It Takes All Kinds

a Few Stories and Profiles by Erik Hedegaard
mainly from inside the pages of Rolling Stone
(with additional commentary and folderol provided by the author aka Charlie, sometimes)



Ross Jeffries, the Speed Seducer

Posted on | February 4, 2014 | No Comments

“TAKE MY COURSE,” SAYS ROSS JEFFRIES, “AND YOU WILL GET LAID!”

If you’ve got $895 and three days to spare, the self-proclaimed guru of Speed Seduction claims he can teach you how to talk any woman into bed. You are, however, responsible for your own soul

As at the end of lines drawn in perspective, Ross Jeffries was so far released from his agony that it was almost at the vanishing point. It had receded away from him, becoming a nearly inconsequential mark in time that had once encompassed all his childhood, all his college years, up through even his years in Hollywood as a dismal, flailing writer of comedy. It was wretched, excruciating pain. He thought no more of it, though. Some days, catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror, he even gloried in his physical self. He was mainly cadaverous, of course, his lips too thin, his skin bad, his hair like sooty electrical coils. But what a marvel the mind is. He’d so changed his own that nothing about how he had once been bothered him anymore. In this regard, he believed he was triumphant. And in due time, he became a teacher of others who wished for the same.

Not long ago, Jeffries took another breath in his room at the Palo Alto Holiday Inn, on El Camino Real, not far from Stanford University and its vast assortment of nifty, plunderable coeds. He was watching one of his favorite TV shows, a show about war. There were explosions and grievous, unheard cries in smoking cockpits; any one of the men in there would trade anything, including his own sacred soul, to be someplace else. Jeffries watched. His eyes were half-slit. The night before, he’d gone out on the town, seen a tall, smart blonde in hip-huggers and said, out loud, “Ooooh, aaaah, she’s cute!” Then, for his own private reasons, he’d started humming the Rocky and Bullwinkle theme song. But now he was exhausted. He had spent the day teaching. He needed rest, for tomorrow he would rise to teach again.

Meanwhile, a few blocks away, on University Avenue, a group of guys spread themselves out and slipped into coffee bars, restaurants, bookstores, furniture shops and fancy fragrance emporiums. They called one another “brother” and went by names like Brother Kamal, Brother ESR, Brother Orion, Brother Vijay and Brother 007. They were laughing, whispering and taking long, appraising looks at all the pretty young Stanford girls.

Around midnight, Brother Orion caught up with a summer-blond coed named Tara[*]. Only once before had a man stopped her like this. It made her a bit uncomfortable, but Orion, who was in his mid-twenties and wonderfully pleasant, seemed so sincere, and just the way his bright blue eyes gazed into her own eyes – before she knew it, she was listening quite intently to everything he had to say.

Speaking softly, with many long pauses between his words, Orion got her to see a rose in her mind, then to rub the imaginary petals, so soft, against her cheek. Tara smiled, dreamily. “That’s right,” Orion said. “And now, notice what it’s like as that flower turns into your favorite-flavor lollipop from when you were a little girl.”

A look of bliss came to Tara’s face. She seemed full of remembrance.

“Now,” Orion said, “pop it in your mouth and taste.”

Tara’s eyes widened, her lips parted and in slid the imaginary lollipop. Orion did not stop there. He started whispering to her about how interesting he found it, the way that people connect with their daydreams and fantasies – “in those special places,” he murmured. And after a while, a curious thing happened: Tara’s cheeks flushed and her entire body shivered, as if she’d just been touched, with velvet hands, in that most special of special places.

It was all quite amazing, and before Orion hooked up with Ross Jeffries and became his student, none of it would have been possible, just as anything similar would have been impossible for all the other brothers there that night.

Jeffries had changed them. He had changed their lives. He had taught them the secrets of Speed Seduction.

What a regular guy wants more than anything, always has, always will, is to land some nooky far beyond his reach. He has neither looks nor power nor money nor fancy car, none of that good babe-getting shit, and yet he dreams the ancient dream: to be able to dump Harriet in favor of Cindy and thus, for the benefit of all generations to come, divert the usual flow and direction of his genetic puddle. This would be a wonderful thing, he feels. And even then, thinking of it, a whole range of possible ancillary benefits springs to mind: He’d be less shy; his complexion would clear up; his career would take off. In all ways, he would be better. And yet how is this ever to come true? Is there not someone who can make it so?

In modern times, the first theorist to tackle the problem was one Eric Weber, who in 1970, as a very shy, very horny young man, bought a $13 tape recorder and walked around Manhattan asking girls questions like, What would a guy like him have to do to pick up a girl like her? He self-published his findings in a book titled How to Pick Up Girls!, placed a few ads in Penthouse and went on to sell well more than 1 million copies of the thing. In the main, however, the advice was less than life-changing: “The first and really the only thing it takes to pick up girls is to talk to them. . . . That’s all there is to it. If you can do that, you can really pick up girls. By the truckloads!”

