ARTS

  /  

October 26, 2010

Alum refutes U of C's reputation by penning dating guide

The review of How to Succeed with Women Without Being Weird, also by Hallie Grumer, can be found here.

Among the many traits UChicago students are known for, dating prowess is certainly not one of them. So, it may be surprising that University of Chicago grad Vijay Chokal contributed to Ofer Batt’s new dating guide, How to Succeed with Women Without Being Weird. The book encompasses many aspects of dating, from how to understand what women want to where to meet them, and all the way to how to seduce them. The Maroon sat down with both Chokal and Batt to discuss wooing the ladies.

Chicago Maroon: How and why did the two of you first enter the field of dating advice?

Ofer Batt: [Vijay] and I met while we were students at UCLA business school. I noticed that many of my classmates, who were good-looking and professionally successful, had a lot of difficulty when it came to meeting women and dating. They were afraid to approach women or didn’t know what to say or do on a date. We took a couple of these guys out with us and started giving them dating advice. Their subsequent success made me realize that I could really have an impact as a dating coach. That was two years ago.

I decided to dedicate my career to helping men to improve their success with women. I think that my work as a dating coach is as important as my work as a physician. More than anything, I am proud of the positive impact I have had on my date-coaching clients.

CM: When did you “join forces,” so to speak? And what is it like to co-author a book?

Vijay Chokal: I think that Ofer and I are the classic case of “synergy.” I’m extremely outgoing and have absolutely no fear of rejection. Ofer is a natural leader, has strong “frame control” and never lets anyone get the better of him in an argument. Individually, both of us are great with women, but together we were unstoppable. That is why we started a company together.

OB: [Vijay] is right. Our personal strengths complement each other. [Vijay] concentrates on helping men to overcome and approach anxiety and meet women. I concentrate on teaching them to take leadership on dates and behave in a way that is attractive to women. Both skills are critical to dating success.

VC: Ofer was the primary author of the book, but I wrote several chapters, including the “Approaching Women” chapter and the “Phone Strategy” chapter. I also edited and re-wrote large portions of the book based on my own experiences. In the final two edits, we went line by line through the entire book together to ensure that everything we wrote was clear and addressed all of the important issues men needed to know in order to improve their skills with women.

CM: How did you come up with the name Hollywood Wingmen, the name of your dating coaching company?

OB: The Hollywood part came because we were living in Hollywood while we attended UCLA business school. Also, we took many of our initial date-coaching clients out in Hollywood. Hollywood is a fun town.

The Wingmen portion came from our teaching methods. After experimenting with different teaching methods, we found that the best way to help a guy to improve his skills with women was to take him out to a nightclub, shopping center, or busy area and instruct him how to approach women. This way you could give him real-time feedback, ensure that he was following through on the advice you gave him and actually talking to girls.

Before college, I was an instructor in the Israeli air force. In the air force, a “wingman” accompanies a lead pilot on a mission to ensure that the mission objectives are fulfilled. As dating coaches, we were real-life “wingmen.” I guess it’s a little cheesy to say, but by taking our clients out in Hollywood, we became “Hollywood Wingmen.”

CM: What sparked the name for the book?

OB: Many dating coaches for men (aka “pickup artists”) are performance artists such as magicians or comedians. They teach men to use cheesy pickup lines, do magic tricks or dress eccentrically to meet and date women. Just read The Game, by Neil Strauss.

I realized that most men are not performance artists and feel uncomfortable using these cheesy techniques. I tried to write a guide to dating for men that avoided this kind of behavior. After reading it, one of the clients told me, “This is the first time I have read a book that teaches how to succeed with women without being weird.” I decided to use this as the title for the book because I think it conveys the essence of what we tried to achieve.

CM: How did you decide to structure the book?

OB: Based on our experience as dating coaches, we structured the book in such a way to tell men how to improve their skills with women in the most logical way. The first part of the book (“How to Attract Women”) will teach men the core principles they need to know to attract women and to dispel any misconceptions they may have. The second part of the book (“How to Succeed with Women”) will teach men, in chronological order, the absolute essentials needed to succeed with women: What to wear, where to go to meet girls, what to do on a date, and so on. The third part of the book (“Advanced Topics”) addresses more advanced subjects such as sex, criteria for selecting women, and Internet dating.

