Firstly, let it be said that I adore men. I adore women too, but that’s another story. I used to professionally tutor in pick-up (Lady Hitch, if you will) and I appreciate the balls it takes to approach, start up a conversation and put yourself out there, open to rejection. I know all this.
In the beautiful London sunshine of the last two days, quietly reading my book in the park, I’ve been subject to a couple of advances. One was polite, or started that way. The other was less so. I’m no shrinking violet, and after last weekend’s seminar on empowerment and self-defence, I’m feeling rather ready to address any random infractions on my personal space. Yet I am still constrained by the British politeness ingrained from an early age. There are ways and means to approach a woman. One is forced to wonder whether my attempted suitor actually had any ambition of say, getting my number, or whether the thrill was purely in the pleasure of presenting a menacing presence. I imagine the guide book he must be working from. It’s as follows:
The Creepy Guy’s Guide to Stalking Women in the Park
- Ensure you are not dressed for the occasion or weather. While women are basking in swimsuits, be in jeans, hoodie with the hood pulled right up to conceal as much of oneself as possible, and accessorise with can of Special Brew. You wouldn’t want anyone to believe you were there to enjoy the weather in the same way they are- be different and stand out.
- Never approach immediately and make casual conversation. First, set up your stalking site and watch your prey, unblinkingly for at least 10 minutes. Repeatedly get up and walk a few metres closer, then crouch down and resume staring. Let nothing divert your gaze.
- When eerily close, yet too far for reasonable conversation, shout out a personal question. Perhaps ask her if she’s married, or where she lives. If she doesn’t respond, don’t repeat it or change tactics. Continue staring for 10 minutes, before again moving closer.
- Now that you are well within the boundaries of her personal space, start asking her more questions. Always assume that she is there because she was hoping that you, personally, would want to talk to her so that she could discuss issues like her sex life, her address and why she is there alone.
- Never accept her polite excuses – that she might genuinely be there to read a book in the sun. She’s clearly playing hard to get. When she tries, and goes back to her book, respond by remaining crouched near her, staring while she deliberately won’t look at you, in an eternal Mexican standoff.
- After another 10 minutes or so, resume with the same questions you asked before. After all, you want to show her your determination, right?
- When she steps up the rebuff, become offended and walk off, but hang back in the shadows, still watching.
- Note that people nearby come to talk to your intended
victim quarrysweetheart, and offer for her to come sit closer to them for safety.
- Wait for them to leave, then start moving closer again in 10 minute intervals, unblinkingly staring as before.
- When your beloved gets up and leaves, surreptitiously follow, hanging back in the shadows a little. Just so it’s clear you aren’t coincidentally leaving at the same time, with an actual destination in mind.
Sounds rather ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yet it happens. A decade or more earlier, this might have frightened me. Now it has me writing a guidance piece, like the Catcher in the Rye, for borderline creepers. Let me pull you back from the darkness, and tell you how to do it right, in a few easy steps. I call this the 3-3-3 method. 3 seconds, 3 minutes, 3 encounters. Might need to trademark that.
It’s how to pick up a woman right, from a woman’s perspective.
The Cool Guy’s Guide to Approaching Women Casually without Freaking Them Out
- Seem like you are there for a purpose. You just happen across a woman you find attractive, so you say ‘Hi’ in a friendly way. The whole process of ‘going about your business’ to noticing her and starting a conversation should take no more than 3 seconds
- Ask her a completely non-threatening question, and maybe throw in a non-creepy flirtation if you like. Something like, ‘Are they selling ice-cream here somewhere, do you know? You look like you are having a lovely time in the park. It’s great to see people happy in the sunshine.’ This instantly gives you a valid excuse to start talking, ensures she can respond politely, and establishes you as a happy, confident person, who isn’t creepy or threatening.
- Read her body language and tone of voice. Does she seem like she’s happy for you to be talking to her? Or is she hoping to wrap this up as quickly as possible so you go away? Look for things like eye contact held for 3 seconds, a smile, a welcoming tone of voice, or even asking you a question back.
- Smile and seem relaxed. Make sure your body language is open and that you are a sensible distance that is appropriate for a stranger (If you are unsure what this is, imagine that there is a very heavy-set, naked man in front of you. How far would you want him to be?) If you feel like she’s giving you clear signals of interest, asks questions or invites you to chat, move towards her happily, taking a diagonal angle (never straight forward, and definitely never from behind) and sit beside her, facing the same direction she is. Say you can only stay for a minute (you need to get that ice-cream, remember?)
