A lot of guys, it seems, wish that dating had more in common with video games.
After all, with games, you ultimately know what to expect. The nature of the medium dictates that if you spend enough time paying attention, you will start to recognize certain patterns; once you’ve correctly identified these patterns, you can thus formulate a way to maximize your effort in order to achieve your goal, whether it’s to complete the raid, take out that bastard sniper across the map, overthrow Kefka, avoid being eaten by a grue or trying to find out whether you’re about to get cockblocked by a goddamn mushroom.
The point being that if meeting and attracting women was more like a game, you could eventually find a perfect way to get to the end1 whether it’s a specific pattern or a cheat code. Enter up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start and you will suddenly be swimming through tail like Scrooge McDuck diving through his money-bin.
This is part of what makes the Pick-Up Artist community so attractive; many pick-up schools – especially the more routine-based ones – promise sex by flow-chart. Follow this pattern and everything will fall into place exactly as you want it to.
This all comes from a place of fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of being humiliated. Fear of that moment midway through talking to someone you are brain-meltingly attracted to and realizing “Oh shit, I don’t know what to say next!”
Why do we keep trying to find the “perfect moment” to approach someone we want to meet? Because we’re afraid and we want to put off facing that fear. Why do we keep looking for magical openers or silver bullets that will somehow make women magically be into us? Because we’re afraid that what we’re going to screw up and look like a stammering idiot.
Control – or the illusion of control – helps to assuage that fear. Treating approaching women like we’re assembling furniture from Ikea – follow the steps a through børk and don’t forget your allen wrench – gives us the feeling that it’s out of our hands; all we need to do is not deviate from the “plan”.
The problem, of course, is that women aren’t flat-pack furniture, every interaction is different and each magic bullet you find is just a placebo, an illusion… and ultimately a hinderance.
There is, however, value to having a plan.
Everything’s Going According To Plan
Back in the early days of my transformation, I used to be one of the folks who relied heavily on routines. It made things easy – mindless, even. Knowing exactly what I was going to say and when gave me a sense of confidence that made approaching women that much easier.
Or at least that’s what I told myself, anyway. In practice, i wasn’t having that much success. Trying to stick dogmatically to the way I thought things had to go meant I tended to give of the vibe of a performer rather than someone genuinely out to meet someone and make a connection – even if that connection was meaningless, no-strings-attached sex. It made me a more manipulative person and it also locked me into a fairly antagonistic mindset towards women – they were the “opponent” and by following the routines, I could break down their resistance and get what I wanted. Critically, it also meant that I was having the same conversations over and over again; the only way to keep things progressing the way I wanted was to ruthlessly drive the conversation in a specific direction. Whenever things didn’t go according to my carefully crafted routine… I was absolutely fucked. Suddenly, I was right back at the beginning, not knowing what to say and feeling my brain vaporlock as I tried to scramble for a way to get things back to where I wanted them to be.
Ultimately I gave up routines and moved to learning how to connect and build rapport with people instead of trying to treat getting sex as a push-button exercise. My structure, my flow-chart was a placebo, the verbal equivalent of Dumbo’s magic feather; it was just something that gave me the confidence to make a move rather than something that actually helped.
The better I got at connecting with women, the more I found a method of progressing through the interaction; less a formula or routine and more of a road map or template.
As I said in the Reverse Cowgirl anatomy lesson, my successful approaches would follow the same pattern.
Having a basic structure and template to follow when you’re starting out gives you the flexibility to be yourself and still maintain the confidence of knowing what to say and when you should say it. It helps you relax; you aren’t as likely to have “Oh God NOW what do I do?” panic attacks when you quit treating trying to approach a woman like trying to bring the One Ring to Mount Doom – full of twists and turns and unpleasant surprises. It helps you put your focus on the areas that do you the most good – finding commonalities and building an emotional rapport – rather than on gimmicks and distractions like “demonstrations of higher value” or focusing on your opener or being clever.
So what does this map look like?
This is where a lot of people get tripped up. They put too much importance on the start of the approach – spending too much time looking for an excuse to go up to someone or worry about finding the exact right things to say. They get hung up on the opener and end up not approaching the woman at all.
All the point of an opener is to get the conversation started. Your excuse for coming up to them is that you want to meet them and what you say really doesn’t matter as long as you have confidence – relaxed body language, a friendly smile, strong eye-contact, speaking slowly and clearly – and you transition into an actual conversational thread.
Some folks are more comfortable being indirect and use a situational opening – “Hey, what’s with all of the top-hats at this party? I’m suddenly feeling under dressed” or “Did you just see this crazy thing that happened outside?”. Others like to ask for an opinion: “Can guys still get away with earrings?” “Would you date a guy who’s still friends with his ex?” “Where’s the best place for Italian in this town?”
These can have their advantages; being indirect can help ensure at least a few minutes of a conversation and it’s much easier for someone who’s still a little unsure of himself get over that initial approach anxiety.
Personally, I’m a fan of being direct: “Hey, you seem like you’re a cool person and I wanted to meet you. Hi, my name’s….” or “You seem like you’re cool. Are you friendly?” It helps ensure that you have their full attention and establishes early on what your intentions are: you’re interested in them and want to get to know them. If you’re confident, you can even inject a little banter into the interaction: “I just wanted you to know: you are so… blocking my way to the bar,” (said deadpan followed with a big grin).
Segue To An Actual Conversation
However you started the interaction, you want to move to an actual conversational thread. This means you want to transition from whatever you said – especially if you were indirect and were asking for an opinion on something -to getting to know her.
There are a number of ways of doing this; if you’ve just gone in directly, you can simply introduce yourself. Depending on how she responded to asking for an opinion, you can pivot off of what she had to say: “Oh, wait, so men and women can’t be friends after they break up? I like to think that people are more complex than that. Sure, it hurts at first but if the relationship is strong…” You can ask a question that leads to a story: “Hey, have you ever done $THING? Oh check this out….”
You can use a simple phrasal transition: “Hey, you know, that reminds me.” You can use a cold-read as a way of making an observation about her and use that as a transition into an actual conversation.
Or you could just launch into just talking.
One exception: if you’re talking with someone in a group, the first thing you want to do after you’ve started the conversation is ask “So… how do you guys know each other?” You always, always want to establish relationships early on; after all, if the woman you’re interested in is dating someone in the group, it’s better to find out early on, rather than investing a lot of time and effort for no real return.
- by which we usually mean bangin’. [↩]