BECOME THE MAN WOMEN WANT
31st of October 2014

Jake Seliger Interview

Introduction:

Our guest today is Jake Seliger, novelist and writer. Jake has gone from being very unsuccessful with women to very successful, and has lots of actionable advice. In this episode, Tucker and Jake discuss where to find women, how to ask them out, how to know when a girl likes you, and what you can do to make yourself more attractive to women.

Podcast:


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Video:

[coming soon]

SPONSOR: This episode is sponsored by Bookhacker. They do the reading, so you don’t have to. Check them out on Amazon or Bookhacker.net.

If you want to sponsor the Mating Grounds Podcast, email [email protected].

Key takeaways:

  • Talk to people. It can be basic, just “Hey, how is it going”, or commenting on the weather. It doesn’t have to be substantial, anything is better than nothing.
  • Do stuff. Instead of playing video games or wasting time, join a sports team, dance class, improv, volunteer, get a job, go outside. You can meet girls anywhere you go, but you can’t meet them if you’re staying at home playing video games.
  • Choose the right mating market. Where you live and where you go to school matters. Pick a place where there is a good amount of girls.
  • If you have a choice to talk to a girl or not talk, talk. If when you’re talking you have a choice to touch her on the arm or shoulder, touch her on the arm or shoulder. When you are parting, if you have a choice to ask for her phone number or not, try for her phone number. Pick action over inaction.
  • Rejection is better than not trying. Realize that the repercussions for rejection are relatively low to nonexistant. The real pain is the stuff you didn’t try, not the stuff you tried and failed at. Also, realize that rejection is not a rejection of you as a person.
  • If it seems like a girl is always around you, or if a girl is smiling a lot and has touched you, she wants you to make a move on her. It doesn’t mean she wants sex right away, but she wants something physical, some sort of romantic engagement from you.
  • If some girl says no to you or you literally cannot make a move for whatever cowardly reason, just go find a new girl. Don’t focus on an individual girl who isn’t interested in you.
  • Don’t make asking a girl out a big deal. Just ask the girl, and if she’s into it that’s great, and if she’s not, it doesn’t matter.
  • Don’t assume that women are out of your league.
  • Don’t talk to people about girls that you are sleeping with.
  • Realize that other people are just as lonely and uncertain as you are.

Links from this episode

Jake Seliger’s Bio:

  • Jake graduated from Clark University with a degree in English Lit and creative writing, and got his PhD from The University of Arizona
  • Jake is a novelist and writer
  • Jake wrote Asking Anna and regularly writes at his blog The Story’s Story

Jake Seliger’s Major Works:

Asking Anna

  • Dust-jacket description: Maybe marriage would be like a tumor: something that grows on you with time. At least that’s what Steven Deutsch thinks as he fingers the ring in his pocket, trying to decide whether he should ask Anna Sherman to marry him. Steven is almost thirty, going on twenty, and the future still feels like something that happens to other people. Still, he knows Anna won’t simply agree to be his long-term girlfriend forever. When Steven flies to Seattle for what should be a routine medical follow up, he brings Anna and hits on a plan: he’ll introduce her to his friends from home and poll them about whether, based on their immediate judgment, he should ask Anna. But the plan goes awry when old lovers resurface, along with the cancer Steven thought he’d beaten, and the simple scheme he hoped would solve his problem does everything but.

    Asking Anna is a comedy, in the tradition of Alain de Botton’s On Love and Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, about how the baggage you bring on a trip isn’t just the kind packed in a suitcase.

Further reading on Jake Seliger:

Podcast Audio Transcription:

