Personal Renewal and Empire State of Mind

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By Wayne Elise

Version en español de este articulo.

Erika and I attended a Jay-Z concert last week. Empire State of Mind brings tears to my eyes. I love that song.

I remember saying years ago I would never live in New York City. "It's too loud, too crowded, too in love with itself. I hate Jay-Z. Why can't he wear his hat the right way?"

Funny, how time can erode our opinions. These days, I'm New York's bitch.

How did that happened?…

Well, one day I had my life plotted ahead. It belonged to me like a credit card with my name on it. I walked around feeling smug about it. Then the next day I was standing in line at the coffee shop, I reached into my back pocket and it was gone! I dropped to my knees.

That was three years ago. I experienced a major plot turn. Bang! My wife was gone. House gone. Money gone. The Formica dining-room set I was so proud of was being carried out the door by a short Bruce Willis.

"Need help?" I asked.

"Yippee ki-yah mother fucker," was all he said.

My future was wiped out in a nuclear blast. The movie screen burst into over-exposure as the shockwave engulfed the camera. A few minutes later the scene came back. I walked around confused. What are these ashes floating in the air, coating the trees and the cars? Oh right, those are the incinerated details of my life.

I only had myself to blame.

"You should listen to that Beyonce song," Marie said. "It's called 'If I Were A Boy'."

I found it on iTunes. The message was clear. I was an asshole - prick, uncaring, self-serving, self-involved, not fit for husbandly duty.

"But…" I said.

She cut me off. "No."

"The thing is…"

"Nyet."

"Wait. I'm Wayne Elise, I understand things most people don't. I can fix this. Just listen."

She listened as I talked. Then she said, "Okay. But no. I'm leaving."

"Really?"

"Yep."

I tapped the microphone. "Is this thing on? Oh, I guess it is." *sigh*

Imagine rolling around on the floor with the wind taken out of you.

But don't feel sorry for me. I'm just setting the scene. This isn't that kind of story.

An unusual thing happens to us when we lose everything. Sometimes, at the bottom of the well, we talk to the bugs down there, "So this is as bad as it gets, eh Shelob?" We take a deep breath. "I can handle this." Then we begin to laugh. And laugh and laugh.

I laughed for a month. I weened myself into single life with the help of a skinny girl named Amanda. And then I unrolled a world map on the floor. I could go anywhere. But the destination was obvious. New York. A beacon hung over the city. It's the creative people capital of the world. And the single people capital of the world. And the hot girl capital of the world. Men, do you want to meet a famous Brazilian fashion model? Don't bother flying to Rio. She lives in Manhattan.

Selling my house in Ann Arbor, I would take a loss. I wouldn't see my friends or family. But I didn't have to think twice - I signed the papers, loaded my futon into a Uhaul and drove East.

New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of There's nothin' you can't do Now you're in New York These streets will make you feel brand new Big lights will inspire you Let's hear it for New York, New York, New York…

Sometimes places are just places, and things are just things. But sometimes they can become more. Way more. They can become symbols of commitment.

Look up the street and into the distance. See that person walking up there, ahead of you? That's future-you. That person is important - not someone to just be thrown a thumbs-up, but someone who deserves to be ran after. "Hey Future-Me. Wait. I want you to have this gift. I think you can use it."

"Thanks. Just set it on the ground and I'll pick it up. I'm pretty sure the Universe will explode if we touch each other."

"Oh yeah, right. We should probably be careful about that. Here you go. See you later. By the way, you look great. Have you been working out?"

So what do you give yourself? Think big. Something like a new city or new career or new skill, maybe a tattoo, maybe honest words with your boss, maybe you should write a love note to that hottie you've been pinning over.

People's brains have been conditioned by video games. In real life we don't have second, third and fourth lives. This is it. Miss your opportunity to 'go for it' and you won't get another. Take a jog through a graveyard if you need a reminder. Nothing like hanging with the dead to appreciate the opportunities given the living.

Your present conditions might not be conducive to making a change. I understand. Make it anyway. Be willing to take losses. Every chapter in every good book starts with the fucked-up ending of the one before. Be willing to burn a bridge. Throw stuff out. You don't need to carry all that around. Be nimble on your feet - able to cut left, dive right, move ahead.

