• Rob Virges

    I admit I’m a little behind with the journal posting but after last week and having three consecutive days of practice I needed the time to analyze, interpret, settle, and most importantly reflect on what I did right and what I did wrong in terms of my practice. This week was a little similar to my previous week of the approach challenge. When Evan and I got together and decided to start this challenge we came to the decision to at least do daygame twice a week along with one night of practice

    I initially had planned to do daygame on Tuesday and Thursday as I found it to be an ideal schedule because I like having a predictable schedule, having a structure, and because I take pleasure in keeping things incredibly organized, that’s pretty much my OCD talking. What I found out in the last two weeks since starting the Challenge I didn’t consider how my psychology shifts as the week progresses. It’s funny but in the beginning of the week from Monday-Wednesday I have such a difficult time trying to motivate myself to go out and approach women. It’s not really a matter of feeling lazy or the approach anxiety coming back into the mix. More or less its kind of like how most people spend the beginning of the week taking care of the other aspects of day to day life.

    I find myself wanting to focus on taking care of the mundane things in the beginning of the week. By mundane I’m talking about getting my household chores done, buying groceries, doing laundry, going to the gym, getting my car oil changed, and so on and so forth. Even though I’m on my summer break from school right now I find it pretty amusing that my head space and mindset shift as as soon as Wednesday rolls around kind of like the school year. I’d like to say maybe it’s the improv classes that might be doing the trick but, in reality I think its a combination of my habituation, my OCD, and that the improv classes have been making me more emotionally and mentally un-inhbited. I have decided to shift the challenge schedule to Thursday-Sunday for both Daygame and Night Practice. I find that I’m able to sustain the consistency and progression.

    Speaking of progression I got some wise advice from my uncle when we were just hanging out this past Sunday smoking cigars and talking about life. My uncle has given me so many tidbits of life advice that has helped me on my journey through my young adult life. He told me to forget about trying to be perfect as he too had a similar mindset to mine when he was my age. He told me to think of everything as being a progression. Essentially “progression, not perfection.” Those words have been ringing in my mind all week.

    Anyhow I know you didn’t come here to hear me ramble about my day to day life but I wanted to share how having a consistent structure and looking at your practice as like a workout program with a weekly progression and schedule can help accelerate your improvement and personal development with whatever goal you set for yourself. I started my practice 3 consecutive day practice Thursday last week after getting all my mundane day to day chores and weekly tasks out the the way. I felt pretty un-inhibited from my improv class the previous night so I set out to practice at the local mall in my area, the Willowbrook Mall and that I had to also get a birthday present for my cousin.

    On the way to the mall I started warming up and doing some of the improv exercises in my car to help me get back into the mindset. I shouted and yelled in my terrible soprano/opera voice just like in improv and started acting out some of the characters I developed in my classes to just loosen up my tonality. After pulling into the parking lot I entered the Macy’s feeling pretty good and aware of the moment. I went into the men’s department and I saw this cute brunette sales representative handing out free samples of some random cologne. Without hesitation I opened her with a functional opener asking her where the Tom Ford cologne was. She told me they didn’t carry it and so I immediately transitioned the conversation by utilizing an observational statement with some word association by complimenting her on her necklace. I can’t exactly remember what I said to her but nevertheless her expressions changed from friendly indifference to laughter and playfulness.

    I felt as if I was in my improv class doing a give and take exercise with one of my classmates. We bantered on for a good 10 more minutes and I later realized that I had to rush out of the Macy’s to go out and pick up my grandmother because I had to take her to the airport for her flight back home to the Philippines. As fun as it was bantering with her I didn’t pursue a phone number as I felt that I didn’t have enough time to build a connection and that I wanted to start building up my momentum again for my Saturday and Sunday practice. Either way I was happy that I approached, got some quick practice in, and managed to start setting the tempo for the next two days.

    The following Friday night was a different story. I went out to help Chris coach the mastery class in their second to last class for the summer. We did our practice in Williamsburg but I had a hard time setting the tempo and finding my groove as my mind was preoccupied with other things. Despite coming in un-inhibited I now have a better understanding for why some people have such a hard time shifting their mindset from work into weekend/dating mode. I felt pretty insecure, paranoid, and upset for unintentionally upsetting Chris concerning some work related things. It affected my mindset going into the bar but nevertheless, I managed to work through my inhibitions with the help of the Mastery students. It was difficult for me as my mind was preoccupied with trying to positively motivate and push the guys and work through my own personal insecurities but it was motivating seeing Paul, Matt, Michael, and Issac push themselves while they were working through their own personal inhibitions.

    I wanted to clock in 10 quality approaches minimum as I did 10 the previous week with my friend and wingman JC at the DL in the Lower East Side but I only managed to clock in 6 with one being a pretty long and interesting interaction. My 6th set was initially a two set of girls that I initially wanted Paul to approach to help get him out of his head. Because he was still recovering from the last approach I pushed myself to approach both of them with Paul coming in as a wing to get him in set. What happened was after I opened the girl, her friend immediately left to go to the bar and I saw Paul move towards another set in the opposite direction. I engaged her with an observational opener and kept thinking in my mind “Yes &” to get myself routed back into my improv mindset and away from my negative emotions from the earlier mishap. I complimented her on her skirt and told her that it reminded me of a Warhol painting.

