Ever hear of Cliff’s List?
It used to be one of the go to resources for PUA related material.
Just after I left Project Hollywood in 2004, Cliff interviewed me. I was honored, as every main guy in the community was interviewed by Cliff.
(Shortly thereafter, I was interviewed by David DeAngelo – which is when my status really blew up in the community)
Anyway, there are some really interesting things in this back and forth with Cliff and I.
Of note, this is the interview where I officially introduced the “natural game” concept to the PUA community – turning all routine based nonsense on its head.
If you’re someone interested in pick-up, I think there is a lot in here for you.
Clifford: How about we start with some general background information. Tell the readers a little about yourself, your background, your history of your experience with women, etc.
Stephen: I am a southerner at heart, as I come from North Carolina. My first most vivid memory of really falling for a girl would be in 5th grade. I saw her, and bam, fell totally in love with her. I was so shut down internally, and felt so powerless (not at all uncommon for a 5th grade boy), that I did nothing about it – except keep it private, and, at times, try to flirt. This continued for seven years (that’s right). In the meantime, I found many other women, had relationships etc, but none were fulfilling. When I graduated High School, this girl and I continued to be very good friends. Each year, the graduating class would take a trip together – so we headed down to Myrtle Beach, SC for a week of partying. The first two nights there, I was blessed with two extraordinary nights with her. They were both spent on the balcony of the penthouse suite of a hotel, overlooking the beach, full moon, clear sky, all we heard was each other, and the breaking waves below. She is now married with two children, and we aren’t in touch really – though if we see each other, we are cordial of course. I recently returned home, and had the thought that if she was single again – I’d go for it!
To keep this brief, this summarizes my relationships with women until my mid-20s. I was so shy, and reserved, that I would never indicate that I was interested – terrified of being rejected, and having my enormous ego deflated. I resorted to alcohol to try to help me loosen up – to no avail, usually. Let it also be said that I continued to have some relations with women in my 20s – but never on my terms…that is what lead me to this community – the desire to choose. In my mid 20s, I woke up a bit, and began to flirt and be more outgoing. This was mostly due to my acting career in New York, which met with some success. I was with a very, very special theater company there which forced me to really come out of my shell, and be social. We did intense theater activities/exercises which included street theater – so, we would approach a group of people (cold) and begin to engage them in an effort to interact with them, and ultimately create something with them. This was an amazing experience for me and truly fueled my confidence. When I was thirty, I met a very, very cute girl at a party where I was performing (as a homeless person, no less!). She approached me, we chatted, she gave me her number – bam, it was on – we had a relationship. The things that I notice now that are common to all of my former relationships was that I didn’t choose, and that I slowly allowed myself (as a result of operating from a frame of scarcity) to compromise what I truly wanted, and felt I deserved, for what was available. Sound familiar? When she broke up with me, I reached out to this community, discovering it through the internet. My life has not been the same since.
Clifford: The thing that I, and I am sure most of the guys who meet you, noticed about you is that you are probably the most charming guy I have ever met in the seduction community. Your manner defines the term “smooth” but without being sleazy. I don’t know if you were always this way, but if not, perhaps you can tell us a bit about the process you went through to develop your presentation, eye contact, and voice tonality. While you are at it, perhaps you can make some comments on the concept of “charm” and your approach to it.
Stephen: I think the key element here is overall comfort and relaxation socially – when people refer to “smooth”, that is really how I hear it. What is interesting is that, when I finished college a few years back, I was very inadequate socially and I felt tremendous insecurity in ANY social environment. I was very, very fortunate when I graduated to get a job in New York managing one of the more prestigious touring dance companies in the world. Traveling the world, being forced to interact with strangers in a strange land on a constant basis, taught me how to get things done and socialize in a way that was both gracious and efficient. Following that, I worked as a street performer in NYC, which forced me to both approach people that I did not know, and interact with them that was oriented towards a goal that was evolutionary, as opposed to devolutionary – in other words – we come together and share something which expands our sense of reality, and “what is possible”, and reach a common goal together. This forced me to focus on being clear and clean in my presentation, and a tonality which both evoked trust and strength. So, I guess the short answer here is life experience – I have been through the fire, so to speak, in very, very challenging circumstances, and have emerged molded and formed socially. Talking to girls in a bar or club sort of pales in comparison to these other things. As for charm – well, I try to approach girls with a slight smirk – both externally, on my face, and internally. Yes, it is cocky, but it is also inviting and challenging. I think a charming man is elegant in his approach, genuine at all times, and free of hesitation in those key moments when a bold move is essential. Some images would be, of course, James Bond, Jack Nicholson and Bill Clinton – all have a devilish sense to them – something deep and unattainable – as well as that smirky sense of humor I try to cultivate. I think it is also important to really relish in the beauty and sophistication of the world – I have been fortunate to experience much of this here and abroad (and not usually on my dime) – this also teaches this grace I am talking about. In other words, pay attention to yourself – wake up, and don’t sleepwalk through your life!
