This evening I met a girl for drinks at an upscale but relaxed hotel bar. As is often the case with women, she was about twenty minutes late. A lot of PUAs will tell you to make her wait, but I think that’s pointless advice. In any case had I decided to be ten minutes late, I still would have waited another ten minutes for her. (I cut her some slack because she was stuck at work and updated me several times with apologies. If a woman keeps you waiting without explanation longer than that, walk out that door and get on with your life. If she’s worth a second thought she’ll apologize.)
I sat myself down on a sofa and ordered a beer from the six foot tall waitress in the tight black dress. It was the end of a work day and I was feeling relaxed. I looked around me; everyone within a 90 degree radius was staring into the unblinking eye of either a cell phone, laptop, or tablet. I mean everybody.
With a smirk on my face, I sipped my beer and stared straight ahead, people watching and thinking. The waitress passed by once and asked “is everything okay?” To which I replied, everything’s great. What’s not to love about an ice cold IPA on a warm spring evening?
Once or twice my phone vibrated with an update from my date explaining she was on her way. I texted her once to let her know where I was seated, but other than that the phone stayed in my pocket. Perhaps, I thought, I looked like the weird one. Maybe people thought someone who could idly sit back and gaze at everything and nothing was just stoned. Then again, no one seemed to notice since they were all online.
The cell phone in 2013 can be a serious game killer. Tablets and laptops fall into this category too, but I’m singling out the cell/smart phone. Usually someone who brings a larger device at least intends to get some kind of work done. But the phone – that handheld glowing crystal – it truly is a wicked temptress. It’s become a crutch for the social cowards of our world.
Next time you’re in a bar or restaurant, take a look around. A good portion of the patrons there will be staring, scrolling, or typing. (A few might be using it to make a telephone call.) This of course is rude enough in the company of others, and it should go without saying that to be on your phone or paying attention to it in a friend’s presence is bad form, unless you’re looking something up to settle a debate. But consider how many people are by themselves and clinging to their phones. How many of them are doing so to avoid the appearance of doing nothing?
From a game and more specifically body language standpoint, it behooves you to resist the temptation to check your phone. It connotes a kind of nervous energy and dependency that does not serve you well. Similar to the guy who walks into a joint only to put his hands in his pockets and look around sheepishly, the guy who whips out his iPhone or Android, repeatedly checking for emails/texts/sports scores and the like, is conveying a certain lack of confidence. It’s the confidence to carry one’s self in a social setting.
Every time you get the urge or feel a phantom vibrate, force yourself instead to interact with someone. The person doesn’t have to be female. Your bartender is a great place to start. He or she is there to converse, and unless it’s a busy night will be happy to shoot the shit. Bartenders make for great gateways to conversations with other patrons. If at first you can’t think of anything to say, even the dumbest opener (“Some weather, huh?”) will do just fine. You’re not seducing, you’re conversing.
To take it one step further, I recommend you speak in as loud and as deep a voice as possible without shouting. Pull some attention your way. Get a couple of heads to turn when your words exit your mouth. (Don’t take it too far, however – think Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack. The comedian-type can be funny for a minute or too but the constant “look at me, I’m performing” schtick will wear thin quickly.) The idea is to be the center of gravity while simultaneously opening others so they’ll feel relaxed and stimulated talking to you.
Or, if no one is readily approachable, relax. This was what I did. I was on a sofa and the guy next to me was on his laptop with headphones on; no one else was within earshot. In this circumstance don’t be embarrassed to sit and think, or even people watch. Give your eyes a break from the glare of the LCD.
(Don’t let headphones discourage you necessarily. A person – even a female – wearing headphones will still talk to the right man who opens her. If she’s cute, be that man.
Similarly, when you enter an establishment, keep your head high and your posture manly. Avoid the urge to occupy less space, if that makes sense. This is a common urge triggered by a natural desire to avoid confrontation with strangers. FUCK IT. You walk in, it’s crowded. Push through and don’t worry whose ass your hands brushed. (Don’t grope.) Make eye contact and say “excuse me” firmly but with a smile if need be. In fact, say anything. You want to show you’re socially fearless. Don’t enter and immediately start craning your neck looking for someone familiar. Worse yet do not walk in and call/text that person. You don’t need anyone else to have a good time, do you? Be the good time, grasshopper.