Over the last year plus, I’ve given you a lot of tips on where to meet new and interesting singles, how to make the approach, how to banter and flirt, how to get their number and what to do when you’ve got it. Today, I want to talk to you about how to put it all together. And one of the best ways of doing this is to break down a successful approach… one from my dating past, in fact.
Much like with the tale of the Lonely Soldier Girl, the Doc is taking his turn on the examining table and putting one of his own experiences in making a completely cold approach – that is, going up and meeting a stranger I have no social connection with – under the microscope. But instead of the traditional Post-Mortem, we’re going to be looking at what went right and why… and what you could take away from this.
Now to be sure: this isn’t one the most dramatic1 or complicated2 cold approach I’ve had; in fact, it’s fairly low-key and uneventful. This is why I chose it: because nine times out of ten, meeting someone new isn’t a matter of high drama; it’s just knowing how to be as charming and interesting a person as you can be. Almost every time I’ve met someone, got their number and eventually went on a date with her, the process followed a pattern similar to this one.
So with that in mind, I give you the tale of the Reverse Cowgirl.
Back in my wilder days – before I burned out on the bar scene – I spent a lot of time hitting the bars downtown. I used to go out two, three, sometimes four nights a week with a group of friends to hit a couple of our favorite bars for some good times and bad decisions. We were a crew of guys mostly out to have fun and meet women; if we got laid, great, otherwise as long as we were enjoying ourselves, it was all good. Usually Friday nights meant that we would meet up at this one particular bar for a drink and some general bonhomie – what we’d been up to that week, talking food, TV, women… your basic male-bonding stuff – before heading off to see what the night would bring.
This particular night – a Friday – I was feeling especially good. I’d just finished a major project and was looking to celebrate. I ended up downtown early with an hour to kill, so I decided to hang loose at a coffeehouse in the area and chat with anyone who seemed like they might be interesting to talk to until my buddies made it down.
This may seem somewhat inconsequential, but it’s actually surprisingly important when it comes to meeting people. Your attitude has a lot to do with success; if you’re in a good mood and with an attitude of “I’m out to enjoy myself”, you’re going to find that more people are interested in talking to you than if you come across as someone on a mission to get laid – or worse, someone who’s pissy, sullen or otherwise in a shitty mood.
In addition, chatting with random friendly strangers can be a good way to get into social mode – think of it as the social equivalent of stretching and doing warm-up exercises before a run – and get into a more outgoing headspace.
I noticed April5 within seconds of the barrista handing me my latte. It was the cowboy hat that caught my attention; Austin isn’t known for a preponderance of urban cowboys or western attire, so anyone wearing a cowboy hat is going to stand out by default. More interestingly, it looked as though it had been screen-printed; it had a design reminiscent of an Old School Americana tattoo on the crown. The hat alone was enough to make me want to say “hello” – it was legitimately the coolest hat I’d seen in quite some time. The fact that the woman wearing it was cute – wavy shoulder length sandy-blonde hair, a black tanktop, jeans – certainly helped.
She didn’t seem to be my usual type to be sure, but she was definitely someone I’d be interested in at least talking to for a little before I left to meet my friends. As I made a quick assessment – she was sitting by herself at a two-top table in a fairly well-trafficked part of the coffeehouse, a single large coffee, looking up occasionally at the crowd, but not apparently looking for anyone – I noticed that she was doing quick pencil studies in a spiral-bound sketchbook.
That cinched it; I’d always had success with arty types. I was an artist myself, and I was always interested in seeing other people’s work, especially sketches.
When you’re approaching someone – assuming you’re following the 3 second rule – a quick look around is worth it to determine several things. In my case, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t about to intrude where I wasn’t wanted. First: was she there by herself or with friends? Approaching one person by herself is slightly different from a group, especially when they’re seated; you need to be careful not to be creepy by accident. Since she was at a small table, I didn’t want to steal somebody’s seat if they were at the bar or in the bathroom… and I also didn’t want to be interrupted by an annoyed friend (or date) if it came to that. I also wanted to gauge whether or not she was in “don’t bother me mode” – seated in a corner or away from the main traffic area, eyes locked on her sketchbook, headphones on or otherwise giving off “not interested” vibes. I’d done my share of sketching-in-a-public-place-to-meet-people and I recognized the signs.
As an aside: I don’t recommend this as a way of trying to meet people.
If all of this sounds a little like I’m trying to say I have super-Terminator Vision or some Sherlock-esque ability to notice insane little details and deduce facts from them… well, I don’t. Most of what I was doing was looking for really obvious things; by this point I had made (and fucked up) enough approaches to have learned what to look for via a long process of trial and error. I’ve lost track of how many times I ended up getting shot down because I didn’t notice an engagement ring or wedding band. This is one more reason why I advocate keeping detailed journals and documenting your progress; it helps you learn to recognize patterns.
The fact that she was sketching gave me an instant point of commonality: we were both artists. Even if it turned out that she (or I, for that matter) wasn’t interested, I was willing to bet that I’d enjoy talking to her; I legitimately like meeting artistic people, even if I’m not hoping to get their phone number.
Ironically, I would later find out that she was actually trying to catch the eye of a guy in the corner who was also drawing. Go figure.
- that would be the girl who I ran into seven times in one night who kept trying to steal my boots [↩]
- that would be someone I chased after for seven months [↩]
- her [↩]
- me [↩]
- Not her real name, duh. [↩]