CM: Now, Vijay, you are a UChicago alum. How did that influence the advice that you gave in the book (knowing the reputation that our school has)?

VC: First of all, my experience at UChicago probably was not typical. I was the social chair of Psi Upsilon fraternity, and I had a car, so I spent a lot of time clubbing downtown or hanging out with my fraternity brothers. I also had a serious girlfriend for my last two years. I knew that UChicago was not a terribly social school, so I made a point to meet people outside of school and have a good time.

I was also a classmate of Tucker Max. I respect the guy, but I am not going to pretend that we were close friends. I’ll be the first to say the kid has game—but you don’t have to be quite so much of a (self-described) asshole or alcoholic in order to enjoy more success with women than you dreamed possible.

I think that my UChicago education actually helped me as a dating coach. At UChicago, I developed an analytical mind and the ability to teach what I learned (After all, UChicago is the “teacher of teachers.”). The truth is that there are a lot of guys who are successful with women. These guys instinctually know how to act around women, but they couldn’t teach a frog to jump and they don’t understand what aspects of their behavior attract women (being self-confident, aggressive, taking leadership, not fearing rejection, and not caring what other people think) and what aspects are just strange personality quirks (doing magic tricks, using cheesy pickup lines, dressing eccentrically, drinking too much, or generally acting like a dickhead). I understood the difference, which made me a better dating coach.

A dating coach has to be good with women but he also has to have an analytical mind and the ability to teach what he knows to other men. UChicago helped me with the last two parts.

CM: Dr. Ofer, how has your background as a physician aided you in writing this book?

OB: As a physician, I noticed that patients that are not from the medicine world have a hard time understanding medical terminology and sometimes couldn’t understand things that seemed very trivial to me. I implemented this lesson in the book: We avoided pickup community terminology such as kino (physical contact) or AFC (Average Frustrated Chump) and tried to explain as much as possible assuming the reader has no prior knowledge whatsoever.

VC: I guess it’s worth mentioning that I also went to medical school after I graduated UChicago, but ultimately dropped out.

CM: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

OB: The best piece of advice I ever got was something that [Vijay] told me. He said, “Logistics, it’s all about logistics.”

[Vijay] made me realize that dating is a game of logistics. You can be the most charming guy in the world but if the logistics are unfavorable, you will fail. For instance, a girl could be madly in love with you, but if you don’t have a private place where you can be together, chances are good that she is not going to be with you tonight. I still remember the time that [Vijay] followed a girl into a Brazilian favela [slum] because we didn’t realize until too late that the hotel in Rio De Janiero we were staying in did not allow female guests. Bad logistics.

VC: You have to plan good logistics—you have to schedule a convenient time to meet a girl, plan interesting activities, make sure you have contraceptives on you at all times, and make sure that your date ends at a comfortable place where you can both be alone together. Don’t underestimate the importance of good logistics in dating! And for your information, nothing bad happened in the favela.

CM: What is your number one tip for anyone going out into the world of dating?

OB: The best advice I give is to “take a chance” or as [Vijay] says, “Roll the dice.”

There are so many times that a single guy will see a beautiful woman and want to talk to her or be on a date with a woman and want to kiss her, but he’ll be afraid to make a move because he doesn’t want to get rejected. This is a huge mistake. If you just talked to that girl or tried to kiss her, you’d be amazed how often things go your way. It is so much worse to miss an opportunity with a girl than to step up to the plate and strike out. In fact, women will respect you more for being bold even if they do reject you. Remember that opportunity never knocks twice.

CM: What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?

VC: The problem with online dating is that sometimes women don’t accurately portray themselves. They’ll post a picture that is 10 years old back when they were 30 pounds lighter and you don’t know until you meet them in person.

I met a girl online and agreed to see her at a local coffee shop. When I arrived, she was totally different than her profile photo. So I told her I didn’t appreciate the fact that she lied to me by sending old photos and left. She basically stalked me for a month afterward. Now, if I meet a girl online, I always videochat with her before I agree to meet her in person.

MOST READ