We all say it all the time, I’ve said it on these pages many times, but game is a lot of down and a few ups. If you open 100 sets, you’ll have success with (sleep with) about maybe 4. My advice is:
- So just open all the really hot ones.
- The next set can change everything. If you’d had 18 bad experiences, the next set doesn’t know. It can be the one.
So I’ve spent the last 7 days in Budapest with my old colleague Lee and we had an awesome time. I rolled into the big old 1880 Keleti terminal about 2200 on a Saturday night. I was immediately impressed. It was a warm summer night and Keleti was sparse, dirty and moody, like much of the ex Soviet bloc. I know Hungary wasn’t actually part of the Soviet Union, but it was well under it’s influence.
I saw a young man wearing a suit and a hat walk in from outside, look furtively at me and then scuttle into the subway, all the time his hands in his pockets. It felt like a spy film. I love the iron curtain feel. There’s something nostalgic about it for me. I loved the Cold War. It was brilliant, all the crap technology and dysfunction from the East.
As an aside, one of the my favourite TV series is called ‘The Americans’. It’s awesome. Cold war sleeper cell driving around in 70s cars. Brilliant.
The first thing that struck me was that Budapest is big. It’s like Manchester or Leeds but it’s streets are big and wide like New York. I flagged a yellow cab from the station but he wanted £15 to take me 1km. I knew it was a scam so I told him to take a hike and I walked down the street, 20 minutes to my flat down a big long straight road, wide as hell. I looked around, it had that second world feel. It was like a mix between Sofia with it’s crumbling edges and broken pavements and Belgrade, with it’s big city feel, with big roads and lots of traffic. The neon signs above all the shops looked like they were from the 1960s and a lot of the lights were out. There were plenty of ‘KEB B U PIZ A’ places along the way. Sometimes one of the lights would flicker.
By the time I’d navigated to my apartment and met Lee, who’d arrived earlier in the day, it was midnight. I thought about hitting the hay but my pure coincidence Lee’s old man was in town on a stag do, so we met up with him and hit some bars.
My first impressions of Budapest were very good, it was big, loud and exciting. The bars, restaurants and cafes were too numerous to even consider trying to choose between. They all looked great. Some places have the 1930s feel, some have the old Soviet vibe, while some are new with all manners of different decors and themes designed to lure the punters. There was even one that was decked out like a beach with a huge shark’s mouth as the entrance.
Budapest is a big city and a fun place to spend time. No doubt.
Zagreb, on the other hand, is tiny. It’s a tiny little town. A village really. The centre of Zagreb is no bigger than the centre of Burnley. Smaller actually. So hitting Boodie Boodie was a huge step up.
Lee and I spent a week strolling around chatting, doing some work and of course cranking some sets. I’ve written some more of my book, I’m up to 250 pages now, the way it’s going it’s going to be over 1000 pages this fucking thing. I’ve not even got through the stories of my first year in pickup. I’ll have to prune it down some. But some of the things I am remembering are great. Some really great stories are flooding back and some amazing characters.
Lee’s been opening as we go. I’ve been in a few too, a few sets he’s had to bring me into and I’ve dutifully winged. It’s an easy job, keep his value high, pick up the conversation when he’s needing a break from doing all the running it and don’t let the target get too attached to me. He’s done alright, he ended up on 31 sets, he had three dates and a lay.
All the good sets came at the end of long days where we got nothing. It’s tough. You doubt yourself. Lee is a good looking guy, he’s big, muscular, he’s done some male modelling, he has a look of David Beckham in some ways. He’s a lot of fun, funny and has game, has taught for years. And he was getting roasted out there. That’s the gig boys. If you can’t handle it, then get a new hobby.
The best place for street game (and we have walked all over this city) is the area around Erzebet Square and the Metro Station ‘Deak Ferenc’. Just stick there. Don’t be tempted to go elsewhere. This is where the game is. At around 4 – 6 on a Monday to Thursday it can get very, very good for game. Plenty of 8s charging around. Exactly what Xants from City Day Game told when I met him in Cheltenham.
It’s been a tough call deciding how Budapest stacks up against the other locations I’ve been to. It’s definitely worth a visit, but Lee and I both agreed that for quality it’s a shade below Zagreb and Belgrade, but it’s a much more fun city. And remember, ‘a shade below’ those cities for quality is like saying your car is a shade below an Aston Martin for quality. When my train got back to Zagreb, within ten minutes I saw more top quality girls than I did in 10 days in Budapest and one girl was an out and out 10. But a lot of it is your personal taste and just the luck of the draw. The blonde I saw on Zrinjevac when I got back to Zagreb was truly one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen in my life.
