Saturday night, Brooke and I went to a club to have a few drinks. Things have been a bit rough with Meghan lately and I think he wanted to talk. As I've discovered, she's slowly becoming a very successful photographer and she's getting more and more international contracts. This has meant a lot of work abroad in the last few months and it's caused a strain in their relationship. Brooke says she keeps mentioning Manuel, a Spanish fashion magazine owner who keeps calling and texting her (even in the middle of the night). Brooke's not a jealous guy, but he knows when someone is making a play for his girl.

So in order to help Brooke lighten up, I decided to challenge him to a pickup contest. I figured with my Nudge, I'd be able to keep up with him, maybe even win. I haven't really practiced it, despite what you might think. With Morgan taking care of my sexual needs (and then some!), I haven't been feeling any particular urge to fool around with female strangers.

The rules were pretty straightforward. We started the contest at 10:15PM. Each of us had 45 minutes to get as many phone numbers as we could. Loser would pay drinks for the rest of the evening. From previous experience, I knew I could get around one number every six minutes and change (yes, I did the math!). That meant I could do around seven numbers before the time was up. Maybe a little more if I pushed it (but I knew this would mean a headache). The things I do for friends.

So we went to work. We've done this before, and of course Brooke would always crush me. This time, though, I'd make him proud and return the favor. Things were off to a good start. I approached two girls, did some small talk, and learned they were BFFs with benefits. It's amazing what you can get out of some girls with just a few good openings and a playful attitude (the openings alone don't work). I barely had to do any nudging for BOTH of them to give me their numbers and invite me for some fun together later. Things kept rolling and after thirty minutes, I was up to eight numbers already--a pace below four minutes a girl. At this rate, I might be able to push a dozen before 11PM.

And then that girl happened. Tall girl, sexy smile, long red hair, good figure, wearing casual jeans, a t-shirt and a vest. She had--get this!--some beads and feathers in her hair, and was drinking beer straight from the bottle. There was a hippie vibe about her that reminded me a bit of Zuri's free spirit. There was something very approachable about her and I thought this was going to be easy. She noticed me checking her out and raised her bottle in a silent toast to my health or something. So I approached her and got to work. I went for the Oh-I-thought-you-were-someone-else approach.

"Hey," I started, "I was wondering where you--oh, you're not Susan!"

"Nope," she said, smiling and half-turning from me. She gulped down some beer and winked at me. "There's no Susan, is there?"

Uh oh, I thought. She's on to me, so I might as well drop the game and play it straight.

"Ah, no," I said with a grin. "Well, there's probably a Susan somewhere, but she looks nothing like you."

She just smiled. "I should warn you, we're not leaving together tonight."

Well, that was direct. Then she turned to face me, wrapped her arms around my neck, drew me in and kissed me on the lips.

Wow.

That threw me off my game a little. A lot, actually. I got a little flustered and broke the kiss.

"Ah, for someone who's not leaving with me tonight, I think you're sending mixed signals."

"Doesn't mean we won't ever leave together, just not tonight." She stepped back, held up her beer bottle and shook it a little. Empty.

"Want another?" I asked. She nodded, so I motioned for a wandering waitress to bring us to more of what she was having.

We chatted for a while and, I'm embarrassed to say, I lost track of time. It was the weirdest thing, though. I could tell she really liked me, but no matter how much I nudged her, I couldn't get her to give me her phone number. I tried the indirect approach, reverse psychology, and, out of moves, fell back on just plain asking for it. Nothing worked. I'd never encountered anyone who was so in control in this kind of situation (well, Brooke being the exception). Finally, with that thought, it finally dawned on me. The feathers in the hair were a dead give away, I just hadn't picked up on it: this was a pick-up artist, female version. Just like Brooke.

And with that, it was 11PM and Brooke suddenly appeared near us, grinning victoriously.

"I got TEN!" he said, not even acknowledging the girl I was talking to. I just realized I didn't even know her name!

"Ah," I began, realizing I was still short. "I'm not... I don't..." Feeling like a fool, I didn't want her to know we were playing some game and she was part of it.

Brooke glanced at the girl and winked. "Thanks for the assist," he said. She slipped by his side and put her arm around his waist. "No problem," she said, grinning at me.

"Wait, you two KNOW each other?" I'd been played! Of COURSE they knew each other. She was a pick-up artist, just like Brooke. Probably one of his many wingmen (or wingwomen?)... It finally dawned on me that Brooke must have called her in to stall me. He knows about my Nudge so he needed someone to neutralize me while he got more phone numbers! What a bastard! (But a clever one, I have to admit.)

"Sure we do," Brooke said. "This is my cousin Mallory. Taught me everything I know about women."

So I think this warrants a DUN DUN DUUUUUN...