This post was requested in the recent survey and since it’s a topic so close to my heart, I decided I had to write it up. See, back in 2007 right after I graduated from college, I decided to fuck around, become a bike messenger and live on my friend’s futon for a while. I was broke. But I had a kick ass job and was partying five nights a week.

My deadbeat lifestyle eventually caught up with me and my results dropped off, but not until after I plowed through half a dozen hotties or so. In fact, years ago I had a post up on this blog called “Futon Follies” which cataloged some of the more outrageous experiences I had on that futon (the highlight being bringing a girl home and banging her in the living room while my roommates played Mario next to us). I’d never go back to those days, but I certainly look back with a degree of nostalgia.

So Broke Man’s Game… the funny thing about Broke Man’s Game is that you go so far beyond a cheapskate. I mean, sure, some girls will just think you’re cheap. But your complete and utter disregard for paying for anything will often come across as crass and in a strange way, somewhat attractive. It just adds this whole DGAF (Don’t Give a Fuck) attitude to everything you do and amazingly, during this period, an inordinate amount of girls bought me shit. They paid for dinners, drinks, dates, cabs, all sorts of crap. Most of it I didn’t ask. I think they just realized how fucking broke I was.

In this guide, I’ll briefly cover the four major categories in which you’ll need to avoid paying money when picking up girls and how to do it.

Transportation

This is the hardest one to change depending on where you live and what your situation is. If you’re living at home with mom and dad and have to drive 30 minutes to get downtown, then you’re shit out of luck and are going to have to pay for gas. If you live in a more enlightened city with public transportation (like I did), then you can take the subway for a clean $1.75. Share a cab home with friends, or even better, if you’re within a few miles, walk yourself home to sober up. I did that a number of times. All in all, you can often get away with less than $5 a night for transportation.

Parking is a bitch. But the only trick to parking is to just show up earlier than everybody else. I know this sounds lame, but the easiest time in the night to game is early anyway, so getting a head start on the competition is never a bad thing. Besides, this gives you more time to pre-game (see below).

The best option is if you can find house parties to go to and hitch a ride with someone else. Or even hitch a ride with them downtown. The only problem with this is they may expect you to return the favor eventually, and as a broke motherfucker, you’re likely to not have the resources to do that. So only catch as many rides as you think you can get away with without owing them a free drink or anything.

Cover

The simplest rule about cover is to simply not go to venues that charge cover. Stick to dive bars, hotel lounges, sports bars, etc. “But Mark, the hotties are all in the clubs with ridiculous cover? And I may not have enough money to do laundry this week, but damned if I’ll be kept away from my hotties.” Well, I’m glad you asked. Because there are some ways to get into clubs with reduced or no cover.

The first is to find a local promoter and get on their list. This sounds like a super secret VIP thing or whatever. But the dirty secret about clubs these days is that a simple search on Facebook and MySpace is all it takes to get on almost any VIP list. I do this sometimes in cities when I travel. You search on Facebook for “X Nightlife” where X is the city and usually groups or fan pages for promoters will come up. Browse through them, it should be obvious once you find them because they’ll have gaudy shit all over their page telling you to party with the high class crowd with their airbrushed pictures and all of the other ridiculous crap. Look around their profile, usually they’ll have something like, “VIP LIST FOR X CLUB THURSDAYS, TEXT XXX-XXXX.” Text that number with your name. Show up. And that’s it. Typically you’ll get 50% off, but every once in a while you’ll get hooked up.

But from here you want to try and actually meet the promoter. Another sneaky tactic is to look on their Facebook page and look for someone who shows up on their wall a couple times and say like, “Hey, my friend is friends with your friend X,” or whatever. They’ll usually pretend to get all excited but honestly, they’re busy and don’t give a shit. Either way, that’s your in to introduce yourself. The better you get to know the promoter, the more likely they’ll just comp you and let you in in the future.

Another method is to befriend bouncers, although this is harder if you don’t already know someone who works for the venue and it takes longer/more visits. Basically you have to already become a regular at the club. Each night you go, step outside for a bit and bullshit with the bouncers. Bouncers are usually bored out of their minds most of the night, so it’s pretty easy to talk to them. Most are nice and normal guys. Some are dicks. But if you find a nice one, try to get to know him over the course of weeks/months. This strategy kind of works for anyone who works for a venue.

