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Anatomy of a Failed Date
by Chase Amante Tuesday, 17 June 2014
I found myself seated several evenings ago next to a young couple who were obviously on a first date. The girl was thin and okay-looking, though she’d lopped her hair off into a not-very-attractive medium-length boy cut, while the man was tall and lanky with a somewhat awkward accent I couldn’t quite place, but otherwise not too bad. She was dressed more fashionably than he was, her in a frilly white button down shirt, while he seemed to just be wearing a standard t-shirt or polo shirt. My ears perked up because it was obvious from the moment I sat down that the guy had some game; what I’m always curious of in these types of situations, though, is, “How much?” As it turned out, the guy had just enough game to get the girl extremely excited about him... before running the date straight into a concrete wall.
And that’s what I want to talk about today, because the things this guy did right and the ones he did wrong are something I see lots of newer guys making in their dates and interactions, and ones I certainly made a lot myself early on. Because it often isn’t the “grabbing her interest and exciting her” part guys fail at; it’s all the stuff that comes after that.
When I first sat down, the pair were already somewhat into the date as it was. I’d guess they’d probably already been there an hour or so, because things were quite warmed up and the girl was already clearly quite comfortable, enjoying herself and the fellow’s company, and laughing hard at his jokes. Just as I sat down, the male (let’s call him Joe) started talking to the female (let’s call her Kate) about some musician they both seemed to know. He started off asking her about different bands, and then segued into talking about this guy – a few boring details first, then a discussion of what a committed, passionate musician this guy was, and next this: Joe: Have you ever had anything you did that you were thatpassionate about? Kate: No! [said happily and excitedly] Joe: I mean, the guy would just sit down every day and jam. Every day. He never missed a day. And he didn’t always play for that long and he didn’t always come up with anything good, but he did it every day and you’ve got to respect that. He just loved it so much. He finished something new every single day, he was just that in love with it and that committed to it. Kate: That is so cool. Joe: Isn’t it cool? I mean, to be able to live with that much passion. To just live your life like that. Kate: It’s amazing. This was right when I sat down, and while my first thought was, “Why are you talking about some band? It’s distant and impersonal!” once he got into all the passion talk I said to myself, “Okay, not too bad; this guy’s got some game.” In case you didn’t catch what he was doing there, he was using NLP to put her into a state of mind of living life passionately (using an example she related to, stressing how amazing and good it was to make it a desirable thing to live
passionately, and then repeating it several times using “you” – “live YOUR life like that”, “be able to live with that much passion”, “have YOU ever had anything YOU were that passionate about”, etc.). I wouldn’t have picked that example per se (some celebrity musician is still pretty standard and impersonal for conversation fare – far better to tell a story about some no-name person you knew who lived a life filled with passion, then it’s totally fresh and gripping as a tale), but this is better than what a lot of guys muster up on a date. The overall themes were good. At that point, I was immediately rooting for “Joe”, our hero. Clearly the man had spent time studying how to do well with girls and on dates, and it’s hard not to respect someone like that, who isn’t content to simply float along on the stream of life doing whatever and then getting pissed off because no one hands him results. He was a conscious, aware, upwardlyarcing individual. Yet, he’d prove himself shortly to be a mere padawan in the dating game... with much more to learn, and many painful lessons still to come.
The Gnawing Horror of Overgaming Immediately after Joe had finished this NLP sequence about living life passionately, Kate’s emotions crested. She had peaked; she was leaning in hard across the table to him, laughing heartily at everything he said, speaking to him with a throaty bedroom tone, and utterly transfixed by him. He had her. So what did he do? Well, next, he launched into a cold read.
“You seem like someone with a lot of...” something. I couldn’t make it out clearly, and I didn’t really care. He was using Barnum statements now to tell her about herself. “Quit stalling and PULL!” I thought. She was ready to leave with him there and then; he’d brought her emotions and the sexual tension she felt with him to a crescendo, and now it was time to either end the date on a high point (if usingdate compression) or stand up and invite her home (if going for first date sex– that’d be my suggestion in that situation; she was ready enough for it). But instead he just sat there and kept going. She ate up the cold read – it did him no harm. She agreed with him wholeheartedly – he was absolutely right, she agreed with him. Yet, her emotions didn’t peak any higher – they couldn’t. She was excited as she was going to get in a public caféwith a bunch of strangers around and this guy not doing anything with her. Next, he went into some sort of thing about guys hitting on her at a bar and things they’d say. Terrible. Why would you talk about that? I think he was trying to demonstrate how “different” he is from all those lame drunken guys you meet out at a bar... or something.
