It’s been quite a summer – in six weeks, I’ve done five bootcamps on two continents, flown halfway across the world and driven half the east coast of Australia. I’ve made new friends, seen new cities, done things I’d never even thought of doing before and loved every minute of it.
One thing I haven’t been doing a lot of is writing, so I thought I would give you guys a little update about Tokyo.
The Tokyo bootcamp was absolutely amazing. I absolutely fell in love with the city, and almost fell in love with a couple of girls I met there. I travel a lot for work, but almost entirely in the English-speaking western world, so it was truly a treat to teach in a city that is nothing like any other place I have ever taught in. You can compare New York to LA, to London, but you really can’t compare any of those places to Tokyo. It’s not comparing apples to oranges – it’s more like comparing apples to sushi.
One thing I didn’t expect to find in Tokyo were models. Tokyo is one of the fashion centers of the world, alongside London and Milan. It seems like there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of ridiculously gorgeous Eastern European and Scandinavian models kicking around Tokyo. And unlike a place like London or Milan, there is pretty much NO competition. Go out to the right places in Rappongi, and you will find models sitting around, bored, waiting for guys to come over and talk to them.
On Saturday of the bootcamp, we got bottle service at one of the clubs in town that models are known to congregate in. Our table was located in the middle of the VIP section. Next to us a 45 year old Chinese man in a sparkling golden shirt and leather chaps was dancing with a half dozen Japanese girls and pouring champagne freely. To the other side, a group of muscular Slavic looking men stared intently into glasses of cognac that looked like it was too fancy for me to even have heard of before. And just a few tables away, a group of about 30 models in their early 20’s were dancing, directly underneath the ear-splitting sound system. With them, about 4 or 5 male models looked like they were having the time of their lives, as they danced around grabbing the girls asses and getting completely shitfaced. Ah, to be a 22 year old male model in Tokyo – it must be the life.
I surveyed the scene; it was intimidating. The club was loud enough that even having a simple conversation was difficult. There were 30 people in this group, and you could tell they were tight knit. And you could tell that these girls knew how to blow guys off.
Now, a lot of you guys may have the misconception that I would know exactly what to do in this situation. That is not the case. Rarely do I know EXACTLY what to do in a particular situation. What I do have, however, are techniques that are proven, and enough balls to keep trying till they work. So I did a bunch of things, and they wound up working in the end.
First strategy: Short setting.
Thankfully, the models were between us and the bar, so on my way to grab a drink, I walk by and open casually over my shoulder – with short setting, my goal is not to start a conversation, but simply to open, say something clever and move on. What this does is set the stage so I can open much easier later in the evening. This is especially useful when having a real conversation is nearly impossible due to the volume.
TM: I like your hat, it’s fucking badass.
“Thank you” says the girl, looking at me apprehensively.
TM: Holy shit, pull up your pants girl, you’re flashing the bar!
(I laugh, smile, and head towards the bar. Model pulls up her ridiculously skinny jeans).
At this point, I notice the weak spot in the set – the Achilles heel, if you will. One of the models had brought her friend out that night. While this girl was by no means unattractive, she was definitely the ugly girl in the set by comparison.
Second Strategy: Chat up the “friend”.
I forget what I opened the friend with, but I can assure you it wasn’t anything particularly clever. Keep in mind the volume at this club made it very difficult to use any words longer than four letters, or sentences longer than 5 or 6 words. Most importantly, I assumed a comfortable position and body language, and when the conversation waned, I just sat there looking to all the world like I belonged in that spot in that bar more than anyone else ever could.
The girls milled about around me, as the “friend” and I chatted away. Eventually, another girl came by and Sarah introduced me to her. Now I have insinuated myself into the middle of their group, and am chatting with two women while sitting on a railing. Suddenly, the dynamic goes from stone cold snobby model vibe, to being friendly. This is the power of social proof. Over the next few minutes, several girls come by and I just casually chat them up. The crowd has made their decision: I’m officially OK. Now it’s time to take it up a notch.
Third Strategy: Capitalize.
At this point I know the names of a half dozen girls in the crowd, and the vibe has warmed significantly as pretty much everyone in the group has seen me, looking laid back and chatting with their friends. Now is the time to game in earnest. I notice a tall (6’2) brunette looking a little bit lost nearby. I decide to open with a light, direct opener.
“You look lost. Have you met Sarah?”
“Yeah… how do you know everyone here?”
“I guess you could say I’m friends with Sarah”
Fourth Strategy: Get Lucky
There is often a big element of luck in any pickup. Sometimes a girl just likes you, sometimes you find out you have something unique in common. Sometimes the guy who hit on her before you screwed up in such a spectacular way that you look amazing in comparison. But there are things you can do to get lucky more often than other guys, and that is a) positioning yourself so that opportunities will come your way and b) recognizing opportunities when they come your way.
So how did I get lucky? Olya gestured with her hand, and sent my drink flying all over me.
Most guys would probably consider something like that to be a bad thing, but I completely disagree. This kind of obstacle, this kind of challenge, is an opportunity to show your stuff. Handle it poorly, and you’re a dead duck. Handle it with grace, strength and poise, and you’ve just shown that you’re made of better stuff than most other men.
So I looked at her with raised eyebrows that said “your move”. My expression was three degrees colder than usual. The key here is to not make a big deal of it, but to not pretend that you’re not annoyed either. She wants to see my emotions, and I was rightfully a bit pissed off.
“I’m so sorry! Let me get you a drink”
“Gin and tonic” I warmed up my expression by a degree.
“I’m so sorry, I’ll be back in a second”
Olya came back with the drink, and I teased her lightly for being clumsy. She laughed and I warmed up a bit. All would be forgiven, but she had to put a bit of effort in. She was working now to impress me, so I started qualifying her. She told me about growing up in Russia and her travels as a model. I told her about my life in Vancouver and the adventures I would be going on in Australia. I pulled her in next to me and we talked for almost an hour.
The next morning, I woke up to half a dozen messages from Olya, including the very blogworthy line: “you’re the most important person in my life right now” – A little over the top, but quite flattering coming from someone who is about three leagues above me in the looks department.
Tokyo, you truly are a gem. I will be back soon!
My time in Tokyo was made extra-special by the awesome people I met there. Thanks to E. (I’ll let him remain anonymous) for showing me the city and helping out with the logistics. Thanks to all the students, who saw great progress and were awesome guys (all of them).