Alcohol

The first rule of Broke Man’s Game is you do not ever buy drinks. The second rule of Broke Man’s Game is you do not EVER buy drinks. Ever. Alcohol is the quickest and easiest money suck. If you don’t drink, even better. If you do drink, here’s the cheapest way to do it, without ever buying a single drink from an establishment.

Go to a couple liquor stores. Almost every liquor store has a regular special. It’s usually a big stand up near the front of the store with like 20 big bottles of Smirnoff for 25% off. It’s like a permanent offer, it’s always there. Find the best deal for your favorite type of liquor. Back in the day, I had a liquor store near me in Boston that had a perma-offer on Jim Beam at $18 for a full liter. A FULL LITER! That’s like 40 shots. That’s like 49 cents per shot. That same shot would cost you at least $4 at a bar and at least $6 at a club.

The other option is to get cheap bottom-shelf vodka like Gordon’s. Often you can find cheap vodka for as low as $10-11 per liter (25 cents a shot). But that shit tastes like paint-thinner to me. Sorry, I’m not that cheap.

Next, buy a cheap $5 aluminum flask. It should hold five ounces (five shots). This is a Broke Man’s best friend if he’s trying to go out and get laid. If you want mixers, buy in bulk. 3 Liter bottles of Coke are usually like $2. Can’t beat that value.

From now on, you do two things: 1) you pre-game at your place before you go. That means you make 1-2 drinks at the house before you go out to get you a head start. 2) Fill your flask to the top and take it out with you. When you get to the bar, order glasses of club soda or glasses of coke, go back into a dark corner or the bathroom, pull your flask out and pour some in. Or you can just shoot straight from your flask.

Do NOT let bartenders or bouncers ever see your flask, they will throw you out.

Never EVER buy drinks at the bar. If you have to, buy the cheapest beer possible. But even then, you’re probably paying $4 for crap. Going out with friends is great because people often buy rounds and so you’ll get a couple free drinks that way. And if you’re really smooth, often you can trick or convince a girl into buying a drink for you. I used to be pretty good at this, but haven’t done it in years.

Dates

I think this intimidates guys the most. How do you take a girl out without spending money, but without her thinking you’re a cheapskate at the same time? Simple, my friend.

1) Go to free events. Check Yelp, CitySearch, etc. In most big cities, there’s always free events, free shows, free concerts, flea markets, etc. going on any given week.

2) Take her out for an activity that doesn’t involve actually spending anything even though it feels like you are. The most ironic of these is to take her shopping with you. Just don’t actually buy anything, just walk around looking for stuff. One of my favorite dates to this day is to still take a girl to a nice park and walk around. That’s it. Walk and talk for a couple hours. Bike riding, watching a movie or sports at home, these can all be done easily and for free.

3) Don’t EVER do dinner dates, bar dates or movie dates. Aside from dinner and movie dates just sucking, you may be expected to pay for not only yourself, but her as well.

4) Get her to meet near your house so you don’t have to drive anywhere (see Transportation).

Conclusion

Obviously, if you’re broke, online game and day game can be the most advantageous, allowing you to skip all of the night life bullshit, alcohol, cover and transportation and skip straight to the date with minimal or no expenditures. Obviously, if you’re doing online dating, stick to the free sites (they’re better anyway).

But all in all, it’s very possible to go out and have a vibrant social life while being a broke motherfucker. If you follow the guidelines above, you can enjoy a full night out for $5-10 a night, whereas other people normally spend $30-100 for more or less the same experience. Show up early. Befriend the right people. Don’t buy alcohol. Free dates, preferably near your place.

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11 Responses to The Broke Man’s Guide to Dating

  1. Rick S says:

    I don’t think I’ve heard before that the easiest time to game is early in the night. Why is that? And how early are you talking about?

  2. Mark says:

    Talk 10PM or so. Girls are still fairly sober and excited. They haven’t been hit on by 20 douchebags yet. Guys tend to show up late so the ratios are always good. It also gives you a good 2-3 hours with a girl once you meet a good one, greatly increasing your chances of pulling her home.