He was simply doing his best to tread water to stay in place because he obviously didn’t know what else to do. Then, after a few minutes of this, he decided it was time to implode.
Walking the Plank Now Joe deemed it time to tell a story. While Kate sat and listened, Joe launched into a longwinded story about how everyone thought his friend was gay and how the friend used this to pick up chicks. Joe: ... and I tried telling him “Dude, if you dress like that, people are going to think you’re gay,” but he just never got it and he kept dressing that way. So he would go out, and women would just think he was gay! And guys would be hitting on him and everyone would think he was gay, but you know what? He didn’t care because itworked! He would actually get these girls. They would be there with him and thinking he was gay and then he’d kiss them and say, “I was gay, but I guess now I’m not anymore,” and by then it was too late and he had them. (Actually, a lot of similarities in this story here to what used to happen with a friend of mine from Southern California – he’d tell women he was gay, and they’d let him get away with all kinds of things like grabbing their breasts and whatnot, and alone back at his place while he escalated to sex they’d burst out with “Wait – I thought you were gay?!” and he’d say “You know what – I was!!!” and then just keep going. So either Joe’s a reader of the site, we have a friend in common, or a guy acting gay to get girls isn’t too uncommon an occurrence) Throughout this whole story, Kate just sat there and paid attention (silently crying “Come on! Stopped talking about your gay friend and PULL ME!!!” I imagine), nodding and “Ehm-hmm”ing the whole time. But Joe wasn’t finished yet. Not even close! After this story, he paused for a moment; the pause was a pregnant one, and when Kate didn’t fill it herself, Joe decided to take the initiative and just keep talking. Joe: When I would go out with him to the bars, everyone just assumed we were both gay and together. I would get these gay guys hitting on me and telling me I’m handsome and offering to buy me drinks because they just assumed I was gay too. Obviously assuming that his masculinity had not been called into question enough, Joe continued: Joe: ... so some girls just would NOT believe me when I’d tell them I wasn’t gay! My one female friend insisted on sharing a naked massage room together with me because she thought I was gay. Nail, meet coffin. Throughout all this, Kate’s vibe had plunged from “Take me NOW, sexy man!” to “Oh, how nice, friend.” Her laughter switched from nervously, sexually excited to friendly polite laughter.
She relaxed more in her seat and the tension that was there completely dissipated. I’d actually considered writing a giant “PULL!!!!” sign and holding it up behind her head where she couldn’t see it for him to see earlier on, and now I regretted not doing it. I hoped the date completely tanked and she left without him so I could take him aside and lecture him on the finer points of dating, but he walked her out of there soon after. By the time they left, he’d done 97% of the talking, and her mood had visibly shifted from one of being a very horny girl to one of being a mildly interested but mostly platonic friend. I didn’t follow them so I can’t tell you with certainty what happened after – but I can guess. Typically, once a date peaks and then falls like this, you do not recover. Chances are, there won’t be a second date, or if there is, it isn’t long before Kate tells Joe she “just wants to be friends.” And Joe will scratch his head, and wonder what happened, and think to himself how sure he was at one point that she wanted him... but he’ll suppose his read must have been off, because that interest certainly wasn’t there now. And he’ll move on, and meet some other girls, and make the same mistakes with most of them, until eventually he meets a girl he lucks into sleeping with (probably because she’s so damn excited about him that no amount of bumbling on his part can talk her out of it). Meanwhile, Kate will leave frustrated and annoyed at having met YET ANOTHER man who seemed to be perfect early on, only to reveal his true stripes later into the date and end up being just one more disappointment to add to the string of them she keeps encountering. But “Joe” (or whatever his name really was) COULD HAVE had this girl – and probably even should’ve. If only he ran his date right.
So where were all the mistakes in that date there? Did you spot them? I helped you out a bit and pointed out a lot of the glaring things I saw as we went.
But just in case you didn’t catch them, let’s start with a summary.
