Chapter Three – Ye New Year, New Skirt
The story so far: Krauser asked if I was going to do another ‘Ask Jimmy’ before the end of the year. At the same time I remembered someone had asked for stories of classic Mystery Method night game. In a moment of massive overreaching (my only real weakness) I decided I was going to do a ‘three part yule story’ in which I meet a witch and she teaches me Mystery Method, with references to snow and mulled wine awkwardly shoe-horned in here and there. I regretted this commitment halfway through writing part one (as you have probably guessed by now), but never forget the important part of all this ‘Ask Jimmy’ stuff: Nick buys me a pint for every post I write. So here’s pint three, err I mean, part three (the final part, you’ll no doubt be pleased to hear), which is nothing more a thinly veiled re-writing of a dusty old field report about night game from about ten years ago, with some slight adjustments for plot and humour (the actual field report didn’t happen on a new year’s eve, for example). It’s a good field report and to anyone who has done MM style night game, it will be like a walk down memory lane.
Happy new year everyone! I hope you had a good 2018 and I hope 2019 brings you more steps forward in terms of health, wealth and skirt. Remember, we’d be bored if it were easy, but we still wish it were.
‘Wow Jimmy, it’s not a decision I could have made myself’, Tiger said solemnly, as he sipped his mulled wine. The train chattered loudly as it made its way to Clapham Junction and five knaves sat together in the centre of the carriage, excitable about the night ahead.
‘I could have handled it lads, but I’d have probably gone for the pie and pint day’, admitted G sadly as he stared at the floor. ‘That’s me being selfish, because I just love the Squid so much. Jimmy you chose the option that suited all of us’.
‘Don’t think a thing of it lads’, Jimmy said smoothly. ‘Don’t get me wrong, I love the Squid as much as the next man. It’s my only real weakness’. He wagged an authoritative finger at the gathered men and continued, ‘but I said to the crone, I said “Crone, there’s a time to be selfless and this is it, so you’d better get this sorted”.
‘We know Jimmy, you’re not the type to throw yourself on the floor and beg’, laughed G admiringly.
Jimmy shuffled uncomfortably in his seat, then gazed out of the window into space. ‘I just felt this is a win for the lot of us. She wasn’t prepared to give it either. She said it was ‘a knowledge too far’, but I stood firm. I told her straight I did. I talked her into it using me charm and here we are’.
Lukasz was still curious about one point and pressed, ‘Why us Jimmy? Why did she choose us?’ he probed.
Jimmy leant his head back slightly, stuck his jaw out and addressed group, ‘I have no idea, I think she said something about ‘the cream of the crop’. I wasn’t listening too much what with the glowing ball and all the magic going on. I don’t know if she meant me, or us. I don’t know if she meant I’m the cream of just the London crop or probably she meant in the whole universe. I can’t answer. But I can say we’re top drawer lads, I’ll tell you that’.
It was a motley crew indeed in those early days, the five of them. Tiger, Lukasz, Alain, G and Jimmy. Tiger was a suave looking Moor from a land far way. Dark of skin, clothed in a fine velvet jacket and silk cravat he certainly looked the part. An aspiring actor, he was charming of manner and a good team player, he had a natural flair for spinning DHV yarns and was well admired the rest of the team. Lukasz was an Easterner, a fashion designer by trade, friendly and eternally optimistic, and again, always interestingly dressed. Where both Lukasz and Tiger had a strong air of the ‘artist’, the other two were completely different. G and Alain were both high earning professionals. G was employed in the finance department of a bank, presented in a very clean cut and respectable way. The same could be said of Alain, who also worked also for banks. Jimmy sat in the middle of the four, literally and figuratively, being professionally employed as a well paid consultant while playing as a minstrel in his four piece zither ensemble.
As the train rolled into Clapham Junction the knaves were in fine spirits. Usually these lads would be the lowest of the low, the cheap cuts of meat, but tonight, with their new found magical powers and a year of pickup experience crammed into their heads… well they were STILL the lowest of the low, but they were confident they could finagle, cheat and misrepresent their way into an unsuspecting maiden’s under garments with their well coordinated wild exaggerations game.
Jimmy was jubilant, ‘who needs real value now we can present ourselves as if we had real value?’
