough to see how that belief might develop. We know the trope from film and television and Jane Austen novels: a stranger comes to town, he’s handsome (not to mention obscenely wealthy) and the heroine just cannot help herself but to try to find out more about him, to get into his head, to peel back every layer of that mysterious onion, and in the course of learning about our mysterious stranger she falls madly in love with him. Who wouldn’t want to be able to produce that pattern on demand?

The problem is that mystery isn’t the right quality to be building. Guys will hear they’re supposed to be mysterious and immediately they begin withholding every bit of information about themselves. They don’t give their real names, they make up obviously fake jobs, and they seemingly vanish into the aether when they leave the venue.

If done extremely well, this can work. But what doesn’t work when done extremely well? What you want is a plan that works when you’re just reasonably competent, and what happens when you have reasonably competent mysteriousness? You seem evasive, like you have something to hide. And since this isn’t a court of law, your silence can be interpreted as evidence against you. Not to mention you can become very annoying very quickly. It’s a bit like trying to have a conversation with someone who answers every question with a question — not really a turn on.

What you should be trying to cultivate rather than mystery is intrigue. The difference is that mystery is about never letting her see behind the curtain, while intrigue is about inch by inch very slowly pulling the curtain back. Mystery says not to reveal, while intrigue says to reveal but be smart about it.

There’s a saying that the sexiest part of a woman’s body is whatever part it kept just out of view. It’s the next inch above the bottom of a skirt, no matter how long the skirt is. Purveyors of pornography figured this out long ago. That’s why porn doesn’t start with a naked woman, it starts with one who is clothed and who removes her clothing piece by piece. And of course before that lesson they also learned that eventually you’ve got to show the naked lady, she can’t remain a fully clothed mystery forever.

Move Slowly

For many recovering average frustrated chumps, the instinct is to bombard a girl with all of your best qualities as soon as you can. If you don’t, you run the risk of her rejecting you before you’ve finished making your case. That’s just fear and self doubt talking. If she’s already lost interest, telling her you aced the SAT isn’t going to suddenly get her back. But if she is interested, laying all your cards on the table makes the rest of your interactions dull. Part of what makes relationships fun is the exploration, and yanking the curtain wide open puts an immediate end to that.

Hold some cards back. If you’re an excellent cook, resist the urge to invite her over for dinner at your place for a second date.

You also want to speak less. I don’t mean during the approach or when you’ve only been in set for a couple minutes. At that point you really do have to carry the conversation. I mean later on in the interaction, don’t feel like you need to fill up every moment with spoken noise. Make eye contact, kino, and give her the mental space necessary to wonder what you’re thinking.

Be Surprising

If you keep going on the same kinds of dates over and over, even if she’s enjoying them, things will become stale and boring. If you normally go out for drinks or just hang out at your place, invite her to go hiking, or go to the zoo, or to Color Me Mine and paint coffee mugs. Not only is it just fun to have a change of pace, but she’ll realize that there’s a whole other side to you that she didn’t know about before. She’ll want to explore that territory. She’ll also begin to feel excitement as she anticipates what the next surprise will be. That’s free intrigue right there! You haven’t even done the next surprising thing yet.

This is also why you have to hold some cards back. If you use all your good moves up front then you don’t have any moves left.

Have Something Behind The Curtain Worth Revealing

This is the tough part. It’s easy to build suspense and keep her on her toes, but at the end of the day there’s gotta be something back there. If you’ve been going to movies and out for drinks and playing Scrabble in cafes and then invite her over for a dinner you’re going to cook that will surprise and intrigue her. But the intrigue will end when she realizes you’re a mediocre cook. If you cook something unique and delicious though, now you’ve built more interest, she wants to know how you got to be such a good cook and what else you’re capable of doing.

So what can you do to put some good stuff behind the curtain? All the obvious things you’d think of if you tried to answer the question for yourself.

Read more, and something other than self help guides — read some classic novels, literary fiction, memoirs, popular science, whatever you find interesting.

