Way back in 2001, Mystery had moved out to Los Angeles to hit on the local women. To cover his rent and feed his ego he’d begun teaching other men his system. Back then, instructional events were always seminars held in hotel conference rooms. The “guru” would stand in front of twenty or more eager students and just… talk. Perhaps write on a flipchart. And that was all!
No evidence. No demonstrations. No interactivity.
The students were supposed to just accept the instructors at face value without the slightest shred of proof that they were any good with women. It was a time of outrageous charlatanry. Mystery’s great innovation was to conduct his instructional events “in field” by going to real bars and hitting on real women, providing a live demonstration both of his method and also his skills. For the time, it was revolutionary. He called it a “boot camp” and typically they were held over a weekend with seminars in the early evening and then the in-field session immediately afterwards.
I wanted to take a boot camp. In my naïveté I projected mythical levels of “mad skills” onto professional instructors and desperately wanted just a little of their awesomeness to rub off on me. An hour searching google for the main PUA companies brought me crashing back to earth. Jesus Christ, £2,000 for a weekend with Real Social Dynamics.
I mean, I want to get better with women. But… £2,000?
It wasn’t cheapness on my behalf. If I was guaranteed success with beautiful young women I’d have handed over my credit card, date of birth, and mother’s maiden name. Empty my bank account all you want, Master PUA, so long as I get to tap top-class ass! There was no lack of desire in me. Rather, I doubted my ability to survive the weekend without a mental breakdown. They’d push me hard, and would I stand up to it?
So I wanted to dip my toe in the shallowest end of the kiddie pool. I looked for the cheapest boot camp I could find, telling myself I’d just see what happened and, if it was okay, I’d spend the big money on the premium guys. This was stupid. Now that I’m an experienced teacher I see this half-assed attitude all the time. People are always half-assing the important decisions, and so was I.
I was stupid, but I was lucky.
There were only a handful of companies offering live events in 2009. The big names would fly in a couple of name instructors every month or so (LoveSystems, Venusian Arts, Real Social Dynamics and so on) but charged well north of £1,000 for the privilege. There was the local big fish PUA Training that seemed to have the slickest package but wanted £800. Towards the bottom of the food chain was PUA Method, charging £300, but even to my novice eye I could see they were clowns.
And then Sarge School was charging £99. A couple of London forum guys gave positive reviews and when checking out their crappy website, I thought they looked cool on the photos. Okay, that’s the kiddie pool for me. It was poor decision-making exemplified but little did I know how much it would affect my life.
I filled in the online application form for the next “beginners” boot camp in July. The following day I got an email for someone calling himself Jimmy Jambone (everyone in the community has a pseudonym, partly due to ego and partly because there are many, many haters who try to destroy you if they think you’re getting laid). He was to become one of my best friends over the next three years and my first Game mentor, but at this moment he was just a guy whose reputation intimidated me.
“Hey Nick. Thanks for your inquiry and booking. It’s great that you’re taking positive action on this path. We’ll send out a detailed email in the week before the boot camp giving you all the necessary information. But for now, feel free to ask any questions. JJ.”
I was too scared to ask anything. I felt like a man caught in a river flood looking up at the rescue helicopter, stretching out a hand to my rescuer. I was determined not to let myself down on the weekend and studied my books extra hard and read the Sarge School site from top to bottom. Two days before the fateful day an email arrived couched in secretive tones. We were to meet outside Borough underground station whereupon an instructor would collect us and take us to the seminar venue.
So at 7pm on Friday evening I made the short walk up from my house. Four nervous men stood in a huddle, furtive-eyed near the Underground exit. That would be the other students. I introduced myself. There was a Polish guy, an Italian, a Scot, and a white-Zimbabwean called Steve. The latter would be my first wing over the next couple of months until he ended up with a serious three-year relationship. We chattered excitedly, and then the instructor arrived.