I became a new person in Manhattan. My work suffered as my focus shifted to my personal life. I no longer felt inspired to teach guys to pick up girls. Instead I spent my time picking up girls… asian girls, black girls, fashion girls, actor girls, NYU girls, threesomes with French girls. I was in love with the abundance of the city.

'City of sin, it's a pity on the wind Good girls gone bad, the city's filled with them.'

Manhattan is the only place where you'll hear a guy say he's taking a break from women. Neil Strauss stayed in my apartment for a few days. One night we got into a heated discussion at the Meatball Shop.

"Are you still performing routines to pick up chicks?" I asked.

He set his fork down, "Maybe these things I do aren't necessary for you. But from where I sit, I don't see them being something I can leave behind."

How could he not see? Women in NYC want to experience adventure. That's why they move there. Twenty four step methods for managing women into bed can only be counter-productive. New York is too fast-paced, too direct for that.

I did some dumb things in New York. I chose to fall for this girl who was in an open-relationship with her husband. They would have me over for dinner to their apartment in Brooklyn. She'd cook dinner, we'd play Rock Band on the Xbox, then he'd go to bed while she and I would hook up on the couch. I stabbed those two in the back, there's no easy way to say it. I see her now on You Tube being the hot girl in music videos.

I met an Asian girl while she was on a date with another guy. This girl aced MIT and worked for Google in the City. We slept together and then I pimped her out to my friends. She broke down on me during a trip to London. She sobbed lying next to me in the hotel room in the dark.

"I thought this was what you wanted," I said. "New York women love adventures."

"You don't know anything about women," she said. "I really want to be in a relationship. I want a guy who's young, skinny, good-looking and white. He also needs to be successful. I'm afraid I'll never find that." She broke out in more sobbing.

"I'm not any of those things," I said. "Why did you hook up with me?"

"I don't know."

We're all children making our way through life. Your renewal might be messy. You might get wet, splash other people, get water up your nose. That's okay. Collateral damage is a consequence of living an ambitious life.

One night it rained more than I had ever seen in New York. The storm sewers overflowed. The street corners became lakes. Taxis slowed to a crawl. I found my umbrella and boots. I love walking in the rain. There's something isolating and thoughtful about it. Some of my best ideas come while walking in the rain.

As I walked, I thought about the foundation of what makes a man attractive to women. It's akin to being a good tango dancer. Women avoid dancing with the guy who's shaking his hips, gesticulating and spinning. They want to dance with the guy who effortlessly makes his partners look good. He supports women and guides them, but never forces them. A woman can pour herself into the dance with him and it feels easy. She can be her sexy-best. Few men understand that. It's not about you. It's about her.

Looking up, I found I had walked to Ludlow street. I stopped in front of an Italian restaurant called Trē. My stomach growled. A bowl of pasta sounded good. The restaurant looked appealing - intimate. But I hesitated. I couldn't see any customers through the window but only a couple of women standing behind the bar.

"Why don't you go in?" said a rat perched atop a trash can lid floating by in the water. "Try something new. That's what you came to the city for right?"

"Yeah, but if I go in there, being the only customer, I'll have to talk to those women for sure. If they're boring, if I'm boring, I'll be trapped."

"Geez, what sort of conversational expert do you call yourself? I'm sure you can handle it." He snatched a passing, floating stick out of the water and used it to punt his boat away. He sang a verse from 'Carmen' as he disappeared down the street.

I decided to forget the restaurant and go home. I walked away. But then I walked back. This is stupid. What was I afraid of? I crossed the street, opened the door and stepped in. I tried to collapse my umbrella but got it hung up on the door. I fought with it a bit, got it closed, and turned to the two women who were there looking at me - one smiling, the other looking aloof.

"You can put your umbrella in the can over there." the smiling one said.

I dropped the umbrella and found a seat at the bar.

"What would you like to drink?"

"I'd actually like some food if that's possible please."

"Sure. You're brave coming out in this weather. But glad you did."

I smiled. "Gracious."

"That's funny, " she said. "I'm learning Spanish. I just got Rosetta Stone."

"I want to get that again," I said. "I started to learn Spanish with it but then Bruce Willis took my computer."

"Huh?"

"Never mind."

