Frame: Carrot vs. Stick and Active Disinterest

Frame: Carrot vs. Stick and Active Disinterest

Playing to win, instead of playing to not lose, those were some brave words.

It was braver still to act on them. It’s like the tide is going out on your ego and you’re going to see how good you are. I feel pretty naked. The tide is out. By playing to win, instead of playing to not lose, I am currently losing, or at least not winning. But what is daygame if not an exercise in delayed gratification. It would be demoralizing if I couldn’t figure out what to work on next. But I did, and you’re going to read about it.

Krauser talks about this frustration. He calls it out as “not actually doing daygame” but rather “having a nice chat with a stranger.” Yep, that’s what it feels like. Combined with some guys on Twitter telling me what my stats should be (they are likely right, but it’s hard to trust guys on twitter, especially the ones there for marketing purposes). I think this might be a reasonably accurate assessment of where I am in the process. I keep wishing I would figure these things out faster, but one of my favorite quotes from Mystery is that “patterns emerge over time.” Anyway, I have a slightly different conclusion than Krauser about how to break out of the “nice chat with a stranger phase,” and I’ll get to that later.

I’m good at approaching and I like talking to girls, ok, I’m good at having nice chats with girls. I’ve gotten many numbers and dates and even pulled a handful of girls (strongly available maybes and 1 definite yes girl). Many kisses, many near misses. I’m much more confident than I was 3-6-12-24 months ago. This was despite playing to not lose. Roy Walker described me as enthusiastic a few months ago and warned me of a phase most daygamers encounter when it becomes a grind. After the occasional setback, I often think “Ok, maybe I’m at that point now,” but it goes away after a few days and a few good sets.

My main problem right now is my frame. My frame leaks nice guy way too often. Nice guy has been leaking out of me all summer. In case you didn’t know girls in NYC really don’t like nice guys. This has been revealed by letting go of the ego game of playing to not lose and challenging myself to see what happens when I play to win (and I lost a lot more).

I’ve been building a boat to cross the river. An analogy that Nash uses often when we talk. Clearly a manly boat, I’m in shape, successful enough, tall enough, fit enough, leader of men, protector of others, check, check, check, but my frame is wrong. My boat looks pretty good but has an obvious leak and girls don’t want to get into a leaky boat.

Returning to reality from the analogy, here are some examples of what goes wrong:

In my approaches, sometimes my tease hits but then the rest of my conversation turns into an informational chat and becomes nice guy. Mr. V coined something like this “Your conversation with a girl will become as boring as you both can accidentally make it.” If the tease doesn’t hit, it’s usually a good indicator that she’s not in the mood to talk and it’s not going to go anywhere, but when the tease hits and it dies, it’s on me and my frame. I know I can’t get them all, but I can do better and I will.

Also, frequently in approaches and on dates, I give too much value, like something out of Japanese politeness culture or Mr. Rodgers neighborhood: “Oh you’re a singer, that’s cool and you must have a wonderful voice.” It works great for making friends and influencing people. It’s definitely a staple of my management style, and it makes me approachable and works great for leading teams and male and female employees. It just doesn’t work for attracting girls. This is part of the reason that many successful CEOs don’t do well in game. It’s too much carrot and not enough stick. My use of carrots is fine. I need to use more stick. It will probably make me a better leader too.

Instead I need to be more skeptical. It should be “You’re a singer? Oh God (credit Mr. V and hat tip to Mystery)! I hear autotune enables anyone to become a singer these days.” It’s subtle, but this preservation of my relative value in the interaction is probably the biggest missing ingredient of my frame. I just give it away. If I had it, I would unconsciously be more challenging and teasing. Referring to my analogy du jour, my frame just immediately leaks out of the hole in the bottom of my otherwise pretty cool boat.

If you see the girl as a glass that is half full, you’re not protecting the relative value frame and are in danger of slipping into nice guy. Accidentally, the girl is placed on a pedestal. If you see her as a glass that is half empty, the relative frame is skewed correctly, and it is more likely she will work to get you. Hypergamy is a thing. I would like to think I am actually relatively neutral on how I view each girl, part of that is I know I can just meet more, but I think I get skewed a little toward the glass half full perspective and lose my relative value frame because I am curious about them and not challenging enough. Curiosity is killing my pussy cat.