    I’ve never agreed with people who say 1AM is the easiest time. That’s BS. I think the guys who say that just look for drunk sloppy girls for the quick pull. Solid game works best early in the night.

  3. unsexyMF says:

    You said the free dating sites are the best. Which ones are the best, specifically, from your experience?

  4. Guitario says:

    I used to be the master at broke man’s game. Bottle of cheap wine before i went out. Walked into town. Couple of drinks then waters for the rest of the night. Walk home. Max £10 spent in total.

    As for dates, because i live in a seaside town, i would take the girl window shopping (under the pretense of asking her to help me find a new jacket) then a walk through the park which led out to the beach. Three dates in one.

    Second date i would just invite her round to watch a dvd in my room. Job’s a gooden!

  5. Alvin says:

    Everything in this new site layout is squeezed into the middle. I don’t know about you but I find it more troublesome to read like this than before.

  6. Superman says:

    Broke Game is my forte!

    Crashing events works wonders as well, if you show up early to most events you can walk in free as long as you act like you belong.

  7. Paul says:

    Never thought of the flask idea, but I used to buy (and sometimes still do) a couple of nip shots of…JIM BEAM…for when I get to the night venue. I do splurge on martini’s and wine now and then though.

    I don’t usually pay her way for dates, but this is because I’m a feminist and refuse to abide by traditional dating scripts. If she see’s this as a dealbreaker (and some do) then she and I have different expectations for the dating process and are not going to be a good match. Let the next guy have em’. I will treat a girlfriend to something special down the road if the occasion calls for it, but I am definitely not paying the womans way because I’m “the guy”. Basically, the moral on this issue to me is not the cash…but the scripted norms it follows; it just doesn’t work for me.

    Good points on the inexpensive dates. My bests are always just sitting (or walking) and talking somewhere. No cash necessary! I am not a complete cheap skate, but I definitely know how to have the time of my life for little to no cash.

    Great tips. Wish I would have known it years ago.

  8. NotAnChump says:

    Came across this site searching for strategies against a cheapskate friend who refuses to pay for drinks, is a little too pushy in ‘so you’re buying’ when at the bar and quibbles over the cost of doing anything! It’s infuriating, and he’s quickly driving all us friends away.

    you can only push people so far, especially if they’re not much better off than you. I personally have the following rules for dealing with this uber cheap friend;
    they can organise outings and find discounts for stuff;
    always ask for a contribution towards the cost of running my car if they are getting a lift;
    never buy rounds when they are around (this annoys me but there’s no other way)
    no chance on sharing stuff even if it appears to be ‘going spare’ (like beer stacks!)
    BYO or make sure people chip in on bbq stuff

    personally I don’t like all this, I prefer to save money together, but if someone’s actively trying to leach off me, I won’t be taken for a chump!

    So be warned; saving money when going out is good, but trying to push it too far will lose you the friends you could be going out with! If you’re that broke, maybe you should find a different way to earn a living or apply your nouse to a more lucrative business.

    As for pickup recommendations; all good, will be trying a few with the gf as it’s a similar game :)

  9. SIMPLEMATH says:

    The flask thing is a good idea and it works well, especially if you get a few drinks in you before you go out. You can mix drinks, or just drink when you go to the bathroom. A flask can be pretty conspicuous, especially if it is large and silver. I used to tape mine with electrical tape to make it black, but that was a hassle because sometime the tape would heat up and get sticky etc. Now, I bring a couple of Five-Hour Energy bottles. You can buy a bottle of booze and fill up as many little bottles as you like (2 oz. each). Leave a few in your car, and bring a couple with you. If you don’t want to mix, which is also a hassle and can be conspicuous, I often bring something that can be drank straight, like whiskey, or tequila. Lately, I’ve been liking something sweeter, like Fireball (sweet cinnamon whiskey). It tastes good, goes down fast and easy, is only 70 proof, and even girls like it if you want to share. Only drawback is it is sticky and it can get on your hands and the outside of the bottle if you aren’t careful.

    Also a fan of the long walks home, especially later, like 4:00 a.m. It’s relatively safe (for a guy), because most of the bad guys and hustlers are working the strip for stragglers, or gone home already and the night is beautiful at 4:00 under the influence of alcohol.

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