‘We’re a well honed seduction team’, Alain continued as they leapt from the train to the platform at Clapham Junction, ‘It’s all about the team work, every bar has it’s own dynamic and we set the dynamic in our favour early on. It’s half the battle, the rest is just a matter of flickin’ a few switches. As long as we don’t stand on each other’s toes and we all get a fair bite at the apples, we can usually pull something out. We’re highly calibrated and expertly socially aware’.
Five abreast and holding up 100 angry passengers behind them, they strutted their way along platform six and out into the street. Snow caked the ground and the cold bit into their lips and fingers. Someone on the corner was eating a mince pie. The cold had emptied the streets and filled the taverns. Each tavern like an island of festive energy, warmth and mulled wine, a refuge from the seasonal elements. Occasionally the doors opened and revellers inside would spill into the street, bringing with them a blast of warm air and seasonal melody from the celebrations inside. Mulled wine was being sold. People were eating mince pies.
The knaves now knew that finding a decent tavern was the first challenge to ye olde night game. You need an environment with enough people and traffic for the opportunity to mingle. It needs enough people to host enough suitable maidens for five hapless lads, but it can’t be so loud as to make conversation too difficult. It should also have a good balance of seating and standing areas, for you need the standing areas to be mobile and move easily around groups, but the seated areas are necessary for retreating to later on for a more intimate opportunity for conversation. It’s not just hit and hope all this bar game. The seasoned and sophisticated seducer knows well these crucial elements that play their part in a fertile night game environment.
Passing one tavern, a door suddenly flung open and as a group of drunken girls exited, staggering and giggling, they gave the merry men a glimpse of what lay inside.
‘This place is perfect’, Jimmy yelped. ‘It’s got drunk skirt and still got its ornamental reindeer up’.
‘Then the night is ours’, cheered Tiger. ‘Let’s go to work’.
Tiger bounded inside as the rest of the crew bustled down the steps behind him. It turned out they had chosen a ‘country inn’ style tavern, a warm place with lots of space to move around and perfectly low level music. There was even a log fire still adorned with holly and ivy, but now New Year’s banners also hung from the ceiling. The knaves had chosen expertly well.
Upon his entrance Jimmy saw a maiden indeed fair. Tall and slim, dark hair, pretty features, tight fitting dark blue jeans and a quality looking tan leather jacket. She sat at the bar talking to a chubby lad and close by them was a seated cluster of men and women who could possibly have been part of their group.
‘That right there’, said Jimmy, ‘is a tidy bit of crumpet. If she’s not an 8, and she’s not, then she’s not far off and she’ll be an 8 when I write the field report. A properly turned out piece of cherry tart and no mistake. I bet she’s got all her own teeth! I don’t care what you do, but that’s my target lads’.
Tiger placed his hand on his shoulder. ‘You know the rules Jimmy’, he reminded. ‘If you can get us into any set; you have your pick of the skirt in that set and we’ll help you if we can. Until then, everything is open. It’s the same for everyone.’
Alarmed that one of the other knaves might bag his favoured skirt, Jimmy made a bee line for the target; he had his best line ready. ‘Ow pissed are ‘yer? Fancy a fumble in the bogs’, but at the last moment Alain hauled him back.
‘Jimmy, are you forgetting yourself, we have style and sophistication now. Slowly, slowly catch a monkey. Don’t say that thing about a fumble in the bogs for God’s sake. We’re not in the Squid now’.
Jimmy tugged at the lapels on his tunic to compose himself. ‘You’re right Alain, catch a monkey, just testin’ ‘yer. The first thing we need to do is build a bit of a vibe, not look like the kind of scum that shark bars for loose skirt and easy sex. I hate those types. We’ve got look like….’. Jimmy paused looking for the words.
‘Normal, well adjusted men?’, G contributed.
‘Anything but what we actually are?’, Lukasz added.
‘No’, countered Jimmy impatiently, ‘We’ve got to make them think we’re actually attractive. We do that by doing what we’re doing now, not surveying the room for skirt, but all sort of facing each other and having what looks like a good conversation. Let’s spend five minutes setting up a good vibe and give them a chance to notice us’.
Tiger nodded in agreement, ‘While you’re all doing that, I’ll go and see if I can get us some pawns’.
‘Great ides, Tiger’, Jimmy added, his gaze still hanging on his target, ‘Sweet and sour sauce on the side and a bit of spice and garlic on mine’.
Tiger shook his head. ‘A pawn set’, he clarified. He rolled his eyes to the roof, ‘for the central character you aren’t half a buffoon at times, Jimmy’.