Clifford: My understanding is that there was some significant improvement in your game after you got involved with TD & Papa and that that occurred over the last say 6-8 months. Perhaps you can go over what were the elements that needed to be improved and what specifically you did or that they helped you with that brought about any changes.
Stephen: I guess it would be accurate to say that I was very natural prior to coming into the community. That being said, I still did not feel satisfied that I was having real success with women and dating. I had had several relationships, all of which ended painfully.
Also, prior to the program, I was out practically every day – kind of like stumbling around in the dark for the light switch – trying things, and learning massively. So, when the RSD guys came to town, I had been in the field a lot. This increased my learning curve tenfold.
Consciously and subconsciously, I had real questions about the nature of my interactions with women…and quite frankly, I was taking rejection personally. I would then categorize the learning I took from the program as follows:
1) The importance of sub communication. This can be broken down further (in my opinion) into: body language, tonality and vibe (inner game). The RSD program (the first week of which included Mystery) allowed me to have direct feedback from the instructors on mostly the first two items – and, quite frankly, I learned that I was doing a lot right. I was able to correct some minor body language flaws immediately. A longer process (for everyone, as I see it) is the development of tonality, and vocal control. Listen, if you want to talk to women in bars and clubs, you better be ready to project your voice. Why don’t you speak with a lot of volume anyway? Being an actor, I have been trained to vocally project in large theaters. There is a severe lack of knowledge in the community about vocal projection – which can be boiled down to a lack of patience IMO. It takes a lot of time to retrain your voice – it is habituated to a certain volume and resonance. If you really want to develop this, it takes doing exercises daily. Perhaps one day I will write up a post on this.
2) As far as inner game goes, there is a large school of thought that feels strongly about having a game plan. This would be the second major piece I learned from the RSD program. Being prepared is a great feeling. Now, I have basically (not totally) dropped routines from my interactions, as I understand sub communication so well, and how to achieve my aims vis-a-vis a structure without canned material. Also, canned material can trap you into mechanical interactions – you can become somewhat robotic and repetitive.
Not only is this boring, but it also throws up a severe barrier between you and the woman…she will sense it. As a beginner, or even an intermediate PUA, routines are GREAT because they help you gain comfort and confidence internally while you speak with women. At a certain point, yes, they get old. But until then, enjoy them, write your own, whatever. I personally enjoy improvisation (my street theater roots), so I have always felt very trapped by routines. I would be remiss to say that I don’t totally use them – sometimes, but rarely…
3) One of the aspects of live, in-field programs, which make them so beneficial is that you are able to observe very good -> excellent PUAs in action. This brings in the principle of modeling. I really think this factor is largely overlooked when students leave programs and post reviews – as it takes some time for these learnings to be digested, and then apparent to the student. When you see someone good in action, your subconscious is absorbing a lot. So, on my first night of workshop, I was lucky enough to observe both Tyler and Mystery (who was a guest instructor on this program) in action – such a rich learning experience for me. I think a lot of my challenges were solved simply by seeing the best in action.
Clifford: From what I could see when I was staying at the Mansion, the guys primarily bring women back there for any other reason (e.g. come try out the jacuzzi, there’s this great (fill in the blank) that I want to show you, etc.) and once back at your place at 2-3 AM it’s fairly likely that something will happen. But from what I saw, it appeared that you were the one who was consistently closing with your girls while the others were more hit or miss despite having brought them back. Do you think there is something that you are doing differently than the others which is getting this result or, forgetting the comparisons, what is it that you are doing that you feel is being so successful? I think my questions are trying to focus in on the difference between when you were less successful and when things started to click.
Stephen: I really think the answer here is simple – TRUST. I was speaking to a natural friend of mine last night about this – lets call him Pasha. He lives a very, very good life, and he has a harem of three women. He is also consistently meeting new ones and “interviewing” them for his harem. Very interesting. He and I were enjoying dinner when two very cute foreign girls sat next to us (one Brit and one Aussie). With no hesitation – he began talking to them, as did I. We engaged them for over an hour, telling stories, interacting, and even asking questions. We finished our food, and left scoring numbers from all three (I, incidentally, got the number of the Aussie – the hottest one IMO).