Tallinn, Estonia was an absolute bag of shit. Poland was good. Latvia and Lithuania, well it’s been so long since I’ve been there but I remember them being excellent for high quality skirt. I should go back and check them out.
The game highlights
On Thursday night, we’d hit the bars for Lee’s birthday. It was our first time in the bars since we’d been out with Lee’s old man. We started out having ice cream cocktails in this bar called Spiler. £2.50 for a sugar rush and a chance to watch the sports on the TV. It was, funnily enough, a game between the Detroit Redwings and the Philadelphia Flyers and I honestly thought that the Flyers were the interval entertainment. I thought it was the local clown school bumbling around the ice trying to raise money for a local charity or something. After 15 minutes splitting my sides with laughter, I realised, no, hang on, that’s actually the Flyers. (I’m a Penguins fan since the age of about 10, so my position may be biased).
We left the cocktail bar as it filled with three stag parties, British, German and one local. The hooting and hollering every-time some genius downed a litre of beer was getting too much so we fucked off to some outdoor area where four bars surrounded a little square. It created a great area for night game as all the patrons brought their drinks outside congregated in the middle. No loud music, no seating, just plenty of opportunity to move around and position yourself in a good opening position for the target set.
Lee got the drinks in and brought them out. We chatted a while and then I suggested ‘we’ got started. He pointed to a three set and said ‘how about those guys’. I said it was a great choice.
We then looked at each other and said ‘Err.. how do we bar game again?’
We actually didn’t know what to do next. It’s been almost 5 years since we’d done any dedicated bar pickup. We ummed and ahhed for a few minutes, figuring out how to adapt a street opener to a bar opener then Lee remembered.
‘Oh it’s that thing… open a few pawn sets with fluff talk, then when a few target sets have clocked us, hit one of them with an opener’.
That was it. Easy as fuck really. Lee spied the 3 set over my shoulder and I spied a really hot 2 set over his, seated and talking in a nearby juice bar. Now, I thought they were working there so I figured we’d run with Lee’s 3 set and keep my 2 in reserve.
So Lee hits up this guy near us. Ropes him into conversation, asks him a few questions about Budapest. We get the guy laughing and then I start talking to this mixed set on a table nearby. One of the guys had looked up at our commotion so I expected an easy segue into some light conversation. I was right. Roll in roll out with some nonsense about is it safe to drink the water at the thermal springs.
So by now we had a little clique going on. It only took 5 minutes or so. We were mainly guys, but a few girls too. We now had a bit of social proof and silly talk. I’d forgotten how important it is in night game, but you do yourself a big favour if you can get people laughing. You don’t have to be any great wit, just surreal and silly. People are out to have fun and everyone is a sucker for silly talk. Our 3 set had been watching us. At this point I was thinking of pawning the 3 set (low 8s) to get us into the hotter (high 8s) 2 set in the juice bar, who hadn’t yet noticed us.
At this point a few things happened at once and the dynamics shifted. My 2 set, which as I say, hadn’t noticed us from their little bubble in the juice bar, suddenly packed up their things and made to leave. At the same time our hot 3 set was joined by two fatties, making it a ball ache of a five set, predictably just as Lee was about to roll in.
Lee stalled at the interrupt because it’s a bad time to open when we were no longer centre of attention. Lee and I both knew telepathically that our value wasn’t quite as high while we didn’t have the TV moment. Who knows what news these fatties were bringing to the targets while we would be trying to clumsily open? Skirt has a short attention span. We could easily blow our 5 to 10 minutes of work here and turn a solid opportunity into a casual, needless blow out. Such are the dynamics of savvy bar game.
‘Follow me’, I said. Lee looked confused as he hadn’t seen these 2. I’d been keeping them on the backburner as I thought they were working and didn’t fancy the constant pattern interrupts of a hired gun set.
Something about them told me there was fun to be had. I looked back and Lee was saying ‘Jimmy, what are you doing, why are we going’.
‘Just come. We want these 2. Come’.
We pushed through the crowd and I pointed the 2 out to him. I filled him in on what I knew about them as we walked. Lee nodded and I saw his face was focussed on the new targets. It was a golden find. It was like old times at this point. It was like we’d never been apart as we left the bar. Our game hats were firmly on, we weren’t revellers, we were pick up artists at work. We weren’t out to get drunk, we were out to win. I hadn’t even spoken to any women, just orchestrated a few things and talked to a few guys and mixed sets. No different than I’d do in a bar if I was with my dad or my brother in law.