Everything Joe Did Wrong Not to pick on Joe, but to learn from him, here’s what he did wrong on that date (of the things that I witnessed, in any event): 1.
He spent way too much time talking about himself. If you’re asuper talkative person, you can make this style work – sometimes, and especially with the right kind of girl (in this case, Kate was a good match for this style – she seemed quiet and somewhat shy)... but usually, the majority of the talking should be done by her, not you. See: deep diving;eliciting values; conversation game.
He moved backwards in the interaction. When you’ve brought her to an emotional crescendo, it’s vital that you take things forward. Yet, instead, Joe froze up here, not knowing what to do or, more likely, fearing leaping over the brink, and instead tried to go backwards... shooting himself in the foot in the process. You do not go from deep NLP connection + girl is horny and sexually excited to telling her a story about your gay friend, unless that story is going to make her even hornier (and this one clearly was not going to do that).
He spent too much time treading water. Again, instead of taking action, Joe would tread water or fill awkward pauses himself. The communication to the girl here was that he, Joe, was not in charge of the interaction, which must mean that she, Kate, is (which... is kind of weird, since he’d been doing so much talking and leading up to those moments), and that Joe is waiting for some kind of loud and clear and unmistakable sign from Kate before he does anything. Big turn off when a girl is excited and waiting to receive you, only to realize that you are waiting for her to lead.
He started talking about irrelevant things. The musician thing turned out to be relevant because Joe was able to use this to seed Kate living her life passionately every day. But talking about the friend who dressed gay, and hooked up with girls who thought he was gay, and the girl who thought he, Joe, was gay? Totally irrelevant. I’m 98% certain Kate was sitting there gritting her teeth wondering why he was talking about this instead of sweeping her off her feet and into his bed, before throwing her hands up altogether and conceding defeat.
He trashed the competition. High value genuine men do not trash the competition because they do not need to trash the competition; the “competition” isn’t really competition at all, and besides, men at the top social echelon are too busy leading and guiding others to engage themselves in the petty backstabbing and ladder-climbing of those squabbling lower down on the rungs.
He started talking about picking up women. If you want to make a woman – especially one who’s visibly working to show you she likesyou – feel totally non-special and low value, just talk about picking up chicks. You’ll immediately position yourself as some shallow playboy who simply mouths meaningful-sounding things without actually having any meaning behind them, and send her into auto-rejection faster than you can say, “I’m a big fat pimp.” Additionally, you show that you probablydon’t get it, because if you did, and you were genuinely good with women, you’d be discreet – legit playboys don’t kiss and tell.
He destroyed his own masculinity and displayed negative preselection. When you tell a story, if it’s about yourself, you want to use it as a vehicle for conveying good things about yourself; things like your power,
desirability, fecundity, etc. Instead, by telling a story about how people thought he was gay because of his gay friend and how a female friend of his was so certain he was gay that she utterly wrote him off as a sexual prospect, Joe communicated here that he was a man with negative preselection – women who should want him actually viewed him as sexually inconsequential. Considering that women rate as most desirable those men other women find most desirable, this obviously does some very bad things for attraction. If you want to kill all desire a woman might have for you in the span of 5 seconds, simply tell her that other attractive women laugh at the idea of you being sexual. 8.
He moved slow and let mistakes kill him. Why do I tell you tomove fast with women? Because the longer you take, the more time you allow yourself to make a some of these boneheaded mistakes that sink your love boat now and forever with a given girl.
... and of course: 9.
He missed his escalation window. Attraction expires, Joe – missescalation windows at your very real peril.
How to Not Pull a Joe
Let’s say you find yourself on a date (or in a good interaction with some girl you’ve just met). How do you not end up like Joe? Why, you do it by minding the things he messed up, and doing the opposite of them: 1.
You spend most of your time listening. Instead of doing so much talking about yourself that you inadvertently veer into telling the story of that girl who considered you so asexual that she wanted to get naked around you WITHOUT trying to seduce you, spend your timelistening instead. You remove a lot of pressure from yourself to be “entertaining” or to come up with the right thing to say, and, as a huge bonus, women actually prefer to talk about themselves than to listen to you talk about yourself. Everybody wins.
