Breaking the Ice
How men with class, style and finesse meet women
So, let's say you want to ask out the cute girl at the checkout counter, bookstore or skincare kiosk. How do you do it? Do you spend a full minute and a half flirting with her only to get shut down when you suggest seeing the latest Harry Potter and sharing a tub of popcorn? Or do you stare at her uncontrollably from a distance, give her the creeps and then walk away mumbling to yourself something along the lines that she's probably a lezzie, anyway? I'm here to tell you that it isn't impossible to land a first date with her but it takes some effort and finesse on your part because the pitfalls are numerous and all-too-common. Guys tend to come off either too nervous or too aggressive and wind up alone, frustrated and confused. They think to themselves: "Where did I go wrong? Why didn't she smile and flirt back? What makes her think she's too good for me?" On and on, their thought processes turning them more bitter by the minute. Hey, lighten up bro - this ain't rocket science. Follow these easy tips and I guarantee the outcome will put you in good standing with that cutie and (hopefully) sharing a platter of antipasto at your favourite Italian restaurant in no time.
1. BE PRESENTABLE
I don't care how ironic you think a backwards trucker hat looks - she won't take you seriously in an outlandish get-up and you'll be summarily dismissed before you even open your mouth. Same goes for rumpled, mustard-stained clothes, too-baggy pants and dirty fingernails. Groom thyself, oh Romeo - and no, I'm not talking about getting regular manis and pedis here. Take a bath, shave/trim your facial hair, run some product through that mop you call a hairstyle and take it easy on the personal scents (guys should smell fresh and clean during the day - like a regular bar of soap). You don't have as wide a variety of outfits to choose from as we do, but for the purpose of impressing a woman, keep it conservative. Think 'job interview at the bank' and you'll look fine. Of course, I'm assuming you have in your sights a woman of quality and not some gum-cracking hussy with cornflakes dust in her over-exposed cleavage and breath sour enough to peel paint. You can do better than that, I hope.
2. GET FACE TIME
A few minutes at the checkout/sales counter, in the bookstore etc. is all you've got so make the best of it. Don't fidget, laugh nervously or stare - you need to be confident but not creepy. Express genuine interest in what she says without looking too eager. Desperation is a definite turn off. Conversely, it's a fine line between cool and aloof and guys often don't know where it is. It should go without saying that looking around at other girls or consulting your blackberry breaks eye contact and is a surefire way to put the kibosh on making further plans. Besides that, it's rude. Get it right or she'll think you don't give a shit about her and you're just a player.
In your first conversation, incorporate something about the weather (this is always a respectable starter) and your respective occupations. I've written a few lines to give you a feel for tone and tempo and I've tried to incorporate variations to take into account different scenarios. Feel free to improvise but pull back if you get the urge to do a Charlie Parker (famous jazz saxophonist and heroin addict - look it up).
CONVERSATION 1: OPENING LINES
You: It's busy / quiet today.
You: [segue into why it's busy / quiet - is it the holidays, for instance? - or move on to the weather] It's really windy / hotter than Haiti out there.
[brief convo on the weather ensues]
Y: [mention something about work] I'm up to my eyeballs in paper work and couldn't wait to get out of the office / I've been rehearsing for an audition and really needed to take a break.
[At this point you can guage her response to see whether she's expressing any interest in you. If she appears distant/distracted then there's no hope and it's time to move on to greener pastures. If, however, she makes eye contact, smiles a little and commiserates, then by all means take those as good signs to continue. If she's in sales, enquire about a product. If she's at checkout, ask her where you can find___(a product they carry).
Y: Well, it was nice meeting you,_______ (see name tag / she offers her name). I'm ________ (your name).
[Pause to see if she responds with a cheerful "Hi_____ " / "Nice to meet you,______". If not - yikes! Abort! Cold front up ahead.]
Y: Will you be here again this week?
[At this point she may suspect what's up. If she gets that you're interested in her, she can either volunteer that info willingly or regard you with wary apprehension. Be an adult and accept your fate accordingly. Of course, keep in mind that she may be continuing a professional rapport with no interest in you whatsoever. A second meeting should clarify this because sometimes only time can tell whether charm is genuine or simply a veneer. Assuming she offers an enthusiastic "yes" / she's only in on Saturdays etc....]