Now, when we left, we went over this issue of trust. How do you create trust? Honesty is a good way to start, as well as sincerity. Also, dominance, and setting up challenges. These encompass a very strong combination. Now, my friend Pasha has no routines per-se, he has an interesting life as well as the skills to communicate this. So, he would passionately tell stories about various memories or interesting facts from his life – and I would do the same. It was very relaxed and normal. The girls followed suit and opened up. We learned a lot about each other, and it was very natural in the end to exchange numbers with a plan to meet up later. Afterwards he shared with me his secret to seducing women…”If you get a women to open up to you and trust you as a man, you will fuck that woman”. Interesting right? Very simple. A lot of what we learn in the community are tactics that help us to create trust (indifferent body language so she doesn’t feel like you are hitting on her, interesting stories about yourself that convey personality, certain techniques to help escalate smoothly, etc.). What is the truest gold mine though, is when this has become internalized, and naturally flows from you to her. This is power, this is seduction.
I think the fact that I am 32, and have seen and done a lot helps me close. Personally, I have been through the ringer, which has shaped and molded me quite a bit. A lot of guys come to the scene here very sheltered, which has a lot of cons, though fortunately the community is a place to get help and to grow. For me, I am able to relate to people because I have done a lot, and continue to do so. Makes sense right? I give off the vibe of a mature young man, who can be trusted, not of some young kid who is a player. A real expert in this community once said to me (about me) that “when you speak to women, the initial impression you give off is one of romance, and bf/husband material”. I guess that speaks to the above.
My advice to guys is to get out there and live fully, challenge yourself, and particularly your own laziness. Then, you will begin to create a lifestyle that attracts women – you won’t have to pretend to have it, you will. Ultimately, what we are talking about here is he ability to seduce. Listen, I love spending time with beautiful women – and it shows, particularly when we are in isolation and intimacy. When we are in this environment, one better have established trust, otherwise she will lock up and feel uncomfortable. For me, the ability to close boils down to:
1) Getting her to feel comfortable with you, and if she feels discomfort then back up a bit, then advance
2) Escalating at the right time. If you feel uncomfortable in those pauses where you know you should kiss the girl – so does she.
What she is secretly hoping for is a guy who won’t cause this discomfort and escalate in the right way at the right time. This comes down to trusting your instincts. Mystery goes over a lot of this in his programs – the trust factor, which I think is a major factor that contributes to his success. Also, if you don’t trust women, they, quite obviously, won’t trust you. There is a large sentiment out there that women are untrustworthy. Certainly, some are, particularly the ones you find in clubs and bars. However, there are plenty of others who lead interesting and successful lives. These are the women I am interested in.
Clifford: Not only did you refer to it here, but lately I have been reading about how you, TD, Papa and others are dropping routines in favor of a more natural approach. Can you say more about this and go into some detail about what you do to adjust your communication to retain its effectiveness yet be spontaneous? It appears that you are able to keep a game plan in mind while you move the conversation along but now you are doing it with more “regular” conversation.
Stephen: Good question, and it seems to be the current question in the community (per my observation). A way to start would be to simply re-ask the question – what IS a routine anyway? Routines tend to be: stories, short demo of certain aspects of socializing and humanity that communicate that I am “different” from the rest, openers, and sequencings of precise lines that lead to a punch line.
What tends to happen, and I have seen it a million times, is that someone well-known comes up with a routine – TD, Mystery, Style – whoever. Others take this routine and make it their own. This is not a terrible solution of course, but it should still be seen as utilizing training wheels. The habit that exists out there is the lazy man’s habit – I can take others’ routines, weave them together skillfully, and **presto** get laid. This is fallacious, and weak (IMO). I myself have written up a lot of endgame strategies and routines. To utilize these verbatim is a bit suspect as your scenario may be very different. The key to understanding routines is to be aware of what the intent is. Try to internalize the intent (based on what was happening at that particular moment in the field report) and then what the person did as a response to it. This is way more important than digesting the precise word for word pattern in the routine.
Women can sense when a guy is being true to themselves, and when he is deceptive and untrustworthy. A routine (going back to my question) is a canned expression of my personality. It is “canned” in that it is something that I can rely upon for a certain effect.
It is much like a comedian’s “set” structure – where he knows the jokes, he knows how to deliver them, and he therefore has a predictable outcome. For Mystery, he is very congruent with his material – and it flows effortlessly from him. However, too often, a routine is given (again, as a training wheel), and then the student begins to rely upon it while never creating his own stuff, nor internalizing the intent behind it.
The current movement away from routines (and I can only speak for myself) is primarily to encourage a more traditional give and take between myself and the girl. What I began to notice for myself was that routines subtly communicate that something, socially, is slightly awry. This is particularly apparent when you stack them and relentlessly deliver them searching for the mountain of IOIs! This doesn’t work! The women leave the interaction, after giving you their number (maybe), and the next day realize that they had an interesting conversation with a cool guy, but that they have very little trust, and most important they don’t feel that you really know them well enough to meet up again. Guess what that triggers ASD they then know that the only reason you are calling is to get into their pants. “He knows nothing about me”..
