“That was either a false positive, or a lay,” I tell Mr Babnik as we walk between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. It’s a crisp day but I’ve got multiple layers on and tucked my undershirt into my jeans to trap warmth. I’m telling him about my first set of the year. First set, first number close. I continue:

“She didn’t invest much, it seemed. Like, she didn’t ask me any questions.”

Mr Babnik explains to me how he reminds himself to ground the set.

“Yeah, I understand,” I counter, “but I’m going to call this out and say that grounding means nothing.” I pause to let the statement sink in. “I’ve never thought to myself ‘oh I wouldn’t have got that lay if I didn’t tell her three things about me.’ I think if she likes you she’ll ask you about yourself, but what does it matter anyway? If we’re just going to have sex then she doesn’t really need to know anything about me at all. At least not verbally.”

We’re going past the Burger King now and Mr Babnik wants assurances that we’ll eat at some point.

“Yeah, let’s say in forty five minutes. Wagamama?”

He assents and remembers that he’s got half a dark chocolate and almond bar in his pocket. As he eats the rest of it I return to my initial statement.

“As in, she didn’t ask me much. But she smiled after my opener, and I stepped in, and she didn’t step away. Then later on I squeezed her arm and pulled her jacket open to look at her jumper and both times she didn’t pull away or anything. Then at the end when I went for the close she said ‘yes’ straight away.”

Mr Babnik tells me, through muffled bites, that girls always say ‘yes’ to him.

“Do they? I get a mixture: yeses and maybes. I tend to take the straight ‘yes’ as a good signal. I think you make them feel better during the set than I do.”

He confirms that’s a possibility and tells me that his ‘yes’ responses garner a much more volatile reaction once the process moves over to texting.

“There’s definitely a difference between our Game though. You’re certainly much better with banter. I think I ask for more investment from the girl.”

I finally get around to finishing what I started. We’re up by Trafalgar Square now.

“Anyway, she was either brushing me off or was really into me and wants to fuck me.”


The meals arrive and I look down. I’ve got the ginger chicken udon noodles which I cover with chilli salt and soy sauce. The portion is not nearly big enough and I could probably eat it three times over. I’m split over whether I’ll go to the circle of hell for lust or gluttony. Mr Babnik has the chicken katsu curry which looks like an American football of rice covered in diarrhoea, but I’ve had it before and will have it again.

We both send feelers to today’s closes and tuck in with chopsticks, but eventually give up and switch to forks. It irritates me that I can’t finish the meal using only the chopsticks.

“That familiar feeling is back,” I say, “the Daygame rollercoaster. Sending my feelers then the will-she-won’t-she of whether she’ll reply. It’s good to be back.”

Yours unfaithfully,

Thomas Crown

3 thoughts on “05/01/19

  1. 😄 Good description of the katsu! But I maintain that grounding is underrated: you don’t know how many girls didn’t reply to your feeler ping because, ultimately, you were just that pickup artist off the street rather than Tom from X doing job Y

    [Verbal is a poor man’s non-verbal 😉 She can tell I’m not a weirdo based on the fact that I tempered the energy of the interaction. Anyway, if she likes you she’ll conjure up a reason to trust you even if it’s just “I got this feeling that I could” – TC]


    1. That’s a nice rationalisation of why you wouldn’t need to do any grounding, and I’m sure it does happen. But for every girl you approach? Probably not. We’ll never know how many replies we didn’t get because we didn’t temper the player vibe with a pinch of normality.

      I see more upside to grounding than downside which is why I try to do it, even if I forget sometimes.


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