Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A lesson in talking to women?

So today I wore one of my new graphic tees from Threadless. It is a white shirt that has the classic "I (heart) NY" on it, except that the red (heart) is made up of the words "Have Never Been To".

Throughout the day, going from airport to plane to airport to plane to airport, it got quite a few chuckles and comments. (note: my "I French Kissed Kelly Kapowski" shirt also got a good reception at Rudy's in Austin, but otherwise it seemed to go unnoticed; the shirt with a hippo on it shrugging and saying, "I was never really that hungry hungry" started out strong but then no one seemed to care the rest of that day) I was pretty proud of it. It was a good choice for a day-of-airports, and it was a funny shirt regardless.

Now, we (Alan and I, two single guys) had a 1.5 hour layover in Memphis before boarding our final plane. During this time, we stopped to get something to eat. There was a woman in front of us. She looked like she was a little younger than us, but not much. She was alone and was just as confused by the ordering mechanism at this particular airport pizza place as we were. (note: the place claimed it was "New York's Favorite," which both Alan and I were skeptical of... However, keep in mind that "I have never been to NY") Anyway, while standing behind her, she sneezed. Here's how the conversation should have gone...
20-something Woman: (sneeze!)

Ted: Gezundheit.

20sw: Thanks. (reads shirt and smiles) Are you going to New York?

Ted: (smiles) No, we're heading back to Ohio; what about you, where are you heading? You're not from NY, are you?

20sw: Oh, no, I'm not from NY. (smiles) I'm visiting home in Maryland for a couple weeks. (picks up pizza) Otherwise I go to school in Atlanta.

Ted: (holding his own pizza at this point) Oh, so are you traveling with anyone else?

20sw: Nope. It's just me.

Ted: Would you mind if we joined you while we both wait?

20sw: No. That'd be great.

(blah blah blah at table with woman who will probably never see again)

See? This would have been nice for everyone involved. Alan and I would meet a random female at the airport, and there's a chance that she'd actually be heading our way (to Columbus) so we might end up getting that much closer to actually making a friend. And she would have gotten someone to keep her company while she traveled alone. In fact, I'm pretty sure the shirt question was a cry for help begging for company... Heck, maybe the SNEEZE was!!

However, I was slow to realize any of this (I think Alan realized all of this far earlier than I did, but I was the one in the witty conversation starter of a shirt) and instead things went more like this...
20-something Woman: (sneeze!)

Ted: Gezundheit.

20sw: Thanks. (reads shirt and smiles) Are you going to New York?

Ted: (smiles) Oh, no. I've really never been there. I hope to someday. I guess I'll just throw away the shirt when that happens.

20sw: (nods awkwardly, turns away, turns back partially, and then turns away)

Ted: (continues waiting for pizza)

20sw: (goes off to 2-seat table and sits alone... eventually she finishes pizza and heads down the terminal in the same direction as the gate that leads to the plane that will take Ted and Alan to Columbus)

Ted: (to Alan) Now, a smoother more suave Ted would have asked if we could join her.

Alan: Yeah, I was kind of wondering why you didn't.

Ted: Well, she ended up sitting down at a 2 seat table anyway. If there was room for three chairs, I would have definitely done it.

I have to learn how to read these signs quicker...

Oh, well. Earlier in the weekend, something a little better went on. We went up to Austin to meet Mark and Rachel and Sutke. All the boys (Mark, Sutke, Ted, Alan, George) then went out to 6th street to have a few drinks, a little chat, and some good times in honor of George's upcoming wedding. While at Logan's, one of the bars there, I noticed a woman with blond hair who came in with another woman. That other woman was chatting with some friends she bumped into, and the blond was standing by herself waiting off to the side. She looked a little bored. So I figured I'm an Ohio boy in Texas... Why don't I do something about this? The trouble is, I NEVER do ANYTHING like this... Really, no one with me (except Sutke and maybe a younger less married version of Mark) ever does anything like this. So I'm flying completely blind here... But I think it turned out OK.
Ted: Has anyone ever told you that you look like Jewel but without the bad teeth?

K: Huh?

Ted: Jewel, the singer.

K: Oh, yeah, (nods) I have heard that before. (smile)

Ted: (dreading what he's about to say) You're very pretty.

K: Thanks. (smile)

Ted: Do you go to school around here?

K: Yeah, I go to UT.

Ted: When do you graduate?

K: Next year. I'm a year behind. I took a year off, and I'm really regretting it.

Ted: (some comment gesturing to the group of guys and saying that we're all from Ohio and so this all is new to us or something... in the end, probably not a good thing to bring up... but I was running out of material and yet the momentum was high so something had to come out)

(at this point, the friend who was ignoring the blond comes over and lets her know that they (the two of them) are going to another bar)

K: I guess we're going now.

Ted: (nods and starts to turn away)

K: I'm Karina; what's your name? (extends hand for a shake)

Ted: I'm Ted. (shakes her hand) It was nice to meet you.

(Ted rejoins table of guys who seem proud; I mention that her name was Karina, to which Sutke responds (with a laugh), "Get it and forget it!")

Now, in retrospect, there were better ways to close that conversation. If I was a Texas boy, I'm sure that the words "telephone number" may have come out of my mouth. I was a little surprised that a name was volunteered (oh, and they really did head to a new bar rather than just moving into a different section of Logan's)... so, again, I just wasn't good at thinking on my feet.

However, some interesting things to notice...

Personally, if I hear a man tell a random woman that she's pretty, I get all creeped out. However, most people who give advice on meeting people in bar scenes suggest that straight out compliments work and that women appreciate them. This seems to support that idea. Just tell her that you think she's pretty; there's little harm that can be done there.

In the end, I ended up feeling more confident about myself (which helps me when I actually talk to women who aren't random), and I think she went from feeling left out by her friend to feeling attractive and interesting. I ended up feeling like I actually did something good by talking to her... I THOUGHT I'd feel slimey or creepy afterwards... but I ended up feeling like I did a "good deed."

Regardless of how things turned out, I'll never see that woman again. This is probably going to be the case in my home town as well. There really was absolutely nothing to lose.

So all of that was fascinating to me. Probably my biggest liability is my lack of confidence; who knew?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm generally pretty skeezed out when my friends tell stories about guys trying to start conversations with that sort of line but for some reason whenever it happens it catches you off guard and ends up not being that bad. Work it, Ted! :)