Qu. How do I know a girl is serious or just leading things on?
Even the tiny streets leading off Knez Mihailova were bustling. The sun hung overhead slowing the pace of the day as shoppers sloped from door to door and tourists sauntered slowly, doing nothing in particular, taking in the atmosphere of the beautiful old city. In a corner cafe under the shade of a striped red and white awning Krauser sipped at a lukewarm coffee, waffling on about something of seemingly great importance, as I nodded occasionally, imitating a listening person and remembering suddenly why I visit him so seldom. The street that day accommodated several daygamers, I had noticed. I was thinking back trying to remember the first time I’d ever been to Belgrade, with Nick actually. Was it really 7 years ago? There were no daygamers back then, just me and Nick. It seemed a lot busier in general these days than it used to be.
‘Does that sound realistic?’, he suddenly asked, snapping me back to reality.
‘What? Oh yeah! Yeah’. I paused looking for a safe response. ‘You’re definitely good at that’, I chose confidently. It was one of my safest go to phrases whenever he almost caught me not listening. He smiled smugly across a desperate, craggy face, ‘I thought so’, he beamed as he emphatically planted down his coffee, spilling waves over the sides of his cup, and smiling as he eased back in his seat. ‘Yes. My calibration is much sharper than the average person’s. Much sharper. Good calibration is better than a million dollars in the bank. I know people who work in banks. And they have a million dollars. And they would love to have calibration like mine. I can tell in seconds if she’s just kicking the tyres’.
I nodded slowly to give the impression of being in deep agreement, ‘a million’ I agreed, not remembering what the figure referred to. I then gazed away as his voice carried on, like a unstoppable relentless grater, gnawing away at the peaceful fabric of the afternoon. ‘Kicking the tyres’, I mused, as I drifted off again. ‘To kick the tyres’ is a sales reference, often used in game. Game is sales after all to some degree. No doubt we’ve all reflected a few times on various examples of how game is similar to a sales job. I recalled how that scene from Glengarry Glen Ross always used to get mentioned on pickup forums back in the day. Does it still? I remember once how an old wing of mine, a great guy we called ‘Blue’, how he re-wrote that scene into a short sketch from a pickup point of view. He did a really expert job, changing all the characters to under-performing pickup artists and the dialogue to pick-up situations with the leader of the crew bemoaning their collective laziness and low standards. We talked about getting a camera and having a go at filming the scene. It probably wouldn’t have been that hard to do and if we had it would have been a great memento to look back on.
But game is close to sales and skirt do kick the tyres, like an indifferent customer passing the time on a forecourt. Pleasing themselves by just seeing what is out there, despite at times having little to no genuine interest in actually buying. We all ‘kick the tyres’, I reflected. Have you ever had the feeling your boss is not paying you what you’re worth? So what you do is you go on some job sites and look at some postings, you may even talk to a few recruiters. You talk to the recruiter and find out that your boss is paying you within a few grand of the market rate, so now, secure in the knowledge that you’re not getting ripped off, you go back to work with a happy feeling in your stomach and no nagging doubts. You can put your feet up and coast for another 6 months. Or maybe you don’t have a boss right now, maybe you’re taking time out and wondering what the market is like in case you want to get back to work any time soon. Maybe a recruiter calls you out of the blue and you talk to them. It doesn’t mean you’re going to go along with it. You just want to ‘kick the tyres’ of the market and if you were the recruiter in this situation, you wouldn’t get too excited, though the door is most certainly to some degree open.
Let’s say a girl has a ‘boyfriend’, whatever that might mean. She’s fairly happy but she is not sold this is the guy for her in the long term or even short term. She thinks she has the goods to shoot a little higher, so she has to manage her hypergamous curiosity. She’s maybe not likely to actually make a move, she just wants to satisfy herself that she’s not missing out. You stopping her in the street while no one is around to report back on her behaviour is like a recruiter calling you on your lunch break. And she wants to know what her market rate is, she wants to know what’s on offer. She may even keep you around for a while to pump for information and validation. Or maybe even while she genuinely makes her purchase decision. We just don’t know.
‘Oy… OY’, he snapped impatiently, turning to me with a knowing look, ‘you can see the lower average IQ in these countries can’t you Jimmy’, he said to me, ‘EXCUSE ME’, he bellowed. The waiter whirled round to see Krauser impatiently waving his menu in the air. He looked at me victoriously. ‘I’m gonna have the steak and potatoes’, he declared, as if I were taking the order. ‘I have it every day at the same time’. I knew this already, since we’d been at this cafe every day for the last week, at the same time and he’d always ordered steak and potatoes.