The various way points that exist from meet to close have been internalized in me – I just intuitively know when to do what, so what is interesting to me is to try to do maneuver the interaction from a more organic, improvisational place. I certainly tell stories, they are just not canned so, in that respect, the external reality is somewhat the same. Also, if I need a canned routine, I will use it. I think that routines have always been seen as training wheels (with some exceptions) to eventually drop. I guess what has happened for me, is that I have arrived at a place where relying on canned material bores me. I am trained as an improvisational actor, and as well, I have always been a very social, flirtatious person. I prefer then to simply trust myself, and make it happen based on what is really happening in the moment. I love to open now with a simple tease.
Quite simply, it is about observing the nature of the moment, and responding in a funny and playful way. For example, today I was sitting on the subway platform, awaiting the train, when a cute blond sits next to me on the bench. She was wearing a cute outfit, with a shiny heart attached to her shirt.
Stephen: “Where did you get your heart bronzed like that? Is your blood made of gold too?”
HB: Haha – yes indeed, cut me and become a millionaire.
Presto – it is open (she was a real whipper-snapper as you can tell, love her). I guess what is essential here is that when I use these, I sub communicate the same things that one hopes is there with a canned opener. Also, and forgive me if I get a bit new-agey here, but…there is this verifiable idea of energy, that we can feel now in our bodies, right? When I see an attractive woman, my energy radically changes. Personally, I prefer to use this IOW, to allow this to really influence me, and contribute to the interaction. If I am really present, and responsive to the environment this will happen feels more alive to me. Also, in the above scenario, we were on the subway platform, in a very public place, and in a place where socializing is somewhat odd. Intuitively, this energy is understood in each and every person – let’s call it the social energy. Everyone is tapped into it somewhat, except for the crazy guy screaming at no one at the end of the platform. When we are awake, and alive in the moment – present – we sense all of these things. If we are in touch with that, and then come from that place when we begin an interaction – it is congruent to not only myself, but also to the social energy.
Women, who are accustomed to being hit on, are VERY keenly aware of the social energy, and if you do something that violates the understood rules of that, it can very likely blow you out. Yes, you must push these boundaries (IOW open the girl on the subway platform), but you very rarely can get away with a blatant violation. My preference now is to rely on this more than a canned opener. In all honesty, canned routines DO WORK – in any and all scenarios. If you use them, continue to do so, write your own, become congruent with them, etc. For me however, my real intention in getting into this community was twofold:
1.) To meet women (of course), but also,
2.) To simply challenge myself to be more alive, awake and present in each moment. I saw pickup as a way of really placing myself in front of this – to challenge myself to really live up to this wish.
So, I suppose what I am really doing here is making a return – to my initial purpose when I began. Everyone’s purpose though is different, which I think accounts for many of the differences in the community. Ask yourself – what do I want from all of this? Am I getting it? Am I getting closer to it? If I don’t know the answers, or they come back “no”, then I have to revise what I am doing. The point is to get what I want, not what others want. In a community of very charismatic people, it is very easy to adopt another person’s wish list – particularly for a new person who’s hold on their own sexual reality could be quite weak. This exercise helps to remember my real intentions. As a last footnote to this, I do want to mention that there are various loopholes in the above. Primarily, they have to do with each person’s particular persona and style, as well as the certain girl you are interacting with. Each person and scenario brings a different demand. What is interesting is to be sensitive to both, and respond in kind.
Clifford: The RSD & MM programs started a different way of dealing with their customers, which is one on one, personalized attention in-field. I think there is a perception out there that, on the one hand, there are guys like you who are pretty well-rounded in their personal development regardless of how successful or unsuccessful they may be when they first start trying to improve their results with women (and as such tweaking what you are doing that isn’t working does not involve a major psychological restructuring). But there are a lot of guys who have not been so fortunate in their overall development. Now that you have given workshops and bootcamps, and looking back at some of the guys you had dealt with the benefit of experience and a little distance since you’ve moved back east and no longer are on the continuous instructor treadmill, what would you do to best help guys who lack such social development? To take this a step further, do you have any ideas about what would be the best, fastest, most efficient way to train guys to become more successful with women?
Stephen: Well, one thing that I always brought into my sessions with students is that they should attempt to accumulate as many social interactions as possible in an effort to develop social intelligence. You are right, there are sometimes guys who reach out for help who have challenges other than simply approach anxiety, that they qualify themselves, etc. They lack social intelligence because they simply haven’t seen the need, or have been too frightened to, etc.
How do you gain this? Two ways, as I can see it:
1.) Start talking to people – everywhere. In each of our minds are certain rules that must be questioned. A number of years ago, I became involved in a truly wonderful theater company here in NYC, and eventually became a principal actor with the group. We did enormous amounts of street theater (I may have mentioned this already). This was a terrific way of accumulating social interactions. I always tell guys to start up conversations with anyone, anywhere, anytime – say ANYTHING. You will be surprised.
