Sunday, 11 January 2009

I am the Revelation and I am the Light

So we decide to go to Buttoned Down Disco at Koko, as it was awesome when I went there last time, which was a good few years ago now (and not at Koko). However I have also been to Koko twice for Club NME, on New Year and with some old friends also ages ago.

It’s only as I’m in the queue for the cloakroom that I realise that I’ve forgotten to change out of my shitty t-shirt that I had been wearing during the day, and put on a proper dress-up shirt and that. Doh! Luckily it’s not too bad – it’s actually a t-shirt from the Waitangi Day Circle Line Pub Crawl from 2007, a day when I consumed more drugs in one day than I have ever done in my life, and paid for it severely for all of the following week – at worst it makes me look like a Kiwi, most people wouldn’t even register it I reckon.

Anyway, one of the main reasons for going to BBD other than because it was cheap, was that it is full of hot chicks. In fact I would go so far as to say it is the venue with the largest proportion of hot chicks that I have ever seen. Don’t tell anyone else!

The only bad factor is that the music is pretty loud, though that doesn’t make it any different from 75% of the venues in London. And the way I see it I need to be able to deal with that kind of situation anyway.

So where was I at mentally? From the previous night my main focus was to open any and every set of vaguely good looking girls (6 and above). I needed to force myself to open, and not worry about rejection or any subsequent part of the game, just open, open, open, so that it becomes a habit, I’m unconcerned about the results, I’m not making excuses not to approach, I get the experience and I start to see the patterns.

As a secondary goal, it was probably to have a higher energy. Both Jon and I were far too laid back on Friday night, partly due to circumstance but partly due to not getting outside our comfort zones.

So we head in. To be honest I don’t remember the precise sequence of events, but the rough idea is as follows. The first memorable event of the night is when I see a hot chick standing on her own, waiting for someone. She was hot, and pretty close to my ideal for what I look for in a (British) woman: very pretty face, hot body, well dressed (fashionable but not slutty), and (when I spoke to her) intelligent. Immediately I was thinking about what to open her with, and simultaneously why I shouldn’t approach her:

“It’s my first set of the night and she’s hot, I need to warm up on other chicks.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“It’s early, there’ll be plenty of other chicks to open during the night.”
“She’s waiting for her boyfriend.”
“Her friend is going to come back to her while I’m talking to her and interrupt.” (Ironically this actually happened, but of course it was no reason not to approach anyway…)

And so on. I was umming and ahhing for a minute or two when thankfully Pete lays down the gauntlet for me: “Go and open her or I’ll open her instead.” That was the kind of motivation I needed (in fact he only needed to say the first half to get me going, but it all helped!) and I was off.

I went up to her and made a joke about her dress (not really a neg). The noise and my delivery meant that she didn’t really get it. I hung in there anyway and talked about a few other things, who she was there with, where her friends were, etc. She was with the DJ (i.e. high value in the venue) and we talked but I couldn’t really hear what she was saying. Then her friends arrived and it was over.

So it went pretty badly in terms of closure, but in terms of opening and forcing myself out of my comfort zone it went very well. We go around and open a few people here and there, and none of them go amazingly well, but at least I’m opening and learning to get used to my fear and discomfort, and ignoring my reasons for not opening.

It’s funny, all these reasons for not opening that I’ve had in the past were obviously stopping me from actually opening, and thus learning. So easy to understand in a logical sense, so different to experience when you’re actually in field. And of course why was I avoiding opening? To protect my ego. More on this at the end.

I open a group of girls dancing around their handbags by asking them if I can join their group if I have a handbag myself. Again there are comprehension issues, but we work it out in the end. One of the hot girls in the group seems interested in me, but the confusion had thrown me a bit, and I don’t do anything with it.

After a while we chill out for and enjoy the club for what it is. Man, I love the music in this place, just the right mixture of indie and dance. While we’re relaxing in one part of the club, The Rapture’s House of Jealous Lovers comes on and I can’t resist my natural dancing urges any longer – I’ve got to dance!

I hit the floor and it’s pretty crowded, there’s not much space to move but I do what I can. The song is awesome and it ends, We Are Your Friends by Justice v. Simian comes on and angels descend from the heavens and the deserts bloom. I jump around like a loon and generally enjoy myself. For some reason about 12 girls in two groups end up in front of me. Subconscious placing on their part? Maybe. It’s good for my confidence to think so.