‘Yes well, for now, I am the comic relief as well as well as the hero’ Jimmy admitted sadly, ‘according to the crone the comic relief in this crew doesn’t really come until we meet Robusto in 2009’. Jimmy pointed at his watch as if to highlight the hopeless passage of time he was up against. ‘Aye, in 2009, we’ll see world class buffoonery indeed, but until then, it’s me’.
Tiger and Lukasz peeled away. Their grand plan was harder than it sounded but a staple of night game. They intended to separate from the main group and try and pick off some low hanging fruit. A pawn set. This would generally be a group of 2 or 3 averagely pretty girls who are chatty in nature and willing to talk and have fun. They would ideally be an easy enough set to get into that might be glad for the attention, but they have to be hot enough to not be a discredit to the group. Pawns may or may not be up for anything romantic, but for either party it doesn’t matter too much. The worst case scenario is the girls may be milking the players for laughs and validation, but the players are in turn diluting the cock heavy nature of their group. To a casual observer, a group of 5 guys is a group on the hunt, while a group of 5 guys and 3 girls is a fun party. Pulling in a couple of easy pawns early on became a staple routine back in the day. Sometimes the pawns turned out to be alright and a decent consolation prize if you fall short and miss your targets.
With pawns and an improved vibe it can become easier to merge into and open other sets. The choice of the word ‘pawn’ relates to the idea you can trade the girl off, sacrifice her up front to get closer to what you really want later. Consider this example, often guys go out with female friends but want to meet girls themselves. Let’s say there are six flatmates on a night out, three girls and three guys. If a male from adjacent group starts a conversation, the guys may sense an attempt to ‘get one of their women’ and even though they’re not dating the girls, it can get their backs up. Even though they’re not ‘with’ the women, they’re still getting the blunt end of the deal and are less likely to be on your side. However, if the guy approaching is also in a group with girls, then there is a potential trade on the cards. ‘You get to speak to my skirt and I get to speak to yours’. You’re bringing value to the table in a trade, rather than manipulatively trying to take. The guys in the target set probably won’t think it through rationally like this, they’ll just see girls they can meet easily and take the bait. They’re much more likely to be on your side or drop their guard if they think there is something on a plate for them.
As long as there are girls around and you’re having fun and not doing anything to actually lower your value, then you’ll do OK in night game.
With Tiger and Lukasz gone, Jimmy, Alain and G positioned themselves next to the bar, close to a group of four student looking girls. Facing slightly away from the girls and talking amongst themselves, Jimmy’s gang looked like good mates having a good conversation, completely indifferent to who else may or may not be in the bar. In reality, they were looking over each other shoulders and describing to each other the skirt on offer, without having to look like they were scanning the bar for value.
‘Over Jimmy’s left shoulder’, G reported, ‘There’s a three set, but though one is really quite nice girl, the other two are rotters’.
‘I saw them as we came in’, Alain shuddered, ‘it’s an easy in I think. Talk to one of the gargoyles and they’ll rope the fit one in. I see that one Jimmy likes still talking to the guy over by that pumpkin lantern. Ate she’s nice, he’s a fat lad, but… a bit of a lad. I’m not sure what is going on there between them’.
Jimmy was impatient to make his first play. ‘See those fellas at the bar by close by my target set. See he’s got a Leeds United gym bag down by his feet. I’ve been on that game a few times. I’m going to talk to him and his crew. We can build a vibe and see if I can find a casual open on the fat lad’.
The set Jimmy referred to was a group similar to his own, five males. These guys weren’t out for girls in particular, they were out for drink. They looked like rugby boys. They were slightly boisterous but not unfriendly in any way. Despite it being an all male set, it was a good pick as Jimmy could very likely ingratiate himself with a group that looked ‘dangerous’, but were actually far from it. He could look like the guy who tames the bull. If Tiger and Lukasz turned up with some pawns in the next five minutes, then even better. The rugby lads would love them for that.
One could indeed cut out all this labour and go straight in for a girl, straight off the bat, with whatever value you carry with you. One might get lucky or might not. Alternatively, olde school bar game theorised that you could spend five minutes working an environment and raise the players’ value in everyone’s eyes, not just the targets’. With his value high and a party behind him, a player suddenly finds sets open much easier, or indeed they open him. It’s always possibly that someone else got into a target while a player was working his value up. That’s the trade off I guess. But it rarely happens and other men are easily handled. With a bit of game, after a while, other guys generally cease to be much of a challenge.