Work on a creative hobby. Yeah, that means playing less video games. If you like playing guitar, really work on it, don’t be content with your current skill level. If you like cooking, start reading Cooks Country to really understand the craft better. Whatever it is, take it seriously.

Get out of the house and go do something. Go to an art museum, go to the zoo, go to a comedy show, or a concert, or a baseball game. Sitting at home watching ESPN doesn’t count. That’s not an experience. Sitting at the stadium is an experience, something you can talk about doing. Even if the girl isn’t in to baseball, she will find it interesting that you go out and experience life. That’s an increasingly rare trait these days. If you try to talk about how you sat on the couch watching the NBA finals you’re likely to bore her to sleep (with someone else).

Lastly, exercise more. You might present a mystery to medical researchers, but within the context of seduction, there’s nothing intriguing about a lifeless sack of raw dough. Someone who is in shape though? It encourages speculation about how you do it, and gives off the general impression of living an active, exciting life, even if your exercise routine is itself boring.

And that right there is really the key to building intrigue. Have something intriguing, then just fine tune your delivery.

Why Your Text Game Sucks

We’ve all seen this post, “I’m texting this girl, it’s going great, then she disappears, what happened? What do I do?”

For some reason this reminds me of 18th Century medicine. “I’ve been sick, and I started taking this medicine that made me feel a lot better, and then I kept taking it and now I’m more sick than before, what happened? What do I do?”

The problem is that you were taking soluble arsenic, which works as a stimulant and in very small doses can cause sick people to feel much better. The problem is that it’s arsenic and will kill you. What do you do? You don’t take the damn arsenic.

Same thing with text game. Your text game goes down hill not because you weren’t doing it well, but because it’s text game, and that’s just what text game does. It builds a quick spike of interest, but ultimately kills it.

Try to see text game from the girl’s perspective. A guy you met and kinda liked sends you a text message. It’s funny or interesting, and you’re excited to hear back from him, and you respond. Replies go back and forth, it’s all good, but at some point you’ve got to get on with your day. It’s becoming a chore to keep responding to every nagging message and that guy who you thought was cute now seems like he’s starved for attention. You know that if you reply he’s going to reply, and the whole thing will just keep going.

So as a girl what do you do? Odds are you just start ignoring his texts. Either you ignore them mid-conversation or you end the conversation but when he texts you again a few days later you ignore that because you know what a giant time sink texting with him will be.

Logistics

The key to good text game is to see texting as just a logistical tool. It’s not for conversation, it’s not for trying to build attraction, it’s not for showing how smart and clever you are. It is there just to arrange face-to-face meetings.

Ideally you will only send one fluff message before you start arranging your next meeting. Set a hard limit at two, and don’t be afraid to skip the fluff and go straight for the meetup.

This is a tough lesson for many guys to learn because it takes them out of their comfort zone. They’re used to communicating through instant messaging, it’s how they socialized with their friends growing up, and it gives them the time and space to ask for advice from other guys. On the other hand, talking face-to-face with a girl is foreign, it’s hell on the nerves, and you might say something stupid and screw it up.

Too bad. Attraction is built in person, not on a little two inch screen. Trying to develop text game is not a substitute for developing genuine social skills.

But I Know Someone With Good Text Game!

Yeah? So do I. It happens. There are also tons of documented cases of people in the 1700s being treated with arsenic and fully recovering from their disease. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you.

You can work on texting to round out your toolbox, but only after you’ve mastered the fundamentals. Have you conquered approach anxiety? Can you regularly get a set to hook? Isolate? Venue change and number close? Manage obstacles? Do you have a good rate of converting numbers into Day 2s?

If not, you’re not genuinely trying to perfect your game, you’re just trying to avoid doing the hard work of interacting in person. And I can sympathize with this. I’m a (semi)pro writer and my skill level with writing absolutely blows away my talking. They’re not even in the same league. It doesn’t matter how good my writing is though. It can be the rarest most highly refined stuff out there, but it’s just rare, highly refined …arsenic, and it will never perform as well as some generic mid-grade penicillin. It’s just not the right tool for the job, just like even the greatest text game will never be a substitute for the clumsiest experience opening sets.

