I admit this is not a regular topic for me. I don’t usually write about this, and, to be honest, I’ve never been into picking up chicks: I openly confess I don’t know how to do this at all. I have no opening lines, no conversations tips, no rehearsed jokes, nothing. If you put me at a bar near a good looking woman and ask me to pick her up, I will probably open up with a direct, unpolished remark about the weather.
But meaningful relationships, well, that’s something that really permeated my life in one form or another, for decades. It’s something that deeply interests me and something that I’ve been trying to get better at in many different ways.
Tango, Pick Up Artists and The Connectivity Factor
Surprisingly enough, though, in one form or another I’ve been exposed to the “picking up chicks” approach a lot during the last 4-5 years.
As some of you may know, I’ve been dancing (and currently teaching) Argentine Tango a lot. As a dance, social tango is very different, mostly because it’s not choreographic, it doesn’t entail reproducing over and over a learned sequence of movements. It starts with a basic portfolio of steps, or what I call “the vocabulary”, but from that, it goes into improvisation and connection. In other words, you never dance the same dance, you always connect and improvise (based on that initial vocabulary).
As you can imagine, Argentine Tango is a very intimate type of dance. Once you create a connection on the dance floor, it’s very easy to get lost in the emotional tornado that is created and mistake your dancing partner for a life partner. Or, in other words, it’s quite easy to fall in love with someone you dance, because of the way he or she dances. As a matter of fact, there is even a name for this: it’s called “tango crush”, and I already wrote about it.
It takes a lot of emotional maturity to be able to enjoy Argentine Tango without being trapped into a “tango crush”. I confess I fell for it a couple of times. In both cases, it took me a good number of weeks to get out of it.
But it was a tremendous learning experience. I understood quite clearly that creating a meaningful relationship cannot be based only on the way we dance (as interesting and fulfilling as it might be). That way of interacting was just an experience and it ended where the dance floor ended.
About the same time I started to teach tango, I met a few people who were picking up chicks for a living (the technical term is “pick up artists”). Some of them even started to attend to our tango classes. As I was observing them, I realized how difficult it was for them to connect. To authentically connect, to be more precise. They were good at improvising (because “the game” – a generic term for the picking up activity – requires a lot of improvisation) but their connectivity skills were really low.
In time, they eventually learned how to connect and their became better at this. I also become close with some of them and I understood more about “the game”. But, even if their connectivity skills were better, none of them was able to create a meaningful, close relationship. Somehow, their interactions with women either ended after the first few nights, or they were translated into friendships.
That was another very good learning experience: the connectivity factor is important, but it’s not fundamental.. If you can connect with somebody it doesn’t mean that, inherently, you will be able to create and sustain a meaningful relationship.
You need to do much more than just the connectivity factor.
So, after many ups and downs, after a couple of tango crushes and a lot of interesting connections, I finally understand what it takes to have a meaningful relationship. It’s simple and complicated at the same time, but it’s true.
And it goes like this: if you want a certain type of woman in your life, then you have to become the type of man she wants. There’s no other way. If your woman loves to dance, then you have to learn dancing. If your woman loves to talk, then you have to learn how to listen. If your ideal woman loves shopping, than you have to cope with this. Somehow.
That’s the short version of how to have a meaningful relationship, but, in a nutshell, that’s what it’s all about.
It may take years to become that man. It may take years to integrate those skills and attitudes and qualities into your life, but that’s the only way you can have a meaningful relationship. Even if you have the connectivity factor in place, if you don’t have the rest of it behind it, the relationship won’t survive. It may remain at the friendship level, it may remain a nice memory, but it won’t last and it won’t deeply fulfill any of you.
The Hunter Paradox and Gravitational Fields
When you’re going “after” a person, when you’re chasing her, you’re spending your energy outwards: you try to grab something that’s outside you. You’re creating an attractive illusion of yourself for that person, so she will fall for you as fast as possible. Basically, you manipulate.
When you’re interested in a meaningful relationship, you’re spending your energy inwards: you try to create the qualities that the type of person you want, will actually need and look out for in her life. You work with you, while focusing on what you are attracting and, if you don’t like what you attract, you change yourself.
When you’re picking up chicks, the interaction ends after the first night: that’s what you wanted, that was the goal (more or less). From that moment on, the interaction is over, just like the animal you’re hunting is dead once you catch it. So you go out and find another object to chase, another woman to bring into your bed.
When you’re trying to create a meaningful relationship, the interaction starts the moment you two decide you want a relationship and gradually grows. It never stops. It may change its form or structure, as the two persons creating the relationship are also changing, but it can only grow.
In a way, creating meaningful relationships is a lot like creating a gravitational field. It’s like you’re a planet and keep adjusting your mass and rotational speed, so you’re attracting the kind of satellite you want. If you like the satellite, you keep on moving and adjusting, and eventually, the satellite will come closer and closer to you until you are blending into one single planet.
Of course, it’s never easy. Even if you understand this and even if you start creating your “planet”, shit may still hit you.
For instance, a comet may come in your way, or an asteroid, or some mysterious magnetic field will affect your speed and rotation, but as long as you know what you want, and what type of “satellite” you’re attracting, you will never lose her. As a satellite, she may be seriously shaken by that asteroid, but if your planet has enough mass, she will come back to you. And no matter how hard the future asteroids will hit, she will come back over and over again.
Because meaningful relationships are not part of the hunting game, they’re part of the gravitation game.
And, as long as both of you are aware of the other one, orbiting around each other just like the Earth and Moon, well, that’s a game that never ends.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.