Jimmy got close enough to the rugby lads to hear their accents; he leant into the bar, ordered himself a drink and then casually noticed the gym bag.
‘Ere, are you lads from Leeds then?’ he beamed, pointing at the bag, ‘I’ve been ‘yon Elland Road loads of times, they’re a rum bunch all right them Leeds’.
‘He is, that monkey there’, a stocky drunk man with a red face and short dark hair pointed cheerfully at one of his companions. ‘He’s a Northern monkey from Huddersfield’.
‘Keep your eyes on your wallet’, another shouted.
The group laughed raucously and Jimmy stepped away from the bar, moving slightly closer to his target set. He wanted the banter and vibe of his new set to filter into the attention of his target. While the play he saw was that he could somehow bring the fat lad she was talking to into the cacophony, it didn’t really matter what the plan was, or even who the target currently was. All that really mattered was that now there was good energy and Jimmy was at the centre of it. He was having a laugh and he’d been in the bar less than 5 minutes.
The northern monkey looked grateful to have a fellow Northerner and asked Jimmy, ‘Are you from Yorkshire too?’
‘Worse!’, he said, then looking at the others he threw out his punchline, ‘I’m from Burnley’, he looked to the roof and shouted ‘keep your eyes on your wallet’.
That was all it took to set the laughter off. The group accepted Jimmy. G and Alain joined and general banter and discussion broke out between them all. Despite the fun times, the three knew, they never forgot, that they weren’t there for beer and daft talk; they were there for building a vibe and creating opportunities to meet nice girls. They didn’t know who or where yet, they just knew they had a platform cooking.
At that moment, Lukasz and Tiger returned with the four student girls from the aforementioned student set. It was perfect timing as a large group of guys was now blended in with several women. They now looked less like a rugby team and were a large mixed set, not too dissimilar from Jimmy’s target set. Laughing and joking loudly, they were the life and soul of the bar.
There was no real master-plan, no set game afoot. Just five guys with a rough idea of what they wanted and rules that let them know what was expected of them and what they could expect of each other. This was the important part, as it gave them a kind of telepathy. No matter what the conversation seemed to be about, the five all knew what the real state of play was.
1. The student pawns belonged to one of either Tiger or Lukasz. Any interaction with those girls would acknowledge that context.
2. The player (Tiger or Lukasz) may, or may not, want them as targets.
3. Jimmy was likely still trying to find an angle into the brunette and that’s why he’d set up this party set. It gave him no claim on the target set whatsoever, but as he’d done a good job getting the party started, most of the lads would probably give him a few moments leeway to work his way in.
4. The good vibe of the party set was a good springboard for everyone to open other sets now. They were the warm end of the pool in this bar. People were looking at them.
5. Again, until Jimmy actually opened up his target, he had no claim on her. If someone could get in there quicker and better, then good for them. It may be inconsiderate, but not actually against the rules. You couldn’t reserve targets; you had to do something to win them. It’s good for everyone as it spurs you into action.
6. You can rely on your wings to follow the rules, but not any other man.
There’s no need for jealousy in game because every player’s success benefits everyone else in the crew. Tiger and Lukasz pawn set reflected well on Jimmy. In turn, Tiger and Lukasz looked good to their set when they were able to say ‘oh we’re with those crazy guys over there, let’s go and meet them’. You can have the night from hell and go home empty handed while your wing gets the ‘10’. But if you’ve winged him well, that ‘10’ things you’re just as cool as he is, and she has friends. Game is not played just over a bar or even a night. It’s a castle you build brick by brick over months and maybe even years.
At this point chance played a card. Jimmy’s target stood up from her bar stool and took her jacket off, glancing around, she folded it over her arm. The fat man’s arms darted around the corners of the room. Jimmy guessed they were looking for the cloak room. He removed his jacket and walked over smiling.
‘Do you guys know where the cloak-room is?’, he asked.
‘She is looking for it’, said the fat lad. ‘I haven’t got a clue’.
‘Yeah’, Jimmy countered, ‘well I think I saw it on the way in, over there’.
It was as simple as that. Jimmy set off in the direction of the cloakroom and she followed. The door was now open, but crucially, as Jimmy left with the target, he saw G walking over and introducing himself to the fat lad. That is what a good wing does.
- Stops the fat lad following, giving the player a chance to work.
