Once upon a time, in a far away land called Australia, I owned a business that was generating more money than I knew what to do with.
I had a kiosk in a mall in a crime-ridden Lebanese neighborhood in Sydney, Australia.
The lovely people of Bankstown truly did me right. I was making more money than I had ever made in my life, most of it in cash – all from selling hair straighteners to local Lebanese girls.
I didn’t keep such accurate books, but I was easily clearing $10-$15k a month after expenses.
So there I was, 34 years old, making more money than I could spend and living in a $125/week hostel with 8 other people in my room.
After having been broke for so long, I went a little crazy with the online shopping. I would order stuff from AliExpress, forget about it, and then wonder why I had bought a lightning cat sweatshirt 28 days later when a nondescript package finally arrived.
Why I always wanted colored contacts
Maybe it’s a little metrosexual of me, but ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to try color contacts.
Don’t ask me why – I always just thought the idea of changing my eye color would be cool.
After all, people do all kinds of things to change their appearance. So why not change your eye color?
The only problem is that wearing colored contacts is not something that straight males do. Call me sexist if you want, but it seems to me that the common perception among people is that only girls and gay guys wear colored contacts.
Still, I was shopping up a storm on all kinds of sites online, so I figured I might as well buy a few pairs and try them out. What’s the worst that could happen – I wouldn’t like them?
The first two pairs I bought were blue and purple.
(Don’t ask me why I bought purple. I just thought it was cool.)
Fun fact: it’s impossible for human beings to have purple eyes.
The colored contacts arrived a few weeks later, but I was too insecure to try them on.
Selling hair straighteners in Bankstown was hard enough, what with the hypermasculine Lebanese guys and their straight-talking female counterparts.
So I stuffed them in my toiletries bag and promptly forgot about them.
These colored contacts have more stamps in their passport than you
Those of you who have been following me for a while know I travel quite a bit.
Generally speaking, I’m living in a different city every couple of months, sometimes even weeks. Sure I’ll stay someplace for a few months if I REALLY like it, but that’s kind of rare these days.
Even though I pack pretty light with just a single backpack and computer bag, I have a hard time throwing things away.
These colored contacts were no exception.
In fact these two pairs of contacts have probably seen more countries than most American citizens.
First they came from China, then to Australia, then in January of 2018 they traveled with me to Thailand.
They’d come with me when I did my visa runs in Kuala Lumpur and Vietnam.
Then they’d return with me to Thailand, just sitting in my toiletries bag.
June of that year, I got a call from my mom reminding me that my dad’s 80th birthday was that July. I hadn’t seen my parents since March of the previous year – apparently that was too long for my mom.
Don’t get me wrong, my parents are great and I owe them a ton for everything I put them through growing up.
But at the time, I had carried the momentum from my kiosk in Bankstown to Thailand with me. Only this time I was consulting for blockchain startups as a marketing expert and absolutely raking it in.
I had no desire to come back to boring old La Quinta, often called “God’s Waiting Room” because of its high percentage of senior citizens.
Anyway, I bit the bullet and ended up coming back for a visit.
If you’re gonna have friends, make sure they’re famous
I had been on a roll for a year and a half, and coming back to America kind of made me nervous.
For the two years prior to me opening my kiosk in Australia, I had been a pretty big loser. I did nothing other than drive for Uber, yoga at Equinox, and play hours and hours of Dota.
Coming back to America made me a little uneasy that I’d slip into my old habits. I told my parents right away I was putting a time limit on coming back – “just a few weeks” – I told them.
While I was in California, I struck up a conversation with an old friend of mine. If you guys watch my videos, you’ll know that I sometimes refer to a Jewish friend of mine who I always describe as being “famous in the Jewish community.”
This guy can’t walk 2 blocks in Tel Aviv without getting stopped by someone he knows. He even gets stopped in New York City.
