The libertine’s guide to gallantry: those who hesitate masturbate

When it was my buddy Anthony's turn to fetch the next Natural Light pitcher from the bar, I was left with a choice: sit on a greasy couch in the backroom waiting or charge one of the two sets of women perched at cocktail tables. Drunk and reverting to my chump ways I sat and immediately regretted it. One of the women at the near table was particularly attractive in a surfer-babe-drink-you-under-the-boat kind of way and I knew how forced it would look if I got back up to talk to her.

After far too long, I finally got off the couch and leaned in. I had planned to comment on how refreshing it was to see a woman wearing sneakers, albeit highly stylish and expensive sneakers, at a club, but the beer mixed with my nerves made me fumble the bad line.

“Your shoes don’t have heels,” I stammered.

The two stared at me dumb struck

before breaking into laughter. Sometimes the best pick up line is the worst one, but I was too drunk to make a full recovery from this shitty introduction. To my relief the target, who we'll call Sneakers, immediately called me out on my shoddy approach. I gave my best smirk and drained the last of the pitcher. I said I knew it was an awful line but it got the job done; I was after all still talking to them. Sneakers jokingly said I had looked like a creep sitting alone on the couch.

“Yeah,” I said, laughing. “Nothing good ever comes from sitting in dark corners alone, practicing your seductive stare.”

While I recovered enough to carry the conversation, they had the upper hand and I was stuck trying to qualify myself to them. I ended up ejecting early to let them approach me if they were interested.

I had obviously done a number of things wrong, like gotten too drunk and approached from behind. But, my main problem was hesitation.

To be successful at meeting women you must learn to constantly project an image of what women want, especially if your natural personality is not what women want. Women, and even guys, are drawn to self-confident men who are spontaneous, fun, and in control. Nothing ruins this image more than hesitation.

The Mystery school of seduction suggests that you approach within three seconds of locking in on a target. This is a good rule of thumb but a little constricting. If you’re walking through the club and you make eye contact, yes, approach directly. But, if you’re in a visibly vibrant conversation with a friend or another set of women, sometimes it's better to smile, register the face, and approach later. On the other hand, don’t stand in the corner taking inventory of the talent in the club and practicing your lines. Women are extremely perceptive. They register your hesitation. A confident man doesn’t wait; he instantly recognizes what he wants and goes for it. Hesitation, waiting, these are signs of being scared, intimidated, and inferior.

When you enter a club smiling and you make eye contact with a woman, lock eyes, give your best smirk, and head straight for her. This glance is a test. As I had done while sitting on the couch, intimidated men turn away when a woman catches them gawking. If a woman catches you glancing at her, refuse to look away and walk straight up to her. If you draw a blank on what to say, use a variation of, “So why were you staring at me?” or, “You’re going to give a guy the wrong impression undressing him with your eyes like that.”

Even if you stammer something stupid like, “your shoes don’t have heels,” this comes off far better in the moment. Improvised humor is always more forgiving, and usually funnier, than prepared lines. When teaching college English, I found the jokes I wrote into my lesson plan always fell flat, while my observational humor and reactions to stupid questions got big laughs. The illusion of spontaneity is vital to humor.

Avoid, lurking at the edge of crowds. Confident men don't observe the party; they are the party. Sitting alone on a couch not only labels you as boring and friendless, it also gives you time to second guess yourself, to marinate in your nervousness and over-think your approach. Even if you don't fumble your line it will sound stale and forced.

This direct approach rule doesn’t apply to women you haven’t made eye contact with yet and remember to never approach from behind. If a woman is glancing around, not only does this indicate a gap in her conversation, but it means that like you, she's checking out the crowd. Make eye contact and go in.

Don’t lurk by the set, avoiding eye contact. The group will notice what you're doing and that you don't have the balls to approach. Never pull some sophomore shit like dancing alone around the set, thinking one of the women will start dancing with you. If you’re the kind of maniac who has funny doing ridiculous dance moves, go for it, but include the women in small ways. Try randomly spinning one of the obstacles in the group or holding the invisibly mic for her to sing the chorus to "Jessie’s Girl" with you. But, no matter how they react, don't let it affect your energy level. If you pull this move, you have to pretend that you truly are just there to dance. If they don’t want to be part of your party, fuck 'em.

Anthony and I kept an eye on Sneakers and her friend throughout the night while we made our rounds. No guys lasted more than a minute with them. A few times she walked through the crowd, pretending to be looking for someone. When she noticed me she always stuck out her tongue or made a funny face. Eventually the two left alone while Anthony and I kept drinking and chatting up strangers.

Keep in mind that the approach game is a game. Even when you lose, the goal is to have fun. You'll never be beaten so bad that you won't live to play again. Also, the best learning experiences usually come from failures. Sometimes women may flat out ignore you. Other times you’ll have a ten minute conversation with an attractive woman who will tell you exactly what you did wrong then make flirtsy faces with you the rest of the night. If that’s your worst failure of the night, you’re doing pretty well.

Check out other entries from The Libertine's Guide to Gallantry: cougar hunting, f-ing in the friend zone, the unattractive delusion, why penis size matters, finding your type, the group pick-up, and selective self control.

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