Summer in Riga, Latvia, is very relaxing. Even though the university students have gone, the 650,000 locals are all outside soaking up the White Nights after work, sunbathing in the parks and enjoying the festivals scattered around the Old Town.
As long as you stay away from the stag-party titty bars and the packs of drunk foreign guys heading to strip clubs then life is good. Play, but don’t get played.
42% of Riga’s population is Russian so if petite, Scandinavian-like Baltic blondes are not your cup of tea then you can easily find the leggy ice queens of FSU days gone by. Just listen out for the sound of high heels on the cobbled stones and you can be sure she’s Russian.
I’d just finished a residential with a student and had two more days to kill before flying back to London.
Outside McDonalds in the Old Town on Kalku Iela was a very pretty girl dressed in black, smoking a cigarette with her headphones in. She didn’t fit into either of the Russian or Latvian looks – more like something from Soho in New York or London.
“Say what you see and twist it” – that’s my golden rule for the best assumption stacking after the direct compliment. I told her that it was too hot to wear black, and that the Justin Bieber she was listening to was killing her faster than the nicotine.
Things clicked into place nicely. She got the dark humour and played along, telling me she’d had a “shitty day and later had to go to a shitty job” but that negativity was now in fashion. Her English was good enough to really vibe back and forth with.
We role-played about her being the Woman In Black, or Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman, waiting for her love to come back from beyond the ocean. She got every reference which was refreshing after a week of daygame and dates with Barbie blondes.
She was 21 years old, an architecture student who also worked in a dive bar and from Russian heritage. She didn’t fit the usual Barbie-doll style of Russian, more hipster than princess, but that abruptness was still there, just below the surface. Her cat-like eyes kept scanning me to see if I was going to flinch.
We vibed about how she was a Smiths fan and that she didn’t feel the same as other girls her age. Mentally I checked off the green lights: an “outsider” girl who preferred older company, a smoker, a creative personality, a love of sarcastic British humour.
I ran my “Tom & Jerry” routine on her, calling her Jerry because she was petite and I was going to chase her around the house in a love-hate relationship. Once again she took it and played along. More green lights.
She was on her way to meet her brother so I took the last few drags of her cigarette with her, took her number and we went our opposite directions.
This is the text exchange that followed later the same day:
ME: Hey Bieber fan, see you after your work for smokes and dark adventures if you’re in the centre maybe 🙂 T
HER: Hehe 🙂 Yeah, ok. Where are you right now?
ME: With friends eating in the French Institute cafe. What time do you finish tonight?
HER: Actually I’m already done. BUT, I have to meet some people around eight. What say you – tomorrow? Or a quick beer right now?
ME: Tomorrow better, I’m still feeding my face
HER: Lucky face haha!
[The next day]
ME: So, Tom politely requests the drinking company of Jerry tonight after 7pm….
HER: I’m working till nine o’clock so I’ll see you in the Old Town around that time.
ME: Deal. Wear black to scare me.
HER: 9.10 by McDonalds
HER: Aaaand I will be late 10 min
ME: Loser…you buy the first drinks 😉
HER: Fair enough
10 minutes came and went, so rather than hanging around by McDonalds I went back to my apartment which was just a stone’s throw away. Perhaps she’d flaked? Maybe she was going to be really late. It’s always better to keep the frame by not standing around waiting for her.
A few minutes later she texted “Where are you?” and I went down to meet her. By now it was past 9.30pm which is always a good sign when having a date. The later she meets you, the higher the chance of a fast lay.
I walked her to Cuba Cafe bar in Rigas Doms square, a cosy venue we’d been using all week because of the dark sofa vibes and good dj. It was grungy enough to kill any “provider” expectations a girl might have.
It was pretty full because it was Friday night, so we squeezed into two armchairs next to each other, surrounded by big groups of German tourists. Not ideal but better to seem unfazed and decisive than try to change venue and seem off-balance in front of her.
She was looking hotter than when we’d met on the street. One common advantage of daygame is that when they turn up for the date then they’re even more attractive. Night game to a first date is the opposite.
The conversation flowed easily from the moment we sat down, as the ironic dark humour opened things up more than the first whiskey cokes. I made fun of her hipster negativity and qualified her, saying I only spent time around positive people who were usually taller.
