This is a continuation of the story, How I Became a Famous Pickup Artist Part 1. If you haven't read that already, you should do so before reading this article.
Papa was notorious for being in contact with everyone in the pickup scene. I couldn't blame him, either - he was the business side of "Real Social Dynamics", a company that taught seminars and workshops to aspiring players. Not surprisingly, he was the only person at the seminar that I knew.
In order to extract every last precious second out of my experience, I had gotten on the earliest flight to Chicago that I could book. I called Papa when I arrived at the hotel at 10am. I could hardly make out his voice. He'd been out in the clubs until very late and was still sleeping.
"Well, is anyone awake yet?" I asked. Papa had arranged for me to stay with someone, but he hadn't arrived yet.
"Yeah. Call Mike. Let me get his number for you..."
I called Mike, also known as Sickboy, a pick up legend in his own right. Very hospitably, he came downstairs to meet me. I had a million questions to ask, but I know how annoying that can be, so I shared some of my own stories instead. After we became aquainted we went downstairs to meet some other pickup artists, including a man named Clifford.
Clifford is older than your typical PUA, but is well respected and runs a list called "Cliff's List". It was a monthly (or so) digest of techniques and commentaries from the top pickup artists in the community. I had no idea when I met him that later one of my techniques would be featured in his list.
We all went to lunch and shared stories. What I lacked in pickup prowess I made up for in creativity. Everyone had heard about some of my more amusing antics - including one in particular where I would go to a book store and pretend to be reading lines from a "dating for dummies book". It never got me anywhere, but it separated me from the hordes of faceless guys posting online.
As the day went on I met more and more of the superstars of the pickup world. They all worked together to form a company called Real Social Dynamics. Along with their original teacher and mentor, Mystery, they were known to be the best in the world. One of the principals of the company, Tyler, was thought by many to be the best in the game. I was particularly excited to meet him.
Since Sickboy was a member of Real Social Dynamics and had too much social grace to remind me that I wasn't part of their group, I was integrated into RSD for the night. Interestingly, everyone just assumed that I was good. The truth is that I had very little tangible success, other than feeling more comfortable in social settings. I went to dinner with them and was wowed by their stories from the field. They were all so cool. Things that would be considered the pinnacle of my pickup career were common place to them. Getting a number was a small but noteworthy triumph for me. For them, getting a handful of numbers was expected.
There was one thing they were excited about, Papa especially. That thing was "Project Hollywood". It was a pipe dream project that Papa had concocted. His plan was to rent out Dean Martin's old mansion, located right on Sunset Boulevard, home of the hottest clubs in Hollywood. Better, the house had five bedrooms, each to be inhabited by one of the best pickup artists in the world. The individuals who had signed on so far were :
That left two spots empty. Rent was high - around $3000/month each, but in the pickup world, it was the most prized piece of real estate available. I didn't even consider asking for a room myself. I knew that they were likely spoken for, and I had just bought my own house in Austin, TX.
It was hard not to be enthusiastic about the house, though. Not being one of those destined to call it home gave a feeling of being left out. Papa had big plans for it - parties, businesses, and pickup conventions. It was going to be the next Playboy mansion.
After dinner RSD was conducting a workshop that night, which I was invited to join by default.
It wasn't that I didn't believe the stories they told. I did. But my subconcious mind didn't recognize these things as a possibility. Instant attraction from ANY girl, stealing girls from boyfriends, girls begging them for their phone numbers. I was eager to see them in the field.
We went to a club in Chicago at Rush and Division. It was packed full of amorous young men and women oblivious to the fact that cupid's army had just stormed the building. Like many others present, I stuck close to Tyler. He was the best of the bunch, and I wanted to see what that meant.
With his characteristic devilish grin, he pointed out a girl to me and said, "watch this." But she wasn't just any girl. She was certainly a model, and even more certainly - taken. Her broad shouldered boyfriend sat next to her. He was almost certainly a model as well. Was Tyler actually going to try to pick HER up?
From a few feet away he engaged her in conversation. She seemed interested in the conversation, but barely. He didn't seem to notice. He kept talking , and within a minute or two, her interest was piqued. Tough as it was, I tried not to stare at them. I assumed that what he was doing was very difficult, and worried that if noticed, my mere observation might ruin things. The boyfriend noticed, but didn't care. He knew that Tyler was some punk kid who his girlfriend would shortly dismiss.
Every time I looked back, things had progressed.
He tentatively sat next to her on the couch.
He put his sunglasses on her. The boyfriend looked somewhat uncomfortable.
She was facing him, rather than her boyfriend.
Were they holding hands? The boyfriend looked worried.
Soon they were lying next to each other on the oversized chaise lounge, facing each other, obviously deep in conversation. The boyfriend felt so ignored that he actually left the chaise lounge and made short conversation with another guy. Tyler seemed not to even notice, but I knew that he was keenly aware of everything happening.
Eventually he left, but his faux-Chanel sunglasses remained on her.
"Dude. That's Miss Indiana," he said. His voice was matter of fact. Mine would have been rather excited.