The other woman said nothing to me. But I thought she was beautiful and exotic - white skin, green eyes, black hair. She spoke to the smiling woman with an accent I couldn't place. My guess was she was Czechoslovakian. The two of them laughed at some inside joke. 'Oh,' I realized, 'she could smile after all.'

"How about you?" I said to her. "How's your Spanish?"

She just looked at me as if I was stupid. 'Perfect of course. I'm Mexican."

And then she offered me a piece of her food that she had bought next door.

I took it. "I'm Wayne by the way."

"Erika," she said.

It took me three more visits over the next month before I got her to go out with me.

On the second visit I asked about her relationship situation.

"Hopeless," she said. "I date crazy people." Then she walked away. I wondered at that. Did she mean she did or didn't like dating crazy people? Was I crazy?

On the third visit I told her she looked beautiful in the dress she was wearing. But somehow, through a comedy of errors, she thought I was hitting on her male co-worker.

On the fourth visit I unleashed the most devastating weapon in my pickup arsenal - Pity Game.

Erika and a friend were talking about a roof-top party they were attending to watch the Independence Day fireworks.

"How about you? What are you going to be doing?" She asked - mostly, I believe, out of politeness.

"Nothing," I said. "I have no plans. I'm literally going to be staring at the walls in my apartment. And when I'm done with that I'm going to stare at the ceiling."

"You should stare at the window at least," she said. "But uh… do you want to go to this party?"

"Sure, I'd love to. That's so nice. I thought you'd never ask. But only if we can call it a date."

"Well, we'll see about that."

We had our first kiss on a bench in Washington Square Park on a walk after the fireworks. Whenever I take clients there to meet women I smile thinking about it.

A couple months into dating, Erika said she thought of me when she heard 'Underneath Your Clothes' by Shakira. I listened to the song as I ran along the Hudson River pedestrian path. The message was clear: She was proud of me and I made her happy.

Flash forward to the concert last week in the Staples Center here in Los Angeles. We bought the tickets last minute - sat in the rafters. But that was okay, I just wanted to hear Empire State of Mind.

New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of There's nothin' you can't do Now you're in New York These streets will make you feel brand new Big lights will inspire you Let's hear it for New York, New York, New York…

I don't live in New York anymore. Erika and I are big-pimping it out in LA but I'm happy I gave myself the gift of New York. It made me feel brand new. Now, what will make you feel that way? Please put your thoughts in the comments below.

Why you should tell her you find her hot

Dealing with hot women is like talking to a celebrity. You know they're famous. They know that you know they're famous. To pretend you don't know who they are is just going to make you act silly. Best way to interact with a celebrity is to admit they're a celebrity, introduce yourself and move on to other topics of conversation. "Hey, you're George Peppard from The A Team. I used to play with your action figure. I'm Wayne Elise. Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you."

"I thought you were dead. Anyways, It's good to see you. I saw you checking out that girl's butt. Don't worry. I'm not calling you out. It's okay, I was checking her out too."

Same sort of thing with women except for a twist. When I meet an attractive woman I often acknowledge my attraction soonish in the interaction. "Wow, you're very attractive. I think you're like super hot."

But then I add something, you might call it the tricky part. I call it the honest part - the part that allows her to stay involved in the interaction with me. I say, "But, just so you know, I'm NOT hitting on you. I wouldn't hit on anybody without knowing their situation. Hey, I just had a conversation with a ghost. Maybe you saw me talking to an old guy a minute ago..."

This is as close to magic as I can find right now.

Through years of dealing with women, being married twice, dating a playboy model, working the threesome thing, having numerous female friends, rooming with an exotic dancer, and on and on, I can assure you that it does NOT turn women off or chase them away when they know you find them attractive. That's just guy's interpretation of their male-ego experience. That's not what's going on 'under the hood' in women's minds. This is so commonly misunderstood that there should be a name for it such as aphroditeeffectprotophobia.

Women understand when they look hot. They get it. They don't think less of someone when they're attracted to a hot girl. Indeed many hot girls are attracted to hot girls. They're both in the club and on the outside looking in, just like the rest of us. As a man, if you're hesitant to admit your attraction to a woman you're likely to come across as gay or impotent or just 'the friendship type guy'. Don't be afraid of your attraction. Be a wolf!

