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There is an organic grocery shop next to my apartment, and I usually go there twice or three times a week. Depending on the time of the day, there are between one and three members of staff working. They are all young (all in their twenties), and most of them are girls.
Considering that I’m fairly sociable, when I become a regular in a shop I tend to have some small talk with the staff every now and then. In places which I regularly frequent (Routine Circle), after a short while everyone there knows me, and this has been a constant all my life.
Sometime around February, a new girl appeared as part of the staff in that grocery shop. Her face was a mix between sweet and hot, and her body was slim just the way I like it. I was really attracted to her, much more than the girl I described in the other example here.
Considering how things unfolded in the end, I must say in her defence that she did the best she could not to show her attraction towards me at the very beginning. But I know what to look for and my radar is top notch, hence I was able to pick up the little perturbations to her vibe when I was around, plus some different “I-am-not-supposed-to-be-attracted-to-you” IOAs. Girls can be shy and serious around an unknown man they really like, and this girl was one of them. A girl being dead serious when we are still complete strangers is fine, the important thing is for her not to show any sign of the Dealbreaker Triangle (entitlement, bitchiness, snobbishness).
*** *** ***
At the time there was another little situation going on in that grocery shop. There was another girl, very sweet and very feminine, who had developed a crush on me. When I started going to that shop regularly, I started to have some light small talk with her like with any other member of the staff. But one side effect to being sociable with the staff is that some of the girls develop a crush, some other of the girls get addicted to the attention and can’t get enough of that (and only of that), and some of the guys eventually start to smile “a bit strangely” at me. Uhm…
I really clicked with that girl, I really liked her sweetness and her femininity, and our conversations was much deeper (“less superficial” is more appropriate) than the ones I had with the rest of the staff. But my main priority is not to hurt Sweet Girls, and as such I decided not to escalate things with her. First off, I was not enough attracted to her to make her my girlfriend (she was only “Somewhat Interesting”). Then, I knew she would have suffered a lot after a casual fling with no further commitment from me. And finally, in that hypothetical scenario, while she was still recovering from the heartbreak I would have kept going to the grocery shop as usual, and she would have had no choice but keep seeing me there. And this was unacceptable to me, since being “forced” to see me at her workplace would have just compounded her suffering. Hence, I did not escalate things with her.
The last few times I saw her there, she was clearly waiting for me to ask her out. All of a sudden she started wearing make-up, very beautiful earrings, etc. She was clearly waiting for me to make a move, which I didn’t instead.
Guys, she took it very bad, since that is what a rejection looks like for a girl. She took more than one month to recover. More than one month to recover from the fact that I did not ask her out… Based on that, how long would have been to recover from that hypothetical fling with no further commitment on my side?! Six months?! One year??! Previous experiences say Sweet Girls can take long time to recover from that kind of situation, based on how infatuated they were to start with. And let me not quantify that “long time” otherwise that would make me look bad.
And while this girl was recovering from the “rejection” during that one month, something interesting happened.
*** *** ***
During that one month I kept going to the grocery shop on random days of the week, and two girls (the one I was attracted to and the one I did not ask out) were pretty much always there at the same time. When I arrived, either the attractive girl was at the till and the sweet girl was somewhere in the shop, or the sweet girl was at the till but always disappeared in the back office fairly quickly, sending the attractive girl at the till with an excuse. As such, during that one month I interacted with the attractive girl quite a lot. Initially it was only standard Till Routine:
<she scans everything>
I’ll pay by card
<I pay by card>
Thanks, have a good evening
Thanks, have a good evening
One day I asked her a question on an avocado, inquiring whether she thought it was ready to be eaten or not. I knew the answer already, but I wanted to have a slightly longer conversation with her, without appearing too eager. After “breaking the ice” with that episode, during the following days me and this girl started to have some light and impersonal small talk on top of the usual Till Routine, and she gradually warmed up towards me. Her IOAs were now more consistent and more of the sweet and feminine kind, and I liked that.
That’s when I started to tease her. And as a reminder, teasing is part of the Escalate phase (see: The 1-2-3 Method), and I only promote to this phase the girls who:
● seemed receptive to me during the initial two phases (Ignore, Ping);
● never showed any sign of the Dealbreaker Triangle;
● I intend to escalate things with.
Once I taught her a few words in my mother tongue, and the following time I tested her:
So, how do you say “thank you” in my mother tongue?
<she thinks hard, looking straight in front of her>
Uhm… I don’t remember…
What a terrible student you are!!