Walk down the street smiling, and nod hello to people. I come from a small town in the south, so this behavior is natural for me. I still do it to this day – wherever I am. I enjoy surprising people with kind words – “hello” and they look at me shocked…of course, I might have just brightened their day. In our heads though are rules that are created by the social norms in our culture…but why play by them? Are you some kind of sheep or something?
2.) Develop your social circle. Since I have returned to NYC, I have watched myself re-acclimate myself to all of my friends here (wonderful people, I love them all!). Also, I have made a concerted effort to enlarge my social circle. I have befriended friends of friends. I have befriended girls who are friends of targets. I have turned women who I was initially attracted to into “friends”. Now, I have lots of female friends who contact me wanting to hang out. In fact, tomorrow night I am spending going to a birthday party for the wife of my best friend here, then to see a movie with a dear female friend of mine, then Saturday to the golf course with other close friends, the Saturday night out to a bar where a friend is bartending, and I have invited all of my female friends to this….see how this works? In this “game” (a lousy metaphor, btw – who “wins”?), we learn social skills. I suggest using them often, not just on “targets”, but on everyone. Become a person who enjoys the luxury and beauty of conversation, and someone who understands how to leave a person better than when you met them. This is an art – a human one – not to be missed. As for part two of your question… that’s a bit more challenging to answer. I think the RSD program, and the Mystery programs are pretty dynamite in helping guys in the specific ways that they do. I have seen guys walk away from the PH mansion with their eyes no longer so closed. I guess if I were to design an actual program, as you suggest, I would focus a lot on the following:
1) The skills I mention above – socializing skills.
2) Getting a guy’s life more rounded, and balanced.
One thing that happens to guys who become so absorbed in “sarging” and “gaming” is that their personalities become a bit unbalanced, their view of the world becomes one massive sarge, and their hopes for anything real vanish. I watch the natural guys here in NYC, who have women with them – and there are some very beautiful ones here, with brains no less – and they all have the vibe of someone who is successful, well-rounded (to a degree) and confident as a result. They don’t have to try so hard to meet women, because their lifestyle is welcoming and attractive. They socialize because they want to, and their level of joy reflects that – this is attractive to women. The “game” methodology is very addictive – you find yourself thinking “tonight is the night, tonight is the night…” This is like taking a sledgehammer to a petting zoo – not very effective. A better, healthier strategy is to help guys see the enormity of their lives and the endless possibilities and interests which are out there – then help them go for it – AND help them with specifics about women. What happens is a tremendous amount of wonder can be released, and a person’s vibe changes – they become a man who is inviting, welcoming, and in charge of himself…he is no longer dependent on the success of his next “sarge”.
I think being keen on things like masculinity, strategy & game plan, conversational topics which are ideal, how to tell stories in a humorous way, flirting, approach strategies, body language and tonality (voice development), etc., are still critical, and should be covered too. All in all, my friends in LA do some pretty amazing work – my hat’s off to them.
Clifford: It appears from what I have seen in L.A. and in what you have written, that you meet a lot of women all the time. How do you manage these women in terms of any ongoing contact or relationships? How often do you see them, who calls who, how often do you speak on the phone, how do you frame each new relationship? I do seem to remember reading about one here or there that you were particularly interested in – several of the guys in the community who have gotten really good seem to be emotionally immune to women now but it appears that you haven’t gotten “jaded” in this way. What do you see as where you want to be with regards to relationships in the future?
Stephen: I really think this question begs a larger, more essential question which is “What do you want?” Each person is different, has a different background – their biographies are written in a certain way, which sent them into life in a certain direction.
Myself, I come from a fairly strong, southern, familial background – I have seen my parents divorce, and then find love again in the form of two pretty impressive people, my step-parents. I have learned a lot from all of them, and feel very lucky to have them all. Also, my grandparents were powerful people, with very strong senses of themselves, and were very generous in passing this along to me. Lastly, my grandmother has married four times – why? Her prior three husbands all died – her first, my grandfather, was killed in World War II, her second died of emphysema and her third passed away due to a recurrence of cancer. What strength and conviction she has. You see, I don’t really desire multiple long-term relationships. I got into this community in an effort to feel empowered to the point where I could choose a partner. Prior to leaving LA, I had met and had a pretty wonderful time with a very, very special woman. She was very unique, and I have met very few people who have impressed me so. She was very attractive, intelligent, and very centered in herself – she did not need any validation externally, she was quite at peace with herself with or without a partner – which I admired about her. In fact, if I ever stooped to try to “game” her, she would look at me as if I were crazy, and would lose interest in the interaction!
