Approach Machine

I realize I haven’t written a blog post in a long while. I have been taken up with many other pursuits. In early June were the Stanley Cup finals, in which my team of the last 30 years competed to eventually win their fourth championship. I’ve seen them win all four. It meant a lot of late nights, staying up until 6am watching NHL GameCentre. Then I took JJ to Cyprus for a week, since she was taken with the idea of going to an aqua-park. Upon my return, the big thing in this last few weeks has been that I have had some medical admin to look after regarding my recent minor health condition. I may have to have a minor operation. I also spent some time with other musicians recording new songs.

If my health situation gets green lighted in the next week, then I think August will be my final week of freedom before I look for a new contract. I’ll probably go and spend the whole month somewhere, I know John Bodi is keen to do another jaunt.

A visit to the doctor may not be the worst use of my time.

But today I want to talk about a subject I thought about a lot on my recent trip to Warsaw with Bodi, Krauser and a student who came out.

I remember many years ago being wholly dejected after a spot of day game. I’ve no idea who I was with, I may have even been teaching on a boot. I recall it had been a long day trawling the streets of central London and there being not much to shoot at on the whole. I’d probably got a couple of so so numbers, certainly I don’t think any went anywhere. Then right at the end of the day, on Oxford Street, just outside the tube station, I saw a girl of tremendous beauty.

She looked like a movie star.

Or a news anchor, back when news anchors were hot. She was wearing a white blouse, a blue suit jacket, she had long blonde hair, she was smiling and laughing and having a conversation with three men. They were either getting into, or getting out of a large silver Mercedes.

The men were well built, designer stubble, nice clothes. Looked like the David Gandy type. These people had something going on, money, success.

She was the hottest girl of the day by far. I set off to approach her. I couldn’t stop myself. She’d be stand out in Europe, let alone Oxford Street. Then, halfway across the road I stopped. I just doubted there was much point. She was happy, surrounded by successful guys… was there much point. I dallied for a moment and then the group must have got into the car, because the decision was made for me and the opportunity was gone.

And for weeks I beat myself up about it. I would not let myself off the hook. What was the point of putting in the graft all day only to pull out at the last minute when the fish is near the bait?

Here’s what I thought at the time. Jimmy, you never know with a set. You just never know. It sounds like it’s an unlikely opportunity, but it’s not no opportunity. To quote the great Wayne Gretzky ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’. Let’s look at the situation.

  • She was involved in a wealthy set. This means she was more than likely very content with what was coming her way in life. An out of the blue street approach, while interesting, may well be lost in the blur of opportunity she experiences once I am gone.
  • She’s with three well put together men. That can go in my favour if I’m on form, it’s ballsy and to blow them out could be a home run. But there’s three potential pattern interrupts. There’s a fair chance one is a boyfriend and probably a certainty at least one of them wants to be.
  • The car. They’re likely just about to go somewhere. Am I going to get someone into the often necessary 10 minute conversation on a busy Oxford Street with a car (with a driver) waiting.

The answer is, ‘who knows?’ You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take and there is no real harm in shooting. So really, of course I should have done it.

But the fact I didn’t was no great crime. Certainly I shouldn’t have been beating myself up for weeks afterwards, ruing my stupidity.

There’s a lot to be said for being an opening machine. And in your early days it’s probably vital. But as you get better, I wonder if it becomes a hindrance. I don’t know, it was something we discussed while on our beat in Warsaw. I spend around two weeks with Nick and one with Bodi and the student and we all spoke about it.

Nick was very stingy with his energy. The Nick I knew of three years ago was usually 10 opens in by lunchtime. This time, he was more purposeful. He weighs girls up with his desire to open, the rarity of the opportunity and the likely return of the situation and against the energy required.

Which we all do of course. Would we wade into a hen party to talk to a 6? No. Would we do it for the girl of our dreams? Yes. Because the energy we’d have to expend and putting up with the drunken screeching would be worth it.

But what struck me was Nick’s peace with the sets he let go. He was fine with saying ‘I’m just not feeling it there’.  Then he would happily stroll on and simply carry on talking about how much he hates Lefties.

Each set takes a piece of energy from you, each sets affects your return, each set takes time. You have to be smart about it. To give a ridiculous example, I once spent 2 hours in set with a stunning Jewish girl in Manchester. Two hours standing talking in the Arndale Centre. Two hours. Obviously we had a great conversation. My wing got bored waiting and went home. The day was done. I got the number. She never replied to my text. She was Jewish. She likely doesn’t date outside her religion. I spent two hours on a path to nowhere. It was a great conversation and sure she fancied me in the moment, but the spend was maybe not worth the return.

My student gave me similar pause for thought. He was happy to open anything as long as it was pretty. But he liked a certain type. He was new to this and just wanted practice. He got numbers off pretty girls and just didn’t contact them, just because they weren’t his type. That’s a good attitude to have in lots of ways. The set only really meant something to him when he liked the girl and those were the ones he was keen to invest in.

Then there was Bodi, who did several great sets, but openly admitted to weaselling on several occasions.

There’s a distinction to be made between weaselling and being productive. You know in your heart which is which. Weaselling is fine, you allow yourself a few a day but you make amends for it by forcing yourself into a set soon after. Often it takes a disgraceful weasel in order to get the approach fires burning.