We raced through the crowd and waited for the 2 to get onto a street with good lighting and a few people around. It didn’t take long, we followed them onto the main boulevard and as they walked under the arches, I pulled Lee around the other side. It was no longer a bar set, but a night time street set.
‘I reckon just get just ahead of them, be laughing, look back at me tell me hurry up…’
‘Make them notice me. Then open’
‘Exactly, the double take thing’.
It worked a treat. Lee playfully chastised me for lagging behind and as their gaze fell on him, he did a quick double take and said ‘hey, guys, stop’.
And that was it. ‘You look like two cute little mice’ and we’re in set. It looked so spontaneous and natural that I don’t think anyone could have possibly thought it was fabricated. Lee ran the set. I was there to support. I’m not here to score skirt, but if Lee wants to talk to girls in bars, then like anyone else, I don’t refuse to speak to people.
There’s a way to do 2 sets in the street at night. It’s slightly different to the day time. It’s a 2 set, it’s night time, so it needs more energy. I lean away from more serious and grounded DHV stories such as
‘I work for myself. I do 6 months in London and then travel across Europe in the summer. I like to read books and see new places, don’t you think Budapest is an amazing city!’
That’s a fairly pedestrian day game stack/DHV. It ropes them into talking about their life. They have to talk about their city and usually that means they talk about what they do there. You can think of much better, but it’s simple, conversational and functional and when delivered with a enthusiasm, it’s suggests a happy man whose hitting the ground running with his life.
Night game is a bit more party, so I like to hook them in with something slightly higher energy. It’s why gambits like ‘which one of you is the good girl and which is the bad girl’ works. It’s easy, it’s silly, it’s nonsense and there’s no right or wrong answer. When I spent 8 weeks in Europe last year, myself and my students had a night game method which works great for picking up 2 sets on the street at night. The results were pretty solid. We were getting numbers and bounces for 1 in every 4 sets opened. That’s a lay for 15 sets in my experience.
Lee was not quite sober, he was just drunk enough to be funny. They told us they weren’t Hungarian, they were from three nationalities. Lee over acted like it was the craziest notion and tried to guess where they were from, inventing ridiculous sounding country names like ‘Latvalania’ ‘Hip-hop-ilatia’.
When he spilt the set (made it so that he was talking to one girl while I spoke to the other), ‘my’ girl told me she was studying medicine. She was smart and not very serious, so I just guessed medicine. I guessed right. She was studying veterinary medicine.
I was on the verge of pulling out a long forgotten routine I used to run when I was at University. I used to say I was a whale masseuse. I had a long ridiculous and improbably industry in my head about whale masseuses and how you needed big hands and how I was saving up for an operation to have my hands enlarged. I’d say it seriously and feign anger when they laughed at me, which would make them laugh even more.
But I went with claiming I was the greatest doctor in London. I was a world renowned doctor. When she asked me which hospital I rolled my eyes as I looked to invent a name told her ‘The royal… Queen Elizabeth… … … It’s called the national… big one at the end of my street’. When she asked me what my speciality was I told her ‘The lot. I’ll have a go at anything, i can do heart surgery if I have to’. At the same time as saying heart surgery I’ll point to a part of my body where the heart clearly isn’t, like my lower right belly.
The laughter makes the difference. I told her how I’m revolutionary in my methods. I play Balkan folk music during my operations and we have to down shots every time a song ends.
If you come across as a clown too much in the day time you run the risk of coming across as exactly that, a clown, but the night time is a bit different. People come out to unwind, to play, to have fun and banter. You can talk guff for a while before you get serious.
The girls then switched the tables on us. They started to feed us information about their lives and these chicks were not the average skirt. They were telling us about life in Hungary, how there are a lot of burglaries and how only last week they had to tazer someone in a bar. One of them then produced a large torch looking object out of her handbag and showed it to me.
A fucking tazer. I immediately offered her £50 to tazer ‘that prick over there’ and pointed to some poor bespectacled sod innocently talking to his girlfriend by the tram stop. They roared with laughter at my cruelty and refused to tazer the daft cunt, so I asked if I could just tazer Lee instead, ‘he’s big, he can take anything’.
Rat pack style banter between two free-wheeling guys, but really a DHV to Lee without me seeming like I am kissing his arse.
We ended up going for drinks with them. They were telling us stories of their very wild and crazy life, which I probably can’t repeat here. Their father was a high ranking dignitary. These girs could get away with carrying illegal tazers for a reason. They’d been trained to hunt and fight since they were kids, they had photos on their phones of them with rifles and automatic guns. One of the girls told us how a guy tried to kiss her in a club by just walking up to her and forcing himself on her, so she’d broken his jaw.
