ALTERNATE TITLE: Know what your RULES are up front and don't break them for anybody. Ever. (Not even for the so-called "unicorns".)
As we say in Hollywood, you can tell if the script sucks simply by glancing at the first page. Typos? Bad grammar? Poor control of white space? If that's the writer's page 1 impression, it ain't gettin' any better on page 10. Or 50. Or 100.
As it is with the arts, so it is with dating. That first encounter? The one where she's on her very best behavior? That's the best you're ever gonna get her. So if she crosses the line / oversteps your boundaries then, feel free to get up and walk. That's all there is to it.
So there was a field report posted here just a little while ago, one that Rollo gave a lengthy analysis of--I left a long comment on the post re: "Wow, this sure reads a lot like Red Pill porn to me..." (Another reader wrote, succinctly, "Someone's been reading too many Penthouse letters"--this should have been the top comment.) And it's true, I feel like a lot of the FRs here (as of late) are less about teaching the reader something valuable, and a lot more about the writer trying to assuage his deep dark suspicion that maybe, just maybe, he's a little bit more beta than he thinks he is...
Well fear not, dear reader, we're gonna get into all kinds of fuck-ups with this one. If I was a basketball player playing at the pro level, and I told you "Yeah, I had a great game last night, I hit every single shot I took, swish swish, just like that, zero errors in the entire game" you'd probably wonder who, exactly, I was playing against. If I assured you it was another pro, then you'd probably assume I was lying. (And you'd be right, I would be.) Well guess what: this aptly describes a whole lot of FRs on this sub (and in the man-o-sphere in general)--perfect players who say and do everything perfectly all the time. How would rate a world champion chess player who played a tournament level game without losing a single piece? Yep, exactly. So in my effort to bring a little more openness and transparency to the process, and show some of the newbies out there how even someone who's been around the block a few times can still drop the ball (a lot), let's get into it, shall we?
THE ONLINE MEET
So everyone has their unicorn (or I perhaps should say, "unicorn type"), and I find that this varies quite a bit according to the environment that you're currently in. When I was living in NYC, all the girls were highly educated (minimum college degree, most had grad degrees), and in a city where smarts were a given, it was the laid back, chill, funny, FUN girl that was the real unicorn. Now that I'm in LA (and have been for a few years), it's quite the opposite: LA is the town where all the popular, good-looking kids in high school (the ones that scraped by with a C- average) go to "get famous" (no particular ambition, just "I wanna be famous"), and thus now I'm surrounded by women who are beautiful, fun, outgoing, EXTREMELY socially adept (one might use the term "pro hustlers" here, and one wouldn't be far off the mark), and yet, at the same time, haven't read a single book in the past year (in fact, I'm not joking in the slightest when I say that many of the women I've met out here have never actually read a book cover-to-cover in their entire lives. The real joke: some of them, like my best friend the stripper / escort, who surely deserves a series of her own posts (coming soon), make more in a single night than most of the highly educated women of NYC make in an entire year).
So for me, out here in Hollywood, the cute, smart, COLLEGE-EDUCATED girl is the real unicorn. And thus, when I found myself on OKCupid just a few weeks back, sifting through the usual swamp of awfulness that is the Hollywood online singles scene ("I'm a transgender female, AND IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE THAT..."--I mean, Jesus fucking Christ), and I came across a profile that: 1) had a really cute pic, and 2) was extremely well written (by an obviously extremely well read, highly educated female), I knew I'd found something special--and thus, I was in it to win it.
(I'm emphasizing the "unicorn-ness" of this woman, here, by the way, relative to the typical LA dating scene, because it'll help to explain why I started breaking so many of my "unbreakable" rules later on as the whole dating process started to get underway).
So I picked out one of her stated interests at random (Almodovar, a director we both love), I opened her on that (can't remember the exact line but it was short), she wrote back right away, and a few minutes later we started messaging back and forth. She was, obviously, very, very into me, and MOST of her interest, clearly, was based off the text in my profile (I have a lengthy bit of text there, surprise surprise, goes against the grain a bit but I like it that way--it knocks out most women right up front but the ones that DO get through it, and like it, I know I have an instant "in" with, which is part of the reason why my close rate is so high).
