It takes a lot of guts to go up to someone you find attractive in a public place and strike up a casual conversation with him or her.
Even though it’s starting to become more normal for this to be a two-way street option, I recognize it's a role that often tends to fall in the guy’s lap.
It doesn’t go unnoticed that doing this can be difficult, and I do think it's important for the recipient (man or woman) to respect that courage and be polite, whether or not the interest is mutual.
I have also noticed, however, that our generation’s pick-up game can use a serious pickup.
The art of wooing is in need of some serious repair for our generation.
Whether we attribute its comatose state to dating apps, being connected through text rather than in-person interactions or a dating culture that no longer believes in the same kind of love our grandparents had, dating is in need of some serious TLC.
As with many things in life, there is beauty in simplicity.
There is something lovely about someone just honestly telling you he or she likes you.
But we have to get rid of the strings, traps and other anxieties that seem to come as the standard side dish to any pickup.
I am declaring a state of emergency on Gen-Y's public pick-up culture, particularly bar etiquette.
It’s time to throw out these cards (also known as tricks, strings and traps):
1. The Guilt Card
I have recently heard multiple guys use the guilt card in their pick-up game.
"I know I’m not a big, hot, buff guy."
"Excuse me, have you seen my ex? Am I accidentally wearing my "I only date hot, buff guys" t-shirt out again?
You do not know someone’s type just from seeing him or her from across the bar.
If you take a look at my track record, I have a clear preference for personality over anything else.
The most attractive personality trait you can bring to a pickup? Being confident and comfortable with who you are and what you bring to the table.
If you don’t think you’re a great catch, no one else is going to.
Another recent guilt card I've heard is when someone tells a multitude of stories about the woes of always being friend-zoned.
Don’t prey on empathy to try to get a number, hookup or relationship.
There are multiple types of guilt cards, but the conclusive result is the same.
Trying to manipulate someone is probably the quickest way to make him or her want to run the other way.
You’re better than that.
2. The Threat Card
This usually happens past the point of no return, but threatening someone with what he or she is “missing out on” by not wanting to accept a drink, date or phone number is also not the most successful way to woo a human.
I have literally had someone tell me I would definitely end up with an assh*le (What?) because I politely thanked — but turned down — the offer of him buying me a drink.
Thanks for the free fortune-telling, but that just makes me want to go home to my cat.
3. The “Just One Drink” Card
This usually only happens with the truly belligerent drunks, but there seems to be a misunderstanding out there that if you repeat, “Just one drink!” about 100 times, people will finally succumb to the pressure.
Do yourself a favor, and go home with a pizza when you hit this point.
4. The No-Boyfriend Card
As forward-thinking and empathetic as our generation can be, it’s a bit unbelievable that in our dating culture, it sometimes seems like the only accepted reason for rejection is if a woman has a serious boyfriend.
A polite, “Thank you so much for offering. I appreciate it, but I’m really just wanting some one-on-one time with my girlfriend, who I’m here with right now” is literally translated into hieroglyphics by the time it reaches the ear.
If someone says no thank you, accept that the same way you'd accept it if she or he had a serious relationship.
The bottom line is, when meeting strangers out in the world, you don’t ever really know them (hence the whole strangers bit).
You can’t assume their type or where they are coming from, or guess what they're looking for in their evening.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, if someone doesn’t reciprocate interest, you don’t need a reason or approval of that reason.
The person might not be looking to date. The person might be heartbroken over someone else.
There is an infinite list of other possibilities.
But, you can’t convince the person to be interested, and it’s much better to be with someone who likes you sans convincing.
While it does take an enormous amount of courage to be the person to walk across the bar and make an introduction, it does not grant you any access of entitlement.
You are not owed anything.
Just as you have had the courage to tell someone what you think, it can also be a difficult situation to be in the position of declining.
Resuscitating The Art Of Wooing: Back To Basics
Before we move on to the Intermediate Course and get fancy with flowers and opening doors, I propose you cut the strings, lose the traps and get back to the basics:
1. It takes courage to make the first move. Respect that and be kind and polite in your response if someone else makes a first move.
2. If you’re the one making a first move, be yourself. Be honest and simple.
Dating doesn’t have to be a game, and you’ve already got the brave thing going for you. Leave the tricks out of it.
3. If you are politely turned down, let it go. Treat yourself and be proud of being a courageous gentleman or woman.
Mutual respect, peeps.
It might not sound sexy, but it's a whole lot sexier (and a lot more fun) than our current bar etiquette.
So, go out and have fun.
Happy wooing, ladies and gents.