To the curly, blonde-haired girl.....

[Note to mods: I know the language is a bit harsh at first, but I really don’t intend for this to be a rant, so please don’t move this unless you really feel it’s warranted. Thanks!]

To the curly, blonde-haired girl I saw at Barnes & Noble tonight:


Jesus H. Fucking Nonexistent Christ!!! How is it possibly for someone (i.e., me) to be so goddamn egotistical and self-righteous and still manage to have such low self esteem that he, at the age of 21 (days from 22), still cannot manage to go strike up a conversation with a total stranger?!?!?!?
So, yes, to carry on…

Dear curly-blonde-haired girl,

I first saw you in the periodicals section of the book store; confidently mounted on a bench, hunched over the Wall Street Journal. Your golden locks flowing down over your shoulders, not quite masking your very attractive face, with your beautifully pouty lips just slightly parted. You were a very appealing sight to me, completely unlike most of the young women reading fashion magazines with a completely blank look in their eyes. You were also totally alone at a book store not only on a Friday night, but on Valentine’s Day! As I’m sure you noticed, I sat down relatively close to your bench and began to read one of several magazines which would fall under the “Geek” genre. (e.g., Freshwater and Marine Aquarium, Discover, Scientific American, Nature) Unfortunately I couldn’t help but occasionally look up and steal a glance at you. Occasionally you were glancing at me as well, or so it seemed to me. I desperately wanted to go over and talk to you, but unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. You finished the Journal and moved only slightly farther away in order to browse thorough a romance novel, sitting so you wouldn’t be out of my line of sight. Whether your positioning was intentional or not, you didn’t just wander away. You kept glancing at me and I kept glancing at you. Eventually your spot on the floor got old and you walked over to the cafe and started writing on your notepad. I wandered around a bit more, desperately trying to come up with a way to go and start talking to you. I finally just bought something at the cafe, sat down a few tables away from you and read Wired, occasionally looking up to find you looking at me as well. One time our eyes met for a bit longer than usual and I made the attempt to smile and wave just as you started to look down and that inevitably awkward moment occurred where you started to look back up just as I started to lower my head down in embarrassment. I looked back at you and you seemed to be a bit flustered as well. It was then only a few minutes to closing time and I was out of ideas. I just stood up and threw my empty cup away, put my magazine back on the rack and stood around for a while trying to think up something clever to say. Eventually, I just gave up and left with you still sitting around alone in the cafe as they began to close up for the night. I then sat in my vehicle in the parking lot and tried not to cry. I finally just drove off, feeling as though I missed a wonderful opportunity. I regret not getting to ever even learn your name.



Seriously folks, how do people do it? How is it possible to go up to completely random strangers and strike up a conversation? I don’t go out to clubs or bars or parties or anything social like that. My life basically revolves around my job, the book store, and lots of other solitary pursuits. Every person I’ve ever been friends with/dated/slept-with/anything at all since high school have been people I meet online. I enjoy meeting people online, to be honest. It’s great getting to screen people and see if they are interesting/interested in me before we ever even meet. I think that’s another reason why I am so scared to talk to random people…I know little to nothing about them beyond their appearance and I hate feeling so superficial because I’m interested in talking to someone because of their looks. I mean, obviously you can occasionally play detective work before you say “Hi” but that doesn’t make it much easier. Of course the benefit of talking to strangers is that you’ve already met them in person and thus don’t have to go through the whole “mini-courtship” of establishing online trust in order to move the friendship from the internet to reality.

Let it be known that I don’t have any trouble maintaining conversations once they have been established. I work in a small retail store that caters to a specific hobby and I can chat with one customer or an entire group at length and I’m well known for being the most charismatic employee here. If anything I often talk too much, but unless I have a legitimate reason for establishing a discussion or I already know the person, I am usually at a total loss. I feel like I have to come up with some great opening line and I literally tense up, my pulse increases and I practically start to hyperventilate. Anyway, just thought I’d share this bit of a rant and hopefully you all can share some similar situations or advice or anything at all.

Dear nearly-bald brunette-headed guy,

I feel your pain.

I should really just make it a webpage and post a link to it. But anyway, here you go.

The trick to that shit is to synch in to what the victim is thinking, and verbalize that, while having it genuinely concern you as well.

