The Nondating Life

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Part Twelve: Hey, How YOU Doin'?

(Previous post)

So far, I've told you to stay out of the dating game, warned you about the friend zone, offered some advice on that first kiss and the first bang, and even told you how to get yourself out of something that's not quite a relationship. (And if there's anything we've learned from that last episode is that some of you need to work on reading comprehension skills considering the first option listed was to be honest.) What we haven't done, though, is discuss how the hell you get someone into the back of your van catch one of those many fish out in the sea.

Let me focus, today, on the pickup. As we're all too painfully aware, one of the biggest roadblocks to meeting people is that first contact. We've all been there. You're out with friends, getting bored of hearing the same damn story about that one time two years ago when you all got, like, soooooo trashed, when you see a special someone, a complete stranger, and something is set off deep inside of you: nervousness, halitosis paranoia, abdominal cramps, feelings of fatness, and, in general, the self-loathing, the overwhelming sense that never in a million years would you be worthy of such a person.

But you're feeling all of these things because, for the split second before your inner Woody Allen took over, you realized you just had to get into that woman's pants, marry her or both. And there was a brief moment of hope before your ego threw up all of those excuses to talk you out of even approaching that person. Why? Because the ego fears rejection.

Ladies, you wonder why guys don't approach you more often? Fear of rejection. You know yourselves how strong it is. And, try as they might, most guys can't get used to it. The fear, though, is gender neutral and is strong in all of us--which is why most of the times we've give a number to or received a number from a stranger, it was done within a fog of booze, and which explains why you hesitate to answer or make that call. Beer goggles cut both ways.

Fear of rejection also explains the brisk business on internet dating sites in big cities. On the internet, you can sort of go shopping, like flipping through a catalog. And when you finally sack up and make a play for the lucky guy or girl, you don't have to get that face-to-face rejection. And it's so much easier to rationalize if they don't pick you. Maybe he had a million different offers. Maybe she fell into a coma yesterday. Maybe he was just some cyber-loser with a fake photo and a dark, windowless van and a hankering for clothes made out of human flesh.

For now, though, let's concentrate on one-to-one personal interaction. Let's assume you're at a party or a bar and you see someone who makes your loins leap. What do you do?

A) Sit there and wink, until it looks like you have tourette's
B) Have your group of friends sidle up to her group of friends and have loud, obnoxious conversation, hoping they'll hear and jump in
C) Walk up to her/him and say something witty like, "Nice shoes. I bet they'd look great behind your ears" or "Hey big guy, I bet those jeans would look real good on my bedroom floor."
D) Walk up to her and say, "Hi, how ya doing?"

Yes, you are being tested. And yes, I teach to the test. I'm trusting that you all chose D. C may be funny. And A is obviously too cheesy for words. B? B could work. But I've warned you before about involving your friends in your love life. Besides, with groups come risks. There's the risk of embarrassment. If you're a woman and with your girlfriends, their judgmental side may come out immediately and banish the guy before he even has a chance to make an ass of himself. And guys? Well, two words for you, guys: Cock. Block.

So D it is. Sure, you may be saying "Are you nuts, man? You can't just walk up to someone and say hi!" Of course you can. It's not the easiest thing in the world, but it's probably a lot easier than, say, storming an enemy bunker or going into a job interview. Look, it's a boy or a girl you've never met. What do you have to lose? If you don't do it, you'll be left with a vague feeling of "What if?" If you do do it, yes, you may get shot down, but at least you tried. And, for what it's worth you've boosted the jerk's/bitch's nice young man's/lady's ego for the evening. If you're in a big city, you really have no excuse because the chances of you seeing that person again are slim to none ... and even if you DO see that person again, it could be such a weird coincidence that it just might work in your favor. Yes, I AM aware that this gets a little more complicated in a much smaller town, where you probably see the same people in the same bars quite frequently. But suck it up and go in anyway.

Now I'm not saying just walk right up to the person and tap him on the shoulder and say, "HI! HOW ARE YOU!" with a big dopey grin on your face. No. That wouldn't do. What I would suggest is to try to make yourself seen at least once or twice before hand. And, if at all possible, make eye contact once before hand ... but try not to look like a lion eyeing a piece of raw meat. After that, bide your time and wait for a moment when he or she is sort of away from the group. Perhaps she's on the way to the bar to buy a round. Maybe he's on the way FROM the bathroom (ladies, don't catch a drinking guy on the way TO the bathroom. You'd have to get nekkid to get his mind off his bladder). I've found the bar thing works a little better because, at the least, you can talk about drinks if you suddenly draw a blank. You don't want to find yourself saying, "So, how was that bathroom trip? Everything come out okay?"

You may be saying, "But, Ken."


"But Ken, just saying 'Hi, how are you,' doesn't really let my personality shine through. What if he just gives me the cold shoulder right away?"

So what? Here's the deal. First, you have to get past "Hi." One foot in front of the other. Crawl before you walk and all that noise. In the time it's taking you to say 'Hi,' that person's making numerous snap decisions and, liek it or not, most of them are based on a) what you look like, b) what level of need they're feeling and c) how drunk he or she is. You could be Einstein mixed with Lloyd Dobler mixed with Chris Rock, but if something about you doesn't pass muster with her initial sensors, it doesn't matter. Besides, if you go in with a script, if you overthink it, you WILL come across as cheesy. And only a very few can pull off cheesy to work in their favor.

Besides, your personality isn't half as interesting as you think it is. No matter what your momz tells you.

So, try it. "Hi." "What's up?" "How's it going?" "What are you drinking?" and see how he or she reacts. Then take it from there.

Me? I'm gonna go look through the Village Voice classifieds. I think there's a sale on Brooklyn She-Males going on.

(Next post)


  • I did it ken, I asked a guy out last night, he said yes, and gave me his number. NOW I ACTUALLY HAVE TO CALL HIM. This sucks big butt.

    By Blogger citygurl, at 5:50 PM  

  • ken, i have never allowed myself to be picked up at a bar *because* of the dim lighting, beer goggles, etc. but a nice boy chatted me up on the train the other day and made some intelligent comments (also he was very easy on the eyes), and won himself a date. confident, friendly, and sober works!

    By Anonymous jen, at 9:48 PM  

  • Ken this video might interest you.

    It's a free demo video showing how to get great reactions when meeting women on the street and IT is FREE.

    By Anonymous Carmen Tile, at 9:20 AM  

  • To me it is not the first hi that is the hardest. It is what to say after that. You can pretty much count on her saying hi back (unless she is totally evil), but what do you say afterwards that she will find remotely interesting? See that is the tough one...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:24 AM  

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