The waiter wheeled over smiling nervously, ‘steak and potatoes?’, he said looking at Nick expectantly.
‘Steak and potatoes’, I said, as I leant back in my chair. Pumping you for validation she is. She is playing a balancing game of keeping you baited enough to hang around but not give so much that she has to hand in her notice and take the risk. It’s very likely that the value you have shown so far is not clearly higher enough than what she already has, for her to make any kind of move or purchase decision. Or she just loves the validation and attention. Either way she wants to sit in the grey area of deniable ‘light flirting’ and she is in no hurry to get out of it. You’re basically getting a ‘no’, ‘this is unlikely’ or a ‘maybe’. You just have to understand this so you can deal with it.
I had a few tricks up my sleeve in my time, to get her down off that fence and into the ‘Rodeo del Jimbo’. I smiled at the images flickering across the ‘memories movie screen’ in my mind. It turned out to be opportune moment to smile as Nick had seemingly just slipped some kind of a clever joke into whatever he was saying and it really looked like I was listening. It was a freebie. Those moments are gold, ‘it’s bought me another few minutes before I have to think up another response signal to give to this idiot’, I thought.
I shifted in my seat and leant back as if to say ‘go ahead, tell me all about it’.
‘How do you filter intentions?’, I thought, secretly.
I bet by now some guys have figured out some amazing techniques. Far beyond the rudely drawn gambits of the early guys like me. I asked myself ‘what, if asked, would I contribute to the conversation’?
Increase my value/build comfort
This is the obvious one. Jimmy, while she’s still kicking tyres, you simply haven’t made your case enough, so you still have some work to do. Now’s not the time to be too worried about if she fancies me or not, now is the time to build value and comfort. How to do this is obviously a big topic for another day. I can’t really talk about it under this heading. But your job as a pick up artist, as someone with ‘game’, is to take a girl from a negative or an indifferent position, to a positive one. And you do that with attraction and comfort. Tyre kickers are fine to some extent, as they’re giving you at least a chance, time and space on the ball, to work your magic. That’s a positive. I think that’s the correct starting attitude from which to attack this subject.
And a reminder here, the Mystery Method tells us: Game is played in ‘Comfort’. Comfort is a stage of the seduction process (it often takes place on dates). Just get the fuckers onto dates and then see to what extent you really have any game. Getting a number on the street or an iDate is a great skill, but it’s only a small part of game, it’s just the initial cold call. The real salesmen are the field sales guys who can consistently build value and comfort in the field. It’s not the appointment bookers. Appointment bookers work hard to prove themselves so that they can then become field sales guys. In game you have ‘approach coaches’ vying to become coaches.
It’s worth at this point differentiating between ‘date’ and ‘text game’ situations. In terms of text game situations, I see the real problem being elsewhere. Trying to save poor in field work with good text game is like smoking 100 a day and then trying to beat the cancer with a really great alkalising diet. Since as long as I can remember I’ve had people tell me that their game is ‘really good’ but ‘Jimmy, my text game needs work’. I always know what’s coming next. I watch them in set and then see their texts and hey ho, it’s not their texts, it’s their sets. They’re not as ‘really good’ as they think they are. They build minimal attraction and get a number based on momentum. The girl seems happy (and she is, in the moment), but really she’s just had a surprising fun conversation with a stranger and she gives her number based on the energy of the moment and the promise of a source of validation, there’s nothing really supporting it much beyond that. That’s OK though, not many of us, myself included, are as good as we think we are.
‘Apart from me’, Krauser yelled at me. I sat bolt upright, startled. Almost dropping my coffee, caught between my daydream and reality and for an uncomfortable moment, my blood ran cold, he’s managed to master an actual mind reading routine, I gasped to myself.
I can’t let this lunatic loose with this kind of power.
I looked at him through narrowed eyes, I’m going to have to kill him, I resolved.
‘I was the only one NOT qualifying Jimmy, the other chodes were standing around giving her as much validation as she wanted. A proper chode crystal. I was disgusted’.
I breathed out in relief. ‘It’s a mad world!, I sympathized. Write that line down lads. Anytime some fool complains about something that exasperates them, ‘it’s a mad world’ is a beauty. Placates them immediately. Try it.