"I'm just leaving so that she knows I don't really care. She has my sunglasses, so I have to come back"
I followed him on a lap around the circular bar. He spotted another beautiful girl. No one in the club was as attractive as the first one, but this girl may have been the runner up. I couldn't tell exactly what he said or did, because it all happened so fast. All I know is that within a minute or so, she was staring deeply into his eyes and holding his hands. I would have never believed it if I hadn't seen it myself.
Soon her boyfriend noticed what was happening. His policy wasn't quite as "hands-off" as the first boyfriend. He shoved Tyler backwards about two feet. Tyler stood there and stared at him. He wasn't scared - he was ready to fight if necessary. The boyfriend seemed intimidated and stood motionless in the showdown. His friends grabbed him and broke up the fight before it happened.
"That was impressive," I said.
"Oh, I'm not done," replied Tyler.
He got a pen from me and a found a reciept in his pocket. He handed it to someone else to get to the girl, who was being loosely restrained by her boyfriend's friends. A few seconds later she squeezed her way away from her group and returned the paper. It had her number, her work number, her e-mail address, and her full name spelled out.
"Call me!" she pleaded.
I'd never seen anything like it in my life, but as you can imagine, I was in. What would have happened with Julie if i had those skills? I chuckled just thinking about it. I was now ready to commit to the Pickup Artist lifestyle, and do whatever was necessary to get those skills.
The next few days were more of the same, equally impressive, but no event stuck in my mind as sharply as that night. It was my first exposure. The last night over dinner, Papa said to me,
"We should get you on the lounge."
I knew what the lounge was. It was a highly guarded online forum occupied by the top 100 or so pickup artists in the world. They shared war stories and tactics that were too powerful to give out indescriminantly. They were a tight knit group, and anyone who was anyone was a member. There was an unspoken rule that any lounge member would host any other lounge member who was in their city.
I was puzzled by the invitation, but flattered. Maybe if Papa had seen me in action he would have changed his mind. Maybe he saw potential. Maybe he just liked being generous. Either way, I quickly accepted the invitation.
The next morning I got on my plane, eager to get home to digest all that I had experienced, and more importantly to delve into the encyclopedic history of the lounge.
To Be Continued... [now written - continue to Part 3
This is part of an ongoing series. If you haven't read them already, read :
I wrote out this entire post before, and then the computer crashed and I lost it all, so I haven't felt like working on it. Finally, I'm biting the bullet and starting over :
I feel like I've been cast under a dark and fuzzy haze over the past week with shadows and bursts of soft and gloomy light pulsing in and out of focus all around me. The untimely passing of my nephew, Francisco Kitiona Marcelo, has been a heartbreaking ordeal. My family and I are still reeling in its aftermath. I wanted to take the time to tell my nephew's story, as seen from the perspective of a loving uncle. I do this now to preserve my own sweet memories of him and to honor his life . . . This story, as it relates to me, began back in September. I was getting ready to leave town to do a show in Charlotte, NC one night when my younger sister Lloyda called. After a bit of small talk, she confided in me that she was pregnant. I was surprised and actually a little excited by the news though I honestly was concerned about the struggles that come with impending motherhood. I left it to her to tell the rest of the family in her own time while I bit my lip and shared her growing secret with no one. According to the math, the baby was to be born some time in April of 2010. I was relieved to have plenty of time to prepare for this new addition. I was looking forward to a baby shower and finding all kinds of baby clothes once we knew the gender. (I LOVE shopping for little babies. Ugh. It just kills me how cute their clothes are!) These plans, as it happens, were hugely altered when my sister suddenly and unexpectedly gave birth early--on a Saturday morning, October 24, to be exact. I remember this day so vividly. I got the call from my older sister Leth early that morning that Lloyda gave birth. I rushed to pick up my brother-in-law Danny and went straight to the hospital. Lloyda was at the Centennial Women's Hospital in the West End area of downtown Nashville. I walked through the first floor lobby and passed by the little glass gift shop full of newborn balloons and tchotchkes of all kinds. Ordinarily I would have stopped for a minute and bought some cute baby stuff, but I was too worried about the fact that the baby was born WAY too early. When Danny and I finally made it to Lloyda's room, I looked straight at her face, and I saw exactly what I was expecting. She had this glow about her. The kind of glow I've only seen on women who have just given birth. She had the face of a new mom, and I was so happy for her. We all sat together (myself, my two sisters, Danny, and our dear friend Maria), and posted messages on Facebook announcing the birth of the baby, smiling all the while. Not too long ago, I was nine-years-old when Lloyda came into our family's life. I was old enough to hold her when she was a baby. I changed her diapers and adored her like everyone else did. I was as happy to be an older brother as I was happy to be an uncle. The baby was a boy who would be named Francisco Kitiona Marcelo--named after a close friend of Lloyda's and our wonderful brother-in-law Danny). On that same day, we would all head up to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to see him for the first time. My older sister led me in to the secured area where they keep all the pre-mature babies. I had to wash