An example of losing the frame on dates: I get a girl out on a coffee date and the chat somehow slips into nice guy because I don’t go in with the correct relative value mindset, no challenge to her, just curiosity. That’s coming in at a disadvantage because of my mental frame. I have been counteracting this by trying to hit Magnum’s 5 points. I have had some success with this – a few dates where I got a girl to my apartment and lost her after kissing. The success so far has been in playing to not lose – I identified when a girl was repeatedly steering away from sexual topics and I decided to cut the date short. Helpful, but not enough. Need more challenge.

Another big thing that Mr.V pointed out to me about my dating conversation skills is getting into conversational quicksand (usually cultural quicksand where we end up talking about cultures too much) because I enjoy the topic. There are a few other topics like this that I have to avoid getting stuck on – I’m sure most guys have a few of these. The frame improvement for me is to say something about it, to show her a taste of my interests and personality and keep the seduction train moving through the station.

It is amused mastery, yet “I am the prize” that is spouted so often on Twitter just isn’t articulate enough. Neither is Lance Mason’s classic take on amused mastery: “everything she does is cute.” I am better than you needs to be subtly and constantly reiterated. Being a challenge. I’m skeptical so you need to work to impress me (which sounds like a mild form of dread game). The best she can do is that’s cute when she tries to fight and you enforce the frame until she submits and complies. Her reality is ridiculous no matter what – like most of us think of our bratty little sisters (if we have them). You reward her for submitting and complying and honoring you and your reality, but you have to maintain that relative value frame.

She needed less carrot and more stick too.

There is an escalation ladder of enforcing frame when a girl does behavior you don’t like (paraphrased from Krauser – source was his blog or one of his books, will update with the source later) followed by an explanation in carrot/stick terms:

  • 1) Ignore (no carrot, no stick)
  • 2) Joke about it (little stick)
  • 3) Call it out (bigger stick)
  • 4) Demote her/Next her (stick, no more carrots)

1 and 4 are passive strategies. They work if she’s attracted and is causing drama and notices you ignore it or step back and she will chase. That is if she is already attracted to you. I am actually pretty good at doing those naturally (withholding carrots), but they are passive and trying to attract a girl by ignoring her is generally a bad plan, and that goes double for NYC where there are so many shiny happy people holding hands.

Recalling the Mystery Method, active disinterest is where attraction is created, and that is essentially 2 and 3. You either tease her (preferable) or put her in her place or even frame crush (provide discipline her like her father should have). She’ll get a defensive tingle from that. This is the challenge aka the stick treatment.

Mystery’s classic example of active disinterest is “You’re French?” “I love French girls, I can’t even talk to you right now. *Back Turn*.”

I have not been consciously doing 2 & 3 and those are absolutely the weakest part of my game. Sometimes I would get lucky and it would work out and I think that’s how I got my dates and lays to this point. Getting lucky. That’s not really game. I should use more active disinterest to generate attraction, in approaches, on dates, all the time. Coupled with more tweaks to improve my overall relative value frame and remove conversational quicksand I expect to see more results. Good thing Mr. V is exceptionally good at teasing. You become an average of the 5 people you hang out with and I am getting better at teasing by hanging out with him.

In the last 6 months, I have definitely been escalating better. It puts a smile of validation on my face when a girl gives me the vibe of “Ooooh, how did we end up kissing like this, he knows how to escalate and I liiike it…” which gets verbalized as “…you move fast (said with a smile between kisses)…” When women describe being swept off their feet, this is what I imagine is happening.

Referring back again to Krauser’s post, he recommends a guy break out of the “friendly chat with strangers phase” by becoming more sexual in set. I agree, it helped when I actively did that a year ago. I regularly do spikes, stepping in, the little toe kick, laser eye contact, etc. But that is not my issue. This is part of the reason I am ending up in the situation with the girl where she is like “how did we end up kissing like this so quickly?” it was a friendly chat that turned sexual as I escalated and she complied and went along with it. She is a little surprised and often smiles as she gets swept off her feet. Hoever (I’m going to leave that typo there), even when it goes well, it is too much pull. Friendly chat + escalation is pull. That’s only half of the push-pull needed for seduction. She should start to feel like chasing me at that point. What is missing is the push, the active disinterest and making her work for it. If she is working for it, then she is not surprised by the escalation, and is a more active participant in the escalation and it proceeds much smoother.