Of course, synching of such kind works best on bus and subway stops (because if anything – you can pretend you are talking to yourself), also – it’s easier to find common points regardless of differences in intellectual behavior:

  • You see her looking at the watch, you open with, “Wow, I wonder where that BUS is!”
  • You see her shivering, you open with, “Damn, it’s cold today! Did you hear they said it’s going to snow?”

If you have synched into her thoughts correctly, she will look at you and smile! (That is 100% true btw. Unconscious reaction.) And I assume you know where to take it from there. If you don’t, I can elaborate.

But. You can synch in at a book store as well. The difficulty here is that if you are choosing whatever she is reading as the opener, you gotta actually KNOW shit about that, in detail. Because “So, uh, STOCKS, huh.” will just sound cheesy and unauthentic.

The trick, in any case, would be to show that you are interested in her NOT as a woman/potential date/sexual object but as in a fellow human being/someone to have an interesting conversation with.

Comment on what she is reading. When she was reading the Wall Street Journal, ask her, “Anything interesting in the current issue?” After all, you’re in a book store, nothing is more natural than talking about reading material!

So it’s a simple, transparent and somewhat lame line, but gets the job done. Not an embarrassing or horrible opening line. If she says, “No, nothing interesting.” and quickly scoots away, you have your answer. And yes, it is mortifying (rejection always is) but it isn’t as if you drooled and mumbled something obscene to her. And from your description of her, it seems very HIGHLY unlikely that she’d scoot away at such a question. She would probably happily continue the completely harmless conversation about What’s New in the Wall Street Journal.

Funny, this just reminded me of a quite lengthy conversation I had with a gentleman in a B&N just last week. In my case, the man was older (and probably married anyway), so any sort of romantic attraction was nonexistant (at least on my part, and I assume on his part too). The man was sitting (yes, sitting) in front of the Macintosh computer books aisle. I walk up to the aisle. He looks up and apologizes for blocking the aisle. I say, “No problem, you’re not in my way. Hey, are you into Macs?” Then we had probably a 15 minute conversation about Macs. The guy didn’t own any computer at all, but had his heart set on buying a Mac for his video editing needs. On and on we conversed, as I am a dedicated Machead and quite the blabbermouth. And all I did was ask him, “Hey, are you into Macs?” And we went on from there.

I know this story isn’t quite relevant to yours because he wasn’t cute and in my age range, but there’s a point in there somewhere…

It can all be summed up thusly: High Risk, High Reward.

I’m totally sympathetic, because I’ve always had the same problem. I barely find my life interesting, let alone trying to convince somebody else to join it as a friend or otherwise. So I always tried to find interesting things to talk about, because I never want to bore anybody with my everyday life.

As it turns out, my/their everyday life is just want people want to know.

Knowing that-- consider 3 options when you go talk to a person. (Assuming you don’t come over and like the above posts, strike up a normal conversation.)

a> She makes it clear she is not interested. Either politely or non-politely, and walks away. Whle it feels horrible to be rejected, its really her loss, right?

b> She is in fact friendly and has a conversation with you. This may or may not end up with exchange of numbers/coffee. But at least its not rejection and even if you don’t get her digits you had a nice conversation where you could decide if it is even worth it.

c> Dear Penthouse, I always thought these letters were fake. I never thought anything like this could happen to me. I met this girl at the bookstore…

Granted the last scenario is a little far-fetched, but I always kept the option open, just in case :slight_smile:

I said consider 3 options. I meant, “consider 3 possible results”

I don’t know what is happening to my brain lately.

See what she’s reading, and try to strike up a conversation on that. Really, having a guy come up and strike up a nice, friendly conversation is great. A little bit of confidence can go a long way, and is really quite attractive.

Cut to the chase. Girls like guys who are direct. After “Aheming” loudly to catch her her eye, make a circle with the fingers of your left hand and purposefully thrust the index finger of your right hand through it a few times while arching one eyebrow. The correct eyebrow arch is critical. If you mess this up it will all be for naught. If all goes according to plan she will be making you breakfast.

Astro, the guy wants to meet her, not get his face slapped off. Look me in the eye and tell me that’s worked for you even once! :dubious:


That was the funniest thing I’ve read today.

Seriously, there are a lot of great suggestions here. Any one of them is better than letting fear of rejection take hold, and it sounds like that was what happened to you. Live and learn.

