Dear Jerxy: I'm this creep on The Magic Cafe. You need to have 50 posts to read that section. That's the Cafe's high-tech security to keep laymen from finding out our secrets. Anyway, I was wondering how long I should lead my girlfriends on to believe I have special powers. If you don't have 50 posts, then let me quote the heart of my questions:
My two previous girlfriends got to know instantely (while dating) what I was working with and I showed them, windowdressed as I would with a layman. Of course they were amazed and of course it was yet another bonus for a potential relationship that I (their date) had these abilites. The first of the two girlfriends mentioned, really loved psychology and read a lot of books on the topic. She thought I was a freakin master of psychology (psychological mentalism approach) so surely that made her even more interested in me. What they both had in common was that part of their first impression of me was that I was good at psychology.
Long story short, we fell in love, became a couple and after sometime, with all honesty that comes through a relationship they got to know how it really was. I don't hide when I create my routines, I really want to be open with my partner that I love and therefor it comes to a point where I stop windowdressing and tell them that it is presentations.
Nowadays both those relationship has ended, not because they knew the true colors but because of other reasons.
But I do not know if it was a disapointment for them that their first impression proved to be not what it was presented?
What do you think?
Not Creepless, Not In Seattle
Dear Creepless: It blows my fucking gourd that you even need to ask this question. Here's how it works: If you are going to take something of value from someone (their money, their time, their affection) outside the context of a performance, then you need to make it clear what the nature of your abilities are or you're a scumbag. If you want to present yourself when you perform as a "freakin master of psychology," then knock yourself out. I have no doubt you are dull as dishwater using that style of performance but that's your choice. But once you're off stage, or the trick is over, you can't let people invest their feelings in you under false pretenses. You know how to prevent this issue? When you're not performing and someone says, "Wow, you're really like a freakin' master of psychology." You say, "Oh no, I'm just an entertainer." Problem solved.
Ah, but the problem isn't solved, is it? Because you don't want to be seen as an entertainer. Many mentalists don't, because that would require them being entertaining. It's so much easier to fool people than it is to be entertaining.
Does this mean you need to correct everyone's misperceptions of the nature of your skills? No. But if they're a person you might see again, especially someone you might pursue a relationship with, then yes. Think of it this way, if you would correct the person if they got your name wrong, then you should correct them if they get the substance of your abilities wrong. I mean, if the guy who takes my train ticket reads my name wrong and says, "Have a good trip, Adam." I don't bother correcting him. But if I'm hitting it off with the person sitting next to me and they called me Adam, then I would correct them immediately. Or else you have that awkward situation where you let someone call you the wrong name for three weeks until they end up calling you that name in front of a third party who knows your name and then it's just super weird all around. I've watched people do this. I don't know how they live that way.
I know what you're thinking, you're thinking you don't want to disclose that it's all an act. Obviously you don't or you wouldn't have fallen into the same trap with at least two different women. You think it will eliminate the mystery and the intrigue and make you less appealing to women. Well, maybe it will, but trying to win their affection through deception isn't doing yourself any favors in the long run either. What should you say when she comes up to you later in the evening and says, "You must be a psychological genius," or, "You must have a hypersensitive 6th sense"? You find away to turn the truth into something better than the fiction. How? Oh, for fuck's sake, do I have to Cyrano de Bergerac the whole thing for the uncreative lot of you? OK. You just say something like, "You know, with most anyone else I'd probably just let you believe I was a master psychological manipulator. Because... I mean, who really cares what other people think? But there's something about you... I have no desire to be dishonest with you. Can you keep a secret? [You lean in close] It's actually just the illusion of psychological control. I mean, there is some psychology involved, but it's a little more esoteric than that. It started off as an interest in magic as a kid, but over the years I just kind of went further and further down the rabbit-hole and learned all these strange techniques and weird quirky things from some really cool and bizarre characters. It's hard to explain. Let me buy you dinner sometime and tell you about it." Boom. Done. It's more interesting, intriguing, mysterious, and truthful than saying, "Why yes, I'm a psychological mastermind, and my talent is being able to tell when you're lying about what hand you're holding a coin in. Behold my awesome power!!!" Cut-to four weeks later. She's laying there wondering where your keen senses of observation and ability to detect deception have gone as she fakes yet another orgasm.