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Remedial Dating Strategies

Round 2, Day 5 – Friday July 22
Breakfast: 6 eggs, spinach
Lunch: red curry chicken with cauliflower
Dinner: salmon filet, cauliflower
Afters: about a bottle of red wine

Round 2, Day 6 – Saturday July 23
Breakfast: 6 eggs, cauliflower
Workout: incline bench (155lb, 3 sets of 5), weighted pullups (55lb, 3 sets of 5)
Lunch: sweet potato, turkey sausage, 1 pint coconut milk ice cream, 1/2 lb curried chicken breast chunks
Dinner: 1 pint coconut milk ice cream, 1/2 lb curried chicken breast chunks
Afters: plenty of tequila-and-sodas

As you’re no doubt aware, forces aligned two months ago to make me take a break from Crossfit and dive blindly into a new fitness-and-nutrition program, The 4-Hour Body, almost purely based on the empiric research-driven mind of its author and creator. I put my faith in Tim Ferriss’ experiences, slightly tweaked my outlook on exercise and diet, and have had pretty good results so far. Now, fitness has (since I turned 29) come easy to me, and I’m in the best shape of my life.

But what about dating and romance? Why, when my results and successes are so much harder to come by in this field, am I so hesitant to change my panicky ways and put my blind faith in someone else’s advice, to jump out of the plane, so to speak? Part of it is obviously the complex emotional connection I have with loneliness and my lifelong inability to meet (and especially to seduce and attract) women. Also, I sort of want to get advice from someone who has been where I have been. Someone who has cried himself to sleep weekend after weekend, cursing his own awkwardness. Someone who has tried every cockamamie scheme or ‘fool-proof’ trick in the book to simply meet an interesting girl, yet failed nearly every time, flinging himself into a whirlwind of panic attacks and antipsychotics from which there was only temporary, if any, escape.

Enter Rob Judge. He looks and sounds like Bud Bundy, but in a haystack of purported dating gurus and pick-up artists, he seems like a breath of fresh air. Two folks independently encouraged me to check out his website, his blog, and his books, since he came from a place of similar misery and hopelessness (albeit for different reasons) and through sheer force of will and having some fortunately-abled friends, learned about what worked and what didn’t work when it came to attracting women quickly. He was able to tease out the behavior patterns that were common to his most successful dates, as well as the ones that had a tendency to ‘creep’ women out (GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY), put them all in a couple of well-written self-help guides, and became a working-class hero to the perennially-lonely bastard.

I bought the e-book “Advanced Dating Strategies” Thursday night and stayed up until 4am reading it. Twice. I watched every supplemental video online and took notes. I daydreamed and visualized scenarios. I rewound the mental tapes of dates that went awry, potential relationships that veered off-course, and pinpointed where and how I screwed them all up. (The Bass Player? The girl was *in my fucking lap*, and I threw it away by being insecure.) The premise is simple, but of course, easy to overthink. Throw your full masculine energy into getting her attention and having her focus on you, the same idea I unwittingly thought of on my own a couple days ago.

Then it gets a bit tougher, but it’s a matter of keeping the mood light and fun while getting her emotionally engaged enough to become curious about you, then escalating mentally and physically from there while not getting flustered by any friction that she decides to bring into the interaction. There are strategies to stay cool, stay in the moment, project confidence, and do on-the-fly damage control, not as if it’s a pre-planned script, but more to recognize make-or-break moments in the process of meeting someone new, and not to let a challenging response discourage you.

Fair enough, I said. Let’s give this a try. First, the “get her attention and focus” part, and later, letting the rest of the pieces fall into place. It’s like swimming, I guess. Right now, I’m still learning to stand in the water. Art on the Rocks, the supreme summer social event series, seemed like the ideal venue to practice, worry-free. But a couple odd things happened before that.

The Techie met me for coffee. I felt like there was something fishy about the whole deal. She was nice. Women are only nice to me when they know from the get-go that they’re never going to sleep with me. And this is how I turn everyone into an ‘acquaintance’. I don’t take risks. She showed up 10 minutes late. Rude. She sat down and said she didn’t feel like ordering anything. Again, fishy. She monopolized the conversation, rambling about her trip to New Orleans and not letting me get a word in to so much as ask a question. Rude. She was very bad about making eye contact. Fishy and rude. I tried to stay on target and in the moment. “Who did you go with?” I asked casually. “My boyfriend,” she responded, just as casually, as my forehead started pouring sweat and I temporarily went blind. Her words became unintelligible noises of minimal significance as I stared aimlessly at her, wondering where I miscalculated and swearing an oath never to pussyfoot around with a coffee date ever again. Happy hour or bust.

At her first pause for a breath, I pulled out my pager with a flourish, pretended to read some non-existent words on the screen, and told her I had to head back to the hospital. I checked my watch. 2:19pm. Total time from “expectation of a fun engaging date” to “who the fuck gives their number to a random guy and schedules a casual coffee outing with him while in a committed relationship?”: 9 minutes. I pounded that triple americano so fast that my taste buds burned off.

As I was dressing up for Art on the Rocks, the Match.com Girl randomly texted me a photo of her in a tight black cocktail dress, joking about being vain and wishing me a fun weekend. I had several options at this point, and I knew that whichever one I picked would be the decidedly wrong one. I could do nothing. I could text her back a simple response like “Cute!” or whatever. I could text her a photo of myself in my own fancy outfit with a jokey response. What would The Duke do? (The Duke didn’t have a cell phone! Dammit!) My first instinct was to write her back. I snapped a photo of myself in my black dress shirt and sent it to her: “If only I were a fashionista like you…” And as soon as I hit send, I had a gut feeling that I had created some terribly weak, unattractive subtext that negative every inroad I had made with my humorous e-mails and phone conversation over the past 3 days. We’re still meeting for drinks on Wednesday. Unless she cancels. Which she most certainly will.

Come to think of it, the aftermath of Art on the Rocks (plus whatever happens tonight) might warrant its own column. No, I didn’t take anybody home with me or make out with anybody. I didn’t get a number or an e-mail address. But I *did* boldly approach about 20 hot women, said hi to everyone I wanted to say hi to, got their attention, and talked to them without fear of rejection. Only one of the conversations lasted more than 30-40 seconds, and that one (with a tan brunette in a skin-tight orange dress) degenerated into a factual ‘job interview’ session that I was powerless to veer in a more flirty direction.

Still, last night was a big step forward, even though it didn’t seem like it as I walked home from the bar at 1am with no new names or numbers in my phone. I’m hoping they’ll come. Of course there is the expectation of learning to run before I can walk, since I’m *SO* far behind all my peers in terms of social grace, confidence, and sexual experience, and I don’t have a *whole* lot of time left to date hot women (Do I? Just by the curse of my age, the window’s already closed on hooking up with a taut college babe…) I guess there’s not much I can do. Unattractiveness and awkwardness is the hand I’ve been dealt. Alright, back to my books.

And my cheat-day ice cream!

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