Posts Tagged ‘Lifestyle Transformations


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 ( 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.



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 ( 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 ( 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 (, 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?

August 2020

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