A couple years ago, shortly after I went through my second divorce and was feeling pretty down on myself, I read the book titled “The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists” by Neil Strauss.
While I am decent looking, I’m not the kind of guy women will approach, and in the exceedingly rare cases they did approach that I can count on two fingers, I was just flat out not interested.
So as I found myself more and more single, I remembered an acquaintance/friend of mine – Mark Arshinkoff – an aeronautical engineer who had a gift with women.
When I first met the guy, who was maybe 3 years older than me – we – a group of engineers from Orbital went to a pub called Maloney’s in Scottsdale, Arizona (USA).
Think Cheers. Only half the size. Populated by gorgeous Scottsdale women. You get the picture.
No sooner do we walk in then Brad Uhlig, my roommate at the time, and mechanical engineer – leaned over to me and said “Watch this”
“Mark,” he said to Mark, “20 bucks says you can’t get her,” as he points to a stunning leggy blond at the bar with three of her friends.
Mark smiles, “5 bucks,” he responded, “this is like hunting deer with a flashlight and it’s just not a fair bet for you.”
Brad smiled, “You’re on.”
Mark took five dollars out of his pocket, and handed it to me. Brad did the same.
The man rule had been formed long before this, which was: “Always place bets in escrow.”
Bill Glomski, another roommate and electrical engineer who was not privy to the bet at all, had returned with the first round of drinks and handed each of us our beers.
Mark was off to the side a little bit, studying his prey as he took the beer.
“What’s his dealio?” Bill inquired to Brad and myself.
“Her,” Brad pointed.
“Oh yeah. You’ve never seen the Arsh in action, have you Greg?,” Glomski and I had a tendency to refer to eachother by our last names.
“How long do you give him?,” Glomski said.
“I give him half an hour,” Brad said.
“Twenty Minutes for $5,” Glomski responded.
“You’re on,” Brad responded, and both fished five dollars out of their pocket and handed it to me.
Five minutes later, another friend, Chris Philpot walks in, a business development manager at Orbital.
Mark’s still at the separate table. Alone. Still studying.
The girls don’t notice any of us.
Now Chris. Is a great looking guy. Stunning in fact. 6’4″ tall. But he’s insecure.
You can tell Mark chaffs him, as he comes up and greets us and looks at Mark and says to us “Is he already starting?,” his voice demonstrating clear disdain for Mark.
Brad tips his beer back “Ayup,”
Not a moment later, Mark gets up without saying a word, and saunters over to the woman.
It had been seven minutes by then.
I watched with a tinge of jealousy.
“The courage. Where did he get that?,” I thought to myself.
We all chatted, but the attention was most certainly on Mark, as we watch him stand back and get playfully slapped by the girl within 2 minutes of talking to her. This banter continues. She’s immediately ignoring her friends. She flips her hair. He kisses her neck.
He then puts his arm out, she places her arm in his, she says something to her friends, one friend places her hand on her shoulder and she brushes it off, and 17 minutes after the ‘target’ had been identified, Mark was now escorting the target home to his place.
As he walks by Brad, he leans over and says “I have to leave, but what we discussed (the bet), I will come chat with you about on Monday”
It was really that quick.
I gave Glomski the other five dollars that Brad lost.
“Every time,” Glomski said.
Chris then said “I don’t know why he ever bothers to come out. He never stays any longer than 20 minutes.”
I can’t say I was in awe.
But I was amazed.
So in 2005, I started reconsidering the way I dated.
I hated ‘the game’.
In fact. I was wishing women would just approach me.
Not in this world, right?
I consider myself a decent looking guy. And Mark had a leg up on me which I didn’t have – he was a great looking guy.
At the time – I had been noticing Tony Robbins – an effective speaker and giant of a man, and the author of the fantastic confidence self help book named “Awaken the Giant Within”, as I watched his public speaking engagements and realized it wasn’t just good looks – it was body language. he was saying something so powerfully with his body that was irresistible. I began noticing the same ‘body language’ presence Mark had with leaders such as President William Clinton. Steve Tyler of the band Aerosmith and even Oprah.
I learned pretty quickly that you do not have to be a great looking man or woman to get what you want and desire.
You just have to learn how to present and carry yourself.
So as I embarked on ‘Marketing’ myself better, working on reshaping my image, I came across the book “The Game”.
To be honest, sure, there is a part of me that would love to be able to say the perfect words to a woman to make her instantly rip her clothes off and ride me like a wild horse or to strip naked and run through Starbuck’s.
But it would also be nice to have a woman approach me for a change, and break the ‘social rules’ society has set up.