Hey, wouldn’t it be spooky if a new thread appeared somewhere here in the message boards from some angst-filled young woman bemoaning her recent experience in a bookstore where some really cute guy she noticed didn’t come up to her to strike up a conversation, and she feels she missed out on what could have been something really great? Maybe she’s thinking she wasn’t attractive enough to make him want to say anything.

They do it by knowing that the consequences are small. I think I could do it now if I really thought I wanted to, but that’s only maybe possible because I’m a good bit older than you, and I know that the worst she can do is give off “leave me alone” vibes, and I’ll be in the same position that I’m in now, which I’m comfortable enough with that I won’t go home and want to cry. I think you have to be willing to fail. If succeeding represents an utter blaze of glory and heaven, then you will feel dashed to the rocks if you fail.

Yo, my brother. You need to know all about Fast Seduction. This site will save you months – no, YEARS – of wasted time.

I can tell that you are an absolute beginner. That’s okay. We’ll take it one step at a time. Within a few months, you too can be a player.

First, is the Three second rule.
Make your move within three seconds of making eye contact. Otherwise you look like a hesitant wimp. How it works: You and she make eye contact, within 3 seconds you say “Hi”. Not a minute later, not 5 minutes later. *** Three seconds!***

It’s what your friends do when they see you, right? So you are acting like a friendly person. She sees you as being friendly. If she’s cold and uninterested, you can give up immediately and save yourself a lot of time. Maybe she’s waiting for her boyfriend. Maybe she’s too insecure to know a nice guy when she sees one. Maybe she likes to play games with men’s minds. Whatever, the ordeal is over immediately. Whew! Well done, my brother!

I used to be like you. I still am, except now I know about the Rule. I used to look at the girl. Wait. Look. Wait. Look. Wait. Look. Hope she’d make a first move, or undo her blouse or something. Forget it.

You need to make contact within 3 seconds because it doesn’t give your mind time to come up with all its doubts and fears. Once you’ve said the first “hi”, or “your book looks interesting”, or “do you know where the low-fat cheeses are?” – you have a chance.

If you make eye contact and look away, **i.e. when you fail to follow the three-second Rule ** – give up on her. You’ve already communicated that you aren’t ready. Move onto someone else, and then (just to be clear, here) use the three-second Rule!

Hmm. Very interesting. May I ask how old you are (in case you haven’t read otherwise, I’m kinda obssessed with this at the moment)?

My friend, I have been in this same position for months. I mainly hang about bookstores (my friends work around there) 'cause I’m just a nut. But I always spy these gorgeous women at them. I actually met the girl I’m currently having problems with there. But that’s another theme.

Since I can’t reply for hours on end (and believe me, about this subject I could talk in great depth, I’ve almost “studied” it)… here’s some basic rules you can try…

  1. Look unconcerned (initially). Although you could apply FranticMad’s 3 second rule (it’s been established by all these seduction “experts”, there’s this website I can’t be bothered to dig up on it all–Google “Layguide”) I personally don’t agree totally with it, unless the girl is on the move. If she’s stationary, you gotta be patient. Do NOT act desperate. If you hang around for TOO long it just looks plain wierd, and that’s where the 3 sec rule comes in - - you came, you saw, you conquered.

So basically, if girl is at position A, you first spy the position. Quickly decide if you can attain that position, and move in. Whereas the 3 sec rule advocates you move in after 3 secs and start talking, I give odds against. You have to find something about Girl Z that you can use as a “reason” to talk. Brings me on to rule 2:

  1. Have a reason to start the conversation. If you don’t, no matter what girls tend to say, they always do react funny if you have no reason to talk and just start yammering to yourself. Even if they’ve been giving you the sweet eye for the whole time you’ve been in there. Starting up can be anything - asking the time, making a wise-ass comment on something (especially something you know or can predict [based on the circumstances] she’ll be interested in e.g. politics “yeah, that Bush…smart guy ain’t he…?” well you get the point).

  2. Do NOT make it sexual (intially). You HAVE to act like you wanna get to know her first (which is not that unreasonable a proposition if you think about it). Remember, there is no reason to panic. You’re only there to make idle chit-chat, not to ask for her hand in marriage. So ease up. Rest your shoulders (but don’t slouch 'em cowboy).