The Great Time-to-Anxiety Converter

The last thing I want to say about this is that you need to beware text game because of its ability to wreck your life. I regularly see guys agonizing over what to text. They’ll spend hours trying to get those 140 characters just right, consulting with dozens of people and creating draft after draft. Presidential speech writers won’t spend that much time on a single line for the State of the Union.

The medium of texting is just far too conducive to converting your time into anxiety. In person you get about half a second to think, you say something, and if it’s not perfect you know what happens? Generally nothing. It’s never as bad as you think, and she’s busy worrying if you think what she’s saying is stupid. And if you did say something completely boneheaded? You get instant feedback instead of worrying about how she took it and asking all your internet friends how they think she took it, and should you send another text following up, how long do you wait, do you acknowledge the stupid thing you said, blah blah blah.

Just think about the more productive uses for your time.

Who Has The Power During An Approach?

The woman, of course. She has the choice to accept or reject the man who has approached her, or worse, to reject him with vengeance. She is the gatekeeper. She can open the gate, keep it shut, or pour boiling oil on your head.

At least, that’s the conventional wisdom, and not without reason. That certainly is how the interaction appears, but I’m going to put forth the case for men holding the power in approaches. But first, you need to be familiar with two concepts from negotiation theory, the Ultimatum Game and BATNA.

Fair warning: This post is long, and there’s not a tl;dr at the end. But, if you can’t spend a few minutes of your day learning how social dynamics work and why they work that way, maybe that explains your continued virginity.

Ultimatum Game

The Ultimatum Game is a classic experiment in negotiation theory and behavioral economics. In it, two players must choose how to divide up a sum of money, let’s say $100. One person plays the role of the Offeror (O) and one the Offeree (E). O will make a proposed split of the money, and E is left with only two options, to accept or reject the offer. No other communication is allowed, he can’t say what terms he will accept ahead of time, and cannot make a counter offer. If E accepts, the money is split as offered. If E rejects, neither side gets anything and they both walk away empty handed.

A purely rational E should accept any offer that O makes, regardless of how small. If O proposes a $99/$1 split, that sure seems unfair, but E’s options are $1 if he accepts, and $0 if he rejects, and $1 is more than $0, so it’s in his interest to accept.

But that’s not what happens. If the offer is too low, E will feel insulted, cheated, and want to punish O, and he will therefor reject the offer. $1 is a cheap price to pay to keep your dignity and to teach O not to be such a greedy bastard.

Without communicating, O will probably intuit that E would reject an offer that is too low. After all, that’s what O would do. Now the question is just how much does he needs to offer in order to get E to accept. E will always accept a $50/$50 split, and most people in E’s position will accept down to about $20 or $25. O wants to hedge a little bit, and is likely to offer something around $60/$40 or $65/$35.

What’s this got to do with approaching? As the man, you are the Offeror, offering the pleasures of your conversation. The woman is the Offeree, deciding if she wants that pleasure or not. Further on in the interaction things will be a lot more complex, and there are plenty more chances to reject, but at the very first line, the true opening, her only options are to allow the conversation to continue, or immediately reject you.

It seems like she has all the power, but as we can see from the Ultimatum Game, the Offeror always comes out ahead, or at worst ties the Offeree. The Offeree has some power, but the fact that the Offeror typically comes out ahead (usually getting $20-40 more) means that the Offeror is in the stronger bargaining position.

This translates nicely into social dynamics quite well. She has the power to reject an approach, but you have the power to decide if she gets approached at all.

The Pie’s All Wrong!

