Sunday, 24 June 2007

Dammit, Has It Really Been That Long That I've Forgot What To Do?

So much to it being the official first week of summer. It rained all weekend. It was so heavy that working in it was a waste of time and hiking, even though I haven't been out in the hills for months, would have been miserable.

So I put the time to good use. I've been here about 6 weeks now and the only places I've spent any time in is Tesco's for food shopping and the local petrol station the rest of the time I've been working. Pathetic I know. So I took the opportunity to check out my local pub for the first time by having lunch there. I'm not really much of a drinker but it was as good a place as any to find out who my neighbours might be.

It wasn't my intention to go hitting up women. It's not my style to make such bold plans but as luck would have it whilst I was tucking into my scampi and chips I exchanged glances with a 20-something woman across the room.
That one brief moment was trouble. It was time enough for me to notice her eyes. I'm a sucker for eyes. Some guys are breast men, some guys are leg men, I like both but really its the eyes and a smile that has proven to be my secret weakness.

That one short moment was enough for me to steal another look, and another, and another. Each time I did so, I did so too long, and would could get caught which would immediately result in me finding something very interesting to read in the Sunday papers sprawled out on the table before me.

One second I was wondering if she was single, next I was trying to act like I wasn't just staring at her when it was quite obvious that I was. I should have just carried on eating my lunch and afterwards find a way of starting up a conversation with her and her friend. But how could I? There I was eating alone? Jimmy-no-mates, in a strange pub, in a still strange town contemplating talking to two women and for what? A glance?

I’m not entirely sure of what goes through women’s heads when they are approached by a guy, but men actually have a lot more on their minds than may be evident at first glance.

Unless a guy is blessed with a lot of confidence he wonders whether or not he’s going to be rejected. Fear of rejection would probably be the number one reason why a man doesn’t go up to a woman and start a conversation with her. From our perspective it’s a crap shoot. In most situations a man has to do the equivalent of a “cold call”. I’ll explain.

Years ago before I went to college I decided I had to get a job for the summer so that I would at least have some funds before the debts started to mount up, unfortunately I didn't have much experience in the work place and the only company that would take me on was a double glazing firm as a door-to-door canvasser. Canvassing involved knocking on peoples doors, usually around the time they were sitting down for dinner or watching their favourite program, in an attempt to get them to willingly give up their telephone number which would then lead to them sitting with a salesman for no less than 4 hours for a product with an overly inflated price without knowing that they would actually wanted double glazing in the first place. Most of them didn't. It wasn't a fun job. It was hell.

You have to be some sort of masochist to enjoy doors being slammed in your face time and time again. I'm surprised I kept it up for 7 weeks. I probably only did so because of that stubborn streak that gets me into too much trouble.

That’s what men have to do when we approach women. Unless there’s some initial flirting or signalling, we approach a woman whom we are attracted to and have no idea what her response will be to our advances. She could be flattered, disgusted, or anything in between.

When I was a teenager there was a girl in my French class that I wanted to be my girlfriend. I wasn’t exactly sure why but I did. So after many weeks of trying to ignore this strange irrational impulse I eventually got the courage to talk to her and ask her out. I was rejected out-of-hand. She hardly knew who I was. How was she supposed to say yes, when the day before she didn't know that I had existed.

I suddenly found that moment revisited today whilst supposedly reading that interesting article in the Sunday papers.

The funny thing is that, what’s even scarier than rejection is acceptance. Why? Because an initial acceptance could lead to an ever bigger, more personal rejection later on in the relationship.

Over the years I found some ways to increase my chances of getting a positive response and reduce my chances of coming up “snake eyes”. These are not hard and fast rules but more like guidelines.

Wait for, at least, light feedback. If you are looking at a woman across the bar and she sees you and looks away don’t do anything. There’s no indication of interest and any woman who won’t at least flirt from across a bar is probably not interested.

Make eye contact but don’t be overbearing. Almost any human interaction seems more personal, more sincere and more intimate if there is a reasonable amount of eye contact. Woman’s defences are softened by honest eyes. Some even believe that eyes are the windows to the soul so don’t look away, If you are caught staring, don't deny it, smile.

Goal number three should be to make her laugh not swoon. I'm not the type to get away with pick-up lines, even if I could think one up to begin with I just wouldn't be able to get it to roll of tongue without instantly wanting to bitch slap myself into another time zone. I can however make people laugh. I'm not sure how or why and quite frankly i'm not interested enough to analyse it but getting a woman to laugh has rarely been a problem. This is where I used to make mistakes. When I was younger I overlooked humour as my way in and and took an altogether all too serious approach when approaching women that I was interested in. It was rarely successful. An initial meeting is loaded with non-verbal signals and communication you have to make the most of your verbal choices or she could lose interest fast. Inevitably if I wasn't relaxed and myself she would talk to someone who was. Enter humour into the picture.

Today though I forgot all that I had learned from years of experience. I couldn't even manage stage one. I fell at the first hurdle. Have I really been single that long that I have forgot how to flirt.....


Misssy M said...

"If you are caught staring, don't deny it, smile."

If you hadn't written that, I would have told you to do that!

Girls get away with heaps these days, if you look over at the object of your desire with enough confidence, they may come over to you if they are interested. Saving you the trouble.

Girls aren't frightened so much of rejection, so there's less at stake.

That's my theory and I'm, sticking to it. If you get punched, then I never told you anything, right?

Cat said...

I am the girl who is never, ever chatted up in bars. This is not because I am hideous (or so I have been told, you may think differently) but because apparently I give off some sort of "don't come near me" vibe. I don't quite know what to do about that. I'm actually quite nice.

But, no matter, as I have always met boyfriends through friends, work, study and so on. Now that's more of a problem, as everyone I work with is married with kids, all my friends are settled and it's now ten years since I graduated. But, my point is that the chatting up thing's not the be-all-and-end-all.

(It would be nice though, no denying that!)

Just a Girl said...

"If you are looking at a woman across the bar and she sees you and looks away don’t do anything"

But sometimes it's because we are shy, really shy. And then get trapped in our heads.

I unfortunately know what I am talking about and apparently I come off snobbish.

phoenix said...

Don't think about the approach too much.Humour and just being yourself are definitely the way.A guy who stands next to you at the bar and smiles and simply says hello is far less likely to be rejected than the one who comes out with a pre prepared cheesy line.I've been told in the past that men have been scared to approach me because they automatically think I wouldn't be interested and would be rejected but never judge by appearances as that is something that cant be helped.

Drama Queen said...

What about sending her over a drink? If she smiles back then you are on to a winner. If she looks at you like 'weirdo, weirdo' then leave. Quick.

I always get chatted up at bars (I'm blonde) but they are always some lame chat lines complete with ass grope.

Boyfriend got me as I was walking back from the bar looking for my friends - he simply said 'You look a bit lost there. . .' (with Irish accent).