Ironically for a song about friends, I’m there on my own and it isn’t lost on me. Two chicks actually come up to me and start dancing with me, telling me that they’re my friends in time to the lyrics(!), which is nice. They’re not too hot though so I don’t take it anywhere.

Later on we’re in the bar at the top and Jon forces me into set with a bunch of girls waiting at the bar. I go up and talk to them about how long it takes to get served here. They’re into it and we chat, it turns out they’re studying at UCL like I did so we chat about that. They start asking me questions which I guess in some methods is a “hook point” or for some people a MASSIVE IOI. They go to leave just before I decide to ask for their number.

Everyone was opening. Grieg was a social machine as ever. Pete did his thing once again. I’d like to call his method stealth game, there’s no reason for it, it just sounds good. I opened my fair share, and, Behold! Jon was opening regularly. And he had a fair bit of energy. It was awesome to see.

There was a point where Grieg had opened this girl he’d spoken to earlier, and while he was talking to someone else in the group Jon talked to her then dragged her away to another part of the venue. He’s accidentally amogged Grieg. It was hilarious. We decided to name the situation where someone has been accidentally amogged as being “Swissed.” Lolzorama.

It was around 1, we’d all put in a fair amount of work, so we decided to leave. A productive night.


One thing that I had spoken to Jon about the previous night, was how to simplify what we’re doing in the field. Essentially there’s only three things you need to do: open, talk (communicate / connect) and close. And the talking’s optional! Everything else is calibration or footnotes. Yes there are tricks that you can employ like SS, tension loops, storytelling and so on that can swing the odds in your favour, but these are details and not the essentials.

So while I was reading a whole bunch of stuff on the internet about decoding blueprints and the like, I was still making myself excuses not to approach. I hadn’t even got the first step down. Sure, I’d had the odd night of glory: the RSD bootcamp that I took was an orgy of opening and I acquired many phone numbers, and there was another night shortly afterwards where I had taken coke for one of the first times, when I number closed three times without saying much more than “Hi, I’m Charlie, how’s it going?” albeit with tons of energy (the drugs) and good body language (ditto).

So I thought I had that down but really I was kidding myself by living off past glories. I know I’m a cool, social person but getting that across in field isn’t second nature to me. I can do it with travellers in Thivum train station in India, work colleagues in Amsterdam, Irish guys in Bali and the clientele of Roof Bar in Bangkok, but that’s expected frankly. In field is a different matter. But it will come, and is coming.

So, ignoring the reasons not to approach, and approaching anyway and getting blown out, is fine. Essentially, it’s opening sets without protecting my ego. It’s a big chunk of the puzzle solved for me (although only a small step in terms of actions and results). I’ve always known it but not felt it, not experienced it. A few things slotted into place. An article on the highs experienced at bootcamps due to being forced to approach loads of times, followed by the lows caused when you can’t force approaches on your own. Jeffy’s question of “what do you need to take away to make yourself better at pick up?” rather than learning new tricks (i.e. the simplification talk with Jon). Brad P’s ebook on chucking down to your level and focussing on the current sticking point and not the whole shebang.

Once again having a clear head from not drinking meant that I could judge the situations and my reactions to them reasonably, and I didn’t dismiss the night too early. If I started thinking negatively I could check my thoughts and turn them round, whereas before I would have taken that as an excuse to buy another drink and not care what I did for the rest of the night.

Later I thought about it and realised a few things about myself. Protecting my ego has been a huge factor in this. It’s been holding me back. Giving up the night to drink protects my ego, from preventing me approaching to the drunkenness hiding my emotions. You could say that the whole of my drug use throughout my life has been used to destroy my thoughts so I don’t have to think about the damage my ego is receiving from not getting what I (it) want(s).

When really I should face up to reality and not care about my emotional reactions, and let the ego get used to the changes. It’s funny how you can have low self-esteem and self-worth, and yet at the same time have a massive ego that needs protecting, which perpetuates the low self-esteem. Crikey, we were built strange.

I did meditate in the afternoon before I went out sarging on this day. I don’t do it enough and maybe these revelations that I’ve had are partly due to that. I don’t know.

With the reasons not to approach now reduced, I can now concentrate on the acuity of what to do in the approach. I.e. on the modalities of my communication, being confident and having high energy, thinking about what to say, judging the situation and so on. This is the next chuck: the communication / connection bit. I need to work on this now. As well as maintaining the approach mentality.

This is the Waitzkin Investment in Loss idea bearing fruit in practice, and seeing it for the game and the skill set that it is.

This post is way too long, isn’t it?

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