And as I read a book about pick up artists to understand one perspective on how to increase my presence, while I did find it entertaining, there was one gem I found in it that was not discussed in almost every self help and confidence book I had read before that.
Our attention naturally is attracted to people and things that stand out and that are different. Howard Stern knew this and built a show around it, and while he had a huge audience and offended 2/3 of those who listened to him regularly, the fact of the matter is he spoke up and spoke out about things that were on people’s minds anyways.
He stood out.
Peacocks are a unique and beautiful bird that has an amazing tail of which you can see a beautiful array of amazing colors.
Incidentally, peacocks are considered rodents in India. Indicative of their cultural values, isn’t it? And you want more of them in your country working on your computer systems that tell you where to go and where to be? That’s smart.
So the concept for ‘picking up’ in it’s most simplistic nature is wear something, do something, or be something that stands out.
That sets you apart.
I thought it was a wonderful idea. I had had a tendency to wear bland colors. So I went to Nordstrom’s and purchased a $250 custom tailored and Lenny Kravitz crazy loud shirt. I got more compliments on that shirt than I’d ever gotten while out wearing it.
I was being approached. But i had a problem.
As a computer geek, I had a history of sweating profusely and having a difficult time simply talking to women.
Sure, put me in a strip club and I am the most confident guy around. But put me in improvisational situation with a woman who just approached me to compliment my loud shirt where I have to talk about something other than Worlds of Warcraft and CPU speeds and I am absolutely incapable of carrying the conversation.
Alcohol became my crutch where if I said the right words to get what I wanted I had no clue what those words were, and if I didn’t say the right words and got slapped or insulted, I could blow off the rejection as me simply being a drunk idiot.
Being sincere though.
I’d dated sporadically before then, but the reality was – ever since I knew, I had been surrounded by people who had something I was missing.
I had it with getting the lower level consulting jobs and with work in general.
I always got to work for who I wanted to when I wanted to.
But with everything else I wanted. It was a gamble. A crapshoot at best.
A long term relationship.
I met Jaclyn Killeen in 2003, when I was released from the US Army in October, where I went to visit Jocelyn Hilliard in St Petersberg, Florida. Jocelyn’s an attractive and wild girl who’s also a nudist and her and I had met while in training at Fort Meade. We’d hit it off pretty quick because of our edgy moral behavior, I’d bought her a dildo for her birthday apparently days after her other one had broken. She was extremely grateful.
Jackie and I had a connection. But it was unlike anything I could explain or describe.
I met Amy Newton in 2006, we were set up for a business trip I had to take to Portland, Oregon, we hit it off interpersonally, and after knowing eachother for two months we got married.
But weeks after we’d gotten married. Amy became a different person altogether.
Decidedly not the woman I married, in fact.
So as I considered an annulment after two months. I stayed. I wanted to try. Had to try. Not just for her. But for me.
My Army training was in Public Affairs. My MOS was 46 Quebec. And the primary ‘lesson learned’ was spin from that training.
It’s hard even writing rationally about those moments, as all I can say is – this was among the most confusing moments in my life. I’d settled marrying Amy and knew it from the start. At 37 years of age I had thought I was past my prime and too old, and Amy, while definitely attractive, had more issues than anyone I had ever met and would fully admit it.
I had gone into the marriage with the thinking “I am going to prove her dark views of this world wrong”
And sincerely thought she deserved more light and happiness in her life.
You see, that was my problem. I did not consider, for one moment, that she actually enjoyed being like this.
So instead of helping her, my relationship with her spiraled me out of control emotionally and physiologically.
My blood pressure spiked. Shot up to 200 over 140. I saw my heart beating through my chest one day. I’d watch her walk naked from the bed to the bathroom in the morning, and she’d yell at me for it. I’d set my bookbag on the counter as I walked in, and she would take issue with it not being in the right place.
I’d married a control freak, which found me talking more and more with Jackie, who was considering moving to Phoenix to get away from Florida.
And about this time I met Rachel in a marketing class.
Now here’s the thing about reinventing yourself to introduce confidence when you never had it before.
It’s not easy.
You make mistakes.
But that’s where true confidence comes from.
The experience gained from the successes and failures, no matter how difficult they may be.
As I was going through my third divorce from Amy, I started talking to Rachel regularly who had told me she got married to Chris because of the image. She showed me pictures of her when she was younger. She wasn’t as cute. Somewhat obese in fact. And she’d matured awesomely by the time I had met her. Chris had cheated on her which she was questioning her marriage but was afraid to consult a lawyer because her husband was a lawyer.