You move relentlessly forward. No stalling, treading water, or moving backwards. You move forward at all times – lead her, be decisive, and take action. When it starts feeling like it’s time for something to happen, it is. Don’t put it off because you’re scared of what might happen... because I guarantee you, you WILL lose her if you do delay instead of act.
You keep your conversation on-point. What should you talk about when you’re the one doing the talking? I listed a bunch of topics you should talk about in the article on storytelling (skim down to the section header “Choosing Your Story Content”); as a brief refresher, they are:
Dominance Prosocial behavior Adventurousness A “devil may care” attitude A few vulnerabilities / Byronic personality traits I’d probably also include preselection in there while we’re at it. Point is, if you’re telling a story, you must have a REASON for telling that story – and that reason must be something greater than “because it’s entertaining.” Of course it’s entertaining – every story you tell should be entertaining. But there must be something deeper within it as well, otherwise, you’re just throwing about fluff.
You must not trash the competition. High value men don’t do this. It makes you look bad and not significantly above their level. If you are genuinely high above their level, you simply won’t bring them up because you spend exactly 0% of your time thinking about them, and ifshe brings them up you treat it as an amusing curiosity and move off the topic quickly because it’s irrelevant and boring to you. Sort of like if you were an 8th-degree black belt and someone brought up how pugilistic some of the yellow belts are. That’s a non-issue for you, because you don’t roll in their circles, don’t study with them, and they don’t ever mess with you or any of your friends anyway because they know you would kick their tails. You’d just shrug and say, “Are they? Hm,” and be done with the topic.
You do not undermine your masculinity. This should be paramount whenever you are talking about yourself, but, yes – don’t make yourself sound asexual, impotent, weak, or otherwise sexually undesirable. You may still stumble into doing this when you’re a beginner, so don’t beat yourself up too much, just realize when you do it and resolve to do better. You don’t need to be puffing yourself up to sound like Hercules, but youmustn’t undermine your own masculinity or virility – it’s akin to trying to sell cars while talking about how little horsepower your vehicles have and how nobody wants them. Don’t do that.
You do not talk about picking up. Would you brag about all the business negotiations you’ve come out on top of in the middle of a business negotiation? How about all the interviews you’ve aced in the middle of an interview? All the friends you’ve made with a new person you were courting for friendship? No? Then don’t talk about all the girls you pick up or sleep with when you’re picking up or on a date with a girl.
Move faster. Think you’re moving too fast on your dates? I bet you can move faster still. Unless you’re someone who speeds through things by default (and probably needs to learn to put the brakes on a bit), I can almost guarantee you you’re probably moving a lot more slowly than you need to be. How many dates have you had that ended in 10 or 15 minutes because the girl was already so horny you decided to pull then and there? None? You’re probably not moving fast enough... because I BET you’ve had SOME dates where you showed up and the girl was clearly very into you right away, but you just sat there for a couple of hours because “Well, a date has to be at least a few hours.” Drop the presumptions about how things “should” go and go do what the moment calls for.
Hit those escalation windows. There are only two excuses for missing escalation windows with a girl you like: one is that you don’t know what to do, and the other is that you’re afraid to do it. If you’re missing escalation windows, you need to pay more attention to the women you’re out with and the little gut feelings you get around them, and probably study up on escalation windows and learn better what to look for; but if you’re missing windows because you’re stalling and hesitant to act, it’s time to knock this off and take charge of your dates. Trust me, shedesperately wants to meet a man she not only gets excited about, but who senses her excitement, takes action, and brings her to satisfaction and release. She is waiting for a man like that... because most of them she meets do stall, and do delay, and do wait for attraction to expire altogether before they ever start to earnestly pursue. It’s a shame that Joe’s date with Kate had to end on such anticlimactic terms, but hopefully he had the chance to go home and reflect and maybe even realized that he had her, he just didn’t take the shot when the shot was wide open. And from Joe’s stumbling and bumbling comes a reminder and an opportunity: chances are, you’re not losing dates because you aren’t getting women interested enough... but rather, you’re not doing what you need to do with the women who are. So, don’t run your dates like Joe – move fast, take action, and seize those escalation windows, and instead of turning girls from “excited” to “blasé”, you will take them from “excited” all the way to “satisfied” – and relieved. Chase Amante