The notch was a great metric that kept me motivated in the game longer than my natural disposition. I wanted to hit a high number so that I could feel like a man. I eventually hit a count which made me feel proud, yet I kept going. There were girls I banged just so I could send a “+1” text to my friends and get validated by their positive response, but eventually that got old.
The flag was a new metric that kept me not only banging but traveling as well. Long after I stopped caring about notching my belt, flagging kept me full-time in the game for an extra three years of my life. But then I got a lot of flags and there weren’t many other countries I wanted to visit. It stopped being enough.
Doing it for the story was a new reason to stay in the game. I know my role as the monkey who must keep dancing. I pursued interactions I normally wouldn’t so that I could write something for you. But there are only so many ways to tell the same story and the validation you gave me was no longer enough to send me out the door to repeat what I’ve already done so many times before.
I noticed a change halfway through my last trip to Europe. I was getting more and more reluctant to go out at night. I had to force myself using all manner of tricks. I ignored the voice inside me that said to stop and went out anyway to rack up more notches, more flags, and more stories. I was a banging machine, totally mindless about why I was doing something that was giving me decreasing pleasure. I like making fun of American women for having the mentality of a hamster, but I was the epitome of a hamster, spinning around, working hard to fuck when it has long stopped moving me forward.
For the first time since 2003, I banged less girls than the year prior (2011 was greater than my 2012). My quantity has peaked. I simply cannot harness that amount of energy I put into getting laid with what I did in 2011, no matter how much alcohol or caffeine I pump into my body, no matter what artificial flag goal I make, no matter how much I abstain from masturbating, and no matter how I try to jack up my testosterone levels through diet or weight lifting. Today when I see a pretty girl with a great ass, I can’t help but be reminded of another girl I fucked who looks similar to her, and how I’m ready to only put in the most minimal of effort to take her to bed—effort that is simply not enough to maintain my previous results.
“No, it’s not over yet, just put in the work! Keep going! Go to the club tonight! Don’t stop!”
Nearly three months ago in Warsaw I went out alone to a Polish club. I psyched myself up to put in 10 honest approaches. I would go back to my roots and just work and bang. I didn’t want to accept that I’ve peaked.
It took everything I had to make it to eight approaches. I only liked one of the girls, and the rest I just went through the motions, as if out of habit. I kissed a random girl that gave me a half boner. I went home and stared at myself in the mirror for a long while. I saw the gray in my beard and hair. I saw the lines developing around my mouth. I saw the tired eyes of a man who has been lucky to see what he has. On that night, for the first time in eleven and a half years, getting laid was no longer the number one priority in my life.
The game is in my blood. Like any addict coming off a drug, there will be relapses, but I know change when I see it.