So after a few witty back and forths she says "Can I call you?" I say "Sure, let's chat for a few"--and guess what:
I just broke Rule #1: NEVER TALK WITH A GIRL ON THE PHONE BEFORE THE FIRST DATE
I don't know what it is but every time I've talked with a girl (that I met online) on the phone before we go on a date, it always, ALWAYS ends in disaster. Sometimes you have great chemistry on the phone and then it's strained and awkward in real life (and thus you're left to wonder "What's wrong here? What's MISSING??"), other times, the girl just thinks "Well I talked to him on the phone, and we got on great, so he must be one of my GIRLFRIENDS, now..." There are a lot of reasons why this theory holds true, but really, I think it just comes down to this: if the girl isn't already "feeling you" enough to want to get out and meet you for at least a drink or two (this from a combination of your profile and the few text messages you've exchanged), it means that 1) you haven't generated enough attraction in her, and she's trying UP that attraction quotient by getting you on the phone (not realizing it'll do the exact opposite, of course), and 2) she's extremely risk averse, and needs the reassurance of your voice on the phone, but then of course extremely risk averse girls are not the ones you want to be going out on first dates with, because they nitpick everything to death, find fault in everything, and just generally go out of their way to kill the vibe.
BUT. BUTBUTBUT. I thought "Well, hey, this girl's DIFFERENT, she's an extremely intelligent, highly educated artsy cool girl LIVING IN LA so clearly she's an exception to the rule, and thus I SHOULD MAKE AN EXCEPTION FOR HER. (You know it's all downhill from here on out...)
So we get on the phone, and it's awesome. And I mean like, AWESOME phone chemistry. The convo just flowed. I'm talking about 20th century atonal composers, and she's like "Oh yeah, I studied with this famous minimalist cello player and composer, so-and-so..." and I'm thinking holy fucking christ, I think I just somehow stumbled upon THE ONLY SMART SINGLE GIRL IN ALL OF LOS ANGELES. (And then, that little voice in the back of my mind: "So what gives..??")
So we chat for like an hour, at the end of which I suggest we get together at my usual first date spot (just underneath my building, it's got the perfect vibe for coffee, drinks, and / or food, it's walking distance to a ton of other great hotspots, AND, if we're really into each other, my apt is just an elevator ride away), at which point--
I break Rule #2: NEVER LET HER PICK THE FIRST DATE SPOT (AS YOU'RE THUS SURRENDERING THE FRAME ACCORDINGLY)
And here's the thing, I'm very aware that I'm breaking rules right and left here, but because I feel like I'm about to get it on with the one-and-only unicorn in all of LA, I let her get away with it, because I don't want to risk the unicorn getting away, never to be seen again. I mean shit, I've been living in Hollywood for a few years now and I finally met a single girl who READS BOOKS, holy fucking shit, we better lock this one down ASAP.
And here's the other thing: it's very, very subtle, isn't it, it's a very quick and QUIET process, this letting go of the frame. It's not like she yanked it away from me, forcibly. I suggested a spot, and then she countered with "Well actually there's this hot new restaurant I've been dying to try, why don't we go there?" And my logical, analytical brain is like "Well, OK, you can do what she wants, and play in her frame, and that's bad..." but then it's ALSO like "Well wait a sec, this chick is SMART, she's not trying to fuck you over, she's not trying to dominate you, she just wants to try a hot new restaurant, and what the hell man, you always go to the same places in your hood, why NOT get out of your comfort zone, get out of your usual hood, and try something new?"
So of I course I said "Yeah, sure, we you can hit your new hotspot, let's do Wed at 8."
And just like that, she had the frame.
