Archive for January, 2009

A late-night conversation with my pal L led me to establish several etiquette rules for working the room at a party or bar. Friends, whether you’re single or not, help single people out. Don’t lock a cute girl into two hours of conversation when you’re not planning on asking for her number, and don’t flirt with someone and get their hopes up when you actually have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Practice good social karma: Don’t cockblock!

1. If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, mention their existence within the first seven minutes of conversation. You don’t have to be all annoying about it, just slip it in subtly. “Yeah, my girlfriend saw that movie last night and loved it, too.” “Oh, you’re from Portland? My boyfriend lived there for a few years.” This is a great way to let the other person know that they’re not going to get anywhere with you, and they can choose to excuse themselves politely at any time (or you can excuse yourself, of course, to go talk to others).

A few years ago, a friend of mine who had a serious, long-distance boyfriend complained to me that the second she mentioned this boyfriend to a guy she just met, he would very quickly exit the conversation. “It’s like they’re only interested in dating me, and once they learn they can’t do that, they run away!” she said. At the time, I agreed that that was kind of aggravating for her, but now that I’m a few years out of college and my dry spells increase in frequency and length, I can see where these guys are coming from. Not that hunting for dates should be the only reason you set foot out of the house (that reeks of desperation), but in a room full of cute, single people, why would you spend a half hour talking to someone you can’t have? Unless they immediately introduce you to some friends, they’re just getting in the way.

2. Not going to ask for her number? Send her back out into the wild. A friend of mine asked if it was bad of him to chat with this girl for like an hour and a half at a party and then not ask for her number. I said it was a horrible thing for him to do. First off, he actually liked this girl, but by not asking for a way to keep in touch, he left her with the complete opposite impression. Even if he found a way to reach her otherwise, like friending her on Facebook, she probably is less impressed with him than she would have been had he made his interest more obvious. Secondly, he monopolized this girl’s time for almost the entire party, and she’s left with nothing to show for it. If you enjoy talking to someone that much, keep in touch with them.


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A comment thread on my previous post mentioned how women hate to be told to smile by guys who are hitting on us. Seriously. Hate. A friend of mine joked that if any guy tried the “I’ll buy you a drink if you smile” line on her, she’d say, “Okay, you can buy me that drink, and then I’ll smile as I walk away from you.” Zing!

Here’s why we dislike this so much.
1. Maybe we don’t feel like smiling. Perhaps we had a bad day at work, or just got dumped, or got into an argument with a friend. Sometimes people go out to bars with friends to drown their sorrows and talk. Not to be told to smile by jerks.
2. Don’t tell us how to feel. It’s infantilizing. By insisting upon fake happiness, you are telling us our feelings aren’t valid. Women thrive on validation.
3. We aren’t circus animals here to perform on command. We won’t do what we don’t feel like doing.
4. You have no game if you think that’s a worthy pick-up line. You know what works? Saying hi. Being attractive helps, too.

Just because a woman isn’t smiling doesn’t mean she’s not open to meeting a guy that night. It just hurts our faces to fake a grin all night. Try striking up a conversation without being a dumbass and she’ll likely crack a smile for you.

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I’m about two months shy of 25 and going to bars and clubs already exhausts me. I definitely enjoy going to a bar on a weeknight with some friends, where we can grab a table, walk around easily, and not have to fight through a ten-person-deep mob to get a drink. But standing in line in the cold to get in, awkwardly fishing out your driver’s license, and shlepping your coat and wet umbrella around through a crowd so thick it’s likely a fire hazard? I’d rather be anywhere else.

Meeting guys at crowded bars, for me at least, is nearly impossible. After ten minutes, the sea of faces turns into one giant incomprehensible face, some generic face of a guy, tallish with dark hair and wearing jeans and an untucked button-down shirt (the uniform of the urban bar crawler). Lately I’ve been peacing out by midnight.

After some thought, I recently realized that the only times I met guys in a bar who I actually kept in touch with were when they were friends of friends who came along that night. Any time I met someone new and entirely unconnected to me and actually gave him my real number, I never from him again. Call me bitter, but the bar scene is horrible for meeting people. Clearly I need to make my presence felt in venues more appropriate for meeting guys. What am I supposed to do, go to a coffee shop every Sunday with a crossword puzzle? Suggestions, please.

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I saw Revolutionary Road last night, and at some point during the fifth or sixth full-on hysterical argument between the main characters, a husband and wife feeling stifled by ’50s suburban living, I leaned over to my friend Ellen and whispered, “This would be a horrible date movie.”

The other two movies where I had this feeling? Closer, where four people (two couples) all start having affairs with each other and play ridiculous mind games, and Match Point, where a family man cheats on his wife, gets his mistress (who is dating his future brother-in-law) pregnant, and then kills her.

Basically, any movie that instills a fear of committment or infidelity is not a good one to see on a date. Certainly don’t see Revolutionary Road if you’re recently engaged. It’s a good movie, but it’ll suck the excitement out of your impending wedding.

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