My friend, whose name is Tom, is one of the very few genuinely nice people I’ve ever met. He manages to give everyone he meets the impression that he actually cares about them and is interested in what they have to say.
I don’t know how he does it, but he manages to have a network of legitimate friends who he can tap for favors any time – and they’ll actually do them.
I would too. Don’t ask me why.
Anyway, since I knew I would only be in America for a few weeks, I needed to have a plan as to where I would go afterwards. It would be monsoon season in Asia until December, so Thailand was out.
I figured that since it was the height of summer, I might as well go back to Tel Aviv for a solid 3 months of beautiful Israeli beaches, beautiful Israeli girls, and beautiful Israeli food.
Just as I was planning to go to Tel Aviv, a chance conversation with a mutual friend of Tom’s and mine planted the idea in my head that I should go to New York.
Despite all the traveling I’d done, I’d never been to New York. The Big Apple never appealed to me. I only like visiting places with nice weather.
But our mutual friend assured me that New York actually has nice weather in the summer time. I figured I’d pop over for a week, see the sights, and then head on to Tel Aviv until the end of the year when the weather improved again in Thailand.
I pinged Tom on Facebook and told him I might be popping by New York for a bit. Without missing a beat, he told me I could stay with him while I was there.
What a bro, right?
There’s famous, and then there’s famous in New York
Tom, our mutual friend (Bobby), and I have a special bond. We’re 3 losers who are all trying to “make it” in the world.
We have an unspoken deal that whoever makes it first will pull the other two up to their level.
- Bobby is a hopeless and broken human being. He hasn’t worked in years and spends all day watching YouTube videos and masturbating.
- Tom has the connections to make something happen, but doesn’t take action on anything.
- And I would argue that I have the work ethic, but am just choosing the wrong things to spend my time on.
Hard to explain why we’re so close despite not actually spending that much time together. I mean, Bobby and I were in the army at the same time, albeit in different units. We have that bond of suffering holding us together.
And Bobby and Tom went to Brown together for 4 years. That’s also a deep bond.
Tom and I seem to have inherited the bond that he and Bobby have. Lucky me.
Taking Tom’s gracious invitation to let me stay with him at face value, I booked a flight to New York the following week.
Immediately after getting there, I was in love. I had never been to New York before and couldn’t believe my eyes.
First of all, the city was absolutely gigantic. I’d been all around the world, yet I had never seen buildings as big as what I saw in New York.
And the people… so many people.
Honestly, I realized pretty quickly that New York was overrated AF and chock full of posers who thought they were cooler than they really were. And I’m from LA so that’s saying something.
But the best part about New York was the Jewish community. And the best part about the Jewish community was that I was being looked after by a C-list celebrity.
To call Tom a social butterfly wouldn’t do him justice. This guy knew at least 20% of the people at any given Jewish event we went to. And we went to a ton of them.
The first night I got there, we went out to some Shabbat dinner on the roof of some guy’s building. As we walked through the party, we’d hear voices cut through the chatter: “Tom! Tom!”
It was unreal.
And of course, anyone who said hello to Tom got immediately introduced to me. Tom’s a bro like that.
I knew immediately that I wanted to stay in New York.
Modern Orthodox Jews – the best and worst part of New York
The weather wasn’t amazing, but at least it wasn’t cold and raining. And sure, there wasn’t a beach anywhere in sight, but I had never spent any time in New York.
The biggest draw for me though was the Modern Orthodox Jewish community.
I was raised in a reform household, which basically means my family’s Judaism started and ended with a handful of holidays.
I was familiar with Chabad on the other side of the spectrum – a sect of Haredi Jews whose purpose is to help secular Jews fulfill some of the more popular mitzvot (rules) – specifically putting on tfillin.
But the Modern Orthodox world was completely new to me. Fortunately, I had my bro Tom there to walk me through the community and prevent me from making too much of an idiot of myself.
