My ironic little foray into speed seduction was starting to look like a depressing venture into a world of yucky people. But surprisingly, the more time I spent with the material, the less I was able to hate it. The Speed Seduction course is intended for an audience which probably deserves pity more than scorn, a group of men who began shy and insecure and have subsequently spent so many years jerking off to porn that they’re traumatized by the very idea of an unstructured conversation with a woman. Is there anything wrong with empowering geeky nebbishes? Would I have the same disdain if the goal was to teach overweight divorcees in their fifties how to convince men to worship them?
Jeffries also concedes a few times that there is more to life than a series of endless flings. He generally takes a chauvinistic tone throughout his course materials, but he also admits that he revs up the anti-woman rhetoric just to get his audience “motivated.” Consoling myself that this might not be evil so much as sad, I embarked on the final stage of my assignment: the field test with real, live women.
I began practicing on the phone with close female friends. “Hey, Darcy. It’s John. Can you describe for me the last time you went on a vacation and felt really good?” or “Hi, Ingrid. Can you tell me about the last mega-orgasm you had?”
I took my fledgling skills out to a company Christmas party. Luckily, it wasn’t my company, and I didn’t see anyone I actually knew. I spotted a woman hanging around by the eggnog, looking like she, too, knew no one. After introducing ourselves her name was Debbie I got down to business and launched a “weasel phrase” right out of the book.
“Debbie, did you ever instantly know you were going to like and trust someone for a long long time? Maybe you only knew them for a short while but it seemed that you had known them your whole life?”
She blinked twice. “What?”
I became nervous and forgot my lines, so I cracked one of my books. “Debbie? Have you ever felt a feeling of timeless connection with someone, a feeling of incredible bonding. Can you describe that feeling to me from your own imagination?”
“What is that?” She squinted to read the title of my book. “How to Get the Women You Desire into Bed? Is that what you’re reading?”
“Listen, Debbie, wait.” I whipped out my flash cards. The one on top was Speed Seducer Rule #3: Speed seducing is fun! If you aren’t having fun with it, it isn’t speed seduction. I reached for the next card, Weasel Phrase #10: Invite her to notice.
“Debbie, I want to invite you to notice how the deep, rich warmth of my voice is beginning to spread out . . .”
Debbie wasn’t noticing anything. Debbie was gone.
The next time I went out, I met a woman named Pam, a friend of a friend, at a bar, and we began talking about running. This led, easily enough, to a discussion of what it is that causes pleasure. We compared and filled in each other’s blanks, so to speak. So far, so good: girl + me + discussion of pleasure. Seemed like a perfect moment to whip out some Ross Jeffries, so I did, and poof the magic died. The line that proved my undoing was, “It’s weird, because sometimes I get an amazing feeling from people. And it doesn’t matter how well I know them. We form a connection that’s just so natural it’s automatic. Have you ever felt that with someone you hardly know?”
Immediately, she was grossed out. She ended our conversation by saying, “Yeah, that’s how it was when I met my current boyfriend,” before moving off, and I felt sleazy. I think of myself as neither a loser nor a player, but for a moment, even though I knew it was all a game, I could feel that undertow: the queasy wave of rejection that must be like an all-day tsunami in the guys that seek this system out.
Despite my own failure as a Speed Seducer, my hunch is that if I had applied myself for many weeks, memorizing and adapting the approach until it felt natural for me, Ross Jeffries’ techniques would probably work. And I might not even feel so sleazy about it. Because beyond all the oily geekiness is simply the act of listening to someone and that’s not inherently a bad thing.
But nevertheless, when Ross Jeffries asks, “What if you could play a poker game where you get to pick the cards you’re dealt, you get to see her hand before you bet, and you get to borrow money from her to bet against her?” (Bizarre emphasis his.) I’d have to say no thanks. Jeffries wants to transform the scary, beautiful, potentially horrible seconds that pass between people into a controlled, emotionally risk-proof transaction like turning a natural wonder into a tourist attraction with ill-flavored Sno-Kones and dopey souvenirs. A sure thing, in other words, that turns out to be nothing at all.