The player’s journey is a lonely one. Since we first sit on our mother’s lap giggling and cooing, we are lulled into the comforting fantasy that people care about us. I used to think a mother’s love is the only genuinely selfless unconditional love in the world but even that is a fantasy. The reality is we are truly alone in this world.
The only person who will put your own interests front and centre is yourself. That’s a harsh realisation, and most of us spend a lifetime avoiding it, protecting all of those pretty lies.
I was never lacking a loving family, so forming secure attachments didn’t scare me. However, from around twelve years of age my best friend (and most popular kid in school) was uprooted as his parents took a job one hundred miles away. Suddenly I had no social coattails to hang on to and my slight weirdness was no longer shielded by a protective association with him. I gradually drifted out of the “cool gang” and into the “outsiders” group. And there I’d stay—first as a metaller, then a punk, then an anarchist, and finally an ex-pat.
So I’d always felt somewhat alone. I’d always had my little social group, but we were all outsiders. My extreme introversion compounded this fact, so I’d enjoy holing up in my bedroom watching zombie movies or reading voraciously. Then, at university, I started boxing. You’re never more alone than when you step through the ropes for a fight and the bell rings. Neither your coach nor your sparring partners can help you—It’s just you against the other guy.
Ironically, learning to seduce women is equally lonely, and we try equally hard to persuade ourselves it isn’t. In the beginning you believe you’re the only person trying this “game thing” and that you must be weird. You can’t tell your friends or they’ll laugh at you or pull you down like crabs in a barrel. God forbid you tell your workmates! There are online meet-up groups of like-minded men learning game but even then it’s more like a collision of independent particles than a bonded molecule. Even now, in a situation where some of my best friends are the world’s most prominent professional seducers, arranging holidays together is like herding cats.
So I just accepted that most of the time I’ll be alone in this journey. Even when with a succession of beautiful young women, I’m alone. I never quite give myself over to the pair-bonding.
In August 2009, not long after my first boot camp, I was yet to come to this realisation. I’d been watching instructional videos and reading textbooks on game, thoroughly immersed in my new hobby. I was already zoning out at work, physically present but mentally absent. My work became that thing to be finished as soon as possible in order to make time to browse the latest Game blog posts, and then I’d rush home on the Underground mentally scheduling the evening’s DVD fare:
- 7pm: Food, eaten on my sofa while watching Mind of Mystery.
- 8pm: RSD’s Flawless Natural.
- 9pm: Interlude to play video games.
- 10pm: Something from David De Angelo until his droning voice made me sleepy.
There was just so much material to consume, I felt I’d never get it. Imagine going to juggling school and the first class is how to keep six balls in the air. It was overwhelming but also exciting. For the first time in my life I felt like I had a real shot at dating hot girls. Once I’ve taken a bite out of something I’m as relentless as a lock-jawed terrier.
I hadn’t really gotten to know any of the guys from Sarge School (they’d later re-brand as Rock Solid Game, or “RSG”), the ones who I’d later become good friends with. I didn’t want to go out on my own without a wing man, and I was also searching for “kindred” spirits, I guess, guys who wanted to learn this stuff as badly as I did, or guys who I could learn from. Either way, I made the somewhat naïve decision that it would be a good idea to go in search of these people via an “underground” community of Pick Up Artists called The London Seduction Society. These men met online in what were called “lairs” to discuss the game and their supposed conquests of women. Hindsight is of course 20/20. At the time, I assumed it was an exclusive Members Only club of master seducers.
Oh, how wrong I was!
There was an approval process where I had to fill in an online contact form answering some questions before being granted membership to the forum. I actually worried they wouldn’t take me, thus carefully crafted my responses. What if they said no? Would I miss out on a oncein-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from London’s greatest womanisers?
They let me in, and I posted on the meet-ups sub-forum for a wing-man to go out with. While nodding off during an interminable conference call at the office, my phone vibrated. There was a text message from an LSS guy called Diego Armando (the first two of the football star Maradonna’s full name, not his real name). He’s been hanging out in London, allegedly picking up girls, and asked if I wanted to meet. After work the next evening I was standing outside Liverpool Street train station watching the rush hour commuters fly past on their way back to the tree-lined streets of Essex. In the distance I spotted a shavenheaded Mediterranean guy with a grey polyester suit and awkwardly hurried walk. He introduced himself as Diego and my first illusion was shattered. He was quite a few rungs below RSG on the Coolness Ladder.
We started opening girls around the station, but nothing really went anywhere. I did get the number of a Spanish girl called Irati whom I ended up eventually getting into my bed wearing a Japanese schoolgirl outfit but, incredibly considering that circumstance, she was one of the ones that “got away.”
Before long Diego and I were in a nearby wine bar. It was a pretentious place, one of those where the wine is “reassuringly expensive” and it’s impossible to visualise any of the dishes merely from the menu description. Groups of work colleagues stood around unwinding over a beer before a train home. There were a lot of office girls, hence our presence. Low quality girls, according to my standards today, but my standards weren’t all that high back then. I was a little bit desperate.
It only took a few minutes until I was chatting to a trio of girls near the bar, asking their opinions on Paris and New York to ease my way in. If I met them now, I would consider them as I do most office girls—too masculine, too chubby—but not having had sex for six months puts some urgency into the drive to get laid.
Diego waited until the conversation was rolling—the set has “hooked”, in the Game parlance—and then joined us. It seemed to be going pretty well when all of a sudden, inexplicably, he pulled a deck of cards out of his back pocket. A full deck of playing cards, and he started doing magic tricks. I was standing there slack-jawed in shock, wondering what the fuck this dork was doing. It was just weird. The girls were looking at him like he was a freak as well. One of them even said, “You really just happened to have a deck of cards in your back pocket?”
This was my introduction into the delusional and downright odd world of pick-up forums. Diego was trying to emulate one of the most famous PUAs in the world—Mystery, who was by trade a magician before he got into the game. Mystery was the star of a reality show on VH1 called “The Pickup Artist” and generally considered a father of the seduction community. The difference here was that Mystery is an actual magician. Diego was a mobile phone salesman for Carphone Warehouse. The girls rapidly lost interest and left. Nothing went right and the ill-fated partnership with Diego died that night.