Note: consent is consent and nothing justifies sexual assault or rape, no matter what she is wearing, how much she’s had to drink or drugs she’s taken, etc. If you think I’m saying something other than that, it’s on you, not me.
It’s perfectly normal, reasonable, and legal to speak to another human being in a public place (if you think that it’s not, you’re a fascist ninny—kindly get off my blog).
It’s also well within that person’s right to inform the speaker they DO NOT care to engage at that time, for whatever reason.
In short, I have a right to talk to you and you have a right to decide if you want to reciprocate or not. If not (ladies), just be direct and just tell me to bugger off.
I understand given some of the high profile sexual harassment cases we’ve seen in the past several years that this can be a touchy issue, however, allow me to call attention to a few facts:
- The vast majority of rape and sexual assault cases are perpetrated by men (and sometimes women) who are well known to the victim.
- The culprit is often someone who has a particular measure of power over the victim and/or is taking advantage of her in an inebriated state (still wrong, unequivocally).
- Sexual assault and rape, almost by definition, do not occur in a public place.
- Sexual assault and rape by a random stranger is the exception, not the rule.
My point is that the guy approaching a woman in a bar or at a coffee shop isn’t trying to hurt anyone—if that was his intention, why would he do that? Why would he make himself known? That would be like a thief randomly showing up at your house and saying, “boy you’ve got some really nice stuff here—what hours do you work? Planning any vacations soon?” Indeed, to be quite honest, women are probably far more likely to have something untoward happen on a date with a guy they meet on Tinder than some random dude hitting on her at a bar.
The other thing is to consider the implications otherwise. Like, what would our society look like if talking to someone in public was considered harassment? How would that even work? A: it wouldn’t. Indeed, that’s a dark dystopian future I want no part of.
A final point on the logistics: the truth today is that if you don’t want to go out in public, you don’t have to. Order take out. Watch Netflix at home instead of going to the movies. Work from home. Do SOD. Whatever. And if you do have to go out in public, but don’t want to talk to anyone, wear dark concealing clothes, a hat, and big sunglasses and don’t make eye contact with anyone. But please accept the fact that if we go out in public, people might talk to us, and the more attractive you are the more likely that is–and that’s true for me as a guy too.
The good news is that in the right context—and with some game—most women don’t mind having a guy approach. Far more women have complained to me that too few men do this than too many. That may not mean she wants to go out with him or is going to give him her number, but at the very least it’s flattering. Like, most of the women I’ve chatted up who do genuinely have boyfriends or husbands (can I just say, if you’re married, wear a ring—kind of the universal signal, right?) or just aren’t interested have thanked me after politely rejecting my advances.
Again, the right context is key: I don’t hit on women at the gym or who are working or who just clearly don’t look like they want someone to talk to them; nine times out of ten you get a pretty good sense of how receptive a person is going to be to conversation well before it starts. The other thing is that in most cases when a guy is going to be approaching women, most of them dressed up and/or went out specifically hoping that would happen; or at least wanted to look good enough that it might.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we have this taboo around people meeting this way (trust me, it exists), as if it’s somehow dirty or untoward or scandalous or dangerous—and it’s just not. In fact, I’d argue MIRL is the most honest, straightforward way to meet a romantic partner—it’s certainly cleaner and clearer and less shady than SOD (aka the shallow, shallow slave auction), where people can and often do pretend to be something that they are not, whether looks wise or as a person.
Indeed, the reason cold approach gets a bad rap is two awful aspects of our society.
The first is slut shaming, or the notion that women shouldn’t be sexual beings who are free to express their sexuality, wear the clothes they want to wear, and be with the men or women or humans they want to be with. In the context of MIRL it’s the idea that talking to a random man is somehow slutty, which is ridiculous (in my opinion, the concept of sluttiness doesn’t even exist—it’s not even a real thing)… seriously, how is talking to another human being wrong? And so what if those two people might go on a date later on and/or at some point have sex with each other? How is that anyone’s goddamn business?
It’s bizarre people still think this way.
The second is almost the opposite of slut shaming—it’s the whole nice guy thing we put on men—like, the idea that a “nice” guy wouldn’t presume to do that unless the woman beckoned to him first (an act these same people would describe as slutty btw). What they don’t tell you is that this teaches boys and men to suppress our sexuality rather than expressing it in a healthy way. And as we all know, when you suppress a human being’s natural behavior and desires, they often emerge in unhealthy ways.
Note: consent is consent and nothing justifies sexual assault or rape, no matter what she is wearing, how much she’s had to drink or drugs she’s taken, etc. If you think I’m saying something other than that, that’s on you, not me.
Getting back to the point, the key is calibration and always making sure the woman feels safe. As I mentioned in another piece recently, if you approach a woman who’s clearly out of your league, she’s going to be annoyed and find it “creepy.” Sorry guys, that’s just the way it goes.
Anyway, here are a few basics men who are doing this stuff should remember:
- Be friendly, maintain strong eye contact, and respond to her cues. If she’s clearly uncomfortable or nervous, all you need to do is say, “anyway, nice meeting you,” and then go talk to someone else. Often she’ll come up to you later, especially if you:
- Show that this is just who you are. My advice is talk to everyone: the bartenders, waiters, other men, other women, etc. Not only will doing so decrease your approach anxiety, but it will also demonstrate that you’re just a friendly person who enjoys meeting new people. The kicker is when women see you talking to other women, they will find you more attractive. It’s called pre-selection. Fact.
- It’s generally a bad idea to approach women who are working, at the gym, are with their kids/family, are clearly busy, or are taking part in some sort of event you’re not a part of. Also:
- Look for IOI’s (indicators of interest). Examples include: she makes direct eye contact with you and/or keeps looking in your direction; touches her hair; moves to sit or stand near you; smiles at you… etc. Understand, you’re not always going to get IOI’s so it’s fine to approach a woman who hasn’t given you any–but these are good indications the conversation is going to go well.
- On the flip side, when you approach, does she look away, look annoyed, frown, grab her purse, put on her coat, or do anything else that makes her appear nervous or closed off? If so: reconsider your approach.
Anyway, the point is to become socially calibrated as you do this. Ultimately, the better you are at game the less it looks like game. What it should look like is a confident, friendly guy who’s interesting and interested in meeting new people. I’m still somewhat intermediate, but of the hundred or so approaches I’ve done, only three stand out as being anything less than a friendly, easy-going situation.
And remember: there’s nothing wrong with meeting people this way. Anyone who says otherwise is a fascist ninny.
Or a Russian bot.