The art of getting a stranger's phone number will forever be perplexing.
There's no right way to ask someone who knows nothing about you to offer up her most direct line of communication.
Especially because giving out your number is something you can't take back.
Unless you change your number, of course, but nobody's done that since middle school.
I've personally taken a range of approaches to get girls' phone numbers throughout my single years.
I've subscribed to the you-miss-one-hundred-percent-of-the-shots-you-don't-take approach and simply asked for numbers in abundance.
I've tried being more calculated, spending as much time as possible getting to know a person before popping the question.
I even, regrettably, studied the controversial tactics of pick-up artistry to gain the trust of women I was interested in.
There's no denying that throughout the history of men finding inventive ways to get a girl's number, there have been some truly cringe-worthy attempts. Think, "I lost my number, can I have yours?" and "Is your name WiFi, because we definitely have a connection?"
I was with a friend recently -- the kind of guy who is not opposed to telling a girl his shirt is made of boyfriend material -- and he brought to my attention an admittedly original way to get a girl's number.
What was most interesting was that it didn't require any embarrassing pick-up lines. All you needed, he assured, was simple math. And we all have calculators on our phones.
After he showed me the trick I felt the need to share it.
To the men out there on the prowl for numbers, hats off to you if you can make this approach work. To the women... well, consider this fair warning.
Of course, this approach can be used by anyone, but for the sake of this article, we'll go step-by-step the way it was explained to me: by a shameless dude willing to do whatever it takes to add a girl's number to his phonebook.
Step 1: Approach a girl and tell her you can get her phone number using only a calculator.
This approach should be intriguing enough to get her to bite. Of course, everyone is different, but let's assume she's interested in what you have to say.
Step 2: Tell her to open up the calculator on her phone.
Step 3: Ask her for her area code.
Let her know this is the only piece of information you will be asking her. The rest will be math she does herself. She'll also be typing everything into her own phone's calculator.
Step 4: Have her type the first three digits of her phone number (not including the area code) into the calculator.
Have her type the numbers in so you can't see what she's typing.
Step 5: Multiply by 80.
Remember, these are all steps you will verbally explain to her. You can't see her screen at all.
Step 6: Add 1.
Step 7: Multiply by 250.
Step 8: Add the last four digits of her phone number.
For example: If the last four digits of her phone number are "4387," then you will simply add 4,387 to the current total.
Step 9: Repeat Step 8.
Add the last four digits once more.
Step 10: Subtract 250.
At this point, the calculator will have eight digits showing and look something like this:
The final step is the most crucial.
Step 11: Divide by 2.
To spice this last step up, do not actually tell her to divide by 2. Instead, ask to hold her phone to see the current number on the screen. Of course, it will be a large number with more digits than a phone number. Make it seem like you messed up and the number came out wrong.
While she's laughing at your "failed efforts," discreetly divide by 2. This will cause her actual phone number to appear on the phone.
Turn the screen toward her and smile.
Her number, in this example, is 547-4387. Remember, she was the one typing all of the numbers into the calculator, so you didn't see any of it. It was all math.
She will definitely be surprised that her phone number has suddenly appeared as a sum in her calculator. This trick could turn sleazy if you decide to memorize the number, along with the area code from earlier.
Of course, you could just trust she'll be impressed with your above-and-beyond efforts to be different and give you her number on her own.
Either way, best of luck to anyone who tries this. Let me know if you pull it off, I'd love to hear the story.
Greg's collection of essays, "The Art of Living Other People's Lives," is available for pre-order here.