- Opportunity to befriend and bring all her friends into the group.
- Opportunity to DHV the player.
Knowing that when they returned from the cloakroom, the target set would be likely merged with his own; there was less pressure to actively game too his target too much. G had, in that one play, bought Jimmy probably half an hour to work. The five minutes at the cloakroom was neither here nor there. Jimmy used that five minutes to be fun, casual and indifferent to the targets hotness.
‘Pleased to meet you, I’m Jimmy by the way’.
‘I’m Carly’, she beamed.
Jimmy seemed not to hear, ‘The secret to a good New Year’s Eve, in my opinion, is to not try hard. Don’t expect much, just enjoy being with your friends’, he cooed, as if speaking to himself.
‘I agree, we came here because it was the only place we could have a quiet drink’.
Jimmy nodded knowingly, ‘are they all your flatmates then?’ (an obvious variant of ‘so how do you guys know each other’).
‘Some are’, she said. ‘The three girls at the table, we all live in Putney together. The big guy with the dark hair and the white shirt, he is Rod, he’s Claire’s fiance. The rest of them are all Rod’s friends’.
Jimmy imagined the conversation that set this night out up. ‘Hey Rod, see if Claire’s mates want to come out on new years with us. They’re nice looking girls, I wouldn’t mind getting to know them’.
Jimmy presumed there was nothing too serious between the fat boy and Carly, but that he was probably fancying his chances. The last thing he wanted to do too soon was to get anyone’s back up and shut the set down. Best to build value slowly, push those attraction switches and make yourself the favourite under the radar. You don’t need to be talking to a target to be building attraction. All she has to do is overhear or witness your game and attraction will be built. In fact, it can work a bomb if the target is not getting face time with you.
Imagine you’re at a party and there’s a super hot girl you like. Imagine she does a sexy dance. You witness it, but it’s not for you. The fact it’s not for you may doesn’t make it less attractive. It maybe makes it more attractive. You wished it were for you. Being on the outside looking in makes one very hungry. That’s the kind of desire you’re trying to generate in targets. I once got a girl’s number at a private party by never speaking to her. It was on one of Lukasz works night outs. As an experiment, I followed her around all night and spoke loudly enough for hear to hear all my DHV stories. At the end of the night she walked over and gave me her phone number. I dated her for 3 months.
By the time the Jimmy and Carly returned to the main group, a lot of integration had taken place. G had brought the fat boy into a conversation with himself and Alain and the Northern monkey from Leeds was now with Carly’s flatmates. Leeds and the flatmates seemed to be getting along like a house on fire, so the knaves figured why not just let him do the ground work for a while and swoop in later if the mood took them. Everyone was laughing and talking, it was a perfect free for all. The crew had been in the bar probably less than twenty minutes and they’d merged three sets and now had 6 immediate targets. When they came in they knew no one.
Reporting back to Alain, Jimmy motioned his arm, ‘these girls are flatmates. She’s engaged to him and the rest is open play I think. The blokes are all mates of the groom’.
‘Subtle this Jimmy’, Alain smiled. ‘All this was done by being chatty and friendly and nothing more. No-one has hit on anyone yet, no-one has offered to buy any drinks and no-one has signalled they are on the hunt. No openers, no magic tricks. It’s sophisticated and subtle game. I am beginning to think I could actually be a better man in time’.
‘Aye’, said Jimmy. ‘She fancies me that girl. It’s time to ask for that fumble in the bogs’.
‘No!’, exclaimed Alain, pulling him back, then patiently drawing breath, ‘We’re set up here. There’s no need to rush. Just find a girl you like and go over, build a bit of attraction. Demonstrate your admirable values, get her to chase’.
‘Well done Alain, you passed my test. Of course that’s what I intend to do. I’ll demonstrate my admirable values and get old Jimmy chased for a change’.
Jimmy liked the sound of being chased for a change. Why should he do all the hard work all the time? He was a man of high value now. He still lived in a pokey little room in the bad end of town, still slept in an unmade bed on a mattress on the floor, still wore the same clothes he was wearing when he was 17 and for a reason he never fully understood, most days he smelled faintly of cabbage. But all that that was just circumstances. Take it aside and you couldn’t convince him now there was much difference between himself and his hero Cary Grant.
He saw Carly talking to Claire, Tiger and one of the student girls. He made eye contact with Tiger then a few seconds later casually sailed past.
