4.27.2006posted by Donovan at 2:01 PM
Stephen Nash is a co-founder of Cutting-Edge Image Consulting, based in New York City. He is 33 years old, and has been researching the nature of relationships for over three years. He was an original member of the now infamous "Project Hollywood" in Los Angeles, and is featured in Neil Strauss' "The Game" as Playboy. CEIC currently operates two websites:
How To Get A Girlfriend (Link)
Also, Nash has recently launched his own blog, located at the above website.
1. Describe the moment, when you suddenly realized, "I need to work out this part of my life."
This one is easy Donovan. A few years ago, a beautiful young girl that I was dating broke up with me. It really crumbled me, and forced to take stock of myself, and women, in a different way than I had before. I realized that she had chosen me, and that because I had so few (if any) options, I HAD to accept her. Biology is a powerful thing - she was both beautiful and young, very vivacious and outgoing - a great personality for me. So, the body (biology) responded to her very powerfully, as the opportunity to be sexually involved and perhaps eventually reproduce is often MUCH more powerful than what the mind might think is "right" or "wrong".
Following the break-up though, I realized that I had slowly compromised what I REALLY wanted so that it matched who she was. Because my dating and sexual life had been so underdeveloped, I compromised TOO much, and eventually left myself in the classic AFC pose - I had a girlfriend whom I didn't truly feel a connection with, but whom also provided a sexual outlet to a starved plug... thus, I was willing to accept the wrong person for me. This is too often the case for men (and women) in our culture, so I set out to resolve this.
I scanned the internet and was totally surprised to see that there were plenty of dealers out there willing to teach me how to meet women. And, I was a willing customer. I purchased first a product which was a decent overview, but low on tactical information. Next, I learned every tactic known to man in scanning various web boards, and in taking a live workshop with a tactic-heavy teaching system. I learned a lot from all of these experiences. I was eventually invited to join the effort now known as "Project Hollywood" in Los Angeles. I agreed to move-in, and manage the events/party promotion element.
Living with Mystery, Style, Herbal et al was an amazing experience. I learned perhaps too much, and certainly observed more than I ever needed to. However, in the end I was grateful for the experience of seeing and learning from the best pick-up artists in the world. At one point, I was "ranked" number 4 in the world by a prior interviewee, Thundercat.
It became obvious at a certain point that I had had enough of LA, and moved back to NYC. I decided that I'd like to pass on what I had learned, but with a healthier slant to it. I'm not sure that being a PUA (pick-up artist) is necessarily a great idea for everyone (for some, it might be).
My philosophies and work are basically gleaned both from my experience, as well as my observations and endless research and interviews of others who are highly successful with women and relationships. I feel that meeting women should be an extension of one's lifestyle. If a guy has to create an entirely new habit and area of his life, he is going about this in entirely the wrong way. The pick-up community is useful insofar as it adds to my life, and teaches me ways to overcome some social shortcomings. What I see too often though are guys who stop their lives and become PUAs... and it's to their detriment.
The CEIC philosophy is to help men understand what is attractive, and what assists in cultivating healthy relationships with all people - and, of course, with women. We feel that we help the men who are interested in having a girlfriend, and the hopeful healthy relationship. OK - enough of the soapbox-talk.
2. Have you had any mentors (perhaps well-known pickup artists) within the community/life that have helped you improve your game, and what did they teach you?
Here are some who REALLY helped:
3) Tyler Durden
5) Natural Rob
Style - How to lead without being an ass. He's terrific at handling a large group, and in allowing everyone to feel appreciated and involved. He'd always handle the house meetings, and the arduous battle between Mystery & Herbal. He did a noble job.
Mystery - Really too much to describe here, but he's the best in the business. An incredibly scientific and brilliant mind. If your goal is to be a pick-up artist, you should take his program. I think the greatest offering of his is the Mystery Method Model (not sure of its precise brand name) - but he's decoded an actual structure to a seduction. NO ONE else has done this. This contribution is huge - without question the greatest discovery in the community's history. Why? Well, he's right - so that's one reason, and two - it made something so hidden suddenly teachable. My hat remains off to him...
Tyler Durden - TD is one of the more maligned figures in the community. I'll not comment on those elements now or ever. However, he and I were wings for a period of time, and his continual help to me is not forgotten. I admire his need for challenge, and his extraordinarily astute mind. He thinks faster than anyone on earth. His style, as I last remember, is a very tactical one (this could have changed) - and it is really suited to his swift brain. He is very supportive of his team, and students, and I found him to be a great resource.