Nonetheless, for the next two decades, Weber seemed to have a lock on the market. You wanted a couple of salutary tips on meeting women, his book was about it. Only a few years ago, however, some other titles began to show up – not in bookstores, mostly, but via the Internet or by mail order. There was How to Pick Up Beautiful Women, by John Eagan; How to Be the Jerk Women Love, by F.J. Shark; A Bartender’s Guide on How to Pick Up Women, by Bryan Redfield; How to Date Young Women, by R. Don Steele; plus a few others. For the most part, they took the old Weber notions and simply stretched them in a few new directions; the methodologies took no real quantum leaps.

But then a book arrived that was far, far different. It was titled How to Get the Women You Desire Into Bed: A Down and Dirty Guide to Dating and Seduction for the Man Who’s Fed Up With Being Mr. Nice Guy, by Ross Jeffries. It came with its own front-page disclaimer: “The reader is warned that the use of some or all of the techniques in this book may result in legal consequences, civil and/or criminal. Use of this book is done at your own risk.” And so successful was this book that Jeffries soon followed it up with a whole slew of other books, as well as audiotapes and videotapes, all based on what he termed Speed Seduction (or SS), all priced to appeal only to the truly desperate or the extra-horny, all eventually available on his Web site, www.seduction.com. There was the Advanced Seduction Masters’ Weekend Super Seminar audio series ($345), the Speed Seduction Tutorial video series ($195), the Speed Seduction Skills Builder audio series ($49.95), the How to Nail That Girl Who Just Wants to Be Friends audio series ($17.95), the How to Get a Stripper Into Bed video ($39.95), the Unstoppable Confidence and Power With Women audio series ($69.77) and so much more. He began running heavily attended three-day seminars at $895 a head, the advertising for which was crude beyond belief: “[Learn] how to fuck the holy shit out of blabbermouth girls in minutes,” the copy read, and “[Learn] how to have her sucking away like she was suffocating and there was air in your frijoles.”

Of course, like any canny salesman, Jeffries knew he was promising more than he could deliver – but not by much. He truly believed in what he was teaching, because it was based primarily on what had so thoroughly changed his own life just a few years earlier: neurolinguistic programming (NLP). An entirely wigged-out approach to psychology and communication that had been around since the mid-1970s, NLP brought about change through the use of trance states, hypnotic language patterns, embedded commands and lots of other weird shit – and it promised these changes in half-hours or hours, not months or years. Of course, the psychiatric establishment dismissed it as New Age nonsense and hocus-pocus, yet what was psychiatry but a bunch of money-grubbing assholes who thought nothing good could come from anything less than, say, seven years of therapy and by that very belief sealed any poor sap of a patient’s fate for the better part of a decade? NLP, on the other hand, cut to the chase and got on with it. In many ways, it was at the heart of the entire human-potential movement. For example, personal-growth giant Tony Robbins used it all the time in his training -especially when it came time to get his seminar goers to walk on hot coals. And now there was Ross Jeffries saying stuff like, “If you want to walk on coals, go see Tony, but if you want to get laid, come see me!” and, quoting Voltaire, “Give me ten minutes to talk away my ugly face and I will bed the Queen of France!”

It was a powerful message, made all the more powerful because it seemed so honest of Jeffries to admit that learning Speed Seduction took both intelligence and practice, and that even then it wouldn’t work in all cases. “It works about seventy percent of the time — and the rest of the time, nothing else is going to work, either,” he liked to say. “At least with SS you find out in less than ten minutes instead of ten dates, ten weeks or $10,000 in the hole.” This was awfully appealing, and his teachings were eventually taken up by about 40,000 students from around the world. Some of them were weenie-loser-geeks, some simple horndogs and some just hopeful seekers of an edge up on the next Joe. They came from all kinds of backgrounds (though computer nuts seemed to predominate), and almost all of them referred to Jeffries as their most beloved Guru of Gunch. No one thought there could be a downside to learning what he taught, no dreadful, soul-sucking consequences such as one might get in a Faustian-bargain-type scenario. And so they swore their loyalty to Jeffries, and he, in return, promised to give them something they had never had before.

Like a stuck compass, he was at this time entirely pointed in one direction: the furtherance of SS as both a thriving business enterprise and the entire sum-total meaning of his life. To this end, Jeffries’ mornings usually began with a trip to the alt.seduction.fast newsgroup on the Internet. There, he would proselytize in his favor and lay vicious attacks upon any who called him an overblown fraud, fruitcake, con artist, liar, woman hater and cheat, as quite a few did. Afterward, unperturbed, he would stroke his cat, a Russian blue who was the SS mascot and whose name, Sargy, had become part of the SS vernacular. For instance, Jeffries and his students often said, “Hey, let’s go sarge some HBs!” with HBs standing for “hard bodies” or “hot babes” and sarge standing for “SSing.” Then, as the day wore on, Jeffries might call his girlfriend, a petite blond massage therapist named Kim McFarland, who had only three rules for her boyfriend: no banging strippers, no banging her friends and no banging anyone sans condom. “Cool.” After that, maybe Jeffries would hop into his shiny scarab-green Saab and head off to a mall to sarge some HBs.