‘Good luck with escalating this one’, I said to a terrified looking Lee.
But the girls loved us. We stayed out for ages and at the end of the night, while there was no opportunity for Lee to bounce one back, we made plans to hang out again. They texted Lee for the rest of the holiday but we just never got chance to meet up with them again.
On the last day we got into a set with two hot Turkish girls. One high 8, one low 8. One was 19 and innocent, turned out to be a virgin, the other was 21 and wild. Tattoos, sexually available. I asked Lee which he wanted and he said ‘both’.
We met them at night but Lee had a date elsewhere. He left me with the pair for two hours. My mission was to heat them up for him, bond with them, work out their preferences, where they lay on the slut spectrum, DHV myself and Lee and then when he got back, just give him ideas for a plan to escalate.
The first thing the girls said to me after Lee left was that they had boyfriends. I just said ‘cool’. After two hours with me, the girls thought Lee and I were supermen. I bounced them to a Spanish bar and by the time Lee got back I was 90% sure he was on for a threesome.
‘They both want action Lee, just choose the one you prefer. The hottest one is a virgin and will probably not go the whole way, but she’s very hot. The other, she’s hot but she’s not the prize, but she’ll most certainly fuck you’.
Lee chose the hot one. We took them to a club and split the set. I entertained the rock chick while Lee escalated the virgin.
At this point the rock chick started telling me how she’d just got out of a mental facility and how she’d been having electro shock therapy. I glanced over my shoulder and saw Lee making out with the virgin while holding her up in the air and dancing with her.
‘How the fuck do I get into these situations’ I said to myself as I realised my looming issue. This poor chick was about to be rejected by me while her mate was about to get laid with a male model. I hadn’t looked that far ahead. Furthermore, it would be bad enough if she was sane, but she wasn’t, so how would she react? She’s just had electro shock therapy. Electro shock therapy. That’s not the kind of mind I want to piss off.
I was now in the ridiculous position of trying to find a way to de-escalate my target while Lee was cranking up the heat on his. I was genuinely shitting myself. Could I DLV my way out of this somehow?
It was awful. As Lee made out with his, the tension between myself and the other girl was getting uncomfortable. She clearly was waiting for me to make my move. I was hoping the ground would open up and swallow me. What were my options?
‘Maybe I can get Lee to have a threesome, it’s my only way out’.
‘No. Get her drunk so she’ll just fall asleep when they come back’.
‘Wait until Lee is in his room with his girl then tell her I am gay’
‘I could dig into her obviously bad emotional past and get her so depressed she’ll not want to have sex’.
‘Simply DLV myself to the point I am not an attractive prospect’
‘Feign illness. A heart attack. A stroke. Drink some mercury and shit all over the place.’
Lee came out of the dance area and sat down with us. I knew what was coming next. 10 minutes of chill out together as a group, then a taxi back to ours. It’s not as easy as telling the girl I didn’t want to sleep with her. I didn’t want to burn the set and fuck up Lee’s chances. I also didn’t want to upset the girl and have her go crazy. She might also think her confession of mental illness was the reason I’d gone cold on her.
I could see I was going to have to wank in her face. I could tell her I had a fetish, she’d go for that, it wouldn’t be cheating would it? Or I could wank into a yoghurt and she could eat it. A classic! If I did that and then just fell asleep, she’d just think I was a dud.
The taxi home and the first moments in the flat were awful. I was praying for a fire or something to disrupt the proceedings. Maybe I should throw a brick through a window and get arrested.
Five minutes back at the flat and Lee disappeared into his room, leaving us alone. This was it.
I headed to the fridge, ‘do you prefer pineapple or fruits of the forest’ I was about to say. But then she hit me with the sweetest line ever.
‘I’m on my period’.
I almost danced for joy, I had to hold myself back from high fiving her. This was great. It took all the steam out of the situation and opened the door for a deal. It was enough of a bombshell to justifiably defuse the whole situation.
‘Don’t worry about it, you know what, I’d prefer we just talked. I like you. Whatever happens in the future happens but let’s not make this about sex’.
I do believe I just LJBFd a fairly hot chick. We talked for half an hour and then she asked where she could sleep, I sent her up onto the mezzanine and retired to my room. I turned down the light, lay on my bed and closed my eyes. I could hear Lee grunting and groaning in the next room as I drifted off. I smiled. We won today.