How to Get the Girl: A Common Sense Primer

2009 August 19

Recently, I took a little business trip.  Being a consummate pre-planner with specific dietary quirks, I always do my homework when it comes to identifying restaurants that fit my needs in the city I happen to be visiting,  which explains how I found myself in a vegan anarchist coffee house. The fact that I am an amateur Margaret Mead with respect to the intensity of my interest in people watching (now with bonus speculation about their individual backstories!) explains how I came to be sitting in a vegan anarchist coffee house idly musing about the love lives of my fellow patrons. Well, one patron in particular. He came in seconds after I did, made a beeline for an empty table, fished a book out of his bag, hunched himself over it (dude, you might need stronger glasses), didn’t even make eye contact with the server  when he swung by to get take the order (which dude mumbled quietly while not even glancing up from his book). After he wolfed down his samosas, he paid and bolted for the door. All the while, completely oblivious to the pink-haired young woman at an adjacent table who’d been shooting glances his way since she arrived. 10 bucks says that he went home to complain on some message board about how hard it is to meet women in that city and how he keeps putting himself out there, but nothing.

Were I not too engrossed in eating the hell out of a southern-fried tofu sandwich and only possessed of a single sheet of paper on which was scribbled my hand-drawn map back to my hotel (consummate pre-planner and aspiring cartographer), I would have written down the following nerd/introvert appropriate tips and slipped the note under his water glass when he went to the bathroom.  Because really, who couldn’t use a straight-shooting fairy godmother  type to  wave her magic wand over their relationship woes? So forget what askmen.com or the seduction/PUA community*  would have you believe, here’s the straight scoop on interacting with women  – road tested and double X approved.

coffee shop

Photo by mangpages

Practical Dating Advice for Shy/Nerdy/Awkward Dudes

1. Women are attracted to confidence.

2. Confidence should not be confused with arrogance, extroversion, suaveness, physical attractiveness or alpha male status. Confidence simply means being cool with who you are and letting others know that. So you build model trains in your basement, sing in a barbershop quartet and stack all your produce alphabetically in the fridge? This is you. OWN IT. No apologies. Confidence is having a handle on who you are, being okay in your own skin and projecting that comfort to others. If you’re secure in yourself (no matter how far from conventionally alpha that self happens to be), women will pick up on it and we will find it damn attractive.  I promise. To quote the esteemed Buck Owens, “just act naturally.”

3. You will have to make an effort. Are you an aging billionaire widower with a heart condition? Did you star in three of this year’s top-grossing box office hits? Do you routinely appear on the cover of GQ? No? Then women are likely not going to be throwing themselves at you without provocation (and in the former cases, the quality of the women in question likely speaks for itself). You will need to engage them in conversation, or at the very least eye contact. You don’t need to “sell” yourself or make with the lame pick-up lines, but you will need to demonstrate basic conversation skills – as in the ability to start, maintain and end one. Don’t worry about being stereotypically charming or smooth;  both rank far behind being interesting and genuine. And you don’t even need to worry about being awkward. Creepy and socially tone deaf freaks women out, but awkwardness can be surprisingly endearing. If you can get points 2 and 3 going in tandem (it’s like patting your head and rubbing your stomach simultaneously), you will be golden. I kid you not.

4. Your job is not a proxy for having a personality. Ditto any material possessions you may have. You are not your work or your condo or your car or even your washboard abs. If you tend to conflate these things, you need to figure out what’s at the root of this insecurity. Do you feel as if these are the only interesting things about you? Do you feel as if they consume your life and thus you genuinely don’t have enough going on outside of this to making you an engaging and attractive individual? Figure this out and figure out what you’re going to do about it before you drag a (relatively) innocent other party into the low self-esteem quicksand with you. It’s just common courtesy, really.

5. Stop waiting around for your own manic pixie dream girl. She isn’t coming (ditto, Megan Fox). And even if she did show, she’d probably have jacked-up Kirsten Dunst teeth. Seriously, this is the nerdboy equivalent of the hoary old Prince Charming fantasy that women have been told to exorcise for decades. If you’re not happy with yourself and the state of your life, there is no woman in the world (unless she answers to Dr. and makes you lie on a couch in her office for an hour a week) who can compensate for that.  And putting that sort of emotional responsibility on anyone’s shoulders but your own is both unfair and unrealistic.

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It all boils down to doing the work necessary to get comfortable with yourself, so comfortable that you genuinely believe that just being you is enough.  And guess what? It actually will be.  I’ve got your self-fulfilling prophecy right here, fellas.  And you don’t even need a wingman or a facility for negging (seriously, don’t go there)  to make it happen.

*Every woman should read The Game. For anyone with an interest in pop psychology, it’s an intensely engrossing read.  I’d love the opportunity to interview Neil Strauss. Actually, I’d kill for a joint interview with Neil Strauss and Norah Vincent, the author of Self-Made Man (another must read).

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