As I see it, what distinguishes Modern Orthodox Jews from other groups is that they keep the two main mitzvot in Judaism: they keep Shabbat and they keep kosher.
Everything else is kind of optional. Some people keep more rules than others, but as long as you do those two things, you’re pretty much considered Modern Orthodox.
Since it was summer, there were basically Jewish events every single night of the week. I’d go with Tom and talk to people, but I found it hard to get to know any of the thick-skinned New Yorkers.
If people from LA are fake, then New Yorkers are rude.
I know they’re not REALLY rude, they just like to point out inconsistencies instead of giving people the benefit of the doubt. It’s a very Jewish trait to look for differences and exceptions. I believe it’s one of the reasons why Jews are as successful as they are – because we’re always looking for ways to make things better.
But these New Yorkers just rubbed me the wrong way. They seemed so superficial, so caught up in what clothes people were wearing, what they did for a living, where their apartment was, and what kind of watch they had on.
Having just spent six months in a Thai hostel wearing board shorts and flip flops (and the 8 months prior to that living in an Australia hostel), I found it hard to make such a rapid transition.
Looking back, I can see that I should have just played the game instead of trying to be unique. If people will think better of me because I wear jeans and a collared shirt, then why not just wear jeans and a collared shirt?
Do I REALLY need to wear my bright pink board shorts to synagogue on Saturday?
No. I don’t.
The Wichita Kansas (New York?) Rule
The Wichita Kansas Rule is something that I learned while watching Social Circle Blueprint 2.0 by RSD Luke (AKA Luke Krogh).
In one of the videos, his friend Michael Sartain talks about how he deconstructed the outfits of the cool people in nightclubs.
He said he would look at the shirt/jeans/belt/shoes they were wearing and ask them the EXACT SPECIFICATIONS of what they were, i.e. what brand.
Then he would go out and buy the exact same clothes and wear them.
It sounds a little creepy when I say it like that – even Michael acknowledges that it’s a little weird.
But who cares?
The point is that you need to copy the people who have the results you want as closely as possible if you want the same results.
If I was smart, back then I would have dressed like a stuffy Ashkenazi Jew instead of a broke ass backpacker. No wonder all the Jewish American Princesses (JAPs) didn’t give me the time of day.
It was so strange to me… I was taller, more fit, and had a better tan than most of the guys there.
But unless I had gotten a warm intro from Tom, I was pretty much ignored by most of the crowd at these events if I didn’t dress “normally.”
Again, like I said, this is something I would figure out after leaving New York. But at the time it didn’t make any sense to me.
Colored contacts finally make their debut
When Halloween rolled around, for some reason I decided to dress up as the Joker from Batman.
Occasionally, I get compelled to go all out for a costume party. Don’t ask me why.
We were supposed to go to a special fundraiser party for a sweet girl who ran a non-profit organization that hands out socks to homeless people in New York.
Those of you who have seen my YouTube videos are familiar with the blue rubber bracelet I wear on my left wrist. This was originally printed with her logo, but weeks of coconut oil and the hot Phuket sun eventually rubbed it all off.
Anyway, this Halloween I bought a bunch of cheap face paint from the dollar store down the street. By now Tom had hooked me up with a friend of his who had a massive loft on the Lower East Side.
I paid $1100/month for a room on an apartment that spanned an entire floor – pretty much unheard of for that area.
Since it was Halloween and I was already painting my face, I suddenly had the idea that I could also wear the colored contacts I had bought over a year ago.
Another problem with wearing contacts is that I had trouble putting them in my eyes. Before I moved to Israel to join the IDF, I got LASIK done – and before THAT, I wore glasses for nearsightedness.
Right when I started wearing glasses, the optometrist spent 30 minutes trying to help me put contacts in. 30 frustrating minutes later, I was ready to punch holes in glass windows and decided I would just wear glasses for the rest of my life.
But this was Halloween, baby! Might as well learn now.
