The search for papacito

By Wayne Elise

When Erika and I were last visiting Mexico we would walk down a street and often hear men call out, "Mamacita!”

On more than one occasion, I'd whip my head around looking for the culprit, but there was never anyone - just the street and alleys and people going about their business.

Finally Erika shook her head, "Why do you bother? There's nothing you can do about it."

I put my hands on my hips. I'm not trying to stop them. I'm fascinated. Who are these guys? What do they get out of it? And how do they disappear like ghosts?"

"They're just little men. I've heard it since I was fourteen."

"Really? Do girls in Mexico mature faster than girls in America?"

"Probably. I had a friend in school. She was twelve when she started dating a guy who was nineteen."

"Wow. That would get you arrested nowadays."

"They were kinda cute together."

In some ways Mexico is like America but in other ways it's like nowhere else.

I took my wife by the shoulders and looked deeply into her eyes. "I want to tell you something. This may shock you." I took a breath. "My goal is to get a Mexican girl to call out papacito at me."

She blinked.

"You know," I said, "to balance the equation a bit."

"Okay. Papacito."

"You don't count."

"What? I don't count?"

"You know what I mean. Your wife saying you're a papcito is like your mom saying it. I want some girl I don't know to call out papacito at me. Preferably a hot one."

She burst with laughter.

"Come on. It could happen."

"Ha. You don't know Mexico."

Everyday from then on, I didn't leave my mother-in-laws house unless my boots were polished, my shirt tucked, and my hair slicked-back like Mauricio Garcés.

I posed outside the empanada stand. I sipped horchata in the park where the old women went to exercise. I helped college girls carry their books. I hung out by the gleaming silver water tower filled with Cajeta (Mexican carmel) and asked locals to take my picture.

I didn't hear one 'papacito'. Everyone seemed to be doing their best to ignore me though I was the tallest, palest guy in town. That made me itchy. I'd whip around suddenly and everyone would be staring at their shoes or looking up into the sky.

On the last day of our trip I threw up my hands. "Fuck it. It's not going to happen."

I left the house with my hair ungreased. I rinsed off the fake tan. I left my piteado belt and guitar at the hacienda. I went back to wearing my Primark skinny jeans, which are pretty fucking British.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. People are timid outside the framework of social expectation. Mexican guys are expected to call mamacita - so they do. While Mexican girls are expected to walk in groups with their friends and keep to themselves. So that's what they do. There are things in cultures you can not work against.

"Or maybe you're just a dufus-looking gringo," said my friend Mike over G-chat.

That evening Erika and I stood facing each other in the town square in front of the water tower filled with Cajeta. The fairy lights flickered in the trees around us. A mariachi band struck up a lullaby.

"I feel like a failure," I said.

She handed me a daisy. "It's okay. You made a good try. But don't worry. You're my husband and I love you."

But then a crowd of people pushed past us. We were briefly separated. Someone bumped up against me. My foot got stepped on.

"Pappacito!" a voice called out.

I spun around. "Who said that?"

But there was no one. The crowd pushed further down the street seemingly unaware of us. It was an ordinary Mexican Saturday evening. Vendors sold paletas de leche. Children chased each other around the fig tree. Women sat on the benches and talked while old men played checkers. Lovers walked hand in hand. A cat stalked a pigeon. The Mariachi band added in an electric guitar and played Stairway to Heaven.

"My god," I said to Erika. "Did you hear that Pappacito?"

She stepped closer. "I did. Congratulations."

I played it back in my mind. There was a glitch. "Did that papacito sound ironic to you? Do you think she, who ever she was, was joking? Was it a pity papacito?"

"Of course not. You look great."

I fingered my old Coke t-shirt and looked down at my dusty shoes. I looked up and squinted my eyes at her. "I don't know. It feels like a setup."

"Don't look at me. Come on. Let's go buy some empanadas."

On the way there, she got like ten mamacitas.


People are more likely to reveal their attraction when they have a feeling of security. That feeling can come via many ways. Sometimes by writing it down in a note passed through a friend. Or by drinking three beers. Or by leveraging social expectation. Or by hiding behind a tree.

Unfortunately that matters little to the person receiving the attention. They care about their own feelings of security.

A woman can feel scared when getting cat-called on the street. She can feel alone and out-numbered. She can feel intimidated when a guy walks up to her in a club, leers over her and tells her she's hot. She can feel panic at the thought of someone showing interest in her on the subway. She can feel trapped if her date uses momentum to escalate physically.

In rare circumstances men can also feel a perception of power imbalance that makes a show of attraction unwanted.

One of the foundational principles I teach is the idea that showing attraction is okay, sometimes helpful, so long as the person receiving that attention feels they are in a position of power.