He lived in Southern California, in Marina del Rey, where it was a perfect world: always sunny, always warm, very near the water and just swarming with chicks – blondes, redheads, brunettes, anything you wanted. All Jeffries had to do was step outside his door and in two minutes he could be inside a restaurant like Ruby’s, on Maxella Avenue, chowing down on a veggie burger, expounding on the theoretical necessity of something like SS and putting the preliminary moves on a sweet, lightly freckled waitress named Rochelle.

“A lot of what I do is about giving men power and choice where they didn’t have it before,” he said. “If the guy’s in a relationship because he doesn’t know how to attract anyone and he just happened to accidentally meet someone who’s attracted to him, he is actually in a relationship by default. I want men to have power and choice.”

Rochelle stopped by the table. Jeffries noticed a ring on her finger. “Did your grandma give you that ring?” he asked.

Rochelle’s eyes bugged out. “Yeah! How did you know that?”

“I know a lot,” Jeffries said, coolly. “And I can tell you something else: I see you working with kids. Is that correct?”

“Oh, my gosh,” Rochelle said. “Yes! I’m studying to be a teacher!”

“I’m very psychic,” Jeffries said after Rochelle left. “I can’t teach that. But what I can teach is how to give men a massive and quick way to decide on a woman’s potential and to create an attraction. This is not about dating. Speed Seduction is meant to replace dating. Dating is for women you’re already sleeping with.”

When Jeffries got to talking like this, he could not stop. His mouth ran over with how revolutionary SS was, how it was absolutely real and not some sham, and how truly magical and life-changing a teacher he was. His ego ran wild. He dropped names shamelessly – among his Speed Seduction converts were, he said, Richard Brodie, the best-selling author of Virus of the Mind and the original author of Microsoft Word, and Lewis De Payne, the infamous hacker and a pal of convicted felon Kevin Mitnick’s, better known as the Dark Side Hacker. Then, to distance himself from all this direct self-promotional blather, he would quote other people talking about how great SS was, as in, “Lewis De Payne once said, ‘You know what you’re doing with SS? You’re doing the ultimate hack. You’re creating super user privileges on someone’s core account and allowing yourself to create a password that you wouldn’t normally have.’ And he’s right!”

At the same time, though, Jeffries didn’t claim all credit for the development of SS. He talked incessantly about SS as an open-architecture kind of thing, constantly being improved upon by the brothers in the field. He waxed on about this for so long that anyone listening to him would begin to drift off, and if you had any of your wits left about you, you could see a small smile begin to trace across his lips, and you could feel him breathing at the same pace as you and maybe sense that his hand gestures and body movements were suddenly the same as yours. At some point, it might even seem that although he did most of the talking, Jeffries had ceased to exist except as a reflection of you, his listener. This did not matter. In fact, you really liked the guy. If someone came up to him with assassination in mind – and Jeffries thought that one day, given the nature of SS, it was entirely possible -you might even take a bullet for him. How could it be otherwise? He was, for that moment in time, you.

Later, Jeffries went out on the street and surveyed the action surrounding the Marina Marketplace shopping center. He wore nice slacks, a nice collarless shirt, nice cowboy boots and small, hip, downtown-type wire-rim glasses. He said, “Do I have yogurt on my mouth? I mean, am I clean there?” and went on to handicap the scene.

“OK, between 3:30 and 5 p.m. it’s babeland here, pudendum palace,” he said. “Sometimes the Starbucks on the corner is good. And that Kinko’s copy place, it’s open twenty-four hours a day, and there’s usually some HB aspiring actress in there with her little r82sum82. The Sav-on is nonstop from six until ten at night, all the girls coming to buy their makeup.”

He got in his car and started driving. After a while, he turned off Wilshire onto Armacost and pointed to a little dump of an apartment toward the rear of the Armacost Arms. A long time ago he had lived there with a roommate who looked like the Marlboro cigarette man and got laid by a ton of women who would always tell Jeffries, “But I like you much more as a person!” with Jeffries always thinking, “Gawww, give me a piece of your ass! I don’t care if you like me – just hand it over!”

A number of years later, after he’d become involved in NLP and hypnosis, Jeffries had another roommate, a twenty-seven-year-old doctor, also incredibly handsome, with everything going for him. Then the guy committed suicide, and the guy’s parents filed a wrongful-death suit against Jeffries. The parents thought Jeffries had had something to do with their son’s death. “He hypnotized our son into killing himself,” they said and at one point even tried to get a psychic inside the front door of the apartment to contact their son so he could tell them the truth. Eventually, after two years, a judge dismissed the suit. But even so it was an awful drain on Jeffries, having someone out there thinking you’re involved in someone’s death, having to battle that.

He turned around and started driving again. He passed a police car, and suddenly a humorous line of patter came into his mind, based on the old Adam 12 TV cop show.