Perhaps Krauser has a more naturally strong frame and so it doesn’t necessarily occur to him as a frequent issue. Or maybe I’ve just been developing in some unusual organic way. I’ve absorbed most of his teachings and gotten some results, but my diagnosis is that my frame (specifically holding my relative value frame and maintaining it by active disinterest) is my sticking point.

I’ve been losing some the past few weeks. It’s OK. One of the good things about solo sports, like… say… running… is that you are competing against yourself and you can train with and against others to motivate yourself to improve. Daygame is also a solo sport, and having a good friend in Nash, and a good wing in Mr. V (and Magnum and LongBurnDaFire) helps me sort through things quicker and bounce back from the daygame lowpoints when we are struggling with our sticking points.

Finally, this Twitter and Blog thing has been helpful for meeting new people. I spotted a guy on the street about a month ago who approached a girl I was about to approach. He did well and got her number. Then about 2 weeks ago, he approached Mr. V after Mr. V approached a girl he was about to go after. He was like “I read some Krauser, and I follow some guys on Twitter, Nash and Runner… …that put a smile on my face.” We’ve been out a few times since then, he has a really good vibe: enthusiastic and reminds me of myself a year ago. I don’t want to out him, but I know he’s reading. Those kind of encounters are the reward of having this blog.

Playing to Win Versus Playing to Not Lose

Playing to Win Versus Playing to Not Lose

Several dates and conversations led me to a big epiphany this week about playing to win instead of playing to not lose.

Approaching to win: I realized that a lot of my approaches have gone down a cultural interview path, or a friendly chat. Any leads from those go nowhere. I have been regularly guilty of playing to not lose: not teasing enough (not wanting to lose by having her possibly get offended), not making an attempt at holding them there longer (“ok, bye” instead of “hold on” that MrVDaygame uses), and not shutting up on occasion and letting them invest (and trying too hard to carry the conversation and keep it going when they just aren’t hooking). To stop doing this and open with the intention of winning, I have to go in with a stronger tease (which could fail) and be more polarizing with more spikes and “hold on, stay put” frame (which can be rejected), and giving them an opportunity to invest (which they may not). Higher quality sets will yield higher quality leads.

Texting to win: you could lose a girl to being overeager, and you could lose a girl to being too cool. Trying to time it just right and playing to not lose can trap you either way. I think I have been playing it too cool and too overeager at just the wrong times. My current model (which I am now testing) is to keep the energy going with a light tease text (nice to meet you Ms. Orange Soda) or something, and then try and keep the energy going, not falling into the trap (as Nash called it) of waiting too long and being too cool (a symptom of playing to not lose by overcompensating for not wanting to come across too eager/ thirsty). Girls in New York City are bombarded with men and activities and all sorts of distractions so you have to harvest their attention while you have it (trying to keep their attention would qualify as playing not to lose). So as long as they are compliant, I am now trying to respond rather quickly and with some light banter, and try and seed a date and get them out (as one should). 

Anywhere along that line they can break things and cease being compliant and that is where an active push is the right move. An example of the push is when you attempt to invite her out for a drink (and this happened to me yesterday) and she says “can’t I have yoga at 715” and doesn’t offer an alternative time. I made fun of her lightly by “yoga yoga yoga yoga” and she responded with “I know, I know” and was more compliant after that. Still didn’t end up getting her out for other reasons, but I know she’s a dead lead and I played it to win. It felt good to know.

There are also girls that just want to be text buddies and never come out. By playing not to lose, she wins a friend. Yes, I am speculating that female friendships with each other are about as strong/valuable as a text buddy relationship (not very) and because you are afraid to lose, you end up losing your limited and valuable time on this earth.

Dating to win: Nash talks about trying to kiss a girl every date. Magnum talks about not kissing a girl on a short first date so that things escalate further and faster on the second date. Different methods, I’ve tried them both. Both work. What’s important is they have a plan, and they’re both dating to win. 