THE DATE (FROM HELL)
So a few days later, and the big night's finally upon us. I show up on time (actually slightly early, as is my usual custom), the girl is late (which I'm cool with, up to a point--LA traffic is highly variable and we were in constant text contact throughout), I walk in and ask about a table, the hostess says "Oh, it'll be about 90 minutes, you can hang out and have a glass of wine while you wait if you like." I look around, notice there's literally nowhere to sit, turn back to the hostess, "You mean, STAND AROUND for 90 MINUTES, while waiting for a table to open up?" Her: "Yes sir, standing room only, until a seat opens up." Me: "That's funny, when we called earlier, asking about a reservation, you said none required, that we could just walk in and be seated." Her: "Yeah, we didn't expect such a last minute rush."
(So you can see, already, by surrendering control of the environment to the woman I also, in turn, surrendered control of a whole host of auxiliary variables as well, variables like seating, atmosphere, service, on and on, a whole multitude of factors that I would have had absolute control over if we'd done my place but, by opting for hers instead, it all went right out the window in a flash. And here's the thing, all those other environmental factors, they really are SO CRUCIAL on a first date. When the date goes well, it's often because the guy controlled the scene. When the date goes bad, it's often because the environment wasn't conducive to the flirting / courting process. Naturally though women never blame the venue, they blame YOU, it's "We didn't have any chemistry..." not "The coffee shop I made him meet me at was so fucking loud and I couldn't hear a thing he said..." Anyway...)
The girl finally shows up: and the 8.5 in her pics, now confronted in real life, suddenly snaps into 3D focus as, maybe, a soft 6 on her very best day, probably more like a hard 5 rolling out of bed. The pics: clearly 5 to 10 years out of date, and about 40 pounds away from where she was right then.
But still, STILL I clung on. Because you see, here's the thing:
Even though you might end up on a date with someone you aren't attracted to (at all), that doesn't mean you should kill the date right then and there. I've been out with plenty of women I wasn't into but then, through them, I met other women who then became fuck buddies, business contacts, etc etc. So just because you're not blown away by how gorgeous she is, I still say, no matter what your initial impression, at least give her a shot. I mean, you're already out anyway, you might as well give it 20 or 30 minutes. (Fear not though, dear reader, my very relevant title is about to come into play in just a minute here...)
So we go through the song and dance with the hostess, of course the girl is like "Yeah, we can stand around and have a glass of wine for 90 min, I'm cool with that..." Of course I think: NOOOOOOOO, no no no no noooooo, you just want to stand around and be seen in one of LA's new and trendy hotspots, I really don't give a shit about any of that, I just want to sit and chill for a moment, we need to get the fuck outta here and go somewhere else.
So with our names on the list I pull her back out of the restaurant, we walk a block or so to a nearby winebar which, by the look of it, is clearly the previous restaurant's waiting room. One table open, and we snag it.
Now keep in mind, up until now, there were a few yellow flags for sure, but no absolute "GET OUT! NOW!!!!" dealbreakers. I wasn't into the girl "in that way" (for sure), but we'd already had an awesome phone convo, thus maybe she'd turn out to be a cool chick who knew other cool chicks that I WOULD be into. Or maybe there'd be some business overlap (she was also a writer and producer). So, despite my initial uneasiness (at letting her pick the spot, I KNEW I shouldn't have surrendered control over the first date environment but like I said, I cut her slack because I rationalized it out as trying something new and besides, UNICORN), we soldiered on... I went up to the bar, grabbed us a round--glass of champagne for her, Diet Coke for me--
(Oh, and did I mention? I DON'T DRINK, I've been sober for almost 7 years, it's one of the best decisions I've ever made in my entire life, and it's something I'm very, very proud of, and continue to be proud of, each and every day--)
I get back to our table, pour my Diet Coke, and she says (in this suddenly unbelievably snotty, high-pitched, obnoxious voice): "How long have you been drinking those??" Me: "Oh I don't know, a while I guess." Her: "THOSE THINGS'LL KILL YOU, YOU KNOW." (As she drinks a sip of her champagne.) Me (laughing): "Yep, you're probably right..."
THE BIGGEST RED FLAG OF THEM ALL
Her: "So why don't you drink? What happened??"
And here we go.