“One Adam slut, one Adam slut. Twenty-year-old female virgin headed for the Santa Monica airport,” he sang out. “One Adam slut, one Adam slut. See the prick teaser flashing her boobs, proceed to hypnotize, ass-fuck and dump.”

He was laughing loudly. This was terrific stuff, priceless even, and he kept it up until he ran out of funny.

John Grinder, then a lin-guistics professor, and Richard Bandler, then a student of theoretical psychology, first began working on what would become NLP in the early seventies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The course that Grinder taught, with Bandler’s help, was known to various UCSC students as Mind-Fucking 101. The two professors theorized that any subjective human experience – all the terrible shit that happens in life – can be quickly and easily transformed in the unconscious mind through the subtle and cunning use of language, with the listener-patient settling into a very light, conversationally induced hypnotic trance. This radical notion stood conventional therapy on its head – it said you didn’t have to work through past traumas to get healed – and formed the basis of the therapeutic model of NLP. But Bandler and Grinder soon realized that the same concept could be used just as effectively in persuasion, by anybody who wanted to persuade anybody of just about anything. Shortly thereafter, Science Digest wrote that NLP was potentially “the most important synthesis of knowledge about human communications to emerge since the explosion of humanistic psychology in the sixties.” Naturally, therapists and used-car salesmen around the country were in awe.

For Jeffries, Speed Seduction as a practical application of NLP was about building altered states of consciousness in both the seducer and the seducee. For the guy, using various kinds of affirmations, the idea was to install in himself all manner of ferocity, playfulness, clarity, outrageousness and cockiness, no matter what kind of weenie-loser-geek, horndog or edge seeker he may have been before. Thus supercharged and in control, the guy then engaged himself in a singular mission: to capture and lead the imagination of the HB of his choice. He might start by saying to the woman, “I have an intuition about you,” which would perk up her ears – after all, he was talking about her favorite person, herself – and lead her from a state of presumed neutrality (the guy was probably not the best-looking guy in the coffee shop) to definite interest and intrigue. He might then offer to analyze her handwriting. Or he might tell her that she was a very visual person and proceed to conjure up images in her mind – deeply sensual images – by telling her metaphoric stories, stories that SSers called patterns. Full of sensory-rich descriptions, these patterns were constructed mostly of so-called process language – vague, nonspecific wordings that allowed the HB’s imagination to roam and that led the HB into a dreamy kind of trance state. They were also full of sexual suggestion, with the typical pattern making liberal use of words like open, penetrate, come inside, surrender, below me (pronounced blow me) and your mind (pronounced you’re mine). Each of the patterns had a name – among others, there was the Discovery Channel pattern, the Incredible Connection pattern, the Peak Experience pattern and the much-loved, often-used Blow Job pattern, which luridly described eating a piece of chocolate and ended with the suggestion that “It’s like an explosion of pleasure in your mouth” – and could be run verbatim, although the ultimate goal, for advanced SS students only, was to be able to make up patterns on the spot.

The terrible thing for Jeffries was that any time he told people in the media about this process – Jerry Springer, say, or Sally Jessy Raphael -they basically just laughed in his face, like it was some kind of Saturday Night Live joke or a con, and in either case a disgusting, outrageous affront to women. On the other hand, the great thing was that in the field, at a coffee shop or a quiet bar, with time enough to play out the entire SS methodology, with its set of language progressions, the stuff really seemed to work.

Now, at the Broadway Bar and Grill, on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Jeffries was himself entering into an altered state. He had his own way of getting there, by humming the Rocky and Bullwinkle theme song, saying to himself, “Yummmm,” and then, out loud, saying, “Let’s go have some fun!”

He glanced down the bar at a blonde who looked like Sharon Stone, only sweet. In an instant, Jeffries was by her side. Her name was Lacey. That very evening she had broken up with her boyfriend. She said she thought she knew Jeffries. Jeffries smiled and said he thought he knew her, too. He paused, frowned, modulated his voice and in almost a whisper, he began running a pattern on her. He said, “You know, I was watching the most interesting show on the Discovery Channel last night. They were interviewing people who make their living designing attractions for amusement parks. And they were talking about the elements that make up the . . . ideal attraction. They said there are three parts to the . . . ideal attraction [pointing to himself]. First, when you experience the . . . ideal attraction, you feel a state of high arousal. The . . . ideal attraction . . . makes your heart beat faster, and your breathing gets faster, and you just feel that amazing rush all over. And then another part of the ideal attraction is, it’s fascinating. You just feel so enthralled that you want to . . . take this ride multiple times; as soon as you . . . get off . . . you want to get back on again.” He continued in this way for quite a while, during which Lacey’s eyes did not waver; they were fixed to his. “And as I was watching, I thought to myself, ‘Isn’t that the perfect description of the ideal connection between two people and how you feel when you’ve met someone you really like? I mean, I think when you . . . make that kind of connection with me . . . you just . . . feel that rush of . . . excitement . . . and you just want to be with that person a lot.”