In the Ultimatum Game, you’re deciding how to split a pie of predetermined value (we used $100 above). In seduction, that of course isn’t how it works. You have the value you bring to the table, she has hers, and you’re offering to swap. You have 70 to offer, she has 85, you make the offer, and there’s an 85/70 split in your favor. Why would she accept that? Because, just like the in the Ultimatum Game, getting 70, even if unfair, is still better than rejecting the offer and getting nothing. That’s why you can see guys who are 7s picking up girls who are 8.5s.

So then why do so many 3s and 4s get consistently blown out, even by girls who are just 5s and 6s? Why instead of taking the 60/40 split do they reject it and take nothing? Because they aren’t actually getting 40 subjective units of seduction value. They see the guy not as marginally attractive, but rather as repulsive. For them it’s more like a 60/-20 split. They’d rather have nothing than go into the red. (Of course this isn’t purely about looks, it’s a total package assessment, or at least as much of the total package as can be assessed form an opener.)

What we’ve learned from the ultimatum game is that your opener will be accepted if (1) she sees the interaction as an improvement on her evening, and (2) you don’t insult her. In the Ultimatum Game insults come only in the form of ridiculously small offers; in seduction it’ll be more in the form of something like rattling off a line that’s plainly rehearsed rather than trying to interact with her as an individual. She might think you’re an attractive guy and witty enough to come up with the line, but you’ve wounded her pride, and she’ll blow up the offer just to get back at you.

And now I think the Ultimatum Game has been done enough, and we can move on to the other concept, which deals with the fact that you two aren’t the only guy and girl in the universe, and not even the only ones in the venue.

Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement (BATNA)

I hate the acronym, but it’s the one commonly used in negotiation theory, so I’m going to stick with it. (I hate it because it should be the expected altnernative, not the best alternative since the best option isn’t necessarily guaranteed.) Just think of your BATNA as your fallback option if you get rejected. If it’s a typical bar crawling Friday night, your next best option is to approach another woman in that venue, or venue change and find someone in the new place. So, your BATNA is pretty much just the exact same thing, minus 5-15 minutes of lost time. That’s one heckuva fallback position. Just imagine trying to negotiate a raise with your boss — and imagine than your BATNA is an offer at another company across the street with the same salary you’re earning now. Not too shabby.

Now consider her BATNA. If she rejects you, what happens? Maybe she’ll be approached by another guy. He might be more attractive, he might be less attractive. Or, maybe no other guys will approach her at all. Because most women don’t have the social toolbox to make an approach, she’s left in a very precarious position. She’s not guaranteed a second attempt with someone else the same way you are.

You don’t need a PhD in Behavioral Economics to see that the person with the better alternative is in the more powerful position. To you a rejection comes with minimal cost, to her it can be substantial. The fact that she has the ultimate Yes/No decision making power on the surface looks like she has all the power, but the totality of the circumstances, the fact that you can go elsewhere and she cannot, really puts you in the stronger position.

In certain venues, the power will shift back into the woman’s hands. It’s a busy club, plenty of time before last call, she’s the tall blonde turbogirl, and you’re not particularly attractive. In that case she’s better off rejecting you because the alternative is that she’ll likely be approached by a more attractive guy.

In smaller venues though, and with girls who don’t have their bitch shields at 200%, really all you have to do to get the set to hook is make the approach, don’t insult her, and be more interesting and attractive than the prospect of spending the rest of the evening alone.

The Take Away

Approach Anxiety is, has always been, and always will be one of the biggest hurdles in the community, if not the single biggest, and it affects everyone from AFCs to experienced guys.

Understanding the actual power dynamics in an approach though can help you to overcome that anxiety. You’re not entirely at the girl’s mercy, you have options, and she’s the one who really has something to lose by rejecting you. That’s a very empowering thought to have as you make your approach. …Now if only you could figure out what to say.

Handling LMR

Not my video, but a pretty decent guide for escalating in a way that will minimize LMR. Not discussed in the video, but a good strategy is to act as though you have a rule against having sex on the first, second, third, whatever date you’re on. In other words, stop short of going for sex — odds are she’ll be the one to go for it.