- Go very light on the compliments, especially physical ones. If you want to throw in a physical compliment, make it about something the woman has chosen (her bag, earrings, hairstyle) rather than an attribute she has no choice over. She’s as likely to be self-conscious about it as to love it otherwise, and saying something like you admire her legs, boobs or lips just makes you look like a shallow, thirsty wolf-man. Women want to earn their compliments, from people they already admire. Follow standard pick-up protocol. First you need to establish your value and make her work to establish hers. Compliments are the reward that she might finally get, when she has won you over. Never start with them. It devalues you, and then they are meaningless.
- Balance what you are telling with what you are asking. Ideally, lead your questions from cues (title of her book, area you are in, various hints about her person) and keep the topics safe and impersonal, especially to start with. Seem interested in her answers. Throw in little statements of things you find you have in common from her lead, and tailor your next question to expand on areas she seems interested in and passionate about. If you are getting a sense of her not being into the discussion, change tack. If it continues when you change tack, politely thank her, get up and leave. This entire process should take no more than 3 minutes. She doesn’t need to know your whole philosophy on life and the universe. If you spin her a one hour story, you are wasting your time. The key is interaction and responding to cues at each step.
- Offer to bring her back an ice-cream. Be playful and relaxed. She might say no. If that’s the case, just leave it be. If she invites you to come back, is smiling and laughing, then do so. The important thing is that within three minutes, you have walked away from her of your own accord.
- If you’ve been given the clear impression that you’d be welcome to do so, come back with your A game. The break in-between is important- she’s had a chance to think about whether or not she is hoping you’ll return. When you come back, you are going to give her the ice cream (if requested) and make it clear that it’s her turn to prove her worth to you. If she’s asking you questions, making flirty gestures and seeming to challenge you back, you’ve won the right to meet her in intellectual and emotional combat. Don’t get ahead of yourself: she’s not necessarily won over. It just means she’s entertaining you as a potential prospect. This is where you can take your moment to shine and lay down the foundations for development later. The key 3 things you need to remember at this point are: demonstrate value, without seeming like you need validation; make her work to prove her own value; maintain an environment of playful friendly banter, fun and safety. This section could take 5-30 minutes.
- When she seems most keen to continue, break it off again. Maybe you get a ‘silent call from friends’. Maybe you need to get somewhere to sort something out. The point is, you are not freely available for endless chat. Tell her there’s somewhere you need to be now. Offer to get her number to pick up another time, or if the vibe is going really well, tell her you’ll be 10 minutes, give her your number and tell her to text you to go somewhere awesome next (if you’ve been listening, you’ll know what kind of place she’d think is awesome). If she follows up on this, she’s made the choice to take action to pursue getting to know you, all without you ever seeming pushy or needy. The ball is in her court. You’ve demonstrated your worth, popularity, and that she needs to take action to avoid missing out.
So what does this approach show about you, compared to the first?
- You are confident and secure
- You are a good guy, and not dangerous
- The woman has multiple opportunities to discontinue with you if she wishes, in a non-awkward, inoffensive way
- You demonstrate your value, popularity and desirability
- You change the power dynamic- instead of being a stranger who is hunting her, she’s presented with a desirable man, that she can choose to chase. And wouldn’t that be easier for you? Isn’t that who you want to be?
The 3-3-3 method is a friendly, non-threatening, inoffensive way to approach a woman in any environment. If, at any time, one of you isn’t feeling the vibe, it’s easy to discontinue. There’s no hurt feelings, no challenge to your masculinity- after all, you are just a friendly, happy guy having a chat and enjoying life. Not every interaction needs to result in sex to be successful. Not every woman is necessarily going to be your type after you’ve had a discussion. When you see a woman, you don’t know anything about her – whether she’s available to you, what her ethos is, her sexuality, what she’s looking for. You can’t tell just by looking. The conversations – the 3 conversations- are the chance for both of of you to find out whether you have enough in common for it to be worthwhile to go further.
9 times out of 10? You won’t be compatible. But by the time you hit that tenth time? Well, you’ve already got nine practice rounds under your belt. Smooth player that you are. By the time you talk to the right one, it’s going to be easy. It will be water off a duck’s back.
The 3-3-3 formula is going to work for you, however you think of yourself. Mostly because it isn’t all about achieving a goal. It’s about enjoying the process.
Happy hunting, baby ducklings