At this point, Lacey wore the expression that Jeffries often referred to as the doggy-dinner-bowl look. It was unmistakably wanton. She reached over, put her hand on his and said, “It’s like sex, isn’t it? Or that first kiss.”

Later on, after it was all over, Jeffries said, “Oh, man, that was too much. I mean, isn’t this like the most fun you can have, man – fucking with people, playing with their minds?”

One thing was odd, though – what the girls that Jeffries SS’d usually said to him. At some point during the encounter, the girls would invariably frown, pause and say: “You’ve said so much – and yet somehow I feel like I know nothing about you.”

Like many a thoroughly transformed man of the modern age, what there was to know about Jeffries, even to Jeffries, was not much, and what there was he never really liked to talk about. He grew up in a middle-class neighborhood in Gardena, California, the second youngest of six, with a hard-working dad, Irv, and an adoring mom, Sylvia. They were a book-loving family, and Ross always had a book in hand – from Irv’s anatomy books to Jane’s Fighting Ships (a gift from his mom) to his beloved Marvel comics, from which, his mom said, “I think he learned most of his imagery.” Around home, he could be a comical cutup. His mom said, “When company came over, I’d tell them, ‘I’m not responsible for anything he says or does!’ ” But at school it was a different matter. There, he was always the last kid chosen for sports. His nickname was Poindexter, or Poinsy. He was skinny and weird-looking. He had only one date during his high school years. “Was it a magical night?” someone once asked him. “I don’t really remember,” he answered. He went to a junior college for two years and then to UCLA, where, around girls, it was more of the same: He was nervous and bizarre. He would stare at the girls. If he did somehow end up taking a girl out, he’d spend the evening talking about political science, which was his major. On one date, he brought only enough money to buy dinner for himself; the girl just sat there. At the time, he had severe digestive problems. He was more than six feet tall and weighed 130 pounds. He didn’t lose his virginity until his junior year, to a girl named Moira. “She was very intuitive, very psychic, cute, blond, a drunk,” he once recalled. “It was over very quickly. I remember thinking, ‘That’s it? That’s the big deal?’ Anyway, after her, it was a sorry road that lay ahead of me, something like three years of just torture and nightmare that I’d rather not go into.”

He had only one thing he actually seemed to enjoy recollecting about those years, and that was the time, while plodding along UCLA’s Bruin Walk after being rejected for the thirteenth time in a row, that he flung out his arms and shouted: “When am I going to solve this?” There was silence for a moment, broken only when a voice inside his head came back with a reply: “When you solve it for yourself, you’ll solve it for everyone.”

That was about all he could remember of what went on back then, and when pressed for more, he got agitated. “Look,” he said, fiercely, “who cares about the past? I can’t do anything about it, so it’s pointless to think about it, so I don’t think about it. OK?”

Upon graduation, jeffries stayed in L.A. and failed as a comedy writer, his only lasting claim being a movie titled They Still Call Me Bruce, about which critic Leonard Maltin once wrote, “It’s awful.” Shortly thereafter, he chucked comedy and became a paralegal. His parents thought the law was a terrific profession, but Jeffries himself wasn’t so sure. In fact, he had no idea what he really wanted to do. Then, one day, he stumbled across a book by Bandler and Grinder called Frogs Into Princes. “By page ten,” he said, “I was hooked. It was so brilliant, so much a thing of beauty and elegance.” Moreover, it promised him a way out of his troubles. Instead of working through his girl thing and his looks thing and his weird-behavior thing, he could just step around them. That was one of NLP’s fundamental precepts: The past could cease to be or to mean. And he could become anyone he wanted. “I did a tremendous amount of healing work and basically wiped everything out,” he said. “I’ve reconstructed my history so it doesn’t bother me anymore. Whatever happened, it’s like it happened to someone else.”

And when that became clear to him, so did one other thing: that what he wanted to be was someone who taught NLP. First he did therapeutic work, mostly curing guys of shyness and phobias. Then he got interested in the persuasion side of NLP and somewhere along the line got the bright idea to try the stuff out on girls. He couldn’t believe the results. “I realized,” he said, “that attraction, and love, is not a thing. It’s a process that people undergo, and you can trigger the process.”

His mom and dad were open-minded folks and not at all upset by the line of work their son soon went into (although when people asked what he did for a living, they would coyly say, “He’s a writer and a lecturer and does some hypnosis”).

“Ever since I was five years old, I knew I was going to produce something,” said their son. “Only, for a long time, I didn’t know what I was meant to do. Now I knew. I knew this is what I was meant to do.

“I mean, when I take guys who are going nowhere and I solve this problem for them, my mind is blown by this, it really is,” he went on. “They’re expecting me to tweak them maybe ten percent. They’re not really expecting the answer I have for them. It blows them away, too. They’re astonished. My stuff is Area 51 – advanced stealth technology. No one ever before came along and said, ‘The key to getting laid or attracting women is altered states of consciousness.’ It’s thermonuclear weapons. It’s not like Jesus just healing the crippled man so he can walk. This is the crippled man suddenly winning the marathon and leaving all the other people so far in the dust, he’s sitting there having dinner and a cold shower while they’re still huffing and puffing. Do you understand?”