my hands for three full minutes and put on a snazzy little hospital robe over my clothes. We walked to the end of the room, and there he was--with what looked like a gazzillion tubes plugged into him. He was SO TINY!!! I had never seen an actual premie baby in person until that moment. He looked so delicate and frail. (In fact, my first impulse was to look the attending nurse straight in the eye and say, "If anything happens to him, I swear to God I'll kick your ass!!" But then, I thought "Calm down Asian, it's gonna fine.") He was encased in a glass incubator-thingy-majigy--as I prefer to call it. As I stood there looking at him for the first time, I vowed to him that I would be there to cheer him on and help him get better. I've always believed that you could manifest great things just by imagining and thinking them. I tried to imagine a slightly older version of this tiny baby--a cute, fat, and plump little boy running in a wide open field. He'd be playing football with his cousins and figuring out how to hold his own against them. (His cousins are an assertive, formidable brood. He'd grow tough and strong just like them.) I imagined his laughter and a face that looked just like his Mom's. As the days wore on, the worrying turned into joy. I took my Mom, his grandmother, to see him in the NICU. She fussed with the glass incubator-thingy-majigy and basically interrogated the attending nurse about EVERYTHING. It was pretty funny actually. My Mom is not someone anyone should ever mess with. I think the nurse sighed with relief when we left. On Saturday, Nov. 7, I went by myself to visit him again. I just had a blast performing a couple of songs on the radio a few blocks away, and I went straight to the NICU with my happy little self. Up to that point, I still hadn't visited the little glass gift shop in the lobby, and in my rush to see him, I forgot to go there again. I did my 3-minute scrub, and then hovered over him yet again. He was laying on his side. For several moments, he opened his eyes and stared right at me. He gave me this glaring look that said "Why you all up in my grill!!". I gave him back a stare that said "That's right!! I'ma be all up in your grill!!! Better get used to it!". Yeah, this went on for awhile. For a small second, I reached in and touched his hand. It was the softest skin I had ever felt. Looking back, I wish I had stayed a little longer. I didn't know then that he would pass away two days later. On the day he died, I responded to a text from my older sister Leth that said "Call Me 911". I called her right back. All she had to say was "He's gone.", and I knew. I heard the sound of my sister Lloyda weeping uncontrollably through the phone, and I could feel the tears well up in my eyes. At that point, I had dissolved into a blithering mess. I went straight to the hospital. I passed by that little glass gift shop and resisted every tearful urge to walk in. We spent that whole afternoon holding his little body and trying to say goodbye . . . A few days later, there were a couple of items that needed to be picked up from the NICU--a disc full of halloween photos of the baby that the nurses took, his little ankle band, and the stat sheet that identified him on the glass incubator-thingy-majigy. I went to get all of this stuff, but on my way out, I decided to make one more stop. The gift shop in the hospital lobby was a small room with walls of glass. Inside, it held a whole universe of little gifts and possibilities. I walked in to behold all of these treasures. I scoured the walls to finally find my nephew the perfect gift--a little bear he could have with him in his resting place. (Because really, every kid should have a little bear or stuffed animal of some sort. I was determined to give him one.) Luckily I found one hanging on a display. It was fluffy and white, and it had a blue sweater on that said "Baby Boy". I bought one for Baby Kit and one for my sister Lloyda. I held these bears in my hand, along with every hope, every dream, and every possibillity that I had for my nephew. I stepped out of the glass and out into the world. I felt like I was holding him and his spirit and letting him go out into a place where nothing would confine him anymore. Somewhere wide, open, and carefee. As it turned out on the day of the funeral, the casket came with a little bear of its own. It was sitting with Baby Kit when I got there. When I saw this, I said to myself, "Aww, helll NO!!!!". I promptly removed this evil bear and replaced it with the one I got him. My sister gave him a light-blue-colored baby blanket that she knitted. My mom gave him a rosary that she got from her Mom. We all gave him kisses goodbye before the memorial service began. The memorial service and funeral went very smoothly. My sister Lloyda proudly spoke about her son. My nephew Tyler read a poem and my other nephew Bubba read a bible verse. My brother-in-law Danny gave the eulogy. My sister Leth made this amazing slide show for the service, and several family members and friends shared this day with us. I sang a song and played my keyboard. It was a lullaby called "While You Sleep" that I wrote years ago. I was so proud to sing for him that day. The kind folks at Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home were just so amazing with us. I am grateful to their entire staff for making this whole experpience more bearable, and even quite special actually. I am also thankful to all of the folks who were able to donate towards paying for the funeral. The day of my nephew's burial was beautiful--a fresh fall November day. I could have taken off my coat and still felt nice and cool. The sky was a clear, dark blue, and the sun was shining bright. A whole family gathered around one sweet and precious gift that day. He was the best gift our family ever could have gotten. My family and I stand by my sister Lloyda now as we try to move on. I''ll stand by my nephew always. Cheering him on, just outside the glass, but now in a wide, open, carefree place . . . With Love, Uncle.