Tucker:
So, I want to start here Jake. So, I’ve known you for a lot of years. You’re a really smart dude, very analytical, very intelligent, you understand a lot different things and I’ve been reading your blog for years but the reason I asked you to come on is one is because I think you started in a place similar to a lot of our listeners.
Jake:
Oh, yeah. Bad
Exactly, like the iconic archetype of the socially isolated fumbling sort of bookish nerd
Jake:
Oh, yeah.
Tucker:
Right. That was you in high school definitely, right? And then I know you now…
Jake:
I think like in middle school, and the beginning of high school, and by the end, I got out of that or somewhat.
Tucker:
Right. We’re going to talk about how you got out of it but I want to make sure our listeners understand. I know you now and I know you were very successful at least definitely for you with women and then you are now married to a woman who is really hot and a doctor. She’s as much of a catch as you could want for a woman. It’s funny, what makes me laugh about her is I can totally see how you two get along because I wouldn’t call her a nerd but she’s very intellectual, and very intelligent, and very analytical.
Jake:
Oh, she is.
Tucker:
Right. Exactly.
Jake:
Yeah, you’re right.
Tucker:
But at the same time, I could never see her being with a really nerdy submissive guy. You know what I’m saying?
Jake:
Yeah. Not at all.
Tucker:
So, it’s like your pairing is almost like the perfect example of how a guy can go from the archetype of the 98-pound weakling to finding a beautiful amazing woman but not some ridiculous supermodel – an actual woman who is actually attractive and actually intelligent but exists in real life – into someone that a guy like you not only should reach for but would be really happy when you get.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
So, let’s start when it was the worst. So what were you like in middle school or whatever?
Jake:
All right. So the worst in middle school is a little bit harder for me to describe because it’s hard for me now to sort of debug the mind of myself when I was 13. Let me put it this way; I was talking to my dad the other day. He said I was a really weird kid and he was correct about that. So if your dad says like, “You were really weird as a kid.” And when your parent says like, “You’re a weird kid,” they really mean it.
A lot of what happened to me happens to a lot of people. Part of it was personal. So when I was 10, my family moved from Northern California to a Seattle suburb called Bellevue. And for whatever reason like normal kids who moved maybe felt happy, in my case that really pissed me off and I was incredibly unhappy about it and I decided the way that I was going to respond to that was by making myself miserable and ideally making my family miserable by extension.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Which in retrospect, of course, is stupid because it’s more like you have the situation, it’s not optimal, or you don’t like just make the best of it because it’s not going to change.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So, I was kind of a pill for ages 10 to maybe 14 or so which is a really long time.
Tucker:
Hold on. The one thing, why were you so pissed off did you have like a cool set of friends or what was the problem?
Jake:
Yeah. As cool as you can be 10. I had a cool set of friends and I was comfortable in that situation. I also didn’t realize at the time that I was a strong introvert.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And being an introvert is different from being shy; being an introvert just means that you like need time to recharge and stuff like that. I was actually shyer then obviously I am not shy now. So I moved, I was really unhappy about it. I liked my friends; I was comfortable in the situation. And then I moved, I really become a pill and to try to socially isolate myself.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
If you want to socially isolate yourself, it’s really easy to do. Making friends is so much harder than sitting home alone doing nothing.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So, I got into fantasy novels at some point like really bad fantasy novels like Dragonlance is one. There’s one called like the Wheel of Time.
Tucker:
Yeah, Richard Jordan or something like that.
Jake:
Yeah, something like that. Oh man, one, they are bad on their own they are badly written which I didn’t realize at the time. And two, a lot of their gender politics are also really bad.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Most of the women in them don’t map under real women at all. So they’re either just like hanging out or waiting to be rescued.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Anyway they have no agency, they have no sexuality, etcetera, etcetera.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Yeah. The virgin-whore dichotomy. So I was into fantasy novels which no one else was, so I didn’t talk about them to anyone. And I got into magic cards in middle school at some point.
Tucker:
Right. Magic the gathering, shit like that, right?
Jake:
Yeah. Also not a high-status activity
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Now I realized if you want to play magic cards and might be cool otherwise, you can do that but that was definitely not me in middle school.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So, I played magic which was isolating, sort of the nerd set. I also got in to computer games in a big way which was a huge problem for me.
Tucker:
Which games, what were your favorites?
Jake:
I’m dating myself, but War Craft II was a big one, Star Craft. There is another guy who used to play text based role playing games. I played some of those.
Yeah, Star Craft was the biggest one. So I had a friend and we were actually, this is almost like reverse status where high status in one activity makes us low status otherwise, but we were so good that we had logged on the Korean servers to play StarCraft because the Americans servers weren’t good enough for us.
Tucker:
That’s amazing.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
That’s hard core nerd shit right there.
Jake:
Yeah.
Tucker:
The Americans weren’t good enough to play video games with us so we had to compete against Koreans.
Jake:
In Korea it’s like a national sport.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And they would have all this like racist stuff against white guys, although my friend was Asian. Anyway, it’s really hard core and then some time I think in ninth or tenth grade my parents got me a weight lifting bench like a little at home one. I started doing martial arts, I can’t remember which now. It’s one with a lot of throwing… Aikido, there we go.
So, I started getting more in to that and less into video games which was a good thing.
Tucker:
And how old are you, 14 at the time?
Jake:
Yeah, 14 or 15 maybe something like that.
Tucker:
All right. So, fresh when you are high school about?
Jake:
Right. That sort of area. I started paying a little bit more attention to school which good because I’ve failed some classes school in middle and early high school which is stupid.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
High school if you just treat it like a day job, Paul Graham has an essay called Why Nerds are Unpopular?; where he says that essentially the optimal thing to treat high school as is a day job where you should do it and do it well because rebelling can be stupid, as stupid as really buying into it.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Anyway, that hurt me. And I started getting out of that slump, I started meeting more other people and doing stuff and I started– this sounds really basic like talking to people, talking to people more.
Tucker:
Good. What did you do to start talking to more people aside from talking to them were there activities that you did or what?
Jake:
Mostly just basic talking like, “Hey, how is it going?” “My friends are going to see a movie this weekend do you want to come?” “Yeah, let’s go see a movie.”
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Like it was basic dumb stuff, maybe it’s not dumb but it was dumb to me at the time.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So, anyway, I still played a lot of video games but I was trending outside of that. When I was a sophomore, I started running cross country which was a big, big improvement for me.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Like, the kids who were into good team sport – like you played sports through your high school, right?
Tucker:
Of course. Yeah.
Jake:
Yeah. So, the kids who were good at team sports and stuff like that were a thousand times better than me so I wasn’t going to go make the basketball team or something like that.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And I think the one lesson there – this is for listeners – think about wherever you are now and what’s a small step that’s forward. So, for me a small step when I was a freshman was running cross country because no one got cut no matter how bad you were and I was bad..
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And anytime you start something, you’re going to be bad at first.
Tucker:
That’s amazing when you’re bad at running.
Jake:
Right. Oh, yeah. I should say I was slow relative to kids who ran.
Tucker:
Right. Of course.
Jake:
So that’ll be more accurate.
Tucker:
But it is funnier to say, “I was bad at running.”
Jake:
Right. Oh, yeah. Yeah, so I was bad at running but I did it.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And that was an improvement. And it paid off later on which I’ll talk a little more about. But to go back to the video game friends, I was still playing a lot of video games when I was a freshman. And at some point, I also started seeing girls a little bit, around I think between eight and ninth grade.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Just a little bit of messing around and talking to them and stuff like that. And I remember also my family took this trip to a beach in Mexico when I was a freshman, and I met this girl or more like this girl met me who’s actually very attractive.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And we like hooked up and it was amazing and I think partially because I way outside of my school zone.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
And we were there with our families and I think I benefited from being the only guy in the plausible age range there.
Tucker:
Yeah, right. Exactly.
Jake:
Although in retrospect, she probably could have gotten older. I don’t know actually really was going on with her mind other than the fact of I just sort of stumbled into it by showing up.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So, suddenly I’m gone from imagining girls based on fantasy novels and girls who I met on school and stuff like that to actually having sexual experience with one.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
I was like, “Holy crap!” And actually I think my parents knew a little bit about that too because on the last night we were there, I went out with her at night and they were, “Don’t go on the beach,’” So of course what would you do?
Tucker:
Go on the beach obviously.
Jake:
Right. I went on the beach. So I went on the beach, I came back after curfew or whatever and I think my parents and this goes back to the more recent weird comment were like, “Oh, this is an improvement.”
Tucker:
Yeah, right.
Jake:
And I was like, “Okay, I’m back”. And apparently I turned around and they didn’t tell me this until years later, but my back was covered with sand. So I thought I was being like really slick and stuff that like that, complete idiot. Anyway that helped, some other stuff helped. I started playing tennis more with friends just like I think in the summer just like at the Rec club. Simple stuff like that. And then when I was sophomore and my friend who I logged on and played Battlenet with, he got to be better than me.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Because he was still playing four or five hours a day and I was playing not four or five hours a day.
Tucker:
So, you went from four to two to one?
Jake:
Yeah. To sometimes not playing at all which was a big improvement.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
But when I realized he was better than me, my competitive instinct got going and I was like, there’s this part of me, right? I was like, “I want to be better than him at StarCraft, so we can play one-on-one successfully.”