Me, staring at her, thinking: Jesus fucking Christ, there really needs to be some kind of big ass public service announcement, given to everyone everywhere, that says the following: No one stops drinking forever CASUALLY. It is always, ALWAYS a very big fucking decision, and when one makes that decision, it is inevitably because either something very bad happened, or the person knew something very bad was about to happen, and so said person made the decision to get the fuck out while they still could, and that's all there is to it.
Asking someone "So, why don't you drink?" is rather like finding out that person was recently divorced, and hitting them with "Oh really? What happened?? Tell us about it. I'm sure it was all your fault, WHAT DID YOU DO WRONG??" Or better yet, finding out that someone recently had a battle with cancer, and won, and then you ask "Oh yeah? What did you do that brought that on?? Why didn't you just avoid it??"
I mean look, I get it, some people really just don't know any better. Some people are stupid. But really, for fuck's sake, there's being socially unaware, and then there's being full on abrasive, confrontational, and nasty. And given her tone, and the way she asked that question, she was clearly in the latter category.
ALL JUST A FEW MINUTES INTO OUR VERY FIRST DATE.
So I played it down (as I always do), and just said "Yeah, well, I quit drinking a while ago, almost 7 years. I had a great time with booze, back when I was living in New York, went out a lot, partied a lot, but eventually I wanted to get my life on track, and I knew I couldn't keep partying at the rate I was going and, at the same time, get all my life goals accomplished, so I gave up the booze, got healthy, and got serious about my career, my writing, all that good stuff."
I tried to change the topic at this point, but she pressed on--
Her: "So wait, you didn't have a PROBLEM then, did you? I mean, if it wasn't a PROBLEM for you, if you can show some RESTRAINT, then you should be able to drink all you want. Right? Like you should be able to go ahead and drink right now. I mean, if it wasn't ever a PROBLEM for you."
I shit you not, her exact words. (I know my sober readers are feeling all kinds of ill right now, surely...)
And that's when the alarm (in my head) went off--the full on blaring horn, flashing red light and all--screaming "GET OUT!! GET OUT NOW!!", because every time I've been out with a girl who, in response to my telling her I don't drink, replied with "Oh, you didn't have a PROBLEM, did you?? You weren't an ALCOHOLIC or anything, were you...??" it has never, ever gone well--the date has never recovered, after that. If the girl says that, the girl is stupid, plain and simple. I don't give a fuck how many minimalist composers she studied with, she's a social retard, she doesn't understand my world, she never has and never will.
I broke the biggest rule of them all, Rule #3: IF A GIRL DISRESPECTS YOU IN ANY WAY, IF SHE BREAKS ONE OF YOUR UNBREAKABLE RULES, IF SHE CROSSES THE LINE AND OVERSTEPS YOUR (HEALTHY) BOUNDARIES, GET UP AND WALK OUT THE DOOR. If you don't, you're committing the unpardonable sin of wasting your time, and ultimately, you're doing a disservice to you both.
Obviously, I should have just said, at that point, "You know what, I'm really not feeling this, it was nice meeting you, thanks for getting me out for a bit, but I'm gonna take off." And then just walked out. But for some reason, for some BIZARRE fucking reason, I stuck it out. I know, it's weird, I've been on hundreds (maybe thousands?) of dates in my life, I've slept with hundreds of women, it's not like I don't know what's up at this point, how the game works, what one should and shouldn't do in situations like this, and yet still, STILL, this girl that was SO FAR BENEATH ME, still, I stuck it out, thinking: well, I'm already out, we're already here, we're gonna check out the hot new restaurant, she doesn't really know what she's saying, it's not her fault, she just doesn't know any better...
(You see how I'm having to MAKE EXCUSES for her already, after just five minutes into our first date?? Not good, NOT GOOD...)
