Dating has to start somewhere

Today I met a colleague for coffee downtown. As I was leaving, unlocking my bike, a woman, I’ll call her “K,” was removing hers from the same rack and dodging some aggressive bees. The exchange went like this (abbreviated for brevity):

K

Watch out for these bees, they’re ballsy.

AP

Bees with big balls. That’s awful.

K

That would make a good band name. Ballsy Bees.

AP

Take it to Williamsburg [Brooklyn], and you can make it work. But the best band names ever are “The Smoking Oncologists” and “JFKFC.”

K

Are they real?

AP

Well, I don’t know, but I’ll bet someone has chosen those names by now.

While I was, as a comedian would say, “using my best material,” there was nothing forced or awkward about it. We got into a friendly discussion about hipsters and helmet safety. It was a natural, relaxed and unintimidating conversation like I would have with a good friend, all in the course of three minutes.

Not a direct invitation, but a good substitute

I asked if she was a grad student, and she said no, she was just auditing classes, and that she worked down the street at a Japanese restaurant, and “maybe I’d see her there some time.”

For a variety of reasons (cultural, personal, security, etc.), women often fail to ask men out. I think this needs to change, I encourage my female friends to chat up guys when they’re out at social events. However, as a man, you must play the cards you’re dealt, which means you must talk to her. In this particular case, though, K has done the next best thing—provided an open door with a well-lit path directly to it. It’s awfully close to a direct invitation, and it’s certainly close enough. All I have to do is show up where she works (preferably when it’s not busy), order a drink, talk with her a bit longer and ask her out.

As I write this, I have a steady girlfriend and am not looking to date anyone else, so I won’t be stepping through that door, but I want to make a few observations:

  • K is a confident natural conversationalist, and this makes everything easier.
  • While I was assessing whether I was attracted to her, and her to me…
  • I had no agenda, no goal.
  • I was just being myself.
  • Being yourself, confidence, relaxed and engaging with a woman is, on a good day when the stars align, the best and most natural way to connect with someone.

When we strip away all the bluster, fumbling, judging and worry, we’re just two people having a conversation. And when a woman gives you a subtle hint or giant opening to show that she’s interested, pay attention.

Aaron Paris blogs at RefinedSelf.com, a collection of insight, advice and resources for men, with a focus on self-improvement, fitness, confidence and dating (real world and online). He is currently writing a book on self confidence and dating based on his experience, research and interviews with men and women from 18-50.

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