But once you have experience and skill under your belt, what I didn’t really know that day on Oxford Street, was that there’s a science in itself in choosing your sets wisely. Learning to quickly decide which sets have a higher rate of return and to maximize your output is not a new idea in day game. But day game is pleasant. Once the hard work of the first 1000 sets is out of the way, day game is a delight. It’s like fine wine or good food. It’s something you do for its own sake. The activity itself is fun. There is no better way to spend your time than drifting around in the sunshine in a European city, chuntering away to a good pal about hating Socialists and then gleefully picking off a few shiny apples as you go. But if you want to let a few drift by, be careful about dwelling too much on it. There’s always a set just around the corner. You’ll get a lot out of day game when it’s a huge pleasure and a big fun game.

At one point speaking to Bodi, he mentioned something about how he’d settle down one day. I asked him ‘how will you deal with the end of day game though’.

‘What do you mean?’ He asked.

‘Well, what are you going to do to cope with not being able to do this anymore, you’ll lose it all’.

‘Man, I hate this. I can’t wait to never have to do this again. This isn’t fun for me, it’s torture. It’s absolute torture. I always thought you lot were weird for actually enjoying it. I’ll find a girl, get out and never look back’.

It’s easy for me to be blase about this I suppose. I am 38, not really desperate to bed tonnes of women anymore, quite happy in a nice relationship with a good looking woman. It’s easy for me, in a position of contentment to say ‘oh lads, just have some fun, it’s all just a bit of a laugh’. I appreciate it may not be the case if you’re a 25 year old beta virgin burning with rage. This is just a view from a lazy old man’s perspective.

My next post is going to be a good one. The first 3 books I’d suggest reading in order to ground yourself intellectually. Also, I’ll get round to doing the pickup 101 pages.

For all those who have sent emails, I’ll get replying soon and we can sort things out.


  1. Good luck with the health situation jimmy.

    You said in the piece “am I going to get someone into the necessary 10 minute conversation on a busy Oxford Street with a car (with a driver) waiting” … I’m wondering if you think that you need to talk for at least 10 minutes to build up the necessary connection to get a girl out at a later date? I have an issue in that I am getting a lot of number closes with fairly hot girls in C London, but they are fast interactions as the girls are often in a rush somewhere, I try to use a “false time constraint” and / or keep the conversation going but they actually are in a rush to go many times and I just cant keep them there. They do seem interested at the time and give me their number but many don’t respond to my text later on. I’m thinking I’m not building enough comfort in set at all … they are attracted but don’t feel enough comfort to reply back … part of this is time related, so what can I do? Perhaps don’t stop girls who are rushing?

    1. I think time is a part of it personally. Obviously there are times we’ll get lucky after a one minute set. And some sets are two hours long and go nowhere. All I can say is that in my experience, most of my good sets are around ten minutes, give or take a few minutes either side. It takes time to 1) get to know her a little bit and 2) show her who you are. Generally, if it’s a good girl, from a good family, with a good personality, good looking intelligent and with options, then you’re usually going to need to build some kind of rapport. I like to go in as the cheeky guy who loves her style and leave as the musician who was interested in talking to her about her dancing hobby – or whatever we have connected over.

      Part of the pickup is genuinely trying to find out if she’s interesting. You want to spend time on a date so you’ve got to work out if she’s going to be decent company. Hot is not enough.

      1. ok understood. I went out on Friday and approached 6 girls with only 2 developing into proper conversations, I made sure to move into comfort conversation talking about music, what we like doing … was a struggle to get out of tedious things they would bring up like jobs/area you live and so on. learning and getting better but its a slow process … in set I forget a lot of what I mean to do. cheers.

        1. Personally I don’t mind the mundane stuff. I am happy to talk about some mundane stuff, like I do with friends. I just am very wary to not get stuck on it. I let it run for a few sentences then find an interesting stack out.

  2. Hey Jimmy,
    Very interesting point you have brought up today and on the whole I agree with you.
    I’ve had similiar sets that I’ve kicked myself for weeks about also, but you are right. It really does light a flame up your ass for the next DG Session you go out and do.
    So back in 2008 when I first learnt about Game and went through the passion phase, I would walk for hours content with only opening 1-2 sets. As years went by I turned into an approach machine but now I have come full circle because I started to realise my time is extremely valuable (esp now that I’m working 40hrs a week). So I have taken a sniper style approach similar to Krauser. For e.g. If I scan and spot 2 different sets. Set 1 is a 2 set with one 8 and one 6 chick, and then the second set walking past is a 7. I tend to sway towards the 7 as she is solo and I’m much better at solo sets and I’d rather play to my strengths and for me it’s all about maximising my ROI.
    The following is what I tend to do now.
    I think it was Tom Torero that said, if you are walking around for more than an hour getting avoidance weasels, you be best calling it a day and do something else. So I now try to stick to that rule, and make sure when I do go out with the sole intent of DG’ing I open the first cute girl I see, as it sets the frame from the rest of the DG Session.

    PS: Keep us all updated on the health issue. Wishing you all the best!

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