THE END (IN BRIEF)
So after managing a few more (tortuous) minutes on the defensive (defending one of the very things that I really am most proud of in my life), and realizing that I should have walked out but, somehow, choosing to stay anyway, I steered the conversation away from my not drinking to other things, we ended up getting our table nearby a little earlier than expected, we scraped through dinner somehow (by that time I was observing her the way a scientist might observe some kind of malevolent, wild creature brought in from the Cthulu universe, some kind of terrible demon that had slipped into our reality somehow), wondering all the while: what happened to the girl I spoke to on the phone? HOW CAN SHE BE THIS AWFUL IN PERSON?? Is it me? Am I not "leading" enough? Is there something I should be doing that I'm not doing? Who knew, maybe the date was already screwed after I let her pick the spot to begin with, perhaps I should have just dragged her to my spot and if she said No I should have just shrugged it off and let her go.
Regardless, we got through it, and here's where it really gets good:
On the way out, now standing on the sidewalk, she says "So where to now?" Translation: "Take me back to your place and fuck me." Shocking, I know, considering I would have rather spent the last hour slowly roasting in hell than dealing with this hyper-critical, socially stupid (slightly autistic?) woman, but yeah, women are funny like that...
Me: "Well I'm gonna catch an Uber here, go back to my place, do my thing..."
And that's when the light in her eyes goes out (the sting of rejection), and she opens up with her tirade: "I don't know how many dates you've been on, but where I come from, in my culture, we're not used to being treated like this. You didn't even look at me like half the time over dinner!! I just thought you should know, just in case you were planning on going on any other dates in the near future, since you CLEARLY don't how to treat a woman right. AT ALL."
Seriously, it was so out of left field, I just stood there for like a full 5 seconds in utter shock.
And that's when I turned to her, took a breath, and then proceeded to FUCKING RIP HER IN HALF. (Very uncharacteristic of me for sure--people who know me usually think of me as like the most chill guy in the world, I mean you REALLY have to dig deep to offend me, but man, that final monologue of hers, it definitely hit a nerve, and it absolutely deserved a reply.)
Me: "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?? And what about your Diet Coke comment?? Do you really think that was appropriate 5 minutes into a first date? Do you know why I drink Diet Coke? BECAUSE I'M A FUCKING ALCOHOLIC YOU FUCKING CUNT. I'M A RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC WHO REGULARLY GOES TO AA MEETINGS, and yes I DID have a fucking problem with drinking years ago, but I solved that problem, it's something I'm extremely proud of, and continue to be proud of, EVERY SINGLE DAY, and FUCK YOU for making light of what I consider to be one of the great accomplishments of my life. AND FOR YOUR FUCKING INFORMATION, the next time someone tells you they don't drink, the ONLY proper response is 'Wow, that's awesome, I'm so happy for you!!' AND THAT'S IT. Otherwise, keep your stupid fucking mouth shut. Because seriously, sitting next to you listening to your retarded ramblings for the last hour, it was like chewing BROKEN GLASS."
She stared at me (along with a few other people standing just outside the restaurant, I think my tirade had gotten pretty loud by the end there), and then, the icing on the cake:
She started to cry.
Her: "I'm sorry, I didn't know..." A brief pause, and then: "I've had a rough life too, my dad died, I had to put myself through school..."
And that's when I just started laughing right out loud. It really was the craziest, weirdest, saddest, funniest fucking thing--this chick trying to steal back the frame (yet again) with her tears, I couldn't help it, I just laughed right in her face, which of course, only made her cry harder (I can't imagine what the onlookers were thinking)--
And then, at that most perfect moment, my Uber pulled up--
Me: "I'm sorry to hear that. It was nice meeting you." And I hopped in my car and drove away.
So yeah, that could have gone better.
There's a few lessons to take away here but really, we only need to talk about the big one, the umbrella lesson that covers all the rest:
Know, in advance, what your absolute non-negotiable DEALBREAKERS are, and then, if you see any of them come up on a first date, cut your losses and walk. IMMEDIATELY.
Of course it's a lot easier to say that than to actually do it. I know, I've been there. More than once. It's rather like doing comedy improv: when you're watching your friends do it, it's incredibly easy to pick apart the scene in real-time: oh he should be doing this, oh she should have said, he should have taken a longer pause there, they should have cut the scene HERE, etc etc... It's so easy to critique from the sidelines, but then, when you're up there on stage doing it, it's like, all you can think of is "Don't fuck up / keep it going / don't fuck up / keep it going / say something funny / say something funny..." In the heat of the moment, despite your best intentions, THE RULES ALL GO RIGHT OUT THE WINDOW.