I saw his lips moving and he continued to tell his story. The sounds of the street once again muffled as, nodding and making eye contact, I sank back into my thoughts.
So I’ve got a tyre kicker on a date and I’m appropriately managing the attraction process. So what next?
Stay outside of that grey area
If she’s happy sitting in the safety of the ‘this could be a date/not quite a date‘ grey area, then you’re most decidedly not. And you want her out of it as soon as it’s appropriate. If you’ve had a crack at building attraction and getting a little rapport going, then you need to draw her into that ‘this ‘aint just friends’ vibe. The good news is, such forthrightness is an attraction builder. Staying in the grey area is an attraction destroyer. If you have done what you think is necessary, made your case to a reasonable degree, sometimes you just have to make a do or die call.
Going back to the sales comparison, I remembered being scared of a ‘no’ when I was a kid. I was 21 and wasting a lot of time as I worked several forms of sales jobs on my way up through to account management then project management. Again in sales, there’s a similar kind of scenario where the young salesperson is fearful of hearing the word ‘no’. Not being flush with choice, when the young salesman gets what looks like a good lead, he wants to keep it there. The hope and promise of a sale in the midst of his unimpressive pipeline means he’s happy to keep calling the client and putting off the point of sale, accepting the ever continuing excuses and delays of the client. ‘We’re VERY interested, this dovetails perfectly into our plans, call back after our board meeting next month’, they’ll say. The novice then enthusiastically taps the information into his CRM record and lives off the promise for the next month. That way, he believes, he gets to keep the promise and maybe something will happen and he’ll get the sale one day. He doesn’t want to push too hard and lose the little that he does have.
Then one day you just realise that getting a ‘no’ is actually very valuable and completely painless. It’s not only a big ‘so what’, it’s what the big boys actually do on purpose. You want to get your ‘no’ as soon as possible so that you’re not chasing around wasting time on people who have no genuine intention of buying. You want 10 leads and you want to filter out the obvious fake ones as soon as possible.
But here’s a bit of a difference between sales and game. In a similar way game really begins in comfort, sales really starts when you hear your first ‘no’. You try to find out what the objection is and deal with it and only if it’s insurmountable or the cost reward isn’t worth is, you move on. It’s a bit different in game as you have to react with indifference to these ‘no’ moments, but still handle them. You can’t come across like you’re selling, as that’s chasey and low value. You have to come across easy come easy go, like a mutually interested peer, and make her chase.
A refusal doesn’t necessarily mean forever either, it can just mean ‘not yet’. You’ve just got to understand you’re getting a ‘no’, so you know ‘I’m currently in turndown territory’ rather than ‘this is going great’.
In game we want to remind her this is romantic and put her in situations where she can’t box us in the friend zone. With tyre kickers, you’ve got to be willing to make your intentions clear and get the matter out in the open.
Escalating towards an obvious sexual frame is an example of how to keep things on the right track. This doesn’t have to be outrageous dirty talk, just man woman/frame references. You can turn it up or tone it down according to how turned off the target is. A pretty safe one I’d say on dates I’d say things like, ‘see if we had kids (eye contact when you say this), with my brain and your body… and also my body… (then I’d look away wistfully) and my tenacity, and my ability to learn new skills quickly… our kids would be incredible’. It’s clearly a daft joke, but it gently draws you in the romantic circle. NB: I’m not saying you tell girls you’re actually up for having kids with them. It’s a silly, unlikely future projection story that they don’t take seriously.
There are various possible reactions:
If she is laughing along at things like this, you can assume you’re making headway. It’s great escalation.
If she expresses mild discomfort or is unenthusiastic about the subject, you can tell there’s some kind of blocker, but she’s not willing to burn the set.
If she gets uppity or angry, great. You just got a pretty firm ‘no’ and an insight into the fact she might not be all that much fun to be around. You can now get to work dealing with it, or decide it’s just not worth it. But at least you’re in control and you’re not allowing her to put you in the friend zone.
You see this is the thing. If the set goes down in flames, the novice thinks he’s a failure at game. Like the salesman wanting to keep a ‘non lead’ alive for the illusion of success. It’s the seasoned swordsman who is willing to crash and burn. He gets that it’s sometimes the necessary play. Don’t do it needlessly, obviously, but don’t be the guy who’s just endlessly happy to keep the flame alive.
