Book Review: From Shy to Social

I always envied my friend Craig. Craig had every girl in the school, even as far back as Grade 6, drooling over him. He was athletic, good looking with dreamy eyes, and was very outgoing and personable. I considered myself lucky to be his friend. I wished I had his charisma so that girls would throw themselves at me, but alas, I think it was one of those cases of by hanging around with me, Craig looked even better!

Beach author Christopher Gray has just written a book for those shy guys who would like to be more like Craig. It’s called From Shy to Social: The shy man’s guide to personal & dating success.

“Dating and courtship are complex learned behaviours, and it’s no surprise some men could use some help, especially those who are shy,” says Gray. “This is also true of recently divorced men who have not dated for many years, and feel intimidated at the prospect of starting over.”

Gray has drawn on personal experience, and consulted experts ranging from psychologists to pickup artists to write a how-to book designed to help the shy guy…. well… get lucky. He discusses various things that might make a man too shy to engage potential partners, then gives the reader “assignments” designed to overcome his shyness, and put into practise the tips Gray has discovered.

For example, there is an interesting section on personal grooming habits where he discusses how the shy man’s ‘look’, ie. his shabby wardrobe, ugly hair, pot belly and rancid after shave, affect his chances with a potential date. Then his assignment is to upgrade the wardrobe, get a stylish haircut, exercise more… and watch Sean Connery walk.

Another chapter is on What Women Want, perhaps the most important and most frustrating thing for the shy man to ponder. Gray discusses the age-old theory that women like a “bad boy”, agreeing that women prefer strong, assertive guys who take the lead on things romantic, while at the same time cautioning the shy guy to keep his temper in check (women don’t want their boy to be too bad!)

And for me, it was the chapter on pickup artists that really caught my eye. I didn’t realize that there are professional pickup artists; guys who are so successful at landing women’s phone numbers that they have written about it, blog about it, and are huge heroes in the world of single men (I guess I haven’t been ‘out there’ lately). Their Bibles are The Game, and The Rules of the Game, both by Neil Strauss, and The Mystery Method, by Erik von  Markovik, AKA Mystery. Just one interesting suggestion they present is never offer to buy a woman a drink in a club. Women are just judging you on how much you are willing to spend, think you’re a loser, and will use you for free drinks all night. Instead refuse, smile, and ask them to buy you one. Suddenly you have turned the tables, and caught their interest.

Gray will also teach you techniques for proper behaviour should you get a first date, that might lead to a second…. or third!

Over the years Craig and I went our separate ways, and I lost touch with him. But I got into music and developed latent talents as an entertainer of sorts which meant gathering up the nerve to get up on stage and perform. I’m pretty sure – from what she’s told me – that that was what initially attracted my wife to me. She has said that until she saw me on stage singing, she thought I was just some guy in her home room at school. I had never been on her list of cool-guys-she-hoped-would-call-for-a-date (I’m sure Craig was). It took that little bit of ‘stepping out’ to get me noticed.

From Shy to Social: The shy man’s guide to personal & dating success is available at Book City (1950 Queen St. East, 416-698-1444), Book City (348 Danforth Ave., (416) 469-9997) or online at for $19.95.

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