New York correspondent BEC COUCHE discovers the lengths men will go to for love
A result of the global financial crisis is that men in New York are watching their wallets like never before. Except, that is, when it comes to romance.
Love Systems, a company that runs a series of “Booty Boot Camps” has found business is booming, with courses including “Same Night Lays” and “Picking Up Strippers”. In exchange for $4580, the three-day, hands-on course with dating coaches (all ex-students) promises to improve the pick-up game of those unlucky-in-love guys.
I had my doubts and concerns. If girls don’t respond to these guys, then it’s normally for a good reason – like, hmm, they are creepy? But perhaps I’d been a little too quick to judge...
When I arrived at a studio in the trendy area of Hell’s Kitchen to sit in on day two of the Love Systems boot camp, I pushed open the door and five men – all aged about 24, and one 60-year-old – turned around and stared at me. I had diverted their attention from their instructor, who went by the name “The Don” – a tall, slightly hungover-looking guy standing in front of a whiteboard.
The first hour was devoted to debriefing the Friday night before. The class had gone out bar-hopping in East Village, a happy hour haven and tipsy female uni student goldmine. Good news for the five younger dudes, but I wasn’t so sure how the old guy would have fared. He remained tell-tale silent as the rest of the class fed their largely failed first attempt stories to the instructors, awaiting their wrath-like feedback. One chubby bespectacled student lamented getting “blown off by a chick who was, like, a three [out of 10]”. The Don comforted, “Some of the meanest girls are the ugly girls. Hot girls are normally nice, practice on sixes.” “No-one goes out to have a boring time, remember, have fun, talk to people,” he continued. The Don then very wisely encouraged his students to look past getting into a girl’s pants: “This is just like baseball. Your average goes up over time. Even if you don’t want to f**k the girl, you can still have fun talking to her.” Nice. Well put, I think.
When I see all the students furiously taking notes, I realise this is serious and that these guys are totally clueless. The Don covers opening the conversation, transitioning it to a point where attraction can be established, making the girl feel comfortable and then closing – which can mean anything from getting a phone number, exchanging a kiss, or gaining a one-night stand, depending on the guy’s objective. He shares a couple of games aimed at opening the conversation, such as challenging the girl to a thumb war or playing the Name Game. “You ask a girl if her parents ever told her what she would’ve been called if she had been a boy. Then, pause to say, ‘To me, you kind of look like a Leroy’.” The aim of this game being to call the girl that name all night. This provides the all-important inside joke in the anticipated follow-up text. I sense a drink being thrown on them in the near future. After four hours of workshopping, The Don sets the objective for the coming evening: “To obtain a phone number or a make-out session. And, guys, kissing drunk girls doesn’t count.” Eager to see how these lads fare in practising what they’ve learnt, I join them.
The six guys have scrubbed up well by the time I meet them at the bar. Soon, they’re giddy after a few drinks and eager to talk to girls. One of them tested his game on me, asking if I wanted to join his Pen 15 club. Dubious, I agreed, and let him write PEN 15 on my arm. He smirked confidently, tapped another guy on the shoulder and said, “Hey, check out this chick! She’s got PENIS written on her arm,” and walked off, leaving me in hysterics.
Five out of the six achieved the objective, even the old guy, who paired up with an instructor as his wingman to a bar with an older clientele.
By the end of the night all thoughts of the boot camp being sleazy had gone. Yes, it’s a little weird, but it’s a tough playing field out there. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wash PEN 15 off my arm.
From Australian Cosmo May 2009