I suddenly became aware of an awful sucking and smacking sound, I looked in alarm up expecting to see some strange bulbous jelly like space creature engaged in some form of cleansing ritual, but I calmed down when I saw it was just Krauser eating noisily. ‘It’s all there on his blog’, he assured me, ‘the whole affair was really sordid, typical of the Democrats’, he declared.
‘Pft’, I breathed out through my teeth, ‘has this kind of thing happened before then…’
‘Well back in the Reagan era’, he began… I leant back further in my chair again.
‘What else was there’, I thought. We’ve accepted that indifference is just an expected art of game. We’ve agreed that we can handle it by managing a romantic frame.
Apart from progressive escalation, how else do we check it’s working?
Filter for investment
This is a big one and it serves two purposes in that firstly, it gauges genuine interest and secondly, it actually builds attraction. The idea behind investment as an attraction builder works in a few ways. Firstly it assumes the expectation that someone must be willing to invest in order to spend time with you, which is high value behaviour and high value behaviour build attraction. It builds a kind of faux bond, a thin kind of loyalty in the early stages in the same way a non refundable deposit does on theatre tickets. It’s makes you much more likely to show up.
Again back to sales. In the early days of running bootcamps, we did them totally free. We were so drunk on fun, we actually paid for the costs out of our pocket and never asked a penny. It went on for about 6 months. We’d average around 7 students booked for a weekend, but 2 or 3 would drop out and we’d end up with 5. That would leave us heavy handed on the trainers side but at first we didn’t care as we were in it for the fun, though after a while, we realised it was a bit disrespectful and expensive for us. Especially when at times 7 trainers might turn up ad end up supporting 3 students.
We resolved it by charging either a non refundable, or refundable, deposit, I don’t recall. But the idea was, you lose the money if you no show. The amount was minor and it didn’t even cover our travel costs, let alone our room rental. I guess it was about £20. It was indeed minor but the result was incredible. Sign ups decreased very slightly, but dropouts decreased to zero. I honestly don’t have the figures but I guess we ended up with a dependable 4 to 5 students a weekend.
This is all from memory, but I’ve seen evidence of this being the case across several industries. It’s pretty basic. It’s likely three things had occurred when we did this.
1 – We were demonstrating we were more than a bunch of jokers by having the confidence to ask money. We were still the basement boys but our time wasn’t a joke. When the resource is of value, you’re more likely to go.
2 – Once you’re £20 in you find it hard to walk away and write the money off. Even if it’s raining or your big toe hurts. When you have skin in the game, you’re more likely to go.
3 – Sign ups decreased slightly. We’d likely simply filtered out a lot of time wasters just at this step. The ones who were never going to be serious dropped out the minute there was an investment asked of them. I never had to spend time logging their names or tapping their numbers into my phone and calling them on the night to ask how far away they were. The truth is, they were never a yes. I saved myself a massive ball ache, just by demanding investment.
The insecure guy and the insecure salesman thinks ‘if I ask investment I’ll scare people away’. The underlying belief is ‘because I am not worth it’. Poison. Kick that little voice in your head right in the balls.
For most skirt it not necessary, but take a hard look if you think you’re having your waffles frozen. How invested is she? Does she turn up? On time? If she is happy to be flakey and let you down then you’re probably not that important to her. If a girl really likes a guy, everything else takes a back seat. General persistent flakiness, last minute cancellations or worse, requests to change plans, there are all signs of low investment and low seriousness. That’s not to say if she asks to change the time or the location you bawl her out. I’ve had girls who were always late, BUT, were always fully engaged in the conversation, the texts and keen to keep meeting. They were just poor at time-keeping.
No, it’s a general thing. When does she take time to meet you and is she willing to put herself out slightly for you?
It’s up to you to filter the signs of tyre kicking early and deal with them, either by demanding investment or slowly slipping it in there with minor compliance tests. But if it’s not there after a while, don’t paddle about after her like a puppy.
Tyre kickers are difficult because if you get 10 of them, 7 are going nowhere, which means you’ve got to lose 7 leads that you really, really want and it’s a hard promise to surrender. But remember, it’s good for the frame to be the chooser. Be the man who is the chooser. In order to be this guy, you’re going to have to burn a few sets in your time.
Let me ask you a question, have you ever told a hot girl ‘thanks, you’re a nice girl, but you’re not for me’ and walked away. I have many times. I have regretted it pretty much every single time, but man it’s good for the frame. You lose a lay on Monday to be a much tougher customer a year from now.