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
But then there’s this other part of me that’s like “what’s the point?”
Tucker:
Yeah. StarCraft doesn’t get you laid, doesn’t get you friends, isn’t outside…
Jake:
Doesn’t get you paid.
Tucker:
It doesn’t make money.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
It’s just a thing to do to pass the time.
Jake:
Right. And all it does is build your skills at StarCraft. It doesn’t build any other skills. And so, even at 15 or there about, I was like, “Wait a minute, I want to be better than this guy at StarCraft but why?” And I realized that there was no good answer to that question. So I actually had to have this kind of cathartic experience where some of my StarCraft playing friends were over. And when I realized that I didn’t want to play any – I had gone through these phases almost like an alcoholic. I am like, “I am quitting StarCraft” t and then reinstalling it to just play one more time or whatever. This is when games were still delivered on CDs. It’s a long time ago for some of you listening. But it was convenient for me because then I could have this physical manifestation, right? So I actually took these CDs that my friend had kicked the crap out of me and maybe some other guys. I was like, “I’m not going to play this anymore.” So I went to my family’s driveway and I smashed the CDs in front of my friends. I know this sounds ridiculous certainly.
Tucker:
No, it sounds normal. It does. For a 15-year-old it sounds super normal.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
Like it’s the shit that we all laugh at but all of us have stories like this with, maybe not with StarCraft but similar shit.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
Yeah. So I smashed the CDs and I was like, “This is not going to be the person I am anymore.” And after that, I don’t think I ever played StarCraft again.
Tucker:
Wow.
Jake:
Maybe like once or twice when hanging around or something like that.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
So that was helpful because if you’re not playing video games for four hours a day, how do you fill your time?
Tucker:
Yup.
Jake:
And you have to go find something else to do.
Tucker:
So what did you do?
Jake:
Cross country was one thing that I did. I think I was still reading a lot. I was a reader which was actually not helpful because of what I was reading in middle and early high school but became more helpful as time went on because I started to connect what I was reading to what I was living. Also, reading and writing are intimately linked. I can’t remember if I mentioned this earlier or not on the podcast but I’m a professional writer, so reading skills– reading stuff even in high school starts to build on itself so you can get better at reading. Good writers are never bad readers; it just doesn’t happen.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Which is the point I tell some of my students who say things like, “I want to be a writer,” and then they say, “I don’t like to read.” And I say, “That makes no sense.”
Tucker:
Right. You can be a good speaker without being a good reader.
Jake:
Yeah, that’s right.
Tucker:
But you absolutely cannot be a good writer. Totally correct.
Jake:
Right, yes. And you could be good at other things and have wonderful fulfilling life–.
Tucker:
You can be a great communicator.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
There’s any number of thing just not writing as a specific skill.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
Correct. So, yeah. I wrote a blog post about this. I had a student who wanted me to read his 40-page of StarCraft fan fiction and he had mentioned earlier in the semester that he didn’t like to read. And I was like, “Why do you want to write fiction if you don’t like to read it?” And he didn’t have a good answer for that.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And then I told him to read a couple of books like James Wood’s book, How Fiction Works and one or two others, and I was like, “Go read these and then I’ll read your fanfiction.” And I saw his face like totally fall as I said that.
Tucker:
“You want me to do work? I want you to do work for me. I don’t want to do work for you.”
Jake:
Right. And it wasn’t only work, it’s like stuff that would actively build his skills.
Tucker:
Of course.
Jake:
And so, I read about this in an essay and it taught me that people who know stuff who have useful knowledge and skills, they don’t want to have their time wasted by morons so they will often set tasks — even relatively small tasks to prove, is this person a moron or is this person not a moron? And in your own lives like the listeners out there, if you find someone who is setting you some small tasks whose help you want just do the task because 90% of people don’t. And chances are the person is not even necessarily looking for how well you do it per se, they’re looking to see, “Are you a moron and are you wasting my time?”
Tucker:
Yes.
Jake:
So a shockingly large amount of human social life, or like intellectual life, or other life boils down to trying to prove that you’re not a moron and trying to test to see if other people are.
Tucker:
Yeah. Showing up and doing the work at least decently well.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
Anyway so that’s kind of a tangent about that student. So, yeah. So, anyway, what was I doing?
Tucker:
You cut video games out and we’re talking about which you did more, you say cross country, you read more.
Jake:
Yeah. Cross country, I read more, I worked more in my family’s business which is a definite net improvement. I just did basic stuff like hang out with friends more often. Again, really simple like making friends.
Tucker:
Hold on. Let’s actually talk about this.
Jake:
Sure.
Tucker:
So in high school, you went from not having any friends– middle school and high school, not having any friends mainly…
Jake:
Or very limited
Tucker:
Very few and they were based around StarCraft mainly because you decided to be that way like because of your move so…
Jake:
Or not consciously, I just did it by default.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
I wasn’t thinking, this is a default thing and I should do something else.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So, yeah.
Tucker:
So then once you started moving out of that, literally what things did you do? You always said cross country helps you meet people.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
A big part of it was actually just talking to people like maybe sitting next to you in class or something.
Jake:
Right. Saying “Hi, how are you?”
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So, “What are you up this weekend?”
Tucker:
Actively socially engaging which I know seems ridiculous to say but I told you earlier there’s a lot guys who can’t bridge that gap or don’t think about, “Oh, if I talk to someone I can engage them socially,” right?
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
All right. So are there other things that you did where it was, “Oh, wow! I did this activity,” or, “I did this change and have this huge increase?”
Jake:
Yeah. I did some martial arts. I did aikido for a while. I found another friend who likes to go to concerts, so I’d go to concert sometimes which is a huge status thing when you’re in high school because high school students so often relate to each other based on music.
Tucker:
Yes.
Jake:
And that was really reinforced for me a year or two ago because I was on this train I think between Boston and New York. A whole gang of high school students came on and a couple of guys sat near me and they started chatting with me or vice versa. And after a minute or two, one of them was like, “What kind of music do you listen to?” And I started laughing because I suddenly have this penny dropped moment where it was like when were in high school maybe early college, the standard question is, “What music do you listen to?” That’s your identity.
Tucker:
Yes.
Jake:
And then in college, the standard party question is, “What’s your major?”
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
And then when you’re after college, the standard question is…
Tucker:
What do you do?
Jake:
Exactly. “What do you do?” And so if you realized those questions are going to be asked of you, you should have smart answers to them, or at least not moronic answers.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So I went to concerts some time, not a lot. Concerts, what else? I started doing the high school newspaper when I was a junior I believe. That was a big improvement. That also took a lot of time but in a good way. And that was something that’s also building skills, building writing skills.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So that helped. Reading and socializing, it wasn’t structured activities exactly but it was just finding stuff to do like work and that kind of thing. After my sophomore year I think, I worked at Old Navy for a little while, a very little while.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
That’s where my grades improved too. Like those things happen together because I worked at Old Navy and suddenly I was like, “Wait a minute, people who don’t do well in high school and college might end up at Old Navy for the rest of their lives.” And I don’t want to denigrate people working at Old Navy necessarily, but this is also in the 90s during the boom time economy, so I think people worked at Old Navy were either high school students or fucked up.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
Yeah.
Tucker:
Because in the mid-90s in Seattle, if you had a brain, you were at Amazon or Microsoft, or any number of other places like that.
Jake:
Right. So I remember I think I read about this recently but there was this guy who was like 20 or 21, we were folding jeans and he was telling me I think he meant this literally and he wasn’t fucking with me, about how he have gone to the spirit realm
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And how he heard and controlled people from the spirit realm.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And I was sitting there folding jeans while seeing this guy who seemed to be serious about like communing with demons and he had like a bright crazy look in his eyes sort of crazy eyes.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
I was like, “I don’t want to be here.”
Tucker:
Well, my question would have been if you can control people why did you work at Old Navy dude?
Jake:
Sometimes you meet crazy people and you don’t want to antagonize– you want to be somewhere else, you don’t want to antagonize them.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
I was like, “I don’t want to antagonize this guy.” Whatever his beliefs are.
Tucker:
See, that’s the difference between you and me, I like to antagonize. They’re fun. My favorite other people who are super convinced “All right, if I blow myself up in this market in Israel I’m going to go to heaven with 72 virgins,” and they’re convinced they understand everything about the world. And I’m like, “Motherfucker, you don’t have air conditioning,” “You don’t have hot water.”
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
“You don’t know shit,” that sort of thing. I have this argument with religious people all the time; not really an argument, I just fuck with them like that like, “Oh, that’s funny. God’s helped you so why do work at a gas station?” “Why can’t you pay your bills if this system of instruction is really that great?” And of course, they just get angry because there’s no answer to that.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
All right. So keep going. Did Old Navy help you meet people like job or what?
Jake:
A little bit. I don’t know if this was luck or being in the right place at the right time, I met a couple of really sexually aggressive girls in high school.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
One, between my freshman and sophomore year. My chief interaction with her was sneaking out of our houses which I think I did get caught at eventually.
Tucker:
Well, how did you meet her?
Jake:
I met her at a pool, the same pool where I played tennis.
Tucker:
Okay.
Jake:
So, she was there with her friends and I think they actually started talking to me because I was still in the phase were I was too scared to talk to people.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And that’s another one of those examples where like either really basic stuff like showing up is an improvement. In retrospect I don’t know what was going on with her because she was pretty sexually aggressive, pretty early and not in an exploratory fun way but in the way that makes me wonder.
Tucker:
Yeah. Someone was touching her in an appropriate way; she didn’t have good body boundaries.
Jake:
Yeah. Right. Which is kind of awesome on one hand. The other hand, I can sense that something was…
Tucker:
A little bit off?
Jake:
Right. I didn’t know how at the time.
Tucker:
That’s one of those sad things I didn’t really realize. I think most of the girls that I hooked up with in high school were definitely girls that have the same some sort of issue going on. And of course, at the time what do you understand when you’re 15 or 17. You don’t understand shit except this girl wants to touch your penis which is the greatest thing of all time.
Jake:
Of all time!
Tucker:
Right. Now I get them like, “Oh, man. I didn’t really realize,” but there’s no way for you to know.
Jake:
I think there are some normal girls who want to be sexually active from a pretty young age and I think they are out there; she just wasn’t one of them.
Tucker:
Right. And normal ones don’t tend to be very sexually aggressive. I know exactly the type of girl you were talking about.
Jake:
Yeah.
Tucker:
Yeah, it’s very different.
Jake:
The one I met in Mexico, maybe this is not true, but she seemed fairly normal and well-adjusted to me.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Even though, we hooked up and so forth.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
Yeah, but this girl wasn’t as much. And that was between my freshman and sophomore year, I think that showing up helped. I think it helped that I was tall.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
I got tall fairly early which obviously if you’re listening to this you can’t be like, “You can’t control your height,” but there are other things you can control. You should control those things.
Tucker:
Yeah. And we have a whole podcast about what do you do if you’re short.
Jake:
Right. Exactly. Yeah. So definitely listen to that podcast. So that helped. So when I was at Old Navy there was another pretty sexually aggressive girl who I was interested in but was also kind scared of what my coworkers would think which in retrospect–
Tucker:
Did she work there?
Jake:
Yeah. She worked there.
Tucker:
Okay. Yeah.
Jake:
And she would flirt with me and say things over the headsets and what not. And she would say shit over the headsets at me. So, yeah. But she was in some ways I think a little too advanced for me and when we kind of got together, she had infinite times the experience that I had had.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And I think she was pretty disappointed.
Tucker:
Yes.
Jake:
She was I think expecting something that me at 15 or 16 could not deliver.
Tucker:
Right. What 15-year-old could, of course?
Jake:
I think there are some who do get started sexually pretty early and learn what they’re doing.
Tucker:
Yeah. To hell with those guys. Those guys are like–
Jake:
Right. I wasn’t one of them.
Tucker:
Neither was I dude. We both had to learn it just in different ways.
Jake:
Yeah.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
All right. It was nice of her that she was there but I think again if I could make a list of all the disappointed women or all of the women that I have disappointed, it would be dozens.
Tucker:
Me too.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
Oh, I know. That would be funny.
Jake:
Well, the funny thing too is that for whatever reason, I’ve run into I think three of them with, Bess, my fiancée, I was talking about earlier.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
One of them was a couple of years ago. We’re walking on the Santa Monica promenade, and for whatever reason, this girl who I knew from when I was a freshman in college was there. And I saw her and I said hi to her and what not and I started to talk to her. She was with her mom and I was there with Bess. We started chatting for a few minutes and then when we walked away I started laughing and Bess was like, “What’s going on?” And I was like, “That girl when I was in college, she was the hottest thing in the world to me.”
And I was too scared to make a move and she showed up at my dorm room late one night. Looking to get hooked up obviously. She comes in and I was like 18 and was insanely excited that you might be able to see where this is going.
Tucker:
Yes.
Jake:
I was too excited.
Tucker:
Yes. PE baby, yeah.
Jake:
I don’t think our pants had come off and I was like, “Oh, shit!” And mentally I was like, “Don’t do that.” Totally it was too late. So I have American Pie style though. I didn’t know how to handle it at the time, right? So, I was sitting there with the hottest girl imaginable. And of course when I was like just a year or two older than that I would know I just go down on her and like laugh it off and apologize.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
“I have a problem that’s embarrassing, let me do something else.”
Tucker:
Right. At 18, you should be able to reload pretty quick, five or 10 minutes.
Jake:
I wasn’t quick enough.
Tucker:
Oh, okay.
Jake:
I was terrified, ashamed, and embarrassed and those kind of things.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
Later, I came to realize that a lot of sex is actually comedy.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
Just in different forms which those of you listening if you read Tucker’s books should be..
Tucker:
So hold on, let’s talk about this is a really good instructive moment.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
So how did you meet her? You can’t just tell us the story, “She showed up at my dorm room doors.”
Jake:
When we were at school together, we lived in the same dorm so we hung out some, I should have made a move the day I met her but I didn’t because I was stupid
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And I was also intimidated by her.
Tucker:
So what do you mean you should have made — like what signals did she give you that now you can say, “I should have made a move but I didn’t?”
Jake:
Even just hanging out with me and my friends and smiling and I don’t know, she was a little bit touchy feely. And also, what do most college freshmen who are 18 that have just moved in the dorms want to do?
Tucker:
Have sex.
Jake:
Right. And I don’t think she was having sex with anyone else.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Even if she said no that would have been an improvement over what I did.
Tucker:
Right. So, hold on. Let’s go to what she did, so she would look at you a lot and smile.
Jake:
Yeah. She just looked and smile. She like hanging around with me and my friends a lot.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
We were alone a fair amount.
Tucker:
She went out of her way to be around you.
Jake:
Right. And vice versa.
Tucker:
She looked at you a lot and smile. She would actively touch you like she would initiate physical contact with you.
Jake:
Yeah, sure.
Tucker:
Right. So these are three things that women do not do on accident.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
Like especially a pattern, it’s like if you think in your head as a young guy, “Man, this girl is always around me,’” right? “And she smiles a lot and she’s touched me. She has initiated physical contact with me,” she wants you to make a move on her. It doesn’t necessarily mean she wants to have sex right away but she wants something physical some sort of romantic engagement from you.
Jake:
Right. Oh, yeah.
Tucker:
So, she did that over and over and you just ignored it over and over.
Jake:
One, I was an idiot. Two, I was intimidated. Three, I spent a lot of my life up to maybe like 20, 21 ish being really afraid of rejection which now I realized is stupid because rejection is an improvement on not doing anything. And it also generally doesn’t matter.
Tucker:
Explain that to young guys because they don’t understand that.
Jake:
Okay. So if you get rejected, one it’s a much bigger deal to you than whoever the girl – chances are the girl will forget about it 10 minutes later or she might be flattered because some guy made a move and she said no but it’s still kind of nice.
Tucker:
Right. If she has a boyfriend, she feels good because other guys are still hitting on her.
Jake:
Right. Actually when girls hit on me anytime and I said no, it’s been great. I’m like, “Oh, what an ego boost, chicks dig me. I am so great”., So, yeah. So…
Tucker:
She doesn’t matter. What other reasons should you not worry about this rejection?
Jake:
One, she doesn’t matter. Two, it doesn’t mean anything. Three, the real pain is the stuff that you didn’t try; not the stuff you tried and failed at because at least you know that you failed at it. Four, it’s often a way of kind of like washing that crush or washing that feeling out of your system and knowing that it’s gone. The minute you know it’s gone too. I spent a lot of time being a beta orbiter in high school that was bad. But the minute you…
Tucker:
Wait, a what?
Jake:
A guy who hangs around with attractive women or the woman he is attracted to, but either never makes a move or she rejects him and the guy hangs around hoping that she’ll…
Tucker:
Change her mind.
Jake:
Right. Bad move. If some girl says no to you or you literally cannot make a move for whatever cowardly reason, like my cowardly reasons, just go find a new girl. Don’t spend two years having an insane crush on someone that, A, you never talk to or B rejects you.
Tucker:
Let’s actually talk about this. So this is a really good thing to dive into because I think almost every guy goes through some version of this, right? So why do you think you lacked confidence or you looked at her and thought all the things you outlined. Why do you think you came from that position where it’s like you couldn’t even conceive of asking her out or making a move or whatever? You know what I’m saying?
Jake:
Right. One, I thought she was out of my league which definitely don’t assume that she’s out of your league, let her decide that if it’s true.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Often times, women I thought were out of my league weren’t. Two, I don’t think I understood from her perspective that she just wanted to go find a cool guy and get laid too.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
She was actually looking for something very similar to what I was looking for.
Tucker:
Right. Women can be sexual too.
Jake:
Right. Three, I think I was still scared of rejection and I think I was scared of social repercussions around rejection which was also stupid because if you actually ask out girls and they say no, other people will actually either not care or maybe they’ll make fun of you a little bit but who cares or they’ll respect you for being like, “Oh, that guy got the balls to ask that girl out,” like a year or two after that- I had a really nerdy friend who was on the volleyball club. And I of course saw the cutest girl in the volleyball club and I was like, “Hey,” whatever her name was I don’t know, Katie or Sarah. “Hey, you, do you want to go out and have lunch?” I don’t even remember her name, why would I?
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
I remember doing this though and I was like, “Hey, you want to go out or have lunch or have a drink?” Then she said no to the first thing. I was like, “Well, how about this other thing. Have a drink.” She’s like, “No,” and I was like “You’re not interested?” And she’s like, “No.” I was like, “Oh, okay.”
And my like nerd friend who was behind me, his eyes were like, “Oh, my God!” And we got out of there. And he was like, “How did you do that?” And I was like, “What? Ask that girl out?” He’s like, “Yeah.” And I was like, “Oh, I just did it.” He’s like, “But she said no.” And I was like, “Yeah.” And he’s like, “Now what?” And I was like, “Nothing.”
Tucker:
So how old were you when that happened?
Jake:
Oh, I must have been 20; 19, 20, 21. .
Tucker:
Right, 20 but at 18 you would never have done that?
Jake:
Right. I wasn’t there.
Tucker:
What changed?
Jake:
One, I just had more experience. I actually hooked up with a fairly large number of girls when I was a freshman including some for ‘longish’ terms so I was much used to being around girls.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