Towards that end I teach all manner of Jedi tricks to give the other person a feeling of empowerment. Sometimes we use distance by moving our body backward, sometimes we slide down in our seat so our eyes are lower than hers. Sometimes we make it explicit that though we may find a girl attractive, we are NOT hitting on her. "I wouldn't do that without knowing your relationship situation and frankly how to hit on you. Everyone is different. Everyone has different needs and turn-ons. You might be in a committed relationships. You might be recently broken-up. You might be into bondage or threesomes or none of the above. We might be better off as lovers or friends or perhaps I should introduce you to my amazing friend Jack. Hitting on someone is trying to make something happen and I can't do that until we have enough trust that you can tell me your story.  Otherwise hitting on you would be an insult - like trying to cram a square peg into a round hole."

You can probably guess how most people respond to this. They're stunned. The truth and candor of it all hits them hard. They are only left to nod their heads. Try it for yourself. Take on this idea. Play with the combination of sexual expression and empowerment. Fuck your own feelings of security. See it from the other person's point of view. Make them feel safe and powerful and then hit on them. Put a dagger in their hands aimed at your heart and then say you want to take them back to your place and spend the rest of the night making love. "And if you feel uncomfortable while you're there or change your mind, it's easy to get a cab from my flat. I would be okay with that. But I think it would be hot spending the night together figuring out how to make each other feel a maximum of pleasure."

Looking back to Mexico it now makes sense to me. I was actually more likely to get my papacito when I didn't look important or slick or powerful in any way. When I looked a little grungy a girl, some girl, felt empowered enough to respond. At least that's the narrative I have in my head.


Back in LA.

We were riding my Vespa down Western Avenue towards Echo Park with Erika behind me when all this again popped into my mind.

We stopped at a red light and I turned my head. "When we were in Mexico did you, or did you not, pay one of your friends to call out papacito at me?"

She pushed her helmet into the back of mine. "I'm not saying either way. But you ARE gullible."

"What? Me? No way. I've been around this world more times than I care to remember. I'm not easily fooled babe."

"Ha. You believed that the water tower was filled with Cajeta."

"It's not?"

"That's just what we tell tourists."

"Oh. Rats."

As always thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Why Jokey Smurf is the most successful smurf and what you can learn from him

Jokey Smurf

By Wayne Elise

If you think about it, Jokey Smurf is a terrorist. He places bombs in boxes, wraps them in gold-leaf paper and ties them with a red bow. Sounds like an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) to me. Other Smurfs find these irresistible.

Brainy Smurf smiles at the site of a gift. "For me? Aww, you really shouldn't have Jokey."

Jokey reaches to take the box back.

Brainy tightens his grip on it. "Don't you dare. I love surprises. I was just being a polite smurf."

He unwraps the gift and it explodes in his face. Boom!

Jokey doubles over with laughter. "Hahahahahaha."

Brainy staggers around, wiping the soot out of his eyes. "Very funny Jokey Smurf."

For the life of me I can't understand why Jokey's not on Obama's drone-kill list.

Boom Boom Boom.

You'd think the Smurfs would wise up to his hijinks. But they fall for the same gag over and over.

Boom Boom Boom.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Smurf Village, inside Vanity Smurf's house, a distant explosion rattles the windows.

Handy Smurf looks up from his tea. "That was a big one."

Vanity Smurf lowers his hand-mirror. "Yeah. I can't believe anysmurf would be so gullible." He opens the front door. "Oh hey, there's a present on my doorstep."

"Wait! Don't open it!"

"But it's so pretty. Probably a gift from an admirer. I'll just pull this ribbon off..."



So why is Jokey Smurf so successful with his reign of terror?

The answer is, he understands Smurf psychology. He knows that a Smurf has to desire something before you give it to them. And if you build enough desire you can get anybody to do anything.

Compare that to how Brawny Smurf acts. He sticks flowers in Smurfett's face. He performs headstands for her amusement. He offers things with no sense of building desire and he gets nowhere with her.

At night he's comforted by Brainy who rubs smurf oil into his shoulders.

"You don't want her anyway," Brainy says. "Based on Smurfett's flirtation behavior, I calculate there's a seventy five percent chance she has smurf-bumps."

"I don't care. She's the only girl I could love."

"She's the only female smurf we know in existence so technically you are correct. But logic dictates that if there's one there could be others. And mostly I think you should look nearby for companionship and..."

"She's perfect for me." Brawny says, cutting Brainy off.

"I know you think so but perhaps you should try someone new."

"I need her."

"Someone smarter."

"Her hair is like gold. Her body is like a lilac flower..."

"Someone willing."

"...with two plump, delicious smurf berries."

"Someone who appreciates your strength."

Brawny stands up, unbalancing Brainy who tips over and falls face first onto the floor.

"I need to go lift some boulders," says Brawny. "If my biceps are just a smurf-inch bigger I'm sure she'll notice me."

Meanwhile Smurfett's hooking up with Jokey behind the Bakery while Baker Smurf is off smoking a joint in the woods with Pappa Smurf.

"Oh Jokey," she says. "You're so bad for me. But I just can't get enough of you. You have a way of making me feel like I just drank tingle berry juice. I feel warm and excited around you."

