Monday, August 25, 2014

Dear Dumbass: How Do You Meet People?

Hey Rick,

As a 20-something-year-old guy, I naturally spend a lot of my time thinking about attractive women, and how to best approach them/talk to them/ask them out/etc. So as the Dumbass Genius, do you have any advice on the matter? Or if nothing else, during your time as a bouncer, did you notice any patterns of what kind of men seemed to do best with women at the bar?

- Phil

Hey Phil -

First of all, bars and clubs were the place to meet women before the internet. Now they're where you go to enjoy $18 handcrafted cocktails. I'm sad to have missed the current internet hookup era. I'd probably do better meeting women by typing than by showing off my disco moves. 

Standards of attractiveness have also changed. We're fat - we're all frickin' fat. In the 70s and 80s, people were still skinny. So you might have to adjust your expectations. But what your partner looks like doesn't matter as much as it used to, since our heads are so stuffed with porn that during sex, no one pictures the person they're having sex with.

The topic of meeting women is inherently sexist. But people have been meeting ever since there have been people, so I'll apply my 12 units of Women's Studies and having read every issue of Ms. magazine from 1972 to 1984 to the task. If I strike wrong notes, let me know.

So, some tips for meeting women in bars -
Don't go alone. Unless you have incredible panache and social skills, being a lone guy in a bar comes off as creepy - it's obvious why you're there. You need to get a wingman (or a job in a bar, which gives you an excuse to be there). In LA, you sometimes see lone movie stars in bars, striking out, because even a movie star on his own in a bar is still a lonely, needy guy.

Don't go out with the sole intention of meeting women. The odds of hooking up on any particular night are low - in the small single digits - so find other ways to make a night out fun. If you go out with friends, at least you're having a night out with friends even if you don't meet someone.

Look at pickup artist literature but ignore the stupid/creepy stuff. Pickup artistry has become the subject of dozens of books, scores of websites, and a few movies and TV shows. If you strip away all that is slimy from the subject, you're left with a few not-horrible concepts:
Try to understand women as people with their own wants and needs (and not as the targets of pickup tricks).
Be your own best self (Thanks, Oprah!). That is, you should strive to be someone hook-up-withable - as attractive as you can be without being a douche about it.
Risk rejection. You have to be able to approach someone, get shot down, and not be wrecked by it.
Be fun or at least pleasant. You want whomever you're with to have a good time being with you. And women are more likely to want to be with you if you let them know that you can handle whatever level of interaction they might want without awkwardness, coercion, or drama.
Look for the best qualities in women you meet. Some of the luckiest guys I know are more honestly enthusiastic about the women they encounter than perhaps these women are used to. Enthusiasm is attractive.
Enjoy the journey. You don't have to end up in bed with a local weather reporter for it to have been a good night.

Go where the women who want to meet men are. Rather than bars, try dating sites. At the very least, going on dating sites gives you practice meeting people virtually which may be helpful in real life. Plus, the people you meet in bars are often chaotic messes.

Produce video content. In LA, even the grossest producers can meet attractive women because of the math of attractiveness, which works like this -
The top 10 or 15 percent of people are very attractive. In a country the size of America, that's many millions of people. But only a few thousand people are at all famous for being attractive. So, for every person who's famous for being attractive, there might be hundreds of people who secretly or not-so-secretly think, "I'm so hot - I should be famous." People who are seen as being able to provide opportunities for attractive people to achieve some degree of fame get to meet attractive people. So make funny YouTube videos or something.

A word on how clubs work for hook-up purposes -
Clubs lower the bar for what people find attractive. In everyday, non-bar life, everyone is too exposed and familiar - you see someone every day at work, you know way too much about that person. It can be hard for attraction to withstand that level of exposure.
Thanks to noise, dim lighting, drunkenness, and sexually demonstrative clothes, music, and behavior, bars are low-information, high stimulation environments, making it possible to imagine that people are more attractive than they actually are, all of which helps people make hookup mistakes they may regret later.
I imagine dating sites can work in the same way, with people sharing limited information at first and easing themselves into what might turn into relationships.

Best of luck in your club-hopping.

No comments:

Post a Comment