I’d fallen instantly in love with Rachel and knew.
This is why I’d failed. Because when I met Rachel. I knew, beyond any shadow of a doubt she was and is why I had the hard experiences I had.
She claimed her husband had cheated on her, regularly, and had only two weeks before when she told me “Let’s run away, you and I, move away from here.”. I felt like I was being tested. It was all too fast, and I needed to let the dust settle from my current relationship before moving onto another.
Even with someone as amazing as her.
In part, the reason I said no was I felt like I didn’t deserve her.
I have no doubt she remembers things differently and only remembers the final rejection she gave me when I went to her place while her husband was away and I couldn’t get it up for sex in the pool when she asked me to leave.
But I knew I was missing something enigmatic to me.
Before I could get into a relationship with her.
Or With Jackie.
I suppose you could say Kena put life in perspective for me and helped push me over the edge to where I needed to go.
Dating someone from a wholly different culture than your own will do that to you.
Kena knew she had to marry within her culture.
Period end of story.
I accepted this.
So our relationship was an equivalence of good friends with benefits more than it was boyfriend girlfriend because we had no future together.
Jackie and I went out as well during this time.
With a couple rare intoxicated moments, that relationship with Jackie was almost totally a friendship.
But I wanted it to be so much more.
In the end.
I realized, I had never really lost control at all.
I’d merely taken a side trip to get to my destination, a tour if you will of what’s possible to open up my eyes and heart to the possibilities.
In 2008, while out with a friend, I met J-Dog at Martini Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona. The guy had been on the tv show “The Pickup Artist”, and as I sat there on a padded couch with Jackie sitting on one arm of the couch talking to me and Kena sitting on the other, both highly attractive women, he actually approached me and said.
“You need to be on our show, you’re a natural”
I wanted to tell him “J-Dog, I can’t begin to tell you how much work it took on me to get to this precarious moment in time where two of the most amazing women I have ever been graced with chose to hang out with me.”
I wanted to add “J-Dog, I’m currently on cocaine and alcohol and among the reasons I am able to look totally comfortable with these two amazing women I absolutely love is because I’m drugged up and sedated at the same time. So the work isn’t even close to being done until I can do this without the crutches I use called drugs or alcohol.”
I also wanted to add: “J-Dog, the woman of my dreams isn’t even here, and I know – and she knows, it’s not just a matter of if we get together and can reconnect. It’s when. So these two wonderful women are a part of where I am going.”
But it was too much.
And dudes don’t speak like that with eachother anyways.
As we already know.
So all I said in response was “Thanks, J-Dog, you have a fun and creatively entertaining show that helps a lot of us single guys out.”
Confidence is the thing you give yourself when you least expect it.
It’s walking through the most dangerous part of the world with a backpack on knowing you’re the safest man alive.
It’s knowing there’s nothing anyone can do to bring you down because you’ve already experienced the worst.
And finally, it is knowing that I always get what I want when I believe it and believe I am worthy of it.
And so can you.
Being totally sincere.
I hope I am on a robot planet and cyborg and you’re all doing things in a calculated way based on what I do.
I hope you are willing to work with me to provide me these fantasies and indulgences and to placate my simple desires to spend time with these women again and to begin working with me to tell better stories to all the world.
I know I lead this world now.
I didn’t want to be a leader. And I suspect that’s why you put me in this position of power. It’s scary to me. Intimidating in fact. But less so because of what I put myself through in my own life’s decisions – ups and downs and both the tame and structured experiences such as college and work to the wild and unstructured experiences such as drugs and alcohol.
Some beings on this planet are robots. I suspect I was attracted to Rachel and Jackie because they are.
A part of me ‘felt this’, and that’s why I keep asking for them.
And I have no qualms about commanding them to do things while with me, but keeping it nice and fun.
As for everything else.
I’m still discovering.
I’m ok with this planet becoming Borg. And while ‘The Borg’ as presented in Star Trek may be ‘the end game’ of how we look when we’re really bored with reality, there’s absolutely no reason we can’t mix it up and do things that none of us have ever seen in any forms of entertainment.
I know you get these messages without me addressing them directly to you.
How would I know that?
Being a leader is being ok with not being perfect.
And you two have definitively shown me. I have always been a leader.
Rachel, it’s not that I don’t deserve you.
And Chris. there’s things about him that will blow your mind that I will wait to explain to you at a better time.
But Chris deserves better.
Rachel and Jackie.
I need you for story fodder.
I want you because you’re both beautiful to me for different reasons.
That and I need to relearn about time travel, which having you two around will allow it to sink in through osmosis.