He was a young guy called Johnny. Nicely dressed, confident manner, and a deep cool voice. He led us away to a nearby pub/Thai restaurant for a couple of hours’ classroom teaching. There was a sense of adventure in the air, like anything could have happened and probably would. Johnny put us at ease with a mix of aimless chit-chat and probing a few personal questions with genuine warmth and interest. Another preconception about Game was being dispelled.
I’d assumed the men who are good with women were all aloof arrogant swine. I assumed they’d lord it over me and seem impossibly far away from my position, unable to relate. Johnny was the opposite. When he spoke to me he turned his body fully towards me, looked into my eyes, and oozed understanding and rapport. This is how good seducers are. They make you feel good about yourself in a very authentic way. They aren’t “playing” you. This is crucially important when talking to girls because not only do they usually need to feel comfortable around you before they can surrender to sex, but they are also extremely good at sniffing out inauthentic and fake behaviour.
Arriving at the dilapidated old pub it was empty but for the Sarge School guys playing pool and chilling at the bar. Seven guys in all and every single one exuded cool. I was encountering a real live “rat pack”, a group of men who had actively worked upon their value and knew how to support and reinforce one another. This was not the clueless ill-coordinated rabble that I called my own friends. It was a class apart, and I was already sold. First up, a charismatic black Londoner called Diamond gave a talk on the basics of Game, including how to “open” in a bar by asking an “opinion opener.” That’s as simple as it sounds—you ask girls for their opinion on an interesting question. At this time Sarge School was using this one:
“My friend is going to take his girl on a trip to propose. He’s wondering where to go. Which is more romantic, Paris or New York?”
It sounded a bit lame, but it was just an ice-breaker. If the girls want to chat they’ll run with it. And if not, no big deal. They can give a curt answer, and you can eject without feeling bad. Remember, I was in a bad way at this time, just five months after the love of my life had walked out on me. I was still broken inside, lacking any kind of selfconfidence. Diamond went around the students in turn asking them what they wanted from Game and women. I was almost choking up when I replied:
“I think if a woman gets to know me, she’ll love me. I just don’t know how to get her that far.”
Yeah, I was pretty low back then. I think Diamond swallowed down some of his own vomit hearing such woe-is-me-ism.
The night went as good as I could’ve hoped. We decamped en-masse to Piccadilly Circus doing warm-up sets on girls in the passing throng outside the bars before heading inside. Diamond was my assigned instructor that night and kept an eye on me, encouraging me, giving feedback, and demonstrating on girls. He seemed so cool and friendly. I felt a warm glow of gratitude that he so expertly guided me through such a stressful evening. I ended the evening with the number of a Moroccan-English girl from Jewel Bar. We swapped texts but she never came out on a date. Around midnight our energy was flagging so the instructors let us go home with an admonition to sleep well and meet up at Borough Station at noon the next day for the day game session.
Life is full of bifurcation points, moments when you’re at a fork in the road (wittingly or unwittingly) and the smallest accident or slightest whim decides which direction you take and yet that radically changes the course of your life. I’d already had a few of them:
- Picking up The Lay Guide one day in HMV, purely from idle curiosity. It had been a choice between that and Killing Pablo. That made me aware Game existed.
- Choosing Sarge School rather than a different company. It had ultimately rested upon a chance recommendation by an anonymous forum member I had never met. That decision would end up protecting me from the various charlatans that often derail a would-be seducer’s earliest steps.
- Johnny was actually the newest member of Sarge School. My boot camp was also his audition with the company as an instructor, and he’d been brought in because he’d begun to build a local reputation as a daygamer (all the other SS guys were night gamers). This would be the first ever SS daygame session.
Thus, the second day of boot camp would prove pivotal. I’d be introduced to a workable method of daygame. It was primitive, suboptimal, and became rapidly outdated but it was something. Had I been left to aimlessly wander parks asking girls what they were reading (“going indirect” in the jargon) I’d have likely given up on day game within a month or two. Instead, this was the second step in what would ultimately lead me to being the world’s top daygame instructor and theorist. A bifurcation point indeed!