I remember one night, long, long before game, I was out with some of the football lads in a crappy night club in Wimbledon. Now this is a 100% true story, as they all are, and if I lie even slightly, let my favourite football club be plagued by a decade long losing streak. There were two hot, blonde Kiwi girls on the dancefloor in this club, mercilessly tooling every man who came near them. They stood out a mile because they were hot, blonde, confident and there were two of them. At the time I’d have said 9s. I have no idea now, but we can safely assume 8s. We were all pretty drunk and we stood around them in a circle, while one by one these girls went round the circle and danced with each guy in turn for about 10 seconds before coldly flicking them off with a laugh and turning to the next. It was a conveyor belt. Every single guy fell for it every single time. I was disgusted. I wised up after it happened twice. I watched it all unfold and kept expecting the guys to wise up long before it got to be my turn. Not a single one did, the fucking mop heads. I was amazed they could be so fucking feckless.
So when one of them came to grab me, I firmly grabbed her arms and and gently and dominantly, pushed them off me and said in her ear, ‘thanks, you’re a lovely girl, but I’m married’. I pulled back, looked in her eyes and smiled. ‘Go and dance with that guy’, I said.
I loved it. My frame changed forever.
I actually dated the girl for a while. That story ended up with her chasing me. But that’s by the by. However, comically with that girl, I had a big problem in that I had to keep pretending to be married! I couldn’t, pre game, see a way to get out of the impossible lie I’d created for myself. Now I realise I could have just said to her on the first date, ‘I don’t have a wife you dingbat, I said that because you were being a prick tease and I don’t fall for it. Now stop being wet, we’re going for a drink’.
I was so stupid I had to manage this wife. I had a fake wife! It made the whole thing impossible. I had to keep inventing things about this fake wife, Emma. I gave the wife a name (of an ex). I had to. I had a wife, she had to have a name. She had to have a name, she was my wife. The relationship ended in a really weird way as well, but that’s another story for another time.
There was another girl at uni, a Welsh girl, Sianne or something. She was fucking blinding hot. I once walked past her door in her dorm and no shit the post it notes from guys were about 40 deep. She had absolutely no interest in me whatsoever. It was never going to happen and I was savvy enough to know it. The other guys harboured wild hopes. One night when she tried to tool me like a puppy dog, I was ready for it. I threw her hands off me and said ‘Hey, don’t go putting your paws on me love. Look you’re a ice grl, but you’re not my type OK?’
I knew I was throwing nothing away. And maybe she did. But what could she say in front of everyone. I just became the only guy in town to ever blow Sianne out. And I did it publicly. People talked about that. It helped me get other girls.
There’s a lot to be said for saying, ‘you know what, on balance, I don’t know, but I just get the feeling this one is prick tease, I’m just going to squish it out in style and move on. ‘Listen, I think you’re a really… nice.. girl and I think you’ll be great for someone else’.
‘And that’s why my workout routine is far superior to his’, he gloated. He was obviously onto his fitness regime now. It was apparent I hadn’t said much of anything for at least half an hour too and he was now looking at me expectantly. ‘Does he know?’ I thought. I had a red alert situation going on here. If I was to get back to my thoughts on sales and game and girls kicking tyres, I had to think fast. Fortunately years of dealing with him has honed my skills and I launched a dynamite gambit I call the ‘half agree’. It goes like this, if I just keep nodding, he’ll realise I am not listening. If I disagree too much, he’ll press me for a full explanation, which takes a lot of focus and pulls me away from my thoughts. So I came up, years ago, with the ‘half agree’, it goes like this:
‘His routine isn’t bad though is it, it’s pretty impressive’.
Top level Krauser management. He takes the bait every time. I look like I’m listening and I give him a real bone to chew on. ‘He’ll be positioning himself above this poor sod, whoever he is talking about, for half an hour now’, I cackled to myself, ‘I’ve just bought myself half a bloody hour, I’ve enough time to do my ‘Burnley winning the Champions League’ daydream’.
As his lips continued to move, the floodlights of the San Siro filled my mind and the players lined up. The football world had been stunned by the story of how this plucky little town team in england had defied the odds and somehow got this final.
I smiled broadly and leant back… even further… in my chair. People say I’m so laid back I’m practically horizontal.