One sweltering day in marina del Rey, Jeffries stepped in front of a woman at a newsstand. The woman, a rather sizable woman wearing something stretchy, said to Jeffries, “Sometimes you shouldn’t be rude to people.”

Jeffries blinked. “Well, what a horrible thing to hear from such a happy, wonderful person,” he said.

“You walked right in front of me,” the lady said. “I was looking at that magazine cover.”

“You know why I did that?” Jeffries was leaning in toward her. Everything was happening very quickly. He was spitting his words, clipping them off, shooting them at her. “I’m a sociopathic personality,” he snapped. “And my psychiatrist says I’m very violent. I also have AIDS and herpes – you better not get too close.”

“I know, I know, I know, I know,” the woman said. “I know who you are. You’re rude. You’ve always been rude.”

Jeffries saw that she had an ice-cream cone in her hand. “You’re pretty fat to be eating that, don’t you think?” he said.

“Yeah, that’s right, and you’re ugly.”

“Yeah,” he said, “and you’ll die of a heart attack!”

It was an explosive, out-of-control exchange. Jeffries had no idea who the woman was or how she knew him. Maybe from one of his TV appearances; maybe she’d seen him on TV but hadn’t really heard him say what so often fell on deaf ears: “SS is something you do with a woman, not to a woman.” Of a few things he was certain, though: The whole episode was her fault, all the negativity came from her, and he really had nothing to do with it. Jeffries strolled off and pretty soon was humming the Rocky and Bullwinkle theme song.

Many of the brothers who showed up for the Palo Alto seminar were just starting out. Maybe they’d only recently been introduced to SS; maybe they’d been into it for a while and were just now having breakthrough-type sargying success. Most of them seemed like genuinely nice guys, although quite a few of them, like most people, had their problems. Brother 007, from Hawaii, thought he wasn’t getting play from the chicks because he was going bald. Brother Austin was so shy that at bars, instead of talking to his heart’s desire, he would drink himself silly, then retire to the parking area and pass out in the back of his truck. Brother ESR, from Chicago, had no trouble getting women – he looked like a cross between Johnny Depp and Keanu Reeves – but he was deeply into making love happen and controlling how love affected him emotionally. In fact, ESR was so into it that at one time he hooked up two dual-cassette, auto-reverse Denon tape decks to an auto-reverse Tascam 644 four-track mixer, at a total cost of $2,500, just so he could listen to five different SS tapes at once, over and over, on a continuous loop, while he slept. As for Brother Orion, he had spent the last several years in a hallucinogenic fog. “I’ve been taking a lot of drugs, a lot of psychoactives,” he said. “But for me it was this promise of bliss that didn’t come, and it wound up getting me into a world of confusion.” Indeed, he had just about given up on women when he stumbled across SS; that was two months ago, and already he had a favorite pickup line: “Forgive me, excuse me for interrupting, but I just had to tell you that you are absolutely stunning and I really wanted to meet you.” “I’ve used that line forty times in the last three days,” Orion said. “I just love it.”

And then there was Brother Kamal, the funniest and warmest of all the brothers, a short Hindu fellow with a pleasant, round face and the most mellow, subtle and hypnotic of voices. By profession, he was a private investor and a sitar player, with a few of his CDs available in stores. In his personal life, he had already seen what Jeffries could do. “I was once a very boring and dry guy; a piece of driftwood was more exciting to be with than me,” he said. “But Ross turned it all around. When I met Ross the last time, he talked about eliciting values. I tried it with this woman: ‘What does it mean to you to fall in love?’ Based on the information she gave me, I fed it back to her at a later time. And then, on the second date, I nailed her, I screwed her, I fucked her. But only because I asked her the right questions.” He smiled, charmingly.

Inside the Holiday Inn seminar room sat about thirty guys and one girl, Brother Kathleen, a convert who was intent on learning how to use SS to pick up guys. Jeffries swept in amid lots of shouts and a thunderous amount of applause. As the first order of business, he demanded that everyone sign nondisclosure agreements, and he then swept the room with a bug detector; he’d once been infiltrated by a Fox camera crew and wasn’t going to let it happen again. After that, he introduced Team Jeffries: his business partner, Dr. Yates Canipe, formerly of the Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office, and Mark Cunningham, his co-trainer, a professional hypnotist better known to the brothers as Housewife Banger Cunningham and, rumoredly, to the CIA as one of its former Project Phoenix snipers with thirty-one kills to his credit. Shortly thereafter, Jeffries called Brother Orion forward to talk about the eighteen-year-old chick he’d sarged the night before.

Happily, Brother Orion launched into the tale. “I was running patterns on her,” he said, “and I had her going, and then she said, ‘Like, but what if you’re just manipulating me?’ ” Orion paused for effect, then continued. “I said, ‘I am manipulating you – to feel absolutely wonderful!’ ”

The students went nuts cheering. After they quieted down, Jeffries gave them the lesson. “Take whatever you’re offered,” he said. “See only opportunity. Eighteen, huh? A cute eighteen?” “Very cute – and I put my hand down there,” Orion continued. “We tried to find a park, but there’s no park. There’s a church!”