This taught me a great, great deal. She was looking for a boyfriend, and had I not left LA, we would have continued our relationship (we spoke the other day, by the way). For me, I don’t need or want multiple relationships. What I want, and what I have received from this community, is the feeling of empowerment which goes along with a strong skill set, and a very strong sense of myself. I have had long-term relationships before, and enjoy them tremendously. This past weekend, I spent some time with six friends of mine – three separate married couples. Each relationship has tremendously different color, energy, and dynamic. They are all so fascinating – I truly love watching couples interact. The familiarity, the strength, the exchange – when charged with love – is quite the beautiful thing…
So, I challenge each reader of your list to take a moment and write out what it is that each of you wants. What is it? There is quite a lot of attitude and jargon on the various boards that we read, all of which can have a very strong impact upon the reader. When seeing this for the first time, I was amazed – you mean people actually live like this? Ha!
Well, yes they do (of course, not all that we read is the truth too…:-)). But, what I have found based on my experience, is that it is very easy for a person to lose track of what it is that brought them to this in the first place – do you want a girlfriend/wife? Do you want multiple girlfriends? Do you want one-night stands? Do you just want a date in the next month? Do you want…what? This is critical. I always ask students to do themselves this favor. Why? Because when you find yourself in a seminar, workshop, or simply around other, charismatic people – you might lose sight of this, and find yourself digesting some things which aren’t going to help you – in fact, they might hurt you, or at least, slow you down. Also, this “game” can be very, very addictive. Let’s say you have had very little success with women, and you start employing some of the ideas brought via the community. You go out, and start to get attention in a way you never had before – “aaah, I am getting it – how exciting”. Of course, it feels great! Well, what I have seen happen, and have experienced for myself, is that you can easily run from other areas of your life in an effort to “play the game” – this is the addict’s chase, a never ending one, I might add. The interesting thing about addiction is that the addict becomes convinced that “this time it will work,” etc. What really happens is that he never really sees the truth about himself, and never addresses the real problem, which is always deeply set in himself, and comes equipped with pain and humility – and thus the same situation plays out over and over…until he finally gets it, or simply accepts a life of mediocrity and banality. I am a big believer in improving your skill set – but, the skill set cannot be worsened by living a full life with passion – don’t fall into the seductive trap of seeking perfection – a few ruffles around the edges are OK, and can, in fact, help the cause. It’s a big world boys, don’t forget to experience the rest of it! I feel very strongly about being clear with yourself, about what you want and really committing to that, and in living a life of balance…so critical.
My goal was never to be a “lifer” in this community – I don’t think that would be healthy. The beauty of finding a solid, strong, lasting relationship is that you get to grow and evolve in ways you cannot if you avoid this. And, the sense that exists in this community that “all girls cheat” is pure rubbish – of course they don’t. In fact, if we study biology, we find that the more likely sex to cheat is the male, as his sex drive is much, much stronger. So, perhaps the reason this opinion exists, is that we, the community, are the ones who believe and even live this life of lackluster relationships, and severely retarded abilities to be intimate and trust – and project it onto “all girls”. I dare say that this is prevalent, and I hope guys who are challenged in this way will take note.
Now, to get to the second part of your question – yes, I do entertain a variety of women at one time, until I feel a strong enough connection with one to really go for it with her. This is rather simple, in my opinion. I live my life – my interests, my needs/wants, my goals, whatever, come first. Until a girl has proven to me that she is someone truly worth restructuring time for, I don’t. I am happy to invite them into my world, to join me as I do things with others – but that is usually it. Not that I am opposed to doing things that she wishes to do – of course not. If I am free, I am game. But, the point I am trying to make here is this – it is so important to live a full, and balanced life – particularly when it comes down to relating to women. Why? First of all, they can sense when your life is microscopic – it comes across as needy, and “try hard” – there is a sense of desperation, and need, because the guy is simply not stepping up to the plate in the other areas of his life. Also, if you have a full life, it is so much easier to involve women in your activities. Last week, I had three dates with three different women. As I said before, I used to be in a theater company here in NYC – well, they were performing last week in lower Manhattan. So, of course I went along to see them, and invited a beautiful girl with me. She got to meet all of my friends, therefore relying on me for comfort, as I was the only person she was familiar with – and saw me with massive status as all of my old friends came running up to say hello. The second was a double date, of sorts, as I was out with my best friend and his newly pregnant wife. This other girl and I went to dinner with them, to celebrate her birthday – same effect. The last one was a small summer party yesterday in Queens. I invited a young lady to come with me – and she saw me, again, being greeted by my old friends. I would leave her to chat with them, and when I returned, she would breathe a great sigh of relief, and begins to associate comfort with my presence. The effect here is very powerful – I am living my life, doing my thing, and they are more than welcome to come along. If not, no problem – I can meet others, and I am certainly going to have a great time spending time with people I care for, and enjoy the company of.