I also just made an intellectual flip where I was like, “Being rejected does not matter.”
Tucker:
How did you make that flip?
Jake:
I don’t think there’s a specific thing but I think a lot of it was just processing because I’m a fairly intellectual, analytical person and I had realized that if you realized that you’re doing something wrong, stop doing that and do something else. And I had realized that when I’ve been rejected in the past, that actually didn’t matter all that much.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So I was like, “Oh, it didn’t matter in the past probably won’t matter in the future” And it doesn’t.
Tucker:
All right. That’s all you did? You just realized, ‘The rejections I’ve had in the past weren’t as painful as I thought they were going to be or didn’t matter as much as I thought’
Jake:
Yeah, they weren’t painful at all, in some ways they were good. They were a release because I realized that I can go find someone else and not worry about this person who said no.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And they had no consequences or very minor consequences. And if she says, “Yes” that’s great. And if she says, “No,” who cares?
Tucker:
So did rejection never have consequences at any point to where you thought, “Okay,” like something happened you got rejected and there were consequences and that made you afraid to do it before or was it just…?
Jake:
Not really. It’s just lack of confidence. It also took me surprisingly long time to realize that girls really wanted sex too.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
They just weren’t expressing it the same way that guys did. I read some of the podcast and a lot of it is about what will their friends say and stuff like that, which later on when I did some online dating after I graduated from college and then moved back to Seattle, that really played into that a lot which I can talk about later. So that was a lot of it just they want you too just not quite in the same way and they don’t want their bitchy friends to know. So…
Tucker:
All right. Physical safety, personal safety for them, and social safety are hugely paramount to women, and if you can get over those two hurdles and she’s at all attracted to you, there was going to be fun coming after that.
Jake:
Right. Exactly. So there actually no good reason like there’s no concrete reason I was scared, I just was, and eventually, I got over that.
Tucker:
Honestly, Jake, I think the default setting for guys is to be afraid of rejection. I don’t think you’re abnormal because I know I went through this. I think every guy goes through this. Rejection is always that barrier. In fact, I think it’s very, very natural to be very afraid of rejection and I think you nail the reason is you were afraid of the social consequences of rejection.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
But then once you realized there were no social consequences…
Jake:
Or they were so minor that there might as well be done.
Tucker:
Right. Exactly.
Jake:
And sometimes they were positive because guys will respect you for doing stuff that’s hard in doing.
Tucker:
Right. Exactly.
Jake:
You’ll be respected more for doing hard stuff like you’re being probably more respected for trying out and this goes back like high school stuff or you tried out with the basketball team and you fail that is probably better than not trying out. So…
Tucker:
Most people don’t see it that way but I know exactly, yeah.
Jake:
Sure.
Tucker:
Right. I know exactly what you mean.
Jake:
Yeah.
Tucker:
Hold on.
Jake:
Sure.
Tucker:
I want to really dig in to this because this is a super important thing that a lot of dudes deal with, I think one of the things you did right though is you never made the “asking out” a big deal.
Jake:
I did when I was younger when I was barely doing it.
Tucker:
Right. So you would do it very seldom and then you would get rejected and you would brood on that rejection over, and over, and over.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
Right. Whereas the way you got over it is you realized, “I’m not going to make it a big deal, I’m just going to ask the girl and if she’s into it that’s great. And if she’s not, no big deal but I’ll find a girl who is into me.”
Jake:
Exactly. Right.
Tucker:
Right. So I think that’s one of the big keys is understanding that if you turn an event into a big deal and then you fail, then you’re going to feel way worse about it.
Jake:
Right. Oh, yeah.
Tucker:
Another way is did you ever reframe this as rejection/non rejection? What I tell guys is to not think of it as rejection or acceptance because think about that for a second. A lot of guys will map rejection of a date onto a rejection of me as a person, right?
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
And whatever issues they have with their parents or whatever will come up or anyway if they have a very fragile ego or identity, it’s like they can’t deal with being rejected because they see it as a rejection of who their identity, who they are as a person. What I always tell guys is don’t look at approaching women, don’t even think of it. Think of it as like, “I’m going to go out and have fun and I’m going to try and find women who want to have fun with me. And if they do, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s no big deal.” Because then your identity is not on the line.
Jake:
This also goes back to another Paul Graham essay that he wrote called, ‘Two kinds of Judgment,’ and he drew this distinction. So, one kind of judgment, the goal is to judge someone accurately. Your teachers in school are probably trying to judge you accurately in terms of like what is your academic ability, if you’re any good..
If you get caught up in a criminal case, the judge and the jury should be trying to judge you accurately. There’s this other kind of judgment where you’re just trying to do something reasonable. So he uses this example, let’s say you had a sport and you had a national team with 20 positions. The top positions would be obvious. The numbers like 19, 20, 21, if you misjudge that it doesn’t matter that much, the goal is just to do something reasonable.
And dating is much more like the latter in the sense that most of the women are not like looking at you and trying to judge you as a whole person. They’re making snap judgment trying to say it, “Do I want this guy right now in this very particular circumstance or do I not?” And she’s not trying to judge the wholeness of your character like what you’re saying, and a lot of it is around her, there could be hundreds or thousands of reasons why at that moment she doesn’t like you in particular or why she would like you next week or wouldn’t like the next guy next week and it didn’t matter because that’s not her purpose.
Tucker:
Exactly. So you figured out a way to understand that rejection not only didn’t matter but wasn’t about you.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
And so, after that you were free to basically ask out any girl that you thought was reasonable.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
Would you say your percentage of girls who– I know your “ask out” percentage had to have gone up, right?
Jake:
Oh, yeah.
Tucker:
Right. And then probably my guess is the percentage of girls who said yes actually probably went up after that too.
Jake:
Yeah. Although they were so few before, it was kind of an almost binary situation where there’s like so few before that that it’s hard to judge. But in college also I got very used to it.
It also helped that I spent most of college before age 21 and I usually had girls in my room and stuff like that. They’re like, “Do you want to hang out and have a drink,” or, “Hang out and watch a movie.” because like my standard—.
Tucker:
Right. That’s super easy because that’s a low-pressure situation. That doesn’t necessarily mean the girl is going to sleep with you, you’re just hanging out.
Jake:
I was going to try to find out.
Tucker:
Exactly, you’re going to try and it gives her a way to figure out to learn more about you without having to commit to something that she’s not ready to commit to.
Jake:
Right. It also wasn’t a super public thing, so that goes back to the social issue. I’ve done almost everything wrong, but some of the things that I have done right are not bragging to my friends, not gossiping about girls and being pretty discreet.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Of the thousands of things I’ve done wrong, those were a cluster of things I’ve done mostly right; mostly, not entirely for the most part.
Tucker:
I tell this guys all the time, “Shut the fuck up.”
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
The only person that benefits from you talking about girls you hook up with is your fragile ego if that’s what you have, right?
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
And if you don’t have a fragile identity and fragile ego, then what happens is she wants to hook up with you or is likely to want to hook up with you more because she knows that she’s not going to have suffer social repercussions.
Jake:
Oh, yeah.
Tucker:
And if she enjoys being with you, she will tell some friends; not always, but a lot a time, she will tell some friends and then those friends are going to want to hook up with you because they know you shut your fucking mouth because they had no idea she hooked up with you until she told them and then they look at you in a totally different way, “Oh, I was mildly attracted to this guy before but now I know that I can fuck him without repercussions. I am on.”
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
Do you find that happening a lot?
Jake:
Yes. Perhaps the best early on story about this was I started in college parties and stuff like that. I went to Clark University which is a liberal arts school. It doesn’t have that same kind of frat and sorority thing that a lot of big public schools have. I went to grad school at the University of Arizona and that’s like the default there.
And so, when I’m going to house parties I learned how to try to meet girls and stuff like that. And there was one girl I met when I was a sophomore who I was very enthusiastic about. I met her at a house party. And definitely her friends– I didn’t really talk with her friends about her and that seemed to make her friends more excited about it rather than less excited. Some of them would want to ask sexual things about her when she wasn’t around.
Even then I realized they were kind of fishing..
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
To see like, are you gonna — And I don’t know if they were going through it or they were not going through it.
Tucker:
Yeah. But they were looking to see what type of dude you were, of course.
Jake:
One of them outright proposed a three way. Unfortunately, she wasn’t very attractive but she proposed a three way.
Tucker:
That’s always the way it works dude. It’s always the ugly girl who wants a threesome.
Jake:
So I had to make up a reason why I didn’t like them. So I made up a reason why I don’t like them.
I remember too. I was still running cross country in college and I’d go into the gym. I only found out about starting strength, so I changed a lot of what I do in the gym really in the last couple of months. That’s a separate issue. She touched my stomach and I was fairly muscular and low body fat and then she’s like, “Oh, my God. Your stomach is so hard,” and her eyes lit up again. I was like, “Well, this could definitely happen.” Or I think the girl who I like would have gone for.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
I was looking at the girl and was like, “Hmm.” Eventually, I started becoming the rejecter; not all the time, minority of the time.
Tucker:
Let’s talk about that because that’s a dream that most guys have not to reject women but to be attractive enough to women where they have some selection power, right?
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
So how did that happen for you?
Jake:
One, I went to Clark and this goes back to gender ratio stuff.
Tucker:
Mating Markets, yeah.
Jake:
Yes. Clark has got to be at least 60% female and I think my year it was even higher, it was 65% female or something like that. So suddenly I was in the spot– I don’t know why more guys don’t think to themselves that liberal arts schools are a good place to go if they can afford them because most of them are majority of women.