Jokey sticks out his tongue. "Ha ha."

"Is that all you can say?"

"Ha ha."

She shakes her head. "Ugh! Men!"

"Ha ha."

She picks her dress off a bush. "I'm leaving."

He holds his hands out. "Wait. Here's something for you."

"What? A present for me. You've never done that before. That's so nice. I was wrong to get mad at you."

She unties the ribbon and opens the lid.


I think humans are not so different from Smurfs. They pursue what they desire. The key to succeeding with them is making them desire something you have.

Ten Phrases to Keep Your Conversation Exciting But Truthful

Let's face it, we want to impress people. I want to impress you right now. And no matter how long I meditate it's hard to get far from my ego-driven Me-machine. "Please, like me!" See. Impossible. But it's okay to want to excite and impress people. This weakness is just part of our human condition. It's why we have Facebook. It's why I stick pictures of my girlfriend on my blog. :) We just can't out-Zen it.

The challenge for us is to be exciting while not overstepping our truth-bond with other people. We want to be known as interesting but also TRUTHFUL.

Many people are frankly, out there, in the field, lying. Not you of course. But people. That's too bad. However, when the lights start flashing and we see that dude with the 70's collar and gold chains hauling around a ten it's easy for even normally law-abiding people such as you and me to become seduced by the idea of pumping up our reality. I can't tell you how often I've heard otherwise honest guys claim to have seen three strippers in a hair-pulling fight outside a bar when indeed, there were no strippers and no fight.

With this in mind I want to share with you ten phrases that'll allow you to make your conversations mire exciting while maintaining your truthfulness.

#1 "I imagine..."

Sticking this phrase before you make something up keys your listener that you're just exercising your imagination. "When I came in I imagined girls out front fighting. It seems that sort of place. I don't know about you but I have to admit I'd kind of like to see that."

#2 "That reminds me..."

This is a transition phrase that we can fit in to connect topics. It's useful in places where we might be tempted to claim knowledge we don't posses in order to keep the conversation flowing. "I don't know why exactly but that reminds me of my trip to Japan. I found the people like you, open to new ideas in a way that I found inspiring."

#3 "I don't know anything about that but I'm guessing it's like this..."

Just because you have no experience or knowledge of a topic doesn't mean you can't talk about it. It's okay to admit your ignorance. Use this phrase to fill in the gap. "I didn't grow up playing rugby, I've never been to a match, but I imagine, from how you talk about it, that there's a great camaraderie among players, that you might be enemies on the pitch but off it you're friends."

#4 "I want to be..."

Sometimes we feel left out if we're not wearing the same stripes as others. Maybe you're a zebra surrounded by a herd of giraffe. Use this phrase to relate. "No, I'm not in a relationship but one day, when I meet and pick up Anne Hathaway, I want to be."

#5 "Let's pretend..."

People love playing make-believe. Our imaginations IMO are what makes us human. This phrase invites others to join you in leaving reality behind together. "I think we should pull off a caper like in that movie Oceans 11. Let's pretend. I think you can be Julie Roberts character because you'd look stunning in a cocktail dress. I get to be George Clooney because it's my idea."

#6 "... just kidding.."

It's the grandaddy of all take-backs. So long as you stick this phrase in before your listeners vocally react, you can pretty much say anything. "I can't believe you said that. I'm a Mormon and I'm offended. We take these things seriously. Ha. Just kidding. Are there even Mormon people anymore. I thought they left in a giant spaceship."

(editorial note: just kidding Mormon people. I love you. I knew a Mormon girl in high school. She wouldn't have anything to do with me, but she was hot. I'm a fan.)

#7 "XYZ ridiculous and funny thing..."

It's not a lie if it's an obviously fabrication. It's not a lie if it's an obvious joke.

"What do I do? For a living? I'm a polar explorer. I'm working right now. I'm just obviously not good at my job."

#8 "I can't relate to XYZ..."

Sometimes the best way to relate is not to relate but rather restate the other's story to encourage them to express more. "I can't imagine how you felt. To walk in on your boyfriend with another woman and the midget they met that night at the carnival doing horrible things with a cigar box."

#9 "This is normally where I would try to impress you but I'm not."

Believe it or not people like you because they can be themselves around you. It's exhausting putting on 'airs'. When you tell your conversational partner that you feel no need to play the game of oneupmanship you'll find the conversation can be more relaxed and fun. "You seem like a cool, successful person. But I hope you don't mind if I just be myself. I'm guessing you'll appreciate it if I'm just normal and not try to impress you or your friends."

#10 "I'm here by myself. Do you mind if I join you?"

This one is also my favorite opener for the bar scene. It's not a big deal being out alone. Most people wish they had the courage to go out by themselves and meet strangers. You don't have to pretend you have friends waiting for you. "Hey, you guys look like people who are interesting. I'm out on my own tonight. Mind if I join you for a few minutes?"

Hope these ideas can assist. If you get a chance to try them out please write me a comment below.

All the best, Wayne