How dense one guy can be

Kirsten has frizzy hair, pulled back in a ponytail, and she is telling me she works as an elementary school teacher by day. She has to yell, though, because of the dance music pounding in the club, a Davie Street institution called Celebrities. Meanwhile, behind her, a tall, lanky guy is jumping up and down and waving his arms in wide arcs at me and practically shouted, “Kino! Kino! Kino!”

“Kino” is short of kinesiology, and what Jason Rude of Lifestyle Transformations (www.lifestyletransformations.com) was trying to get through to little ol’ dense me was that I should be touching this girl, Kirsten, more than I was—which was barely at all. For some reason—my Prairie upbringing, my aversion to pepper spray–the idea of touching a relative stranger, on the elbow or back or wherever, takes me far out of my comfort zone. If only to get Jason to stop his attention-drawing jumping jacks, I touched Kirsten’s arm again as I said something. To my surprise, I did not encounter any violent opposition.

After Kirsten leaves to find her friend, I return to where Jason is standing with several of his buddies. I had already touched her arm a couple of times before he began his calisthenics—wasn’t that enough? Jason and James, the two guys within earshot, shake their heads as though they were addressing a particularly thick-headed child. “That’s what I used to think,” says James, a curly-haired, bespectacled guy in a denim shirt. “But you can’t do it enough.”

“If she doesn’t like it, she’ll let you know and move away,” says Jason.

This past Tuesday was my second night out with the guys from Lifestyle Transformations, a dating/attraction coaching business that just opened up here in Vancouver. The first time, Stefan had taken me to a local shopping mall and instructed me to say “hi” to passing girls as a way of quelling my “approach anxiety.” Jason, who on this night has wound himself up into a Tony Robbins-like trance of positive energy, was also pushing me to approach girls (Kirsten, at 30, was one of the rare actual women at the club) and into situations where I would have to think on my feet.

If I had any doubt I still have lots to learn in this area, i.e. understanding the whole man/woman interaction thing, it was dispelled not just by the kino incident but by what happened a little later. I spotted Kirsten again, looking for her friend. We started chatting again, and she dropped the b-word—“boyfriend”—and I said whatever, we’re just talking. After this, she seemed to really open up, and as we talked about past life decisions (I forget how we got on this topic) she mentioned that she used to be a stripper, but that she hasn’t told the guy she’s seeing for fear of his reaction. “But I was a good stripper,” she said. “I never got involved with drugs.”

Typically, just when the conversation’s getting interesting, I decide to end it—on what I supposed was a high note. After Kirsten returned to her search, I walked over to Jason. As they say, you could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather after what he told me next.

“She was totally into you, man,” he said. “You could’ve gone home with her.”

“Get out.”

“Believe me,” he said. “I know men, and I know women. You could’ve gotten that girl to do anything you wanted.”

“No way.”

What had I missed? Kirsten and I had just had a pleasant conversation, and perhaps even connected; Jason’s news could not have surprised me more if he’d said that he’d noticed a little blue alien growing out of the back of my head. Could what he said be true? Have I really been on this planet this many years without being able to pick up on these kinds of signals? And more importantly, will I always sound like a character out of Wayne’s World when recounting my experiences with women?

Stay tuned.


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