It's NOT the 'attracted to her' part that puts a woman on edge. It's the implication that you're hitting on her - that you're trying to make something happen without knowing if it makes sense for her at all. Do that and you come across inconsiderate and uncalibrated. She sees you as a guy who puts women in uncomfortable situations. You're like a blind man with a gun trying to get her to hang out. She needs to get away from you - even if she finds you attractive. You might F-up her whole life.

But the good news is that you can reveal your attraction and NOT hit on a woman. I've done that numerous times. It's a good way to live. Doing this will make women feel comfortable and allow them to talk to you and see you as possible sexual material for later on - if it makes sense. It let's women know, that although you carry a gun, you are NOT blind. You're socially aware, considerate and smart. In my experience telling women this sort of thing makes you more attractive to them.

So when do you hit on a woman?

You hit on her after you know her situation. And that 'hitting' will be tailored to the situation.

"So what's your relationship situation, if you don't mind me asking?"

"Not at all. I'm seeing someone."

"Oh good. I'm all for relationships."

"Well, it's long-distance. I don't know if I see us together long-term."

BINGO

Now you can tailor an idea for the two of you to continue being together based on this new information. And now that she knows that you know her situation, she's way more comfortable hooking up with you. She knows that you understand that she can't be your girlfriend right now, etc…

Make sense? I hope so. Feel free to place your thoughts, good, bad and confused in the comments section here. I love hearing from you guys. Also please let me know if you want more articles on this topic. As always, you can learn more by stalking this site or signing up for training with me or one of our excellent instructors here at Charisma Arts. A good first choice to get you started is often phone coaching.

Hide and Seek

People like to hide from one another. They may have grown out of hide and seek, but they still unintentionally try and conceal their real selves in their interactions. This is because people are afraid of being intimate with one another; yet it is exactly this intimacy that everyone craves.

Want to make a connection with someone? Then you need to learn how to seek out their true selves in your conversations.

Time: We are not the same person that we were 5 years ago, 5 weeks ago or 5 hours ago. What is interesting in an interaction is what is happening between two people in that moment. To have a highly charged interaction both people need to be invested in that moment and be reacting to one another.

To avoid this people often talk about what their lives were like years ago. They are hiding their feelings of the present by talking about a time that has passed.

Swapping anecdotes of your first day at school can be fun, but bring the interaction back to the present. Talk about how you feel in that moment, and if they don’t follow suit, be direct and ask “How does that affect you now?” This will engage them to start thinking in the present, and telling you something that is relevant to them that day.

Tense: An exciting interaction is one that is focused on what the people think, feel and plan to do in the present. It’s the difference between relating old dates, speculating about ones you might get in the future, or having a great date then and there.

Always think about how what the person is saying relates back to them in the present. If you don’t you’ll only ever grasp the image they choose to present of themselves in the past, or the person they imagine they’re going to be in the future. The present is the real individual and the one who can connect with you.

If they are talking about the restaurant they want to open in the future, ask them about what they are doing now to accomplish that.

If they say they were such a geeky child ask if that is how they still see themselves.

Challenge people to think about how they feel in the moment, this is much more intimate than speculating about the past or the future.

Tell them what you want to do with them right now. The present is the most powerful and sexy tense.

Topic: Most films and books you truly love will be because of the character. People fall in love with characters and subjects, never topics and contexts.

To connect with someone you need to know something real about them as a person: a thought, a feeling or an experience. This is the important stuff.  The topic, whether it be music, travel or what ‘Sex and the City’ character they’d like to be is unimportant. The topic is just the vessel that enables a person to express themselves.

You shouldn’t become too invested in a topic as they can be interchanged rapidly. How often have you exhausted all your conversation on one point of discussion and then felt lost for words?

This will not happen if you engage with the real subject, the character that is in the story. If you learn that they’re the kind of person that falls in love quickly, gets angry at least three times a day, or thinks pink is a sexy colour on a guy, then you have a way to navigate and understand every other topic they talk about in a much more intimate way.

People do like to hide from one another.

But they like it better when they’re discovered. Make a person be in the moment, the present, and their true character with you. It is only then that you will start to make great connections.

To learn more about how to find the real person in your interactions, take our Conversation Camp with Wayne Elise and start making the real connections that lead to hot dates, lifelong friends and great business deals.