“Praise the Lord!” someone called out.

Jeffries strolled around in front of the class. He held his head up high. He was feeling mighty pleased with himself. “So, a twenty-six-year-old man approaches an eighteen-year-old girl on the street and this is what happens. And they say it’s impossible, that it can’t happen!” He scoffed at his critics, then peered at Orion. Suddenly, only one question needed asking, and so Jeffries asked it. “Was ESR smelling your fingers at his place?”

“Why, yes, he did!” Orion shouted, surprised.

Jeffries nodded knowingly. “My psychic abilities just clicked in,” he said and then got on with his teaching.

During the next three days, jeffries pounded their heads with his SS technology, as he liked to call it. He worked on their state of mind and altering their consciousness, saying, as a preacher might, “I have been to the mountaintop, and these are the things that will lead you to the holy land of poontang!” He had them do tonality exercises to get their voices sounding nice and hypnotic. He talked about using so-called weasel phrases (such as, “What’s it like when you . . .” and “How surprised would you be to . . .”) to introduce embedded sexual commands inside what would otherwise be perfectly normal sentences; about using time distortion to overcome resistance; about various conversational setups, transitions and bridges; about the patterns designed to easily and quickly induce trance states; about the power of presuppositions; about how to mirror gestures and breathing to slide into a rapport with an HB, or anyone, for that matter; about eliciting an HB’s core-value hierarchies and then playing them back to her, as Brother Kamal had done.

Jeffries said, “Language is an exquisite thing. It’s very, very powerful. Language can actually change the structures inside your brain. It’s profoundly powerful. It’s magical.”

Someone asked whether SS would work on really smart women.

Housewife Banger Cunningham said, “When looking at intellect or the ability to comprehend, you’re looking at a woman’s analytic ability, OK? But when you tap directly into her hopes, her desires, all her cherished fantasies, her dreams, and you expand her sense of possibilities so that they include you, and perhaps only you, then no matter how formidable an intellectual defense she mounts, it won’t work. As Ross says, ‘The smarter they are, the faster they fall.’ ”

Later, Brother Orion said, “When you’re sargying a girl, the question to ask is, ‘How good can I possibly make this woman feel?’ And to then push it.”

And Jeffries said, “By push, I don’t mean coercion or force. Force is for governments. Who are the most uncreative, unthinking people in the world? Governments! What do they rely on to get you to do what they want? Coercion, threats and force! We are Speed Seducers. We don’t need to do that.”

Of moral qualms and general ethical misgivings, there were none at the Palo Alto SS seminar, if only because everyone believed that it was true: SS is something you do with a woman, not to a woman. By putting a woman in a trance state and running patterns on her, you were just opening her mind up to wonderful new sensations, images and feelings. It wouldn’t cause her to do anything against her will. It just made it easier for a guy who wasn’t her type to suddenly become her type, which would then allow her to do what she might do with her type of guy anyway, given a certain overdose amount of bedroom-oriented charm.

Actually, one person there did question the whole SS thing, and that was Brother Chris. Chris was especially disturbed by what Brother Orion had done with that eighteen-year-old girl, and one afternoon he and Brother Steve, a confirmed SSer from New York, hashed it out.

Chris said, “I mean, he’s fingering her next to a church on a marble slab, and then it’s like, ‘OK, I’m done with you. Thanks.’ ”

“Was she consenting?” Steve asked. “If she was, I don’t see what your ethical question is.”

“OK,” Chris said. “But I can screw you over in a business deal in a perfectly legal way. It’s right in the eyes of the law – but is it ethical? He was using the power of language to take an eighteen-year-old child and play her emotions so that he could do things that under normal circumstances she would not normally go for.”

Steve said, “What has she lost? How was she hurt?”

Chris said, “That’s not quantifiable. But how is she helped? What did she get? Did she go back to her dorm room thinking, ‘I was being fingered by a guy I met an hour before on a marble slab outside of a church just in sight of the college?’ That’s one of the questions I have about all this: You’re handing guys Colt 45s with a full magazine, a round in the chamber and the hammer back – and you’re expecting them to put the safety on!”

“The example you raise is kind of gray,” Steve said. “To me, the ethical boundary for this is that you create opportunities and interest, and she has to make a decision to join you or not. If she decides not to, oh well, too bad. Anyway, what do most guys use to get girls into bed? Booze. Now, which is worse? Booze creates chemical dependency, gets her screwed up, might get her raped, and she’s got a bad hangover in the morning, and she might get pregnant because she didn’t know what she was doing.”

Brother Chris shrugged. Brother Steve shrugged. They could both see each other’s point. It was a hard call in the strange and sometimes fucked-up world in which they lived.