Tucker:
Yup.
Jake:
Think about that.
Tucker:
We had a whole fucking episode about this.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
This is how you should choose where to live, where to go to school, all those sort of stuff is, “Who the fuck is around to mate with?”
Jake:
Right. Exactly. I have friends who graduated from college, and moved to the suburbs, and all they do all the time is go to their jobs, and go home, and watch TV; not a winning strategy.
Tucker:
How do you meet women?
Jake:
Right. After I graduated from college, I moved to Seattle. Being in the right atmosphere is one part. Clark also is a liberal arts school. It’s the kind of school where guys would wear shirts that say, “This is what feminist looks like.” It tells you a lot. So by the the standards of my fairly athletic high school and I was not a jock, like maybe lower or middle class social status.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So I went 3,000 miles away and I didn’t know anyone which means I got the kind of identity reset. And I ran cross country and most girls even hippy liberal girls liked guys who are on the athletic side stuff like that.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Two the gender ratio was good. Three, there were some guys who were complete tools like, ‘this is what a feminist looks like’ shirt guys. They thought I was like this huge jock because I ran cross country and I knew what a bench press was. So I’d like go to the gym and show ten other guys in my dorm how to do bench press, how to do chin ups and pull ups. Super simple stuff.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And I was like a jock, athletic gym mastermind which is, I’m still not.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Again, by comparison I was. People were like, “Oh, you can bench 135 five times.” My roommate who I liked a lot so I don’t want to slam him but he was 5’11 and weighed 140 pounds.
Tucker:
Wow.
Jake:
I was not like jacked or anything.
Tucker:
But the point is you made–
Jake:
By comparison..
Tucker:
Right. Well, it’s not just by comparison but you made an effort. You found something you like athletically and you committed enough to it. By no means were you setting records in cross country or whatever. Your times were probably pretty sad compared to people who were good.
Jake:
But it’s a–
Tucker:
That doesn’t matter. Right. That doesn’t matter at all. What matters is you did something athletic and that’s more than the vast majority of guys ever do.
Jake:
Right. Yeah.
Tucker:
All right. Cool.
Jake:
It goes back to if you’re at the margins right now and you’re like, “I’m going to play video games for four hours today.” If you decided to instead go for a 30-minute walk and do five pushups; that’s an improvement.
Tucker:
Huge improvement.
Jake:
You can do that every day it compounds.
Tucker:
Yes.
Jake:
So there’s this issue if you’re listening to this, you’re not going to go for where you are today to like, what’s a famous guy with lots of girls? Actors, like Channing Tatum.
If you’re sitting there looking down saying, “I’m 10 pounds overweight,” or underweight, or whatever and like, “I play video games all the time,” you’re not going to get up tomorrow and like, go do things spectacularly. But you want to be thinking like, “What is something I can do concrete today?”
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So if you have a guitar sitting around and you’re like, “Should I pick up my computer, or video game controller, or my guitar?” One of those is better than the other.
Tucker:
If you care about women, one is clearly better.
Jake:
Yeah.
Tucker:
Right. So if you’re playing four hours of video games, this is basically what you did, you went from four-hour video games to two then to none and you replace that time doing things that develop skills that you could use in your life specifically things that women cared about.
Jake:
And eventually things that I would sell too.
Tucker:
Right, exactly. You developed skills. You can develop a skill. It doesn’t have to only apply to one thing. Being in shape helps you– it helps you get a job. It helps you in everything you ever do, it helps you sells stuff, it helps you with women, it helps you with a million things being in shape versus not being in shape. All right, so what are some other things? Better ratio, you were around kind of doofus guys, you played sports what are some of the other things that you did that switched that for you?
Jake:
I did eventually learned to be more aggressive. Maybe if I were on the market right now, I wouldn’t have aggression problems but I was way, way, way under aggressive and I suspect that most guys actually trend towards under aggressions.
Tucker:
So what do you mean when you say that? Explain that.
Jake:
When you have a choice to talk to a girl and not talk, talk. When you’re talking if you have a choice to touch her on the arm or shoulder, touch her on the arm and shoulder. When you guys are parting if you have a choice for her phone number or no phone number, try for her phone number.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
If you have a phone number and you have a choice of calling her or chickening out, call her. But if you think about like, “Do I want to go on a date,” go on a date.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Basically, every level see how far you can go until you can’t go until you’re having sex with her assuming that’s your goal.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So when in doubt, always make that, err on the side of aggression.
Tucker:
Take action.
Jake:
Take action. Right.
Tucker:
All right. That’s funny dude. I would not call that aggressiveness. I would call that action.
Jake:
Right. Action.
Tucker:
That’s just take action. Aggressiveness is a very different thing. Aggressiveness is, “I’m going to go out and make my situation.” What you’re talking about is being in situations and just taking action. Your bias is action.
Jake:
Even then let’s say you’re sitting at home right now and you‘re listening to this podcast. And tonight you have the option or this weekend you have the option – I don’t know when this is going to go up – you have the option of either going to something, almost no matter how lame it is. Maybe if it’s a Starcraft convention, skip that. Almost anything else. You have the choice of going to it or not going, go, because nothing good is going to happen with you and your computer or your TV.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Good things don’t happen there.
Tucker:
No. Girls don’t come out of the TV unfortunately; not girls you’re going to have sex with.
Jake:
No. And that sounds like simple stuff but I wasn’t really doing it when I was in middle and high school and even in early college I had some shaky parts about that.
Tucker:
Is there something you did or some technique that you– or a thought process you went through where you were like, “All right, I’m going to bias towards action now?”
Jake:
Yeah.
Tucker:
So what was it?
Jake:
It wasn’t specific, that was it. It was just realizing good things are not going to happen to me sitting alone at home or my dorm room or wherever I was. So I started to think to myself, “Find other stuff to do almost anything.” I mentioned newspaper and cross country stuff in high school. I wrote for my college paper some…
Tucker:
How did that help you?
Jake:
Just going out and meeting people and talking to people, building your social network, building skills, getting used to talking to people but this was middle or high school getting used to talking to strangers, realizing too that other people are actually lonely and uncertain and other people actually all have the same problems that you have.
Tucker:
Yes. That’s a huge, huge thing. When did you realize that other people were just as lonely and scared and afraid as you are?
Jake:
Probably it took me until college.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
Some people I don’t think ever fully realized that.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
Some of it was also reading because I read a lot fiction and nonfiction and you start to realize that most people are having the same problems you do.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
I think most of us are biased towards thinking about how unique and special we are, which to our parents we are unique and special, and maybe to our families we are unique and special and maybe even to some teachers. But most of us are actually not that unique and not that special and we have their patterns of behaviors, and problems, and life stages that characteristic of a given society, or culture, or age. So the problems I was having from ages 12 or 13 to 16 are really typical; and lot of it was actually pretty typical. And realizing that made me realized to that a lot of people have these problems. A lot of girls are not very confident at all. Ninety percent of girls think they’re not cute enough or hot enough which is crazy. I think you’ve said on this podcast before and it is true that average guys attracted to the average women and not vice versa necessarily. So the average girl is still often pretty human, she’s like, “I’m fat,” or, “I have this. I don’t like it on myself,” “My boobs are too small.”
Tucker:
Well, she’s comparing herself to the hottest women in the world in magazines, and movies, and TV shows, literally the hottest woman in the world and she doesn’t measure up well to them because who does? They’re the hottest women in the world, right?
Jake:
And they are photo shopped.
Tucker:
And they’re totally photo shopped, and makeup, and they have all like… So it’s an impossible standard for them to live up to and as a result they’re very insecure. They are very afraid and sad, and lonely, and all these things.
Jake:
Oh, yeah. And also women if they’re not with the guy they like right now, they’re looking for a guy most of the time; not 100%, most of them.
Tucker:
They are. Even the ones who said they aren’t, are.
Jake:
Right. So they’re looking for somebody, something that is not dissimilar from what guys–the average woman I don’t think wants to have sex with five guys a week for years.
Tucker:
No.
Jake:
Maybe one week she might do that. On average, she’s looking for some kind of at least medium term thing with the guy she likes and the question is, ‘can you be that guy’ and if you can’t be that guy for one girl you might be able to for the next one.
Tucker:
Right. Exactly right. Right now, you can almost certainly be that guy for some girl.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
But if that girl is not the girl you want then the question becomes, “What do you do to become the guy that the girls you want, want?”
Jake:
Right. Exactly.
Tucker:
Right. And I think you’ve laid out a very clear plan, do things, right?
Jake:
First basic level. Choose to do stuff. Choose not to sit at home within reason.
Tucker:
Right. And doing stuff is physical, it is skill-based, it’s almost anything that other people care about. And other people care about what you look like and what you can do that matters. It’s like if you can play a guitar, a lot of girls like that. What are some things that are really…..
Jake:
Improv, salsa dancing, like those are some of the—
Tucker:
Those are activities. I’m talking about skills that a lot of guys think of that women don’t care about like, “Oh, I read a lot, women don’t care.”
Jake:
Some don’t, but a lot do.
Tucker:
A lot do. They may not be able to read with you but the fact that you do read should mean that you’re a little bit intelligent, you can talk intelligently about things, you have ideas, you know stuff, and a lot of women love having those conversations with guys.
Jake:
Yeah. You’re not a dumbass. That counts for a lot of women.
Tucker:
Exactly. Okay. So from about 16 to 20, that’s where you really went from…..
Jake:
Coming out of the shell.
Tucker:
All right. You came out of your shell and you did it by biasing towards action, by doing physical things, by learning certain skills and then you understood, “Okay, I don’t need to be afraid of rejection and here is why because rejection generally doesn’t have the negative consequences that I thought it did and by not making asking a girl out or something a big deal then that reduces whatever small consequences there are,” right?
Jake:
Some girls would actually be offended. I had girls years later say, “Why didn’t you ask me out?”
Tucker:
