A smile is worth a thousand words
The (simple) key you already hold to winning anybody over, including men
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 09:02
For years Match.com, eHarmony.com and the like have prided themselves on taking the toughness out of dating. No more hitting on your dental hygienist, no more getting denied by that blonde in the produce aisle and no more awkward set-ups courtesy of your great Aunt Merriam, whose friend’s-grandson’s-tennis coach is apparently just perfect for you. With the Internet came the advent of online dating sites that promised to make dating easier for the busy person, and while this seems lovely at a cursory glace, it is certainly not always the best or only answer to finding love.
Ask anyone who is old enough to remember a time when people didn’t have technology as a crutch and most will probably agree: We’ve lost our ability to communicate. Last I checked, communication is key to grabbing the attention of any potential suitor waiting in love’s vast abyss. However, lest we forget that communication is far from only written and verbal.
One of my favorite, most genuine film characters of this century, Mary, Drew Barrymore’s character in “He’s Just Not That Into You,” confesses the following: “I can’t text. I’m not charming via text. But it’s not just texting, it’s email, it’s voicemail, it’s snail mail.” Can I get an amen, people? However, dear Mary, let’s not take for granted the old adage, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Having turned 21 not long ago, I now have the golden ticket. I hold the key to entering any alcohol-serving establishment. Whoopie! I’m not much of a drinker, but this doesn’t mean the wonders of bars are lost on me. Quite the contrary. I take outings with friends as an opportunity to meet and hear the stories of people (OK, mostly guys) who I would have never run into otherwise, all the while my friends are reenacting “Project X.” The key to meeting the cutest of cuties in the place? Simple: Smile.
Recently, a group of girl friends and I went out for a night on the town. Everyone was feeling like, well, hags because it was the third bar we’d been to and not a single guy had yet made the approach. Our first mistake was being in a large group of girls and sitting around a circular high-top table, making it nearly impossible for a guy with any shred of pride to take the chance of approaching us. A guy may want to get to one of your girls, but he’ll never penetrate that stone cold group to get there - too much risk.
On the way back to our table from a trip to the restroom, I stopped at a table of dudes who had been eyeing us, clearly wanting to talk to us but were too scared to pull the trigger. Thirty seconds later, here they are standing with us at our table and the girls were beaming. Thus was born our new motto: Plant the seed with a smile.
I am of the mindset you never know unless you try, so I frequently am the one who spots an interesting looking person (OK, a guy) and instead of admiring him à la distance, wanders over to talk to him. My initiative (and soberness) allows me to meet some incredibly interesting people, and I’ve even made a few friends out of it. However, only a novice would waltz up to someone and start talking to him. I say you must always plant the seed with a smile. If you see something you like 30 feet away by the dartboard, a subtle smile is all you need to give him to let him know there’s initial interest. If he smiles back, you may as well be back in driver’s ed and be going through your first green light. You’ve just been given the go-ahead. It’s on, baby.
Unless you’re in a particularly confident mood, it’s best to get a bit creative with your next move: The approach. My foolproof ticket to chat-ville? I drop something. It may sound silly, but in my experience it has a 98 percent success rate of getting a man’s attention and, when used appropriately, it has an 83 percent rate of return on a dinner invitation (a little ode to Elle Woods there; hope you got it).
Simply coined (by me, just now) “The Walk and Drop,” this move is different from Elle’s Bend and Snap because we eliminate any potential risk associated with the “Legally Blonde’s” legendary snap maneuver. We don’t want any broken noses in here. Also, men are hardwired with an innate desire to be a woman’s knight in shining armor. Even if that means picking up your keys that you “accidentally” dropped and “accidentally” kicked under his feet, he still feels like he’s done something worthy of the Purple Heart.
For best results, use the items in your purse and pockets as props. To make The Walk and Drop appear legitimate, dig through your bag as you walk towards your target and start juggling its contents. Where is your lipstick? You just have to find it! Keys? Check. Phone? Check. Pen, stapler and Spanish-to-English pocket dictionary? Check, check, check. Then the moment comes; whatever is easiest to let slip from your grasp, let ‘er go (I don’t suggest your phone or camera. Sobbing in the corner over your broken iPhone is not cute.) Bonus points for “bumping” into him.
If it’s too loud or too crowded that he didn’t notice your little saga (Drat!) but you now legitimately need him to reach under his table and grab your toothbrush, tap him on the shoulder and tell him your predicament with your sweetest face and most genuine smile. If he retrieves your item and seems uninterested, cut your losses and move on to the next. Just not the guy two tables away. Cover = blown.