‘Ah, Jimmy’, shouted Tiger, ‘Just the man. Girls, have you met my best mate Jim’, he lowered his voice playfully as if telling a great secret and whispered, ‘one of the best rock and roll singers in London’.
For ten minutes, Jimmy and Tiger bounced off each other, they’d ask the girls questions to find out what interests the girls had, then playfully tease the girls and find ways to tell humorous stories of things they’d done.
‘Ah you like rock climbing. Adventure sports. You’re like the Lara Croft of Clapham, only drunker. Jimmy remember the time we were in Malaga and we went bungee jumping’.
They came across exactly as they actually were, two good friends with a shared history of adventure and, at heart, men of good values. A veneer of bad boy enough to be interesting, but really below that, decent guys who you want to be around because you want to be a part of their next stories. The girls clearly liked them. No longer strangers in a bar, they were shiny new friends with great lives. Carly in turn was not a party girl, she was polite and friendly, she worked as a school teacher and liked to sail boats and paint in her spare time. When she mentioned her artistic aspirations, Jimmy felt it was time to single her out and notice her.
‘That’s very interesting Miss… Carly? You’re an artist. Now tell me, are you a great artist or do you just throw some paper and a soup can on the floor and take a photo?’
She laughed and said, ‘No, I paint and I like to make mosaics out of glass and stone. I do pottery too. I’ve got my own pottery wheel’.
‘That’s good. It’s good for the character to have an artistic streak, makes someone interesting and it gives us something to do on the Sunday when the pubs are shut’.
‘So you play in a band?’, she laughed.
‘It’s not so much a big deal’, Jimmy waved his arm dismissively, ‘you know these guys all really love it and to hear them you’d think we’re the next U2, but we’re just another middle of the road London rock band. To be honest, I’m like you, I’m more than happy with my job. I do well. I think full time rock and roll would be too much fast living for me’.
‘Oh, so what do you do?’
‘I build IT networks for law firms and banks. I don’t do the actual work, I manage a team of engineers. I make sure the work gets done properly. It’s a lot of responsibility, but my boss and I get on really well. I don’t even see it as work really’. Jimmy paused and said, ‘In fact, fuck it, I love it so much, I’m going to to go the office right now’.
He feigned to leave and Carly pulled him back laughing, saying, ‘you talk like a proper Northerner, don’t you’.
At this point the Rod and the fat lad came to join them. It was entirely understandable. Their women were engrossed in conversation with some other men so they had a duty to check it out. Interruptions are a part and parcel of game, especially bar game. While often unwanted they can sometimes be used to your advantage. For one, they give you some time and space to work out the next play. For now, Jimmy focused his attention on Rod and the fat lad. He dropped all his focus on Carly and put it on the guys. He betrayed no disappointment that he just wanted to talk to Carly and he didn’t try to get it back to just her and him at the first opportunity. On the contrary, he was genuine and enthusiastic in his interactions with the men. He sold it well. He let them know he had nothing to hide and gave the impression that he was just as happy to laugh and joke with guys as he was girls. He also knew any DHV he delivered to Rod (and winning Rod over was a DHV in itself) would be heard by Carly. An interrupt is often not an interrupt. Just a change of play. Jimmy saw this as a chance to follow the maxim ‘lead the men and the women will follow’.
Jimmy knew at this point it was going well, he liked Carly and she liked him. He recognised that he’d have to pass the night in and out of her company to make sure he kept her interest and he’d have to make sure he got a chance to discreetly get her number well before she left, so he couldn’t leave that until the last minute and have to do it with all her friends waiting.
This timing concern woke him up after a while. The night was wearing on and there were other people in the bar. You can’t let things go too cold. You do at some point have to hit on your target. Just do it when you know she’s interested. After a while the obvious next step came to Jimmy’s scheming little mind.
He saw Lukasz and the lad from Huddersfield still dancing and flirting with the student girls from the pawn set. One of the girls was a cute, small blonde who seemed to be loving all the big Pole’s attention. He drifted over to Lucasz and greeted him warmly. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Alain sidle up to Carly and introduce himself.
‘Hey, I need a bit of Luke time as well, it’s not New Year without a sprinkling of my perfect Polish pal’.
‘Guys this is my friend Jimmy’. Lukasz announced, ‘Or as we call him ‘Mr. New Year’s Eve’.
‘Ding dong, ding dong!’, Jimmy said, wobbling his head.
