Attraction coach face-off

If I needed any more convincing, the text messages did it. “Last night was the best night of my life.” “What are you doing now, sweetie?” And the clincher: “Come over, I’m making dinner.”

Okay, I get it already, Zan, thanks. You can put your cell phone away now.

Friday night I went for a drink with Zan Perrion (www.zanperrion.com). One of the featured pick-up artists in Neil Strauss’s The Game, Perrion is an international man of mystery who spends much of his time jetting around the world to give seminars and talks on his life, his philosophy, and women. Occasionally he’ll make a public appearance in his hometown, which is how I met him in the fall at, appropriately (or inappropriately) enough, at the Vancouver YWCA. 

Anyway, our get-together—at the Cactus Club Cafe (www.cactusclubcafe.com) in Yaletown, part of a chain known for its attractive-waitress policy—was about the possibility of making me the guinea pig of a new program he is putting together. According to Zan, it’s still in the planning stages, but it would involve some one-on-one interactions out “in the field”, as well as follow-up emails and phone calls. The idea would be to teach me to be more successful with women.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But Shawn—you’re a great guy, you’ve got an interesting job, a car, your own place, you’ve got your shit together (more or less), you’re moderately good-looking, you’ve been known to tell a decent joke or let off a decent witty remark on occasion, you’re social, and you can play ‘Tangled Up in Blue’ on guitar. How could you possibly need more success with women???”

Good question. But the truth is, I’ve had few dates in the year since my last breakup. It seems like the minute I express interest in someone, it backfires; or, worse, I get put in “the friend zone”. And if I see a girl I’m attracted to, I immediately start thinking of reasons not to talk to approach her. Usually, I’m pretty convincing.

I came face to face with this just last Tuesday, when I went to a downtown mall with Stefan. An attraction/dating coach with Lifestyle Transformations (www.lifestyletransformations.com), a new company, Stefan’s mission was to help me overcome “approach anxiety.” Considering it had snowed earlier in the day and the mall was practically deserted, we had our work cut out for us. But my coach wasted no time walking up to a young woman and saying “Hi.” He followed up with, “This might sound strange, but I just wanted to say you look really good.” She seemed pleased and he chatted with her for a few moments before disengaging. According to Stefan, he’s done this sort of thing hundreds of times, and it showed in the ease of his body language. After a few more approaches, all of which went a similarly pleasant way, he told me, “Now it’s your turn.” I immediately tensed up. The idea of just walking up to an unfamiliar, attractive woman, and saying something—while stone cold sober, remember–is, to put it mildly, not exactly in my comfort zone.

But I did it—and each of the three times, the response was more or less friendly and positive. No one told me to go away or threatened to called security. Of course, the idea is to keep at this—that is, approaching women, saying “hi”, engaging in a brief conversation “offering value” with no concern for the outcome. I haven’t exactly been conscientious about that assignment. There was one other problem. At one point, Stefan watched a dark-haired girl walk past. When I asked why he didn’t approach her, he said she was too young. “How old?” I asked. “25,” said the 21-year-old.

Which got me thinking that I might feel a little more comfortable with a guide with a little more life experience under his belt.

Still, it was a step in, if not the right direction, then certainly a different one. And so, with the determination that 2008 is not going to be a repeat of the rather lame 2007, I’m going to get some coaching to find out what I’m doing wrong and how to change it. How does this benefit you, the reader? Well, you get to read about my stumblings and flailings right here on Click in a special blog series. And, with any luck, when it’s all over I’ll have met the woman of my dreams. Or at least, I’ll have received some text messages from a cute girl inviting me over for dinner. Is that so much to ask for?

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