    Her face immediately lit up and she broke out in a very flirty laugh. I shifted into introducing myself and she introduced herself as “Asia”. We flirted and talked for a good 10 minutes or so and as I was about to move her with me to get a drink at the bar this scruffy looking guy came up. She introduced him as her boyfriend. I remained calm and un-reactive and shifted the fun, “Yes &” type of energy as I introduced myself to him. As I was about to politely excuse myself and move on to another set, he told me to stay and that it was all cool. He tried to call me out and say that he was completely aware of what I was doing and said that I had a lot of balls. I calmly thanked him for the flattery and merely said that I was looking for my friends as I lost them and wanted to be social with all the random people walking about. His girlfriend excused herself to go grab a drink and he trapped me into a corner and started talking about life, philosophy, and things of that nature.

    I could tell he was a little tipsy but I remembered that I was in Brooklyn and that I would run into less standoffish people and more intellectual types and a lot of hipsters. His girlfriend returned and judging by the dynamics between them and her telling me a little of her background I had a feeling that she was wearing the pants in the relationship. I would of continued gaming her but I felt very uncomfortable with her boyfriend trapping me in a corner like an animal caught in a trap. I excused myself to go to the bathroom and decided to call it a night after leaving with Paul and Michael. I now have a better understanding why Chris teaches us in the mastery class to always be mindful of the amount of space you have when initially approaching a girl and positioning yourself next to her rather than face to face as it’s less confrontational.

    I got a little taste of the uncomfortable feeling of being trapped in a corner and for a moment I felt like how most girls would feel after being approached by a guy and not having the option to move out when I please. Me, Michael, and Paul ended the night grabbing some food and reflecting on our practice of the night. I got back to Jersey around 5:00 in the morning and passed out till 11:00. After waking up, I started utilizing my improv exercises to get myself back into the mindset as I was mowing the lawn. It started to shift my mindset and forget about my bumpy Friday night in Brooklyn. The following Saturday night, I was driven to make up for Friday night. I set my cap limit/quota to 10 approaches. I went out with my friend and long time wingman JC to the Lower East Side. Initially, we planned to get our practice in at the DL but, we ended up across the street at the Hotel Chantelle.

    For some strange reason the DL wasn’t going to open until 11:00. We got there by 9:30 and the area was just lively and popping. We lined up at this area behind the DL thinking it the backdoor entrance and maybe the bouncers were just trying to manage the crazy amount of people running around the area. I got myself into the mindset again just by uttering “Yes &” to myself. I saw this huge 6 set of women lining up at what we thought was the backdoor entrance. I pumped my energy up a little bit as it looked like a bachelorette party. I opened them enthusiastically with a Functional Opener “High Five! Congrats but anyways I had to ask you, is this the entrance to DL.” They broke out in laughter and told me and JC that the line was for a Drag Queen show. I started laughing and we both now understood why the entire line was all women.

    We crossed the street and entered the Hotel Chantelle to get our practice in. With one approach clocked in I decided to ease into the night like the previous week and spent the time catching up with JC at the bar. It was hot, mildly humid, and they weren’t going to open the top and bottom floors until midnight. The main floor flooded with several bachelorette parties of girls and a lot of guys. As I casually kept talking to JC, I opened up several of the sets around us utilizing the functional opener asking when the other floors were going to open and how their night was going as they were walking towards the bar to grab drinks.

    As soon as the other floors opened me and JC progressively worked our way through the Hotel Chantelle. I managed to clock in 14 approaches by the end of the night utilizing all four of the openers from Functional, Observational, Opinion, and Humor. It was hard to move sets and progress further for a couple of reasons. I’ve learned from the last year that it’s much better to get to a bar by 9:30 and leave by 1:00, as the night progresses it gets harder and harder to hook a set due to multiple circumstances such as space and overcrowding as the Hotel Chantelle is a very tight space with not to many locations to isolate and escalate. The ratio shifts as more men entering the bar and most girls mindsets shifting to put their guards up and I guess a little bit of their egos getting boosted as they are now more highly desired. Both sexes becoming more un-inhbited from the amount of alcohol being pumped out by the bar and bottle service. Lastly, because of the tight space the talking and music is much louder making it harder to talk to girl and build attraction and comfort.

    I was happy that I managed to make up the previous night by clocking in 14 approaches but, I am aware that I need to get better at transitioning to establish a stronger connection after building the basic social comfort in both normal day to day situations and loud high energy environments like the Hotel Chantelle. On the bright side I’m happy I managed to find a schedule that works for me, a way to get myself into the right mindset to practice by utilizing improv and “Yes &”, and finding the fun in going out once again.

    Stay tuned for the next post.

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