Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How Not to Pick Up Girls

So, you're a lonely single guy, and you see a group of two or three women sitting in a booth at the bar. You want to go over, buy them drinks, sit with them. What's your best means of approach?

Well, sorry to tell you this, but we women know that the only reason you're doing this is because we're women and you're a guy. There's really no reason for you to pretend otherwise. Try to be ... nice. A little bit flattery, a little bit of look of appreciation in your eye. Nothing gross, nothing over the top. Be pleasant. Just a "Hey, you're some very attractive women. I'd like to buy you a drink." Even, if you must, "I'd like to get to know you."

This will save untold time and annoyance on everyone's part. If you're reasonably good-looking, or having any selling points at all, it gives any women in the group who might be in the market a chance to send you "potentially interested" cues. And it cuts to the chase for the completely not interested. We can say, "Gee, that's sweet, but: boyfriend. Husband. Talking about stuff. Not a good time."

Sub-category tip: this won't help you if you're in town for one night and want to get laid, but if you can afford it, and you're coming back to this bar again, it never hurts to say something polite ("Those are lucky guys!") and offer to buy the drinks anyway, no strings attached. If you do this, you have to mean it: NO STRINGS ATTACHED. It does happen, that guys buy you the drinks, they bid you adieu, and disappear into the bar. This, friends, is an investment on building good will, and everybody needs goodwill. You don't want to be chatting up a girl months later and have someone in the bathroom tell her, "Yeah, that guy's not bad looking, but he's an asshole."

Similarly, your WORST strategy is to try to buy women drinks and sit with them, all the while disclaiming how you're not hitting on them and you're not trying to pick them up. You are, and you are, and it just makes you passive-aggressive. That's not highlighting your best quality. Guys with this approach seem to think that if they bully you into letting them sit in your booth, then they're in, which is, frankly, delusional. And far too often, they turn into jackasses when you don't flirt with them. We're not there to flirt with you, and if you'd followed my belated advice, that would have been clear from the start, freeing you to try your luck elsewhere.

Think logically, for a second, through the beer and the hormones: your whole approach was based on the fact that you weren't interested. The target audience is women who are cool with your not being interested in them, because they're not interested in you. These are the ground rules that were established in the beginning. Then you get mad because you're not getting anywhere.

I imagine this approach must have worked for some of these guys at some point, but it almost seems guaranteed to lead to encounters where somebody is going to be pissed off the next day.
At any rate, the guy who tried the losing strategy last night at the dive bar did make up for the annoyance in amusement value, because he told me I was "laid back" and reminded him of his sister. He went on to drunkenly tell me that she's a Lutheran Sunday school teacher with eight kids. Now, if that isn't me, I don't know what is!


Anonymous said...

*Sigh* Sometimes I miss being hit on, and then I remember: No, I don't!

Unknown said...

Okay, I HAVE to comment on this......I followed the link from Facebook, to the next-more-recent-blog-post, which, quite frankly, bored the living bejeezus out of me, so I skipped to the next, and I think you can profit by my take on this how-not-to-pick-up-chicks thing. In the FIRST place, the big prize in the How Not To stakes is: Be In Fargo, because in Fargo, people of quite advanced ages STILL take to heart their Mama's stern instructions to Never Talk To Strangers. They don't want to talk to you; it has nothing to do with you being an asshole, or drunk, or over-aggressive or any of that---if you are a stranger, and that's all, well, that's all it takes, they want you to go away, and quickly. Let me think, what else did you say.........right, approaching two or three of these hypothetical boozin' ladies...again, forget it, stranger, if there are three or more. If you want to cut ONE of them out of the herd, the others will be interested in nothing but disapproving of you and your actions and will make a tremendous effort to dissuade the one you're interested in from taking any interest in you, and this will at all times be un-subtle, and usually, outright rude. Oh, and being Fargo-specific again, if you by chance have an accent that isn't local, expect abuse on that score. Yes, I said abuse. As far as being a semi-disinterested sport and making that future investment by buying drinks anyhow,I'll just take that as an "in an ideal world" thing. I don't think of myself as a cash-dispensing machine, and locally, I have been approached thusly by women on several occasions: "wanna buy me a couple of drinks?". Well, no, not really, and furthermore, who the hell are you? I'll be blunter still: I haven't been buying anybody any drinks for a long, long time, because I'm a stranger, one of those you don't talk to because Mama said not to, your friends hate me on sight and trash-talk me both in and out of my hearing, and abuse me for having a foreign (southern, in my case) accent. It's a waste of time. When one's efforts go unrewarded for years at a time, one tends to stop making much of an effort. My advice in the pick-up-girls department for other fellas way over joe-college age in Fargo would be: save it for when you can go to the cities or to Winnipeg, it's a lost cause at your local gin mill. So, guys, there's the real gem of advice: get the hell out of Fargo. And if you're in your thirties do it quick and do it for keeps, because you don't want to take the involuntary vow of celibacy that is being over forty and single and living in the Paris of the Prairie, bub. And Karen, this is Richard Strom typing---you know that I'm handsome, charming, articulate, endlessly entertaining and all that good stuff.