PREVIOUSLY: PART ONE
He walked with me to my apartment so I could drop off my laptop and wash up. He said there was no time for me to take a shower, so I just brushed my teeth and scrubbed my armpits over the sink. Once back on the street, he started telling me about his method.
“This isn’t like America where you have to go in circles to talk to a woman. They want a strong, direct man here. Give her a good look in the eyes, smile, hold it, and then ask her how she’s doing. That’s it. You’ll know right away if she wants to talk to you or not. Let me see your smile.”
“Okay, fake smiles aren’t so great, but that’s a good start. Just smile and look her in the eyes. Don’t be scared, and don’t look away first.”
After I went to an ATM to withdraw some cash, we saw two girls coming up the sidewalk. One was cute and playing with her dog. The other was a land whale who had managed to fit into a party dress two sizes too small.
“Want to demonstrate?” I asked.
He stopped next to the girls and said, “Hi, ladies, how are you?”
The fat one responded instantly, complimenting his accent and asking where he was from. Even the cute one was friendly, so we all engaged in small talk. The fat girl turned into a bit of a stalker, however, following Luigi and me for a block until finally getting the hint.
“That girl is too fat,” he said. “I just wanted to show you what I mean.”
“What’s funny is that those girls were more receptive than I would have thought. If I approached them alone, I doubt if they would have responded like that.”
“The girls here think it’s weird when you go out alone. They don’t like it.”
“It was the opposite in Poland. I’d go out alone and the girls would commend me, saying they liked my confidence.”
“Yes, because Poland is a normal place. Remember that we’re in a shit place and things are different. I teach you so you understand.”
We walked to the front of a tourist club called Scandal, debating whether we should go in or not. Then a pretty brunette said hi to us. Wow, I thought, being with a friend really improves things. Luigi took over the conversation and asked what her and her tall friend were up to. They said they couldn’t get in because the brunette was too young and the bouncer she knows wasn’t working. They asked if we wanted to go to another club where she could get in. Luigi enthusiastically accepted.
I always do research on a country before I fly in. One thing I read about Riga is that a girl will lead you to a bar of her choosing where prices are grossly inflated. She gets a cut of the proceeds and slowly drains your wallet while pretending she likes you. By the end of the night, you’re broke and she goes home with the excuse that she has to take care of her mother. I’ve read some horror stories where a guy unwittingly buys a bottle, gets a bill for an absurd sum, and isn’t allowed to leave until he pays up. Burly Russian types escort him to nearby ATMs to make the withdrawal.
The two girls were extremely friendly, asking questions interview-style, where during the previous two weeks I had trouble finding more than one girl who acted that way. I was skeptical. I didn’t want to discount the power of being with a friend, but their vibe seemed off. While walking to their club, the brunette hooked Luigi’s arm and the tall girl, who wasn’t at all attractive, hooked mine. Without any doubt in the world, I knew something was wrong.
“So what do you think of Riga?” the tall girl asked.
“It’s a weird place.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Well, you have the Latvians and the Russians, and they’re completely different people. It depends on where you go, I guess.”
“Where have you been so far?” she asked.
“Just to a couple clubs in the center.”
“Do you have a favorite?”
“What other countries have you been to?”
On and on it went. The conversation wasn’t natural because Eastern European women don’t ask rapid-fire questions. What’s funny was that she was talking to me the way I always tell guys not to talk to women.
Five minutes into the walk, I said, “Hey, Luigi, can I have a word with you for a minute?”
“Yeah buddy wants up?”
“This doesn’t feel right. I think we should go back.”
“Why, man? These girls are cool.”
“Nah, I think it’s a scam.”
“No, man, you’re just being paranoid. I’ve been to Riga twenty times, I’m not an idiot. Let’s just see where they want to go. Trust me, I’m not the last boy scout. I won’t let anything happen to us.”
He was a convincing little man. We resumed walking with the girls.
“So, where are we going?” I asked the tall girl.
“Don’t be so nervous,” she said. “We’re just going to have fun.”
“Does this place have a name?”
“Don’t worry about it!”
“Well, how far is it?”
“It’s close. Just a couple more minutes.”
She kept asking questions to keep my mind off the bar we were going to, but her awkward conversation style just made me even more suspicious. We made a left turn, a right, and then another right, which was the city equivalent of going three blocks to walk one.
“So do you know where this bar is or not? We’re walking in circles,” I said.
“Don’t be so nervous!” she said, but all my brain heard was be so nervous.
“Hey, Luigi, come here for a second,” I said, drawing him into another conference. “You know we just walked in a circle, right?”
“Yeah, it looks that way. Strange.”
“Look, this is a fucking scam. I’m 100% sure. We’re wasting our time.”
“It’s okay. Let’s just check out the place and if it’s a scam, we’ll leave.”
“So you want to continue wasting our night just to confirm it really is a scam? I have my ATM card on me and a lot of cash. I don’t feel comfortable at all.”
“Don’t worry, man.”
“Yeah, famous last words.”
“Look, they say it’s close. Let’s just check it out.”
“They’ve been saying its close for the past ten minutes.”
“We’ll just look at it from the front. I agree that it’s starting to smell like shit, but if it’s shit, we won’t go in.”
We went back to the girls. I didn’t even bother to put on a fake smile. Luigi really thought his girl was intensely attracted to him and walking us across town because she eventually wanted to fuck him.
Ten minutes later, we were approaching the worst area of the city, with no signs of civilization in sight. I stopped all conversation with the tall girl. If I got scammed on my own, having been honestly tricked, I’d take my licks and learn from it. But in this case I had seen the scam a mile away and was allowing a new friendship to suck me in way farther than I would have otherwise gone. I was putting my fate in Luigi’s hands.
“Alright, I’m going back,” I suddenly said. “Luigi, this is bullshit. We’ve been walking for twenty minutes and now we’re in a shit part of town. Even if the bar isn’t a scam, I don’t want to go.” Then, I added in a whisper, “I don’t even like the girl. I don’t want to fuck her. She’s not even cute.”
“So you’re going to leave me here alone?”
“You’re welcome to come with me if you want, but I’m not going to do something I don’t feel comfortable with.”
Luigi got stern with the girls. “Hey, ladies, this isn’t some bar where a bottle costs 500 euro, eh?”
Their cheesy smiles tried to assure him. For a guy who supposedly had so much Riga experience, I couldn’t believe that he was still indulging a scam that was going down word for word the way I had read about on the Internet (it wouldn’t be until the following night that he revealed he had been scammed multiple times in Riga).
“Okay, Roosh, I talked to the girls. They say it’s just three blocks down. How about we get into a taxi and look at it from the front? If it’s not good, we’ll drop them off and go back to club we were at.”
That sounded reasonable to me, especially since we would pick the cab. I hailed one on the street, but the driver didn’t speak English. We got in and the girls gave him directions in Russian. We had unwittingly given them complete control over the situation. They had told Luigi that the bar was only three blocks away, but just like on foot, we started going in circles. Either these girls were such amateurs that they had forgotten where the scam bar was, or they were deliberately trying to disorient us.
“I used to live here. This is a very bad area,” Luigi said.
“No shit,” I said. “Hey girls, do you know where this bar is or not?”
The pretty girl said to the taxi driver in Russian, “He doesn’t understand,” followed by a little laugh.
The taxi driver just smiled, understanding what was going on. The scam was definitely on and my heart started racing.
CONTINUED: PART THREE