I went on YouTube and found a tutorial that taught me how to put the contacts in with a different method. I’ll link to the video, but the short version is that you put the lens on the side of your finger instead of your fingertip. I couldn’t believe how easy it was.
When I put the blue contacts in, I almost didn’t recognize the person staring back at me in the mirror. And not because of the face paint.
The blue contacts COMPLETELY changed my appearance, I would argue for the better.
I have naturally hazel eyes and have gotten my fair share from girls on how beautiful they were. But that’s NOTHING compared to the comments people made with these blue ones. But we’ll get to that in a second.
The Halloween party itself was a disaster.
One thing I should have realized from the beginning is that Modern Orthodox Jews are not exactly risk takers, especially in social situations. Very cliquey.
And for me to show up in full Joker regalia was just plain weird as f*ck.
It was super awkward the entire time. And after unsuccessfully trying to mingle with people I didn’t know, I even considered going into the bathroom and washing all the cheap makeup off my face.
I ended up bailing on the party after about an hour. It was a miserable night.
Blue colored contacts are the way to go
But one good thing that came out of it was that I discovered how amazing I looked with blue eyes.
Let me tell you, these contacts were something else.
Having ice blue eyes with olive complexion is like playing your life on God Mode. They were so incredible that I am kind of surprised I haven’t re-ordered them.
I would find this out later, but the issue with color contacts is that they look fake. When you look closely at people’s eyes, you can see the color contact coating. The really bad ones have a large pupil hole where the original iris color shows through.
They look cheap and trashy.
But these contacts… these were something else.
Everywhere I went, people would make comments.
When I went to buy groceries at Whole Foods, the cashiers would say, “Wow, your eyes are so beautiful.”
When Tom and I would go to synagogue on Saturday morning, random girls would come up to me and say, “You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen.”
When we’d go to Shabbat dinners, girls sitting across from me would say, “Your eyes are amazing. Are they contacts? I can’t tell.”
Not only that, but my confidence went through the roof while wearing them.
I don’t know about you, but when I talk to someone, I find it hard to make eye contact sometimes. You feel a little awkward looking the other person in the eye.
When I was wearing these, I not only felt confident enough to look people in the eye, but I imagined that I was shooting mind control beams out of my eyes when I did.
I could be imagining it, but I think people actually lost their train of thought when they looked me in the eye.
Winter came, and it took my life savings
That November when the crypto market bottomed out, I realized I was in trouble. Crypto had been taking a nosedive for several months at that point and I had since switched to selling an Instagram growth service.
I did pretty well for myself, using a tool called Paigham Bot to get myself something like 40 new customers in the span of just a few months.
As luck would have it, Instagram chose that period to tighten up their algorithm with automated tools using their API.
Like watching a train wreck in slow motion, I ended up getting ALL of my clients’ accounts banned.
Predictably, they fired me shortly thereafter.
Meanwhile, the weather was getting cold. There was no more hot summer New York weather. Now it was raining and snowing and quickly growing WAY too cold to go outside.
The icing on the cake was when I went to transfer money from one of my main blockchain wallets into my prepaid Visa card, only to realize that the app creator had taken the app off of the AppStore.
Sure, I should have written down my private key and passcode. But I didn’t.
Somewhere out there is a wallet with 45 ETH in it, around $15,000 by today’s prices.
With my both my income and savings gone, I knew I had to make a change.
I had around $5,000 left in savings. It was almost December – almost time for the weather to start being nice again in Thailand.
I could have stayed, gotten a job, bought a fake Rolex and continued to try to fit in with the Modern Orthodox crowd.
But instead of staying in New York, I booked a ticket back to Thailand, sent my vintage fur coats back to my family in California, and sunk my teeth into my 2019 goal:
Starting a popular YouTube channel.
And if you’ve actually read this entire article, that’s probably where you found me.
What does this have to do with colored contacts? I’m not really sure.
But once I get some money together, I definitely want to buy them again. I could use the confidence boost.