I'm not familiar with the Knitting Night for Men. Is it held at your local yarn store? If so, I would imagine that you could go there and learn some techniques.
The videos here and elsewhere on the Internet are great, but I know that not everyone learns well from videos. If you can find someone to help you in person, I'm sure it would help a lot!
As far as ripping out your CO and 1st row of knitting, try knitting a few rows instead. See if the look of it improves as you go on. Each time I start a project my work looks weird and ugly until I get 5-7 rows in, and then it starts to look like something. I'm sure many others feel the same way. It's just part of starting something new; there aren't enough rows of knitting to make the piece look like it should.
Good luck and have fun! I'm sure you'll be knitting away in no time.