At some point she started to look at me with puppy eyes as soon as I entered the shop, a good sign that I had built enough comfort and enough rapport.
The month of May was a warm one, and she started to wear tops at work. That’s when I noticed she had a tattoo covering almost all of her left arm. Not a solid all-ink tattoo, rather an extensive flower-like design. I’m not particularly into tattoos myself, but that one seemed to look well on her. Let’s put it that way: she was now showing quite a lot of skin, her arms were slim just the way I like them, she was very sweet towards me, we were having a lot of fun during those light interactions on the top of the Till Routine… and then she had a tattoo, which was compensated by all the previous good things. One tattoo is not the end of the world overall…
That’s when she did the best she could to make me see another tattoo of hers… On two or three separate occasions, she seemed to always have a “compelling reason” to lean over and reach for something in front of me, just to let me have a quick look inside her bra. She had some nice and well-proportioned little breasts, the perfect combination with her slim physique. And during those two or three quick glances she wanted me to have, that’s when I saw another tattoo… on her left breast! This girl was a great combination of sweet and hot, and I was very attracted to her. And by the way guys, all of this did not happen in some nightclub with loud music and flashy lights. No, it all happened during the day at the grocery shop next to my apartment!
It was now the end of May, and I decided it was time to ask her out (we are two months into the story so far, but this kind of leadtime is normal in Routine Circle Game). The staff rotates in grocery shops, and as such there was no guarantee of meeting her when I was going for my bi-weekly shopping. I had no idea of her weekly schedule, and as such I decided to go to the shop every single day and buy a few things every time. The reason being, by going there every afternoon I would have increased the chances of seeing her again sooner rather than later, without relying of “luck” (aka her unknown work schedule).
I seem to remember it took an entire week to see her again, and during that period I felt strangely nervous every time before entering the shop. Fact is, Routine Circle Game has some peculiarities and many unknown variables, which can make it demanding on your emotions at times. And surely, the most delicate time is when you have decided to ask the girl out, and every time upon entering the shop it feels like you are about to serve the match point. And it’s not the act of serving the ball itself (i.e. asking her out) that makes you nervous, but rather all the other unknown variables (i.e. is she going to be working? Where will she be relative to her colleagues? Where will she be relative to the other customers? Etc…).
The day I finally saw her again, the shop was crowded. Not a good thing, since I needed to be calibrated when asking her out, and as such I needed to keep under control the social pressure on her from both her colleagues and the other customers. She was in the middle of the shop, sorting out things on the shelves, surrounded by customers. Fuck. That was a clear no-go, hence I bought whatever I needed to buy for the day, and left.
On my way home, I felt devastated inside. By then it had been a full week of that constant tension before entering the shop, and of that strange feeling arising from the fact that I was ready to pull the trigger but unable to do so. During the first six days, I was unable to do so because she was not there. Now, because the conditions were clearly adverse. I felt really bad inside, and I decided to go back to the shop, pull off a little trick, and just fucking do it.
I went back less than 15 minutes later, pretending to have forgotten to buy something. She was now at the deli counter, and the situation looked something like this.
I went to her and said:
I would like to ask a question on a product
She didn’t understand, since I don’t speak the local language very well at times.
Sorry, what did you say?
I said slower:
I would like to ask a question on a product
She still couldn’t understand. Next to us there was a well-dressed middle-aged career woman, who was looking at us all happy and smiley. I had seen similar pleased smiles many times before, since being good-looking and having issues with the local language seems to be a double boost, but I didn’t need any audience at that point in time!
Between the girl who couldn’t understand what I was saying and the woman pleasantly looking at us, I felt “slightly” under pressure. In the end she understood what I was trying to say, and I explained she needed to come with me because I needed to show her the product I needed help with. The plan original plan was simple, isolate her with a plausible excuse and then ask her out, but that took more effort that I was anticipating and I felt exhausted already!
We started walking towards a side aisle, and when we turned around the corner…
Bloody fucking hell another customer here as well!!
This shop is empty almost every single time, what the fuck is going on today?!
Did all the other customers not know that I have an escalation to do?!
What the fuck is this, a conspiracy?!!
I diverted towards the empty aisle, so that the other customer could not see us. But she was one metre away from us nevertheless, and as such I decided to speak in low voice. Something not really masculine, but it was the only way of making sure she didn’t appear as being picked-up by a customer in the eyes (ears really) of the woman on the other side of the thin shelf.