It was the kind of meaningless waffle that you can just say in set and if the vibe is right and everyone will laugh. Lukasz had these girls so pumped up that he had exactly that vibe. He didn’t seem to need any help in this set, they would laugh at anything. The Huddersfield lad seemed to have a cool vibe of his own too and was clearly more than capable of rolling along and following Lukasz lead. Jimmy could have stuck bread-sticks up his nose and they’d have all thought it was high comedy. They lapped the tomfoolery up like hungry kittens. Out of the corner of his eye, Jimmy could see Alain still talking to Carly. He was smiling knowingly and gesticulating, while looking over in Jimmy’s direction. Carly’s eye’s were transfixed. Jimmy knew what was going on. Before game, this would have been a bad sign. Not now.
‘I don’t want to crash your set Luke’, he whispered, ‘but I need a jealousy plot-line’. ‘She’s into me is that Carly, but I got interrupted and it’s staled out a bit. I need a bit more juice to get it over the line’.
‘Dance with this blonde’, Lukasz pointed, ‘she’s just brilliant, watch this.
“HADOUKEN”’, he shouted as he imitated Ken and Ryu’s power move from Street Fighter II, blasting the blonde with an imaginary ball of firy energy. The blonde threw her arms in the air and repeated ‘HOW DO KEN’ while her friends fell about laughing.
‘OK, she can sing, she can shake, but… can she dance?’, Jimmy taunted. He grabbed her hand and raised it, the blonde span around like a top under his arm. Predictably, everyone laughed. Jimmy wondered if they’d been smoking pot.
‘That’ll do’, Jimmy said smiling. He set off to walk away, then, as an afterthought, remembering wing etiquette, he returned and pointing to Lukasz announced to the girls, ‘this man taught me everything I know… about… err… wrestling crocodiles’.
‘You wrestle crocodiles?’, the blonde asked wide eyed.
As Jimmy left he let his eye’s meet Carly’s by chance. She was standing with Alain and her friends and had obviously been waiting for Jimmy to leave his set. She smiled at him as he looked up and walked up to them. He laughed and said to them ‘Half an hour until New Year guys’. Then turning to Carly, ‘another year of perfect paint and pottery for you, I suppose?’
The interaction now just felt different. After the fear of loss it was almost as if Carly had decided, ‘if I get the chance again, I am going to make sure I take it’. The returning from the other set had also seemed to have proven to and assured Carly that Jimmy was someone she could count on. The fact everyone liked him wouldn’t distract him from the fact he liked her. Everything that happened between them after this point was a forgone conclusion. The swapping of numbers, the date. The relationship that lasted several months. None of that needed to be gamed out. The game part was done as soon as he returned from that Lukasz set. All that needed to be said was ‘you’re a really nice woman. You and me, we’re going to go out for a drink later this week’ and they were set on their course.
The social dynamics management part of Mystery Method is really only required while you’re getting a target’s attention. Night game is a lot of plotting and strategy, setting up social dynamics in your favour in order to deliver sometimes just a few words. The whole point of game is that it gives you the means to raise your value in those early moments before you approach and before you make your intentions clear. It’s easier to sell a product someone already wants or that they have been considering, than to sell the idea cold. Create the desire, then make the sale.
Back in the day a lot of non game friends told me that Mystery Method was unnecessary over thinking and that you could ‘just walk over and say ‘hello’ and not waste all the time’. But none of these guys were regularly dating particularly hot girls. They certainly weren’t dating more than one or two decent looking girls a year. The truth of it that I saw was that for most guys, they would just be yet another guy saying ‘hello’ and that doesn’t bear much fruit. We’d go out as a game crew and after a while, most nights at least one if us would get something really good. I didn’t see these results from non game friends. I just saw a lot of claims to game being ‘easy’ and ‘you just say hello’, but I didn’t see the results.
But none of that really mattered to me. Night game is a great team game and we were a team. We liked the over-thinking. We liked the game. The best part of the pickup in this story was when I spoke to Alain a few days later as we had coffee in Wimbledon, where we both lived. I asked him what he said about me to Carly while I was doing the jealously plot-line with the blonde girl and he just laughed and said, ‘oh God you know. The usual stuff’. It didn’t really need to be explained or confirmed what he did. He just did what we did. We looked out for each other and played our roles. Truth is, win, lose or draw we were having the time of our lives and we knew it.