Regarding dates: I had a date with a 2-set from Europe with MrVDaygame a week or so ago, and each thread of the conversation that he started had some point and often it was sexual. My conversational threads were all over the place and while some of my threads were teasing and sexual, there were enough neutral or repetitive threads that made it more of a fun cultural chat, as opposed to a sexual man-to-woman date conversation. I kept checking (and re-checking) certain conversational boxes over and over because I enjoyed talking about them, not because it was moving the seduction forward; this is not game, in fact it is anti-game. It is a trap I was falling into for a looooooong time, easily since I was a teenager. It’s humbling to be able to abstract my former attempt at “game” as “Oh you like _____ too! Let’s talk about _____. Of course she’ll like me if we both like to talk about _____ and I tease her a bit and escalate” and while it did work on occasion if she really liked me, if she was on the fence the anti-game would repel her because it is a subtle form of playing not to lose. And the worst part is, I thought I had game. Ugh. Instead, the way to go is acknowledging and appreciating a mutual interest and then cutting the thread and moving the seduction train forward: “I like that you like _____, it makes me feel like we have a connection. What’s that funny look you’re giving me, you nerd? *playful push*”

Regarding series of dates: Particularly Russian speakers and New York career girls on the wrong side of 28 like to have rules in place for how many dates it takes to seduce them. I like to move fast enough to get their attention and show off some confidence (I like it when they are kissing me with a big smile and telling me “You move pretty fast” though I fuck this up occasionally by trying to move too fast and coming across as too eager not going 2 steps forward and 1 step back). Occasionally, when I move that fast, and we have comfort, then little compliance and frame tests come up. Come visit me in Brooklyn! (before we’ve had a sexy time). Enough of these, and you realize it just isn’t going to happen for whatever reason. Her programming is to not get pregnant with the wrong guy, and I am running into all sorts of fences to the possibility of the sexy situation where she could possibly get pregnant. By putting up with that, I am playing to not lose. To her it looks like I am so invested in the idea of getting with her that I will put up with whatever bullshit she wants to throw at me; as a result we are less likely to get together and stay together if we do get together. Ultimately it’s a waste of time and energy.

Many romantic stories are told by grandparents (“He just kept pursuing me! I finally had to say yes!”), but I suspect that those stories are omitting that some small amount of progress or compliance was being demonstrated each time, or it’s just Grandma reminiscing about what it felt like to be pursued.

What is the advantage of playing to win?

My hypothesis is that playing to not lose is less likely have winning outcomes. Your energy is focused on winning and winning only. Sounds a lot like the idea of top guy that Nash and Yohami keep bandying about: top guy has so much abundance he can only see the girls saying yes and doesn’t even notice any girl saying no. I’m not top guy, but I occasionally get a taste when a girl tornado gets going (where I have more leads than I can manage) and only the girls that step forward make it through because they are all I can see. When I’m not in a girl tornado, I can emulate top guy behavior by playing to win.

There’s a classic wall street book “Hedge Fund Market Wizards” about successful Hedge Fund managers by Jack Schwager, and in his interview with Ed Seykota, he asked “What are the elements of good trading?” Ed’s response “The elements of good trading are: 1) cutting losses, 2) cutting losses, and 3) cutting losses. If you can follow these three rules, you may have a chance.” There’s an old trader saying that is at least 150 years old: “let your winners run and cut your losses short.” As Nash has said, if he’s making progress with a girl, letting it take a few more dates to seduce her is very OK. He’s letting a winning girl run. A calibrated play to win.

By having a lot of volume and approaching often, it can set you up to play to win and emulate top guy behavior, as you are forced to cut girls quickly when they disappear or don’t comply or otherwise misbehave, and just the winners remain in the running (until they misbehave). You cut your losses by avoiding chasing her (and rewarding her bad behavior) or attempting to negotiate desire and get her to come around, which frequently ends up being a waste of effort and energy. You can then focus your energy on the winners or looking for more winners.

I have also found it to be emotionally relieving to identify the girls who are going to not comply or behave badly, make one attempt at a corrective action, and then let them go if it doesn’t work. I gave them a shot, played to win, didn’t work, move on and don’t think about it further. This is also the mindset of elite athletes, if they miss a shot, they shake it off, and focus their energy on the next one, that unhindered psychological focus is a big part of their training and development that enables them to perform at an elite level.

Play to win.