During the late part of the evening, his eyes slit out and the mantle of exhaustion on him, Jeffries watched war on the TV in his Holiday Inn hotel room. Maybe he was too tired to think of R. Don Steele, maybe not. Steele was the author of How to Date Young Women and Jeffries’ sworn enemy on the Internet. Pretty much everything Steele believed in -traditional courtship is what it amounted to – Jeffries did not. Currently, on the alt.seduction.fast newsgroup, the two were engaged in a massive, truly ugly flame war. R. Don Steele would write: “[Jeffries’] mother didn’t love him; thus he has no idea about how to have a relationship with a female. In adolescence, early adulthood and now as an adult, he is, and was, constantly rejected and humiliated by all women. He’s an angry, vindictive woman hater . . . a twit . . . a scrawny, pencil-necked geek . . . a self promoter and fast-talking salesman . . . a fraud . . . a loser at life and love.” In turn, Jeffries would respond: “R. Dong . . . you sad, sick, pathetic little man . . . profoundly dumb from every angle, both personally and epistemologically . . . a completely vile, unethical scumbag . . . a sociopath . . . loudmouth . . . windbag . . .” In some ways, it was all quite humorous.

But then, more recently, Jeffries had learned that Steele had prostate cancer. Jeffries apparently came across a note from Steele on the sci.med.prostate.cancer newsgroup, asking whether he should take the drug DHEA: “My urologist says no! It will feed the cancer. My internist says yes. You need it to cure the cancer.”

Jeffries, of course, could have chosen not to respond to the note from this cancer-struck, suffering man. Now was a time he could be gracious and just let the flame war go out. Maybe he would have done that earlier in his life, before discovering NLP and undergoing all his many changes. But not now. He wrote back: “Your urologist is lying! Trust me! Trust your internist! Take the DHEA! Take lots of it! Mix it in your Cuervo! Jam it in [your girlfriend’s] butt cheeks and stir. Felch the mixture. Sprinkle DHEA dust on a doobie . . . take DHEA enemas! Trust me, Donnie!”

And, later, in another posting, he wrote: “Funny thing is . . . a few months ago, I sent [Steele] a message asking if he CAN see for CERtain something RETURNING . . . rapidly . . . growing out of control . . . the kind of thing that could make you just PROSTRATE yourself to the ground. . . .”

“He’s a buffoon, a fucking moron par excellence,” Jeffries sometimes said. “I mean, we have students in their forties who are quickly slushying twenty-year-olds – and Steele says that’s impossible.”

Jeffries would then smile and say, “I mean, for that, my students do love me. If I told them to kill Don Steele, they’d do it. I bet I have at least one person who would kill for me. I wouldn’t ask, though. I wouldn’t do it,” he said, feeling the need to make this point perfectly clear.

While Jeffries watched his TV set, the brothers Orion, Kamal, Austin, ESR, Vijay and 007 were diligently at work. This was on University Avenue. They helped one another out with critiques. Said one brother to another: “I observed you, and you were doing absolutely beautifully with your sexual metaphors and tonality. But I would say, in retrospect, you were standing too far off from her.” Nodding, the brother said, “True; that’s true.”

Then Orion started goofing around, just hitting on girl after girl, getting more blatant with every new encounter. At one point, he found himself saying to a couple of girls: “I don’t think you should think in that di-erection, you know, because I can feel my ha-penis growing too quickly. But it would really be blow me to talk like that, ya know. I know what she’s saying – what? I cunt hear you! Well, it’s OK, ’cause you’ll finger it out later. It’s nothing, it’s nothing. Twat’s he saying?”

The girls just laughed, and Orion seemed as amazed as anyone, not only that the girls were laughing along with him but also that he’d come so far from the dank, hallucinatory place where girls almost ceased to matter. Now here he was, carving out a new life for himself. Maybe he would move to San Francisco and bunk with Brother Austin. Maybe Brother Kamal would move to San Francisco, too. And Brother Vijay, from where he lived. It was a wonderful, wild thought. But at this point in time, everything seemed possible, and possible in a way in which there would be no consequences, no darkness, no price to pay for their transformations.

Sometimes jeffries could not believe where he was or who he was. “It’s weird, isn’t it?”‘ he said during those reflective moments. “I’ve figured out something that guys have been working on forever – how can I get more sex, how can I have a choice of who I’m with, how can I attract who I want? And I’ve worked it out! I’m the guy who worked it out!”

He shook his head. It was all too much of a miracle. “I’m the guy that figured it out! In the Cult of Kootchy, I’m the Guru of Gunch, man. I’m the guy. It just freaks me out!”

He was at a coffee shop, sargying HBs. He went outside, into a parking lot, and walked toward his Saab. He held his head up, moved with his shoulders back, his chest out, a light smear of sweat on his forehead. At this point it was hard to see in him the freak he apparently once was, in the years before NLP and SS. In any event, he was another sort of individual now.

“God, this is great!” he was saying. “Yee-haw! Gaw, look at me! Do I look like I’m having fun? Man,” he was saying, loudly, “whatta life!” 

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