Pasha - Pasha is not of the community, but has a harem of women here in NYC (yes - a modern-day harem) while also teaching dominance. Like Style he is extremely friendly and warm. Pasha is easily the most genuinely kind, yet dominant male, I've ever met. Proves that being "nice" is very important, but while being dominant. Guys get confused about this, and become assholes to women hoping to get laid…doesn't work. What they want is to feel your autonomy, your integrity - your SPINE. If you can't do this while also being generous and kind, you're missing the boat my friend.
Natural Rob - One of my best friends forever... he's married now, with a child and lives in Jersey. He has easily the fiercest demeanor I've ever witnessed. The first thought that crosses a guy's mind when they meet him is, "oh shit, this guy is going to break me in half". He's a former boxer, so that contributes to it. However, he has an amazing blend of masculine/feminine energies - which has helped him be extremely successful with women.
3. Can you describe the first time you used a counter-intuitive routine that yielded it's promised results, and how you felt?
Boy, you're asking me to think back a long ways here Donovan. I think it's common for men with an AFC brain to be shocked at some of the more challenge-based routines - like where you ask her where she sees herself in 5 years, or you ask her to illicit important personal values in a club, the Cube also comes to mind. The AFC is so accustomed to simply doing what she wants, rather than leading her. Leadership, as an attribute to build integrity and attractiveness, was definitely counter-intuitive for awhile. A woman I was dating for a while a number of years ago cleared it all up for me. I basically told her to meet me at such-and-such corner at 8pm, be dressed casually, and be ready for an adventure. About half-way thru the evening she said, "God, what a relief, a guy who will take charge!"
4. Could you descibe what you're life was like before you were aware of this, and/or what options you have with women now?
My life before was "take what I can get". I had no idea how to first understand dating and relationships, much less the incredibly important masculine/feminine. There's "the game" mentality, which is akin to watching the surface of the water from a helicopter and more-or-less commenting on the reflections of light etc. Then there is the actual dating scene, which leads (we hope) to relationships - this would be sort of like getting into the water, and riding waves into the shore. Ultimately though, the highest level is in understanding the nature of the masculine/feminine energy polarities in relationships. This requires a tremendous discipline, which I am cultivating currently. It feels now like I am totally submerged in the water…and that HAS to be the idea, if you're interested in authenticity and health. Now? I have many options, and then, I have few. In truth, I have lots of women in my life, that a former self would have totally dated. But, I am so selective now because I really understand what it is that I want. So, in this sense, the field narrows. I've been seeing someone now for a while, so my interest is more in developing that. But I can always feel when the vibe is "on".
5. What was your hardest/biggest sticking point?
This one is easy - the concept of value. I see this usually happening in five stages:
AFC Cocky AFC (using DYD, RSD, Mystery routines etc.) PUA (hopefully using his own material) Socially Skilled (no material needed) Mastery Value is mimicked in the early stages (up to PUA level). So, you basically pretend you're a good guy with an interesting life. What usually happens is that guys sicken of "the game" and abandon all the BS, and sink themselves into real living instead. This is the only thing that actually builds value - REAL experience. Value can be understood somewhat by using routines such as DHVs, but this is pure mimicry and doesn't last at all. The real building takes time and effort, it can't under any circumstances be mimicked. It has to be paid for…this is the real challenge. It is ultimately a masculine challenge, and not many are up to it. The CEIC work is a direct attempt to help with all stages, not just the first two.
6. Do you have a favorite routine/step in your model, can you describe it, and what it accomplishes?
I don't teach routines really, unless the client is a beginner (that's the only time you need them). The work I do focuses more on giving guys social skills, which are applicable to all aspects of life. The one I feel is most helpful and empowering is a skill I call "baiting". This is where the man layers his conversation with details about himself. When done a certain way, it prompts the woman to ask questions of him, giving him the power in the interaction. Again, this has to be done a certain way, which is something I pass on in person, but when done correctly, this always builds curiosity and fascination. It also works in networking/interviewing/socializing etc. It is a social skill, which by definition means that it works in all social situations. I don't believe that relating to women should require you to step outside of your life and create an entirely different personality, much less scripts of things to say...
7. Have you had the experience yet, where you feel that you've reached a certain degree of mastery? Can you explain the time, and how you got the realization?
I guess there are different levels to everything, but the only one that really interests me is the human scale (so to speak). Unless it now helps me across the board, I tend to not be interested. I feel that now I can authentically present myself to anyone/anytime. I also find that, by virtue of experience, I screen out a LOT of women. Prior to my current girlfriend, I had quite a lot of options. As you relate to women more and more, the criteria for what you seek in a relationship tends to specify - and therefore, the field narrows. What is nice is to feel that I am completely on the other side of the "chooser" equation - no longer will/can I be with someone that doesn't have a lot going for them.