We role-played about her “fashionable suicidal thoughts” and that she should smoke a pipe instead of cigarettes to be the number one hipster in Riga.
One of my sticking points to this day is enjoying the dating too much. When things click with a girl I get carried away in the vibing. She’s laughing and I’m laughing. Stories are being told and the time is flying by. One beer becomes two or three, and the enjoyment continues.
But this is the opposite of seductive. I’m breaking tension, I’m putting myself in the “very interesting guy” boyfriend or friend box. I’m giving away my power by revealing too much before sex. I’ve not got my eye on the prize, I’ve forgotten the plan to move towards the end goal.
Russians and FSU girls will punish a guy for this when she feels the male-female polarity slipping. The Frame Tests started coming thick and fast, blindsiding me after the fun vibing we’d had.
How old was I? Why was I single? Why was I in Riga? Did I bring lots of girls to that bar?
The girl is your mirror. She was reminding me to get back to the Game plan and take back control. No more Mr Entertainer – I needed to ground things, get real and then move into seduction.
I answered her Frame Test questions with non-reactivity rather than too much cocky-funny. We spoke about how English stag parties and sex tourists to Riga ruined the chilled atmosphere of the city, and I told her a bit about my travelling and my family.
Things had become a bit static, we’d been sitting for too long – a classic date mistake. We went out onto the terrace outside and smoked a cigarette, giving me a chance to start physically escalating. I examined the rings on her finger and she showed me one of a snake.
“See, the snake’s fucking my finger” she said, grinning and doing the spiking herself.
Time to shift gears. I took her hands and compared their size to mine, asking if she played the guitar. She told me she wanted to learn the violin but that she “couldn’t commit to anything for too long.”
The couple next to us were listening in and watching me flirt with her. On purpose I made sure they could hear the next routine, as I measured the distance between her thumb and little finger, telling her it was an accurate representation of the size of her ex boyfriend’s…personality. They laughed on cue, which made her blush and helped with the sexual tension.
Back inside a sofa had become available next to the dj booth. One more drink then I planned to bounce her to the apartment via a corner shop to pick up alcohol.
She was now very relaxed, passing the “Floppy Test” of sitting next to me and accepting my arm occasionally around her or when I’d come into her space. She told me about her Russian background and about her dreams of travelling around Iceland listening to Sigur Ros.
Time for the Questions Game. Immediately she was up for it. More green lights as she told me about never having a real boyfriend, and how she preferred friends-with-benefits. She’d had a short relationship with a girl and for a while she thought she was bi.
I told her about some of my weirdest sexual experiences, and we agreed on how it’s possible to separate sexual from emotional if you’ve tried enough things.
“If you replace the words ‘love’ and ‘lust’ with ‘connection’ then it’s all the same thing. We’re all spinning around on this planet hungry for the moment….” I said in my best Oscar-worthy dramatic voice. Her eyes exploded. It was time to bounce.
As we walked out I told her I needed to find a shop to buy some cigars and beers. It was past 11.30pm and we couldn’t find anything open, so I took a gamble and just walked her to my door.
There wasn’t any token resistance like I’d had all week with other Russians I’d try to take home. Up in the apartment we put on some John Mayer and I prayed that his seductive gravely voice would do the final pulling of the trigger for me.
She went to the window in the kitchen looking out over the Old Town and opened it up, leaning out to smoke. I went up behind her, pulled her long brown hair into a pony tail and kissed her neck.
She spun around and the make-out was wild. Not kissing girls in the bar on the first date was my new strategy, helping keep the sexual tension until they were in isolation and ready to close properly.
The sex was the best I’d had in months, she was so uninhibited about her body. We fucked with clothes on as she leant out of the window, on the sofa as we tore off layers, on the floor in a tangle of limbs.
I’d struck gold – a liberated Russian with a high sex drive and a preference for older guys. She told me she’d made the decision to sleep with me when I’d held her hand to look at her rings in the bar. “Before that you reminded me of my friend” she said. “I wasn’t sure you found me attractive until after you were touching me.”
Spot on feedback from her. Even though the final bounce and lay had come easily, the date had still taught me a lot about my own sticking points. Girls are giving you this micro and macro subtle feedback whenever you interact with them. You’ve just got to learn to listen.
To find out more about my daygame, texting and dating toolkit, check out my textbook “Street Hustle.”