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Saturday, July 02, 2005

How not to pick up women!

How not to pick up Women
(And where to put them after you’ve got them)
A little noted fact about those male sophisticates upon whom many men rely upon for their social advice is that we don’t know where they in turn gained their penetrating wisdom. Well, it can now be revealed that the source of this sagacity is the little known book, ‘Trout Fishing in Wisconsin’. If you don’t believe that, just look at the imagery invoked in the advice columns in men’s magazines, popular works like ‘How to Pick Up Girls’, and of course, male conversation itself. The metaphor which permeates popular male conversation and thinking about dating is not derived from romantic sentiment, its derived from trout fishing. You don’t meet girls to be pals; rather you pick them up, catch them, and the more you catch, the better. Moreover, to be successful, you must know which watering holes to go to catch girl, and the necessary person lures that will make your fishing expedition a success. And what fisherman is worth his salt who doesn’t have his own collection of fish stories? We’ve all heard the one about the girl who got away, and what story telling session would be complete without a long winded tale or two abut past catches? The fisherman of course is justly proud of his prize catches, and always tries to mount them and display their photos proudly to the delight and envy of his friends.
If all this sounds rather stupid and immature, it is nonetheless a suitable metaphor for way men think, and how they think women should respond to their charms. Two dimensional approaches to meeting women are also quite prevalent in male oriented magazines and several books written on the topic of ‘Picking up Girls’. The prevailing characteristic about the advice which comes from this sort of thinking is that it is primarily advice on how to flirt, and not on how to court. The difference is significant, since flirting can be done on the cheap and in little time, whereas courting requires much time, effort, and (shudder!) commitment. Indeed, commitment is the very antithesis of the ‘pick up’ philosophy, since wives or girl friends are usually very averse to fishing expeditions.
Flirting advice is long on technique, but short on substance, and is aimed to provide you with the repertory of slight and subtle behaviors that will let the interested person or ‘flirtee’ know that you’re interested, while allowing you to maintain your ego intact. This latter point is crucial, since flirtation insulates one from all the so called ‘pick up’ advice that can easily set you up to be seen as a low grade moron. And if the advice of pick up books is followed religiously, then one will need all the insulation he can get.
Flirtation is a useful and even necessary preliminary in the process of meeting any potential date, or even friend of the opposite sex. The problem though is that most of the women you meet at odd places, whether it be at work, at the grocery, or at a Laundromat, really aren’t in the mood to flirt back. People who are about their business don’t have first in their minds flirtation behavior, whether it is innocent or not. Its just that the setting is all wrong for that behavior, and the any flirting that does occurring that situation is more apt to be considered to be brazenly forward because it is unusual in that situation. How would you feel if someone, either male or female, approached you at the produce section of the grocery store to talk to you at length about the merits of asparagus, or any other topic for that matter? First off, you would think he or she to be slightly daft, of suspicious intentions, or at the very least sadly desperate for attention. On the other hand, if the same person approached you at a private party to talk of any manner of topic, you would be hardly as inclined to call the nearest mental ward for the men with the butterfly nets. It would all be expected and natural because you are supposed to engage in spontaneous conversation and flirtation at parties.
Much flirtation advice can be damaging to one’s mental health because it invariably can’t be followed by a man without subjecting him to acute embarrassment. Indeed, the only sort of men who usually do follow this advice are most probably stupid, insensitive, or deranged. These latter traits of course are hardly those that are most preferred by women, yet indiscriminate flirting often sets you up to be seen in just that way. The best way to pick up girls is to meet them in an atmosphere where you can sit down and talk. Unfortunately, Laundromats and singles bars won’t do, you need a good party. A party is nothing more than a gathering of people whose express purpose is mutual socializing. A good party is structured so as to eliminate any need to rely on contrived flirtation advice. Although we will discuss the concept of the party more thoroughly later on, suffice it to say that good parties encourage people, men in particular, to behave their best, and nothing can be so detrimental to the silly ‘pick up’ mentality.
Well, if a man must have knowledge of all the pick up tricks, he can always pick up a men’s magazine, or one of those ‘pick up girls’ books that have been written by some dim witted author for the purpose of picking up some easy cash. The most popular of these crude little masterpieces is a little opus called ‘How to Pick up Girls’ or an ‘Idiot’s Guide to Dating’. As is typical among self-help books, this book is full of plenty of lists detailing all the arcane steps that are necessary to bag the illusive female, and also n the tradition of such books, such wisdom is no more than dressed up common sense. Still, it probably took much effort for the author to come up with such inspired bits of dating advice as taking a bath, combing your hair, or selecting a better restaurant than Burger King for an intimate dinner. The art of flirtation of course gets short shrift, since you probably have so much to offer anyway, its no reflection on you if the woman clobbers you after you favor her with your desirable attentions. After all, the male personality comes only in one flavor anyway, ‘brazenly bold’, for he knows not the meaning of embarrassment.
Because all the attractive personal qualities a woman could want are incorporated under the vague and superficial virtues of ‘presence’ and ‘style’, more substantial qualities such as integrity, a sense of humor, intelligence, and ambition are discounted in importance. The impression is made that a man can have the appearance and brains of Mr. Potato Head and still make out fine with the ladies as long a he has a good wardrobe and a varied selection of one liners.
These books finally display their true shallowness by what they fail to tell you; namely where do you put all of those girls after you pick them up? Are they primarily one-night stands, lovers, friend? And when you want to drop them, how should you go about doing it, or does that matter? The authors never tell us.
Male-female relationships are never based on trivial and cartoonish motivations, and men err seriously by thinking that women also can think of nothing better than playing sexual games of tag, with a new person being ‘it’
each week. Sorry guys, it’s a lot more complex and difficult to ‘score’ with women than that. And for all those stories you’ve been hearing, and for all those silly pick up books and articles you’ve been reading, you’ve just been listening to too many fish stories.

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