8. What advice would you give to newbies starting out, in order to greatly accelerate their learning curve?
It really depends on the guy. But, here are a few basic tips:
1) Get some good pics and throw an internet profile on nerve.com (it's the best IMO). This way, you get a lot of experience interacting with women. It's a good way to begin to train your chemicals to be around the women you want to be around…this is particularly helpful if you haven't been on a date in a while. (Learn more about my experiences meeting women online)
2) Be social with everyone. The idea here is to cultivate social skills. So, when you are in any line, for example, force yourself to chat with the people in front of, or behind you. Talk to as many people per day as possible by breaking out of your comfort zone - by interacting, we learn... this is really the only way.
3) Approach women. I always tell guys that, even if you don't want to "pick-up" girl, and prefer meeting them via social circle, it still pays to approach and learn. Here's the line I give - which usually works: "I noticed you from across the (bar, lounge, cafe etc) and had to risk making a total fool of myself to meet you. My name is ___" Nice and simple, direct and confident - a very solid combo. The rest can be taught, but there is a price to pay by the student, and it involves the ego and our own internal self-image. Are you willing to pay the price for this education? It's not easy…I promise anyone who works with me though that if they are willing to pay the REAL price, I will go the ends of the earth to help. That amount of willingness is rare.
9. What's your belief on inner game, and how did you improve it?
Well, if the inner life is approached as a "game", we are certain to lose. There are many forces at play that determine the states, feelings and thoughts that we experience on an hourly basis. The healthy approach is to observe, and learn over time that most of what we tell ourselves is a lie. Then, the idea is to create a little space between me and these beliefs. How nice would it be to wave a magic wand to create the states that I want. The problem is, life isn't necessarily about getting what we want, usually because we have no real connection with what we want. Thus, we bounce around from drama to chaos and back again. The real idea is to love everything I find in me…pretty hard to do…but once I can do that, I have a real chance to love another.
I do believe that the CEIC product line helps men make real progress in both working with himself internally, while also making vast improvements to his outside life. The BEST way to work on myself is in both directions. Most men lack self-esteem, and the best way to cultivate that is via ones lifestyle choices, along with specific inner work. We cover that in detail, as it is so effective, if done accurately.
I deal with this in my ebook "How To Get A Girlfriend" and even more in our audio program "Natural Attraction". It's a shameless plug for sure, but if you want to understand the true nature of attraction, plus get countless tips on dating, fashion, style, all kinds of exercises to help build social skills and a step-by-step guide on how to build your lifestyle to attract the women that are RIGHT for you, you should pick them both up asap. OK - shameless plug completed. (thank you)
10. Do you have a personal favorite field report (your own) that you could relay?
Sure, the one from years ago when TD and I pulled two girls from The Saddle Ranch in Los Angeles back to Project Hollywood. This was done under the pressure from a paying student, and a reporter from Rolling Stone magazine. We did accomplish the mission, with a duel at Mel's Drive-In with a certain Andre 3000 in a Spurs B-ball jersey. Looking back on it, it was totally fun. I think the full reprise is on a webboard out there somewhere. Very wild tale... full of sound and fury, and certainly told by...
11. What is your current sticking point (if any)?
In truth, it's about finding the women I really want to be with. It is EASY to find "hot" women. That is no longer an issue at all. What is harder I find (particularly in NYC) is finding women that have what you're looking for internally. Finding women based on looks is so much easier than finding the "person" you want to be with. The skill is in understanding how to relate to women so that you can quickly garner who it is you are dealing with. I have a very good strategy for this that I pass on to my guys, but there is still so much left to chance. Patience is the underrated virtue in this "game". Fortunately for me, there is no real problem now as I'm involved. But I know for others it's a real challenge.
12. What are you goals now within the community, and in life?
Continue working with men, and researching the nature of masculine/feminine intimacy - and to understand how further help men empower themselves while BEING themselves at the same time. Nothing is less helpful than work which leads a man away from himself. The real endeavor for us all is to know how to help lead and encourage a greater self-relationship. This is the only thing which leads to anything real on the outside and with others.
I will be posting more of Stephen's advice on this blog in the upcoming weeks, stay tuned for that! I think you'll agree with me that is advice is truly unique and very practical.
posted by Donovan at 2:01 PM Dating Advice for Men