Y: Oh, that's great. I'll stop by and let you know how _____(product) worked out. Have a good day. [give a slight smile and leave]
Ta da! You did it! You introduced yourself, established contact by exchanging names and didn't come off like a complete jackass. Now show up no less/more than 2-5 days later like you said you would and continue where you left off. This is important! If you don't pay heed to the momentum of this budding connection, it'll be difficult to resume it. After all, don't you think it would be nice if she remembered your name the next time you see her? Of course you do.
3. THE RETURN
Again, time is of the essence here but keep in mind that the more product you buy, the more face time you get.
CONVERSATION 2: LOCAL ATTRACTIONS
Y: Hi______(her name). [small smile]
Her: Oh hi_______(your name).
[If she forgets your name, fill her in promptly without making her feel bad about it.]
Y: How's it going?
[Exchange pleasantries and fill her in a little about your day: "The boss is on a rampage" / "I got a callback for that audition I told you about" etc.]
Y: I tried that______ (product) you recommended / I was looking for and it was ________ (brief details).
[exchange a few words about that]
Y: Do you know where a guy can get a beer / great cheeseburger / vegan tapas around here?
[she recommends a place]
Y: Oh great - I'll check it out. Thanks for the tip, _____(her name). I'll see you later and have a good day.
Now, you may be thinking that an opportunity to ask her out was squandered here but think again - you're still gauging to see whether she likes you or is just naturally flirtatious with everyone. Cutie may have a corpulent boyfriend at home for all you know, and thinks that smiling brightly, giggling loudly and flipping her hair at strange guys is the only way to move product or avoid being called a bitch. Suck it up: wasting your time flirting with an unavailable woman is the price you pay for trying to pick up a stranger. If you find out that's the case, chalk up the 40 boxes of eye cream to collateral damage and move on.
4. SHOW YOUR HAND
You're going back to meet cutie and finally see where things stand. Don't allow more than five days to elapse between visits and try not to crap your pants.
CONVERSATION 3: "SO YOU WANNA...?"
Y: Hi____(her name). [go ahead and smile at her like you just got a raise]
Her: Oh hi______.
[If she still doesn't remember your name and/or doesn't seem pleased to see you then cut your losses as quickly and politely as possible.]
Y: How's it going?
[Exchange pleasantries. Remember: It's important that you pause after saying "Hi" and "How's it going?" to let her meet you halfway in the conversation. You need to know that she remembers you, is pleased to see you and you need to show her that you care about how her day's going. Don't launch into a tiresome monologue about yourself. You're trying to engage her in a conversational tango - not a spectator sport with her cheerleading you on the sidelines. Unless, of course, you're a selfish bastard. If that's the case, what're you doing here??]
Y: I went to the place you recommended and it was ________(say something positive even if the beer was warm and the food tasted like cat urine).
[exchange a few words about that]
Y: One of my favourite beer / cheeseburger / vegan tapas hangouts is ________(name local attraction). Have you been there?
Y: It's a wonderful place. Why don't we go there ___(name of day) night? Are you free?
[This is the moment of truth: does she want to see you outside of work? If she gives an enthusiastic "yes", she'd like to go out with you, then bingo! You won her over and you can start mentally picking out your outfit for date night. If, however, she looks away awkwardly and mumbles something about "checking her calendar" or - heaven forbid - she mentions a boyfriend at the eleventh hour, then pick your ego off the floor and conclude the conversation as quickly and painlessy as possible. Let's face it: you were led astray by a woman who's either inexperienced, insecure or highly manipulative (or all of the above) and perhaps - just perhaps - you let your johnson do the talking and ignored some very obvious signals that a rejection was coming your way. It goes without saying that you should no longer have contact with this woman and need to avoid her neck of the woods like the bubonic plague. I have to say, though, that if you get that far without seeing her for what she is, then you've no business picking up women in public. Stick to set-ups and hookers cause ooh baby - it's a wild world out there and you just got bitten.]