These are just starters, but since you said you have no problem talking with girls after the intial intro, that should suffice.

Just take it easy and don’t be too harsh or forthright. Place yourself in a nearby proximity so you give yourself greater chances of scoring. And good luck.

I disagree strongly.

  1. Be genuine and sincere. What’s the actual reason that you’re talking to her? It’s not because you’ve been burning to discuss today’s headline of the WSJ (unless it is, but I’m laying odds that it’s not). It’s because you have an interest in talking to her. What’s the advice that’s so good it’s become archetypical for these situations? “Be yourself.” Inventing a ‘reason’ to strike up a conversation, or worse, employing a time-tested icebreaker just makes you come off looking fake, and what’s worse, desperate.

You don’t have to lead off with something too honest (e.g. “I just saw you here and just wanted to talk to you,” unless, again, you actually think that specific tack would work). I tend to be of the opinion that “hi” works best as an opener, followed most frequently by “my name is Jimmy Q,” modified to fit the circumstances (say, if you’re name’s not Jimmy).

  1. Spending the time thinking about what, exactly to say to her to get things going is exactly the pitfall that we all fall into. It’s impossible to even fix the idea in your head that you’ll be talking to her in 5 seconds, much less come up with an opener. Not being able to think of anything that sounds genuine leads you to doubt your abilities, makes you waste more time, and at that point it’s game over, man.

  2. Coming at her with a remark containing substance puts pressure on her to continue the ‘conversation’ that you have falsely initiated. This can lead to awkwardness (obvious example: “how about that idiot Bush?” “…I’m a Republican.” Game over, man. Less dumb example: x article today sure was interesting, eh?" “…I haven’t read that yet.” Awkward silence. This one’s in the toilet, and will take steel balls to bring back on course.) on both your parts, which should be avoided. Just introducing yourself takes care of the first goal of gauging her reaction to you, and gives her an easy and obvious response if she’s at all interested.

That’s not to say that you won’t need something to say eventually, of course. But as long as we’re talking about the initial hurdle of just starting the interaction, I think what’s most important is just doing it. Vacillating is the primary thing that should be avoided.

Never forget: small talk (weather, the music, her tattoo or pendant) serves a very important purpose. It lets them know that you are okay, that you are normal, and that you are friendly. Many of us don’t like small talk, but it is really really important in starting the train moving down the track.

With small talk they get to know your voice and mannerisms, they see you’re not a psychotic (well, unless you ARE), and that they are in a normal conversation with no pressure. Just be sure to make some eye contact - a little more than normal, but not an intense stare. Not yet, anyway.

If the conversation comes to a pause, let the pause be there. That’s normal, not a bad thing. You can excuse yourself to the bathroom and come back later for more small talk. Either she’ll be gone, or she’ll be more relaxed about talking to you.

Gee. You’d think the way you talk about women they’re like aliens or irrate dogs.

You forgot to tell us to get on all fours, curl your fingers like dog paws, and then reach over slowly to apply light pressure on her earlobes. You must also lower your head and let out a low whimper.

Remember, they all smell fear.

As for the first three seconds of eye contact, during that time you must immediately perform a ritual mating dance from your home planet and make a small offering of Feta Cheese in the sacred Spuds Mckenzie koozie from the mysterious depths of Hugh Hefner’s garage (The mating ritual god, of course).

When all else fails, tranquilizer guns are effective.

I have to agree with Chocolate Kix here. My gosh guys, lighten up. You’re scaring me here.

Remember my tale about the guy in the Mac section at B&N? Of course, in my case, I wasn’t trying to pick him up (and he wasn’t trying to pick me up) but we just had a conversation. Two strangers having a conversation in a bookstore. Because we were talking about something real. (Macintosh computers in the Mac section—go figure!) Treat her (or him) like a real person and talk about a real thing and lighten up about the whole damned thing.

My only problem really seems to be finding something real to talk about on the fly. In your case it was sort of a random discussion that stemmed from a chance comment. I’d probably be able to leap into a situation like that. I’m a bit more curious about how to get things started when it’s not happening organically. :wink: Thanks for all the advice and comments and such so far. It’s nice to see I’m not the only one who feels this way at times!

To answer your question friend… :wink:

Actually, in some parts of the country I’m already 22. My b-day is 2/16. Anyway, thanks all for the replies, keep 'em coming!