And so yeah, by the same token, in the dating world, when you think you've got a unicorn on the hook, all the rules tend to get bent pretty quick as well. And like I said, everyone's unicorn is different. Maybe, for you, it's a bleached blonde who looks amazing in a thong bikini (why a lot of guys come out to LA, in fact). Maybe it's a chick who's super into outdoor sports (rock climbing or whatever). Maybe it's a chick who's into wine. Or video games. For me, here in LA, it's the smart, educated girl who's into the arts and is extremely well read. When I found her (or thought I found her), after a few YEARS of searching, yeah, I let a few of the rules slide. Thinking it was OK, in the beginning, to cut a few corners, that the most important thing was just to get out on the date ASAP and see if she was a cool chick. And then once I was out on the date, and she most definitely was NOT a cool chick, all I could think was: shit, how can I turn this around?? THIS CHICK IS THE UNICORN!! THERE MUST BE A WAY TO RECOVER.
But there isn't. The script that sucks on page 1 also sucks on page 10. And 50. And 100. And the date that sucks a few minutes in, it's just gonna get even worse after that.
As I said (and I really want to re-iterate this here): JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT ATTRACTED TO THE WOMAN, THAT'S NO REASON TO KILL THE DATE ON THE SPOT. Stick it out for 20 or 30 minutes, have a drink (or a Diet Coke, if you're sober like me). Maybe she's funny, maybe she has cool friends (that you can meet), who knows. But if a girl oversteps your boundaries and disrespects you, if she cuts into you in a confrontational, combative way, GET UP AND WALK OUT. Don't make a scene, be cool about it. BE NICE (think: Dalton in Roadhouse). Just politely tell her it isn't working, you're not feeling it, best of luck, and out you go.
Life's too short guys. A crucial part (the FIRST crucial part, in my book) of the Red Pill recovery process is the establishment of healthy boundaries. (Read NO MORE MR NICE GUY if you haven't already.) This is not to say you shouldn't expect a little shit testing, far from it--in fact, this is usually a sign she's into you. But there's a big difference between her (playfully) making fun of something about you (to test you, and see if you're swayed by her poking fun at you, to see how STRONG you are), vs her just actively, stupidly being a fucking cunt.
Know your boundaries, and don't let women overstep them. Know your rules, and don't let women break them.
When it comes to the first date playbook:
-- You set the time and the place, the place should be a venue / environment that you know extremely well and, ideally, within a few minutes walking distance of your home (for the effortless bounce, should things really be going your way)
-- Drinks only to start, never full on dinner (save the hot new restaurant for after you two have hooked up a few times)
-- Keep it short (unless it's EXTREMELY obvious that the girl's down to hook up, you'll know in the first few minutes if this is the case--if it is, then you can hang for a few hours and bounce her back to yours as you like)
-- Split the bill at the end, never pay for the whole thing (easily done if you set and hold the frame as "we're just two people getting together for a few casual drinks to see what's up")
It's going to be enormously tempting to bend or break these rules for women you think "ARE NOT LIKE THE REST", but let me assure you, the shortcut you think you're taking now is absolutely going to cost you dearly in the long run. Make sure your foundation is rock solid when you're starting out, so the building doesn't collapse later on once you're well into construction.
Oh, and I almost forgot: that hot new restaurant she'd never been to before and was dying to try? Turns out she'd been there FOUR TIMES BEFORE (the woman serving us recognized her as a regular). Chick was just trying to get yet another free dinner (out at the new hotspot) from online dating--I'm sure her brain must have blown a gasket when I forced her to split the bill (and thus her tirade outside, and my oh-so-eloquent reply).
You pick the venue gents. You run the show. You control the frame. Always.
Looking forward to hearing all your dating horror stories in the comments below. What's your "unicorn type"? How did you break the rules and surrender the frame when you thought you found her? Tell us all about it (bonus points if you can share some tales of woe from the sober dating scene)--