I would like to invite you for a walk
She went completely red in a split second. A girl with a big tattoo covering her arm, and another tattoo on her tit, going completely red after being asked out. Not only that, she also had a spark in her eyes. But then I heard something I didn’t like:
I’m sorry, I’m already taken
That’s not her fault, since attraction is not a choice. But still…
That was not the outcome I wanted, but one that I was realistically expecting. It had happened so many times already, that I was not even surprised by her reply. So I was not surprised, and clearly I was not happy, but I was not disappointed either. I was more like:
Here’s another girl who is clearly attracted but taken… WTF…
Yes, this is what I was: annoyed.
Side note: by then it was already crystal clear that most of the girls who were attracted to me were not sexually available. And this is the reason why the Indicators of Attraction (IOAs) are to be called in such a way, rather than being called IOIs. Back on track now.
The next few times I met her at the grocery shop, she was pleased to see me. Very pleased to see me, and this is one of the three standard behaviours which usually follow a rejected escalation (I don’t like this specific behaviour, and it’s a red flag actually). I remained cordial in those instances, while I was still deciding on my next move. Fact was, I was really attracted to her.
One day I arrived at the shop, and it was literarily empty. Not a single customer there, and the girl was the only member of the staff present in that moment. She was sorting out the olive oil bottles in the relevant aisle, and by pure coincidence I needed something there. That was a pure coincidence, for a change.
You cannot imagine how happy she was to see me, and I was quite happy to see her as well. Mainly because she was alone in that moment, and I could follow-up with my freshly-elaborated way forward. We had some light small talk first, and at some point I said:
Look, I’ve got someone as well… Are you open minded?
I’m sorry I really cannot…
Ok, I’m going to respect your decision. I’ll take this bottle over here, and I’ll go at the till. See you there.
She arrived at the till and she had a strange expression on her face. She almost looked fearful, waiting to see how things would unfold. When I re-engaged with some more small talk, she was relieved and became happy again.
A real Sweet Girl, upon meeting me again after having rejected my escalation, would have been a bit embarrassed. This girl on the contrary, was a bit too happy to see me. Yeah, a bit too happy and not embarrassed in the slightest. This indisputably means that she was primarily interested in my attention, rather than in me. And in my book this is a serious fault that needs to be punished harshly.
Good behaviour shall be rewarded. Bad behaviour shall be punished.
The fix to the situation was very easy: complete removal of any smile; complete removal of any small talk; complete removal of any tease; complete removal of any attention. In a nutshell, complete indifference apart from the basic Till Routine, which was going to be delivered coldly nevertheless. Actually, I decided to “streamline” the Till Routine as well: no more “have a good evening” upon leaving.
This was how the Till Routine went for some time:
Hello :) :)
<she scans everything>
I’ll pay by card
< I pay by card>
Bye. Have a good evening?
She took a little while to realise that the wind had changed. Initially she had some inertia from our previous interactions, and she kept wishing me to have a good evening, hoping for me to say the same back. But I was not replying to that. Her enthusiasm started to disappear, and she started to look sad.
Then, something extremely interesting happened. At some point I felt I was about to lose her, meaning I was about to lose the fact that she wanted more of my attention and I was denying it. Fact is, you can only punish a girl through removal of your attention if she wishes to receive your attention. And since she seemed to have resigned to the fact that I was not going to say “have a good evening” to her anymore, that final omission was not as effective as before. That’s when I wished her to have a good evening once, so that she could think our conversation was back to previous levels. She was now expecting it again, and as such when I withdrew it the following time my punishment was effective once again :)
Remember, guys: when a girl tries to use you for your attention only, she is doing something selfish for her personal benefit and at your expense. Completely removing your attention is the bare minimum you can do. And a little re-education on the top of that is a welcomed add-on :) Also because, Sweet Girls would never do that. And this means that if a girl behaved as “normal,” there would be no need for any of that punishment.
At some point I felt appropriate going back to a more civilised Till Routine, and I started to say “have a good evening” again. But I never had any more small talk with her, I never teased her again, and I never smiled at her again. On her side, she was pleased to see me once again, but without the over-excitement she had before. Good.
If one day she told me she has become single, we could surely go for a drink together, but I would make her pay for that drink. And possibly also for the following one. Until then, all she’s going to get is the standard Till Routine, delivered with an indifferent expression on my face.
Fact is, my smiles, my small talk and my teases, they are not a given. And she doesn’t have access to those anymore.
• Routine Circle Game Summer 2019