That’s my strategy. I learned a lot of this from Mystery and Style, while in LA. Both of these guys now have long-term relationships, and both are very happy in them, well-deserved for both of them. I am, I guess, similar in that, until I meet someone truly deserving and special – yes, I will date different women, and I will enjoy that aspect of life. But when I do, I will absolutely go for it. I am a pretty emotional guy, and when I have been in relationships in the past, they have been very strong and positive experiences for me. I wouldn’t miss that for the world. I am definitely interested in marriage, kids, etc. I go home a few times a year, and get to see my new nephew (nearly a year old) – the look on his parents’ faces, and my parents’ faces (his grandparents) is absolute gold – not to be missed in my book… what is life for anyway? I feel lucky that I never lost sight of this, and have stayed true to what I wanted….so for all of you reading this….what do YOU want? Be specific, be clear – go for it now – write out the kind of person you are really looking for, and be as detailed as you want.
Next, write out a gameplan for where this kind of woman may be – what does she do?
What is her life like? How can you meet her? Where might she be? I know it is impossible to really know – but the more specific and clear you are, the better your chances are. Then, activate the plan – customize what you have learned from everyone in this community into a real plan that you are happy with, and that works for YOUR life.
Then go for it – I mean it – really go for it. And if you need to change it, feel free – it is all a liquid process anyway… and then when you least expect it… there she is… let’s hope you’re ready.
Clifford: One of the things that I think is very crucial is an understanding of the elements of attraction. Could you go over what you have learned (both from reading and from working with TD, Mystery and others, and from your own experience) about how to create and amplify attraction? I am primarily looking for anything you are consciously doing when you first meet a woman to draw her interest rather than an explanation of theory. It may at this point be something you do without thinking but I believe it’s a critical skill to learn.
Stephen:I want to answer this question in two ways. One will be to address the things that I see are critical from a tactical/”doing” point-of-view, and the second perspective will be more from the gaze of the inner game.
First, I think two things are essential that help trigger attraction:
2) Understanding and awareness of social energies – aka not displaying neediness
Humor should be obvious. Funny guys get attention (how you hold that attention is another thing), people gravitate to them because they represent good feelings. I recently went to a comedy show with a girl here in NYC, and it was fascinating. With a good comedian, who is comfortable with himself, his humor is quite in synch with who he is – the crowd relaxes and has a great time. With a bad one – he creates discomfort because he is unsure of himself, his material doesn’t really expose anything funny about the world or people, and often his style is quite obtuse. We eventually left early because the second example was more often the case.
I was talking to a friend of mine recently about this. We were wondering how you “become” funny, if you aren’t. He is a very polished actor, and tried stand-up for years, and even did a film about that whole world. The best comics are the ones who are brutally honest, and are able to see the humor in their own existence – aka, they are able to poke fun at themselves. So many people are so uptight that they can’t see the ironies of the world right in front of their own eyes. I always tell guys to go to a comedy club, if they are struggling with this, and observe the characteristics of good comics. Also, read about it, watch funny movies, but mostly, observe those people already in your life who seem to garner a lot of attention with humor, and ask yourself “what does this guy do?” – hell, I have even asked them directly for insight – very helpful. Mostly, guys just need to loosen up when around women – we are so caught up in trying to get the girl, that we can’t even focus on the interaction, chill out…that’s when people become funny, when they don’t really give a shit, and can just honestly vibe.
Ultimately, just pay attention to your life, and when you find something funny, try to internalize it and remember it – so you can share it with others. I try to make it a practice to simply see the world around me, then when something wild or funny happens, I tell people (not just girls). This makes this whole aspect of life a bit more natural, and it gives you plenty of ways to practice – which is what un-funny guys need. See something funny? Call a friend and tell them about it? Did they laugh? Can you structure this better next time? I am not speaking about piling up routines here necessarily, though this would be a good way to do so. Really what interests me is to be more present, and organic with everything. I live in a big city, and there are plenty of things around me which are humorous. Also, when you are out with a woman, spending time with her – let’s say something funny happens right in front of the two of you…if you have this skill down, you can then spin it back to her in a funny way – or, tell the friends about it that you are going to meet up… whatever. This says so much about you as a person. Understanding and awareness of social energies – aka not displaying neediness: As I mentioned earlier, every environment has a certain social energy that is quite palpable. It takes experience to begin to tap into that. If you’re the kind of guy that has been sitting behind his computer for a few years, you certainly don’t have your intuition sharpened up to sense this. But, if you have a well-rounded life, go out with friends, date, go to work, etc. you probably do. The idea is to be able to sense each situation, and then calibrate thusly. The other day, I was on a call in a park here in NYC, a very pretty Brazilian girl walked by, and looked at me “longer than she should’ve”. So, when I got off the phone, I simply walked through the park, found her, smiled and approached directly – “Well, I had to come introduce myself – I noticed you before, but was on the phone…so, what the hell, I am Stephen”. Pretty simple (yes, I got her number, and we have spoken a number of times, will hang out, etc). If she were with friends, I would have approached differently.
