For an introduction to this “dirty thirty” series of blog posts for my new book Below The Belt, go here.
A Winter’s Tale – Reykjavik, Iceland, January 2015
In the bleak midwinter I’d headed north to Iceland for an escape from everything. I had just broken up with my last long-term girlfriend. We’d been in an open relationship for a year but reached the point where she’d asked “where this was going” and wanted monogamy. Even though I’d slept with over thirty girls since being with her, I’d grown very fond of her and her family so the decision to end things with a clean break was tough. She took it very badly and I was feeling both guilty and lonely.
Perpetual players are in no way immune to the love chemicals of oxytocin and serotonin. In fact pickup artists often fall harder for girls who show them warmth and affection as it’s that they’re not getting from the one night bangs. I call this “affection addiction” and recorded a podcast about the topic on that very trip.
Touching down in the capital Reykjavik was like landing on the moon. With very short daylight (4 hours per day), sub zero temperatures and a landscape blanketed in snow, it wasn’t exactly a warm welcome. However I’d chosen a winter trip to Iceland as it is precisely these conditions that inspire me the most.
My plan was to hire a car and drive around the frozen landscape to take pictures. I wanted to snorkel the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in a dry suit and then spend the rest of my time far removed from the player temptations of daygame and dating by hibernating by the fire in a cosy cafe. You can watch these exploits in the video at the end of the post.
Things didn’t kick off exactly as planned. I took a taxi from the airport to the hostel downtown where I’d booked a private room. Even though it was only the middle of the afternoon it was already dark. A fresh flurry of snow covered up icy patches which made climbing the hostel steps lethal. I got to the reception to find it was already closed. They’d left envelopes with check-in forms and room keys with names on them propped up against the shutter.
As I collected my envelope the door opened and in walked an American backpacker girl, looking for the reception like me. She was in her early twenties, brunette, a cute face that was glowing red from stepping in from the cold and wearing as many layers as an Everest mountaineer. I smiled and pointed to the row of envelopes, but was too tired and out of it to engage in any further chit-chat.
The envelope contained a map which showed that my room was in a separate building a few doors down the street. I headed back out into the dark and cold, trying not to slip on the icy pavements, looking for the building number in the driving snow. Moments later I turned around to see the American backpacker behind me, also looking for the same building.
“They’ve left us to fend for ourselves” I chuckled as we climbed the steps up to the annexe. “It’s like a reality TV survival show.” She grinned back. “Where are you from?” she asked, hooking off the bat.
A newbie to daygame and seduction would be puzzled as to what had just happened. Where was the front stop? Where was the direct compliment? Why wasn’t there proper stacking and storytelling? Someone who’s been gaming infield for a long time will understand these spontaneous situational infield encounters. A good seducer can (and should) go off-script, abandoning the safety net of the model and relying on gut instinct. Strong non-verbals (tiger eyes, a smirk and some swagger) can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
We bantered in the hallway to the building for a couple of minutes as we took off some of our warm layers. She was 21 years old, from Chicago, stopping off in Iceland for a couple of nights before her onward flight to the UK. Her female friend was flying the other way, joining her in the hostel when she landed in Reykjavik the next day. I suggested a walk to find a local bar later once we’d unpacked and showered, which she was up for. I found out her room number and said I’d give her a knock later.
Standing in my compact room, drawing the curtains and unpacking my books and maps, ready for the adventures the island had to offer, I questioned whether I should go out that evening with the American. The whole point of the trip was to detox from pickup for a while and move on from the sting of the breakup. But I hadn’t gotten laid in a couple of weeks so my blue balls made the decision for me.
An hour or so later I walked with the American through the snowy darkness to find the nearest bar. Usually you can tell how a date is going to pan out by what she turns up wearing, but in this case we both looked like Arctic explorers, wrapped in every layer we had. Only when we got to a rock’n’roll bar a few streets down and she took off her coat and jumper did I see her figure for the first time and breathed a sigh of relief.
I’d love to write how the rest of the evening was some epic seduction masterclass with twists and turns to rival an action movie but the simple truth was that we had two or three beers sitting on the stools by the bar, made out and then went back to my room and fucked like it was the end of the world as the hostel got snowed in.
The only Game things I had to do to get the lay were to open her, invite her out, escalate verbally and physically, then lead home and pull the trigger. A “yes” girl who is complying still needs something from the guy to comply with. I also had to deflect her little whines and rants about the Millennial life and overcome the usual tests by either ignoring her or making fun of her. Regular guys don’t understand that these female quibbles are par for the course, they never go away, and are your chance to shine rather than reacting.
In the bar she also told me about a semi-serious boyfriend back in Chicago but that she was going to London to “get some distance” and to “find herself.” Whilst I was in the post-coital bliss after the lay she was so excited about being able to brag to her female friend the following day who’d “always wanted to nail an English guy” (I didn’t have the heart to tell her I’m Welsh).
The lay that night, however trivial and temporal it might seem, blew the cobwebs from my breakup confusion. The next day when I went to snorkel the Mid-Atlantic rift I felt a clarity of mind and a freshness of spirit. Like the tectonic plates I was diving between that were being pulled apart in the middle of the Atlantic, I felt myself drifting further and further away from my former Nice Guy idealism towards something stronger, resilient and resolute.