They get pissed off with you.
Jake:
I don’t know.
Tucker:
Exactly.
Jake:
I was scared.
Tucker:
Yeah. Right.
Jake:
They are offended.
Tucker:
They are. Right.
Jake:
“Why you didn’t ask me out loser?”
Tucker:
Right. And then also picking college, you did something really smart. You went to a school where no one knew you so you could reset your– you didn’t have to be the 14-year-old that, everyone immediately forms their opinion from the earliest things they know about you. As an 18-year-old, you’re totally different to a 14-year-old but no one in high school resets like that. So you went to a different place where no one knew you, so you could reset your current identity.
Jake:
I can say I wasn’t consciously doing it. I almost wanted to go to the University of Washington. It was the alternate school where everyone in my high school went.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
And I think there still would have been some reset effects and stuff like that.
Tucker:
Of course.
Jake:
Right. But it happened and it worked.
Tucker:
And it worked. Right. And it was overwhelmingly female. A lot of the other dudes there were really bad with women. So you went from an athletic social high school where you were below average to a place where you were above average in a bunch of places. And because you played sports there and were fit and then you just biased towards action and then all of the sudden by midway through college you’re doing amazingly well with women, right?
Jake:
Right. Yeah. Hugely and gigantically better.
Tucker:
Okay. All right. This is fantastic. This is great. Now, let’s talk about — because I bet there’s a lot you learned after college.
Jake:
Oh, sure.
Tucker:
Okay. So by the time you were senior in college, you probably thought you had women figured out, right?
Jake:
Not entirely. This also goes back to my own personal stuff because I had an unusual form of cancer in college and that really sent me back a lot in a lot of domains so…
Tucker:
I didn’t know that? What happened?
Jake:
No, I told you about this at some point.
Tucker:
Oh, yeah. I remember.
Jake:
Remember, I’m the only guy you’ve ever met who’s like, “I didn’t learn anything useful or interesting from cancer.”
Tucker:
Right, I remember.
Jake:
Everyone who has ever had cancer is like. “I woke up and I’m like, My life is special and I’m wonderful.”
Tucker:
I’ll tell you that that’s actually super interesting. I remember this because you were able to learn those lessons without having to get cancer.
Jake:
Right. Yes. The very important lessons are there.
Tucker:
You already attacked every day. You already tried to make the most of your life. You already biased towards action before you had to wake up and see that from cancer.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
All right. Cool.
Jake:
Yeah. The physical effects and also because of the chemotherapy and the combination of drugs which definitely had the effect of depressing me, I think there’s a lot of neurochemical stuff that I didn’t fully appreciate at the time.
Tucker:
Yeah.
Jake:
So I went back to college and it took me awhile to get back. It really took me I think almost a year or maybe a year and a half. Then I went to law school immediately after college which was not that good of an idea, going to law school is not smart for most people.
Tucker:
No.
Jake:
I think you’ve written a lot about that.
Tucker:
Yes.
Jake:
Right. So it took me I think a year– I think I only hooked up with only two girls from law school.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So I was still basically fucked up in a lot of ways.
Tucker:
What happened after that?
Jake:
Right. Then after that I just started to doing more of the same stuff I did in college, biased towards action, trying to go out with people. I lived in Seattle, so it was fairly easy to meet girls on the street. And I had a car but I actually took the bus a fair amount.
Tucker:
Hold on. So, you moved back to Seattle after law school?
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
Okay.
Jake:
But Seattle proper, because I grew up in a typical boring suburb.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
I lived in a boring suburb with single family houses and people drive to work and no one talks to each other on the street. That’s not ideal.
Tucker:
That’s terrible for meeting people. That’s the other thing I forgot to list when we talked about things you learned is you created social groups around you.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
So either you joined other social groups or you did basic things so you had a network of friends, right?
Jake:
Yeah. And none of this is complicated and most people, I don’t think, maybe not most people. A lot of people don’t break it down, they just do it instinctively
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
But if what you’re doing instinctively is not working, then it pays to step back and say, “My instincts are bad and what can I do to make them better?”
Tucker:
Right. Or, “My instinct is not working, these things I’m doing aren’t working. Let me systemically analyze each part of my life.” And realize, “Okay, these parts aren’t working how do I change them,” right?
So, a big smart thing you did is you moved to the city after college where there were lots of young people in a small close proximity.
Jake:
Yes. And I lived in a neighborhood called Capitol Hill where people walk. It also turned out to be useful because people want to go to Capitol Hill and people want to go to Seattle in general because it’s fun.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So, I guess started doing online dating a year, a year and a half after I moved there. And girls wanted to go to Capitol Hill much more than they wanted to go to less desirable areas of Seattle. So that was helpful. And there were those people on the streets to talk to.
So I remember I think I went on the date or two with a girl who I met. It was like rainy or snowy outside. It was hard to walk and we were walking to Trader Joes together. So I just said something stupid about the rain or whatever just stuff like that. Girls on buses.
Tucker:
So you would be next to — you get on the bus and then you just sit next to a pretty girl and then you would start a conversation, right?
Jake:
Right. “Where are you going?”, “I’m going to see a friend,” or, “I’m going to work”. I taught the LSAT for a while.
Tucker:
That’s a great way. I did that too. It was great.
Jake:
Yeah. It wasn’t that successful for me actually.
Tucker:
Really?
Jake:
I think bulk of the time I was teaching it I was still coming out of cancer mode. I also don’t think I was fully functioning properly downstairs for a while and I don’t know if that is psychological or – I think it was psychological mostly, all these chemotherapy and drugs.
Tucker:
All right. What are some things you did wrong or you did right once you became the young adult living in Seattle? What are some things you learned maybe or some mistakes you were making that it took a while to correct?
Jake:
Some mistakes is that I spent too much time with girls I wasn’t that into. I was still in the mode of thinking like, “If a girl said yes to me, that’s great” and that’s all I really needed.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
For a girl, I think she’s pretty enough and she’s says yes, boom! Then we should be in a relationship. That’s not true.
Tucker:
Well, you get in into relationship, instead of just having casual things you get in the full on relationships with girls?
Jake:
Somewhat it was also hard because I was flying back and forth like I was in college which tends to not be good for relationships.
Tucker:
Yes.
Jake:
You go home, she goes home,, whatever happens at home, happens at home. That was part of it but I dated a girl who was not the — who was more into me than I was into her for an entirely too long period of time.
Tucker:
Right.
Jade:
So that happened, I ended up sleeping with a couple of girls, maybe four girls who are virgins within a relatively short space of time, which I don’t think was necessarily great for me or for them because they were, I think working for something more serious I wasn’t. That was part of it. Let’s see what else I did. I was a lifeguard for one summer when I was in college which was fun. So after I quit law school, I was a lifeguard again.
Tucker:
Yeah. Easy way to meet girls?
Jake:
I was so stupid in high school, if I was a little bit smart I would have started being a lifeguard when I was like 15 or 16.
Tucker:
Yes, because every cute girl’s a life guard and there’s tons of girls at the pool. It’s such an easy job, yes, to meet girls.
Jake:
Aside maybe from being a bartender at a cool bar, there is probably no job, I guess that’s better for young people.
Tucker:
Right
Jake:
So I was a life guard that was smart, also the City pays lifeguards a shockingly large amount of money. I was making like $14 an hour or something like that, really a lot of money. So, that was something I did right, something I did wrong, I kind of back slid after I was done with chemotherapy because I went backwards on aggression or action or whatever you want to call it and got scared again. So I was not —
Tucker:
Why do you think that was, just because of the sexual issues that came from chemo or what?
Jake:
I think that’s part of it and of part of it was I just felt so awful, not all the time but a lot of time.
Tucker:
Yeah. Dude it is hard to bias towards action when you feel physically shitty.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
It really is man, like that’s I don’t think that’s psychological. It is, it’s the psychological thing that results from a physical state.
Jake:
Yeah, also one of the things I did wrong was I moved in with a guy I knew from high school. I just happened to know him from high school and I kept in touch with him in a little bit. He was not getting laid. He was the stereotypical nerdy engineer who didn’t talk to women. So I didn’t get a lot of social reinforcement from him.
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So I needed to like go make new friends again, stuff like that.
Tucker:
Yeah you got to be around people who do the things you do.
Jake:
Right, these are some of the things I did wrong. Some of the things I did right like I did start, I was still somewhat aggressive like talking girls on the street or on the bus. I met one really cool girl because again, It was like a horrible, nasty day and I decided I was going to go running anyway around Green Lake and it was like sleeting, like freezing rain and I was like , “fuck it, I am going to run.” So I am running around the lake called the Green Lake and no one is there, “so why would you go out in this?” Except for this one cute blonde girl and me and we passed each other along the track on Green Lake. I actually turned around and I said something like, “you must be an interesting person or substantive person to be–.
Tucker:
To be running right now.
Jake:
Right. She’s like, “yeah”. We went out for a while, I think she was leaving for Grad school or something, whatever it was, I think she was moving somewhere. I mean over the long term it didn’t work out but over the short term it was great.. First examples about noticing someone, you have a commonality with someone. We were both out there and the weather is horrible let’s talk. I have a friend who I went to high school with and she did this online dating as she started like have stories about it or was like, she said the guys that did online dating all thought like they could fuck her on the first date and apparently that was normal for online dating and she said that to me and I was like, “Really?” She’s like, “Yeah.” I was like, “I ‘m going to go do online dating.”
Tucker:
Did online dating work for you? I bet it did because you were a writer, so you probably had a really good profile, right?
Jake:
Right, it worked fairly well for me. There were a lot of flakes. There are fat girls who had pictures that were not true, standard stuff. I met some really cool girls too though and one interesting thing that I know like, a couple of experiences in my life that have given me more empathy for women. One of them was online dating, some of the girls that I met and hooked up with actually showed me their incoming like firs–
Tucker:
Dudes are the worst. They’re fucking monsters. I keep telling guys this like most guys, you look at — there’s blogs and tumblrs about this now like male responses to Tinder like woman on Tinder and you look at them and like people think I’m an asshole these dudes are fucking monsters, “Hey, want to fuck?” “Fuck you bitch,” or like, The stupidest shit. Yeah, women have to deal with this in online dating.
Jake:
Yeah, and I read some of these responses and I was like, “Whatever I’m doing wrong like on online dating, I am like ten times better than a lot–.”
Tucker:
A mile ahead of these dudes. Yeah. Now, right, guys don’t understand this and we try to explain, for a lot of women dating is a really unpleasant experience for totally different reasons of than it is for guys.
Jake:
Yeah, so these messages like there were a relatively small number of like really awful ones , like what you are describing but there were still a large number too that just boring, like, “Hey, how are you?” and stuff like that. There a lot of guys whose pictures were bad that which is true actually of women too. Like if you’re going to do online dating like get good pictures like find a guy who knows something about photography, read the OKCupid blog, there are lots of tips there. Also, I don’t know if online dating works well like before you graduate from college.
Tucker:
No I don’t think it does. Tinder can but that’s a little different thing.
Jake:
Yeah, I actually don’t really know about tender, Tinder came around in the post-Bess era so anything I know is like second hand. Yeah, but like reading their streams of stuff , these are terrible guys, this is really awful and it did make start to appreciate what women are going through and then it becomes important if you’re a guy to signal that you’re not some skeezy asshole. Like you are confident and stuff like that but you’re not some- one thing to like so many guys like obsessed with the statistics in the wrong areas because all these guys would like on it like saying how big their dicks are; like how much they can lift and stuff like that.
Tucker:
How much they make, shit that women don’t care about at least they might care about aspects that if could not the way guys like talk about it. No.
Jake:
Right, like if you first message in the some chick is like, “I’m work at Amazon. I make a hundred thousand dollars a year and you want to do go out on a date.”
Tucker:
Zero. You’re zero.
Jake:
And not only that but if the woman who responses to that then you have other problems. And it’s true like one reason why guys don’t want women to judge them solely based on how much they make is that it implies that if you have a set back or you can’t make that much or whatever, she’s going to ditch you or if the next guy comes around and makes twice as much as you then she’s going to ditch you for him. It’s the same reason why women don’t want to be judged exclusively on their looks because if a woman thinks that you’re like, “Oh, I’m only with her because she’s really pretty,” then she thinks you’re going to go find the next prettiest girl after her and pick her.
Tucker:
Yep, exactly.
Jake:
But yeah, I think it’s intensified in online but you can see aspects of it like offline so that gave me a lot of empathy for what women are going through in terms of like–
Tucker:
How did it change you approach? You just made sure to signal you are not one of those guys, how did you do it?
Jake:
I think it’s a lot of its more what you don’t do than what you do. It’s still like don’t endlessly focus on like what you can do in the gym or more obviously how big your cock is or whatever no matter how big it is. Don’t relentlessly focus on the material possessions. A lot of it is actually what Geoffrey Miller talks about in Spent, respect because most of the time women are trying to judge your character and your physicality and stuff like that. I mean, are there gold-diggers out there? Sure, but it’s a relative minority of the population I think.
Tucker:
Yes and they’re always going to go for the richer guys unless you are super rich and you want a gold digger, you shouldn’t go for them.
Jake:
Oh, yeah, the guys I met in law school, and because Bess is a doctor, I met a lot doctors too the number of guys who just implicitly think that if they can just make a lot of money women will flock to them, it’s just absurd. You can get that effect but the amount of money it takes is so tremendous where you have to be making hundreds of thousand dollars a year or have millions of dollars sitting around.
Tucker:
You need to be millionaire basically. And then beyond that, the type of women who come to that are fucking terrible and I can tell you this from firsthand experience because celebrity chasing gold diggers are even worse than regular gold diggers. They’re the worst, the worst you’ve got to stay away from those women.
Jake:
Yeah, and more importantly for average guys, it’s not a game worth playing. If you think you just got to go to a law school or your medical school or go get a job as a consultant and suddenly like all this great women are going to tumble onto your lap and I think I have the misconception little bit when I was younger that like if you were just somehow successful economically or otherwise like women would just be like, “Oh…”.
Tucker:
Right. The idea I think because I had the same idea. The idea in my head was if I am a lawyer that’s high status and I make a lot of money, so everything else takes care of itself. And then you get out in the real world and actually I’ve realized that having money and status in a lot of ways hurts because those guys think that’s all they had to do; whereas I did not have any of that shit especially when I started writing fulltime and I was fucking poor, right? I had degrees but I had no money. So I had to really learn how to deal with women in a really sophisticated way because not only did I want them to sleep with me, they had to sleep with me and I had no money. I had nothing to offer financially. I had like negative shit. I need to then pay for stuff. So it’s like I had to really know what I was doing and that’s actually one of the ways I’ve really learned how to deal with women is I had to get women to not just sleep with me but a lot times pay for drinks if I wanted to out that night, so it’s like, “All right, I’ve got to focus on the things that you can’t buy,” which actually ends up those are the hardest things to do and the most useful.
Jake:
Yeah, some of the guys I know who and it’s hard to say too because appearances can be deceptive but some of the guys who seem to be doing really well are like I don’t know, DJ’s and comedians and like personal trainers, bartenders. These are all like not – maybe like top DJs make money-but that’s like a hundred DJ’s in the world. But they are showing up at the clubs where like women are drinking and stuff like that and there were in a status position and a lot of them just show up and things happen.
Tucker:
They put themselves in a high status position in a very unique niche that looks very good relative to other guys, right, because if you’re a doctor or a lawyer, all you have to offer is money then; if you haven’t worked on these other things about your life, you’re totally right and we talk about this all the time with guys.
Jake:
Yeah, this is not to say it’s bad to be a doctor or a lawyer then actually I know some -not any lawyers- but definitely know some doctors who is doing fine and stuff like but those profession like consulting is like this too they can suck up so much time too, but then you don’t have time to develop the other skills and so forth.
Tucker:
So work on yourself.
Jake:
Right.
Tucker:
Because ultimately 80-90 percent of the women who sleep with you or date you or marry you are going to want to or going to want to fuck, date, marry the person, not the job but it’s hard to understand that as a kid. You don’t really see that.
Jake:
Yeah, but at the same time to like, for a lot of women, it depends on what women are looking for too, like women don’t want to be in long term relationships with guys with no prospects and nothing interesting going on and that’s true of guys too. This probably not true if you are in high school but if you’re in college or after college and you find someone and they have no life ambitions or career ambitions or passions, like if you find someone who is twenty-five and she’s like, “I don’t have a job. “What do you want to do?” She is like, “I don’t know,” and you’re like, “How are you living?”
Tucker:
Well, if she’s real hot, she can get away with that.
Jake:
She can. Then there are those other problems I was talking about earlier.
Tucker:
Yeah, that’s true. I mean like if she’s really pretty she get away with that or she’s like, “I want to get married and have kids,” and whatever, it’s much easier for a woman to get away with that than a guy.
Jake:
Yeah. It’s easier but still at least in my experience maybe this isn’t true like the highest status – a lot of the guys who could pay for that, don’t want to. Tucker, if you wanted too, you could probably go find someone like 25 year-old who wants to have your babies and like supervise the house.
Tucker:
I could support ten of those if I wanted too. Are you kidding? I could rent out an apartment building and have one in each fucking room.
Jake:
Right. So are you chasing that kind of girl?
Tucker:
No.
Jake:
Right, and there are some guys who are doing that. I think a lot of these questions and stuff we are talking about are, how do you hit the middle ring, like how do you hit the broad targets, not the super narrow ones. There other parts about hitting narrow targets.
Tucker:
Hold on. What do you specifically mean by that?
Jake:
I mean if you have like, I don’t know, particular sexual fetishes, if you have stuff you really want, if you’re targeting a girl- like I don’t do well with them but there do seem to be girls who really want to be treated like dirt. Who really want to be treated like shit.
Tucker:
Yes, there’s a lot of those.
Jake:
Right. I don’t do well with them like, if you want that maybe not everything I’m saying is necessarily optimal?
Tucker:
Right.
Jake:
So I’m saying there are niches out there for specific kinds of people, for specific kinds of girls.
Tucker:
Alright cool man, this has been fantastic, you really helped. I definitely think there’s a lot of young guys who are going to see themselves in you and going to take a lot from this especially like how you went from that socially isolated like nerdy. Right, exactly. I mean it’s pretty simple man you just decided, “Okay, I’m going to start talking to people, I’m going to start doing stuff, instead of spending four to six hours of video games, I am going to reduce that and take that time and do things that either I can meet people or that develop skills like ideally both where I develop skills while meeting people. Like running cross country, martial arts, playing tennis, writing, working just simple jobs like Old Navy you met girls from that, right? Then like, the other stuff is fantastic like you got over your fear of rejection by understanding the repercussions were relatively low by also, by framing, your ‘asks’ of women in ways that it was very simple for them to say yes or no and if they said no, you just move on and it wasn’t a big deal and then how you started thinking about whose around me and where am I. So I’m really go to places with lots of woman.
Jake:
And actually, one other point about that too which I forgot not to talk about in Seattle context, which I’ve see a lot in New York because I live in New York. Take off your headphones and stop looking at your phones. Right, I just talked to this girl the other day. “Why don’t guys talk to me?” “You walk around with head phones staring your phone all the time. Again, if you do it sometimes is not that bad, but it’s going to be harder to start conversations and have conversations started if you are like at your phone like all the time.
Tucker:
I don’t even necessarily think that guys have to talk to women or girls on the bus like you did although that works really well but just even if all you do is create social groups or joins social groups and meet women that way, I think that’s a very safe easy way for guys to do all the things you talked about exactly and at the very least in the context of those situations, turn your electronics off or whatever put your iPhone on silent and then just engage women. Your phone will be there when you’re done in an hour like talk into whatever. Alright, dude, this has been fantastic for real; this will really help a ton of guys.

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