If she hadn’t given me that look, it may have changed my approach strategy – maybe not. The point is, trust yourself – if you are a social guy, your intuition likely knows what to do…but how to trust it? Anyway, back to the point – how does this relate to attraction?
Women are very in tune with social energy, and if you violate these rules you will likely be blown out – if you play at the edge of these rules, flirt with these boundaries – you prove yourself to be confident, and one of those rare guys who makes a move. Does your body language convey neediness are you leaning in, crowding her space? Does your tonality convey confidence, or timidity? These are things to look for, though the basic equation comes down to energy who is giving more to the interaction? Needy guys ALWAYS give more. Most guys that I have seen display neediness, and this takes me into the inner game – the need for attention, the need for responsiveness, the need for affection, the need for…. validation. A guy who doesn’t give a shit what others think about him, is just living and enjoying himself (autonomous) is quite naturally an attractive guy, right? His energy isn’t wasted on seeking approval, and questioning himself, it is more contained, and self-sufficient. Ultimately, for lasting success with women, you have to accept humbly that, yes, you are human, you are flawed, and begin to wonder about it in more than just a passing way – see the areas in yourself that need help, and work on it. Guys who have the biggest issue with this are the ones tempted to laugh at such a statement – this arrogance won’t help you.
I sense behind your question though a common sentiment in the community, that I wish to address. This idea of “creating” attraction – yes, it can be done, but not so much with what you “say” but more about who you “are”. Most guys just want to learn the right things to say, that will get them these indicators (normally to provide them the sense of validation they need). “These are my attract routines”, I will hear them say…here is my experience with this…I did this for a while, and had some success – probably because I had natural conversational abilities. It is flawed thinking though to think that I can create attraction with what I say – yes, that is part of it (David D’s materials are perfect for this, also TD has an enormous amount of tried and true, funny material his timing is superb, too). Mostly though, it is through what you subcommunicate that triggers it. Trust me guys, if she has been hit on as much as most attractive women – she will know if you are seeking her validation or not…like most guys. It is a true art to be able to approach, without this need – it takes a sense of oneself, and a well-rounded person who lives in an autonomous fashion (meaning – we live our lives, which naturally validate us, because we are satisfied, not bitter) to be able to subcommunicate this.
This mentality of “I need more to say!” is wrong. If your brain is set to “what do I say next”, ha, you missed the boat my man… it already left the dock… The real key to attracting women, is to live an attractive life, filled with interesting things, which naturally harmonize you. Do you spend time with your friends? Do you do things which interest you? Is your career in line? If your time is spent on the computer learning about seduction, and you have been in this community for more than six months, get the hell out of the house, and stop typing. Start doing things that are fun, that are interesting, that fulfill you. EVERY aspect of the art of seduction will be enhanced by doing this – EVERY one. You cannot lose by living fully, and hell, you might even meet a girl along the way with similar interests…and find some happiness. Happens every day – I can think of six different couples just as I sit here at my computer who are tremendously in love, very fulfilled, embracing the challenges of the world and their relationships with warmth and acceptance. Don’t you think that is possible for you? If you want it, it is – that is what I believe.
I will end with this – my opinion about why guys get so “jaded” as you say, and disenchanted with women is not because of the women – no – it is because they have veered so far off course, have lost any sense of themselves as people, have shrunk their world’s down to the size of a pinhole. They like to say things like “all women are sluts”, “they are bred to cheat”…when they act this way themselves, and attract similar women to them. If you are going to behave a certain way, you better be willing to accept the same in return. The ultimate reason they feel this way is that they have allowed themselves to surrender every part of themselves to the cause of “the game” – so, yes, they should feel dissatisfied, and unhappy – but it isn’t the girl’s fault – it’s your own…being responsible is tough, but being responsible to the right things is even tougher. Am I responsible to myself, am I living in balance? Am I in charge of my happiness, or is someone else? Do I even know? A sense of these questions would be a start
Let me end the interview with a warm thanks, Cliff. I also am quite aware that I come down hard on some fairly prevalent and accepted attitudes in the above. I say it in hopes that it will help those who need it to wake up, as I feel strongly that this community can help guys, and it can hurt guys who don’t treat it, and themselves, responsibly. I have learned so much from some quality guys out there and am very grateful for what I have. So, my thanks to all those that I have learned from as well to those who came before me, and blazed the trail through the jungle. What an interesting life.
Clifford: I would very much like to thank you, Stephen, for the time and energy you put into your thoughtful answers to my questions.