Being a moderately attractive young woman, I get hit on my fair share. I've noticed some of the same mistakes being made over and over by men, so I've decided to share them. This is in an attempt to spare both you, my fine male friends, as well as myself and other women, the cringe-inducing effects of such attempts at, um, seduction.
Here's what to stop doing:
10. Don't neg
This regretful trend in pick up is more than just obnoxious -- it's obnoxious and obvious. Negging, also known as "negative comments," is praised by pick up artists everywhere, based on the assumption that negging a woman forces her to try to "prove" herself. This, in turn, supposedly puts the man in the power position, so he can get her to "do the work" rather than have to prove himself to her.
Does it work? Sure. The question is: who does it work on?
It works on women still constantly seeking love and approval from the world, from a substitute father figure, or from themselves. It works on women who second-guess their choices or clothes or the school they're thinking of going to, based on an annoying comment by some guy at a bar. It works on women who don't know themselves well enough to know that they shouldn't waste their time with men who think they have to neg in order to not feel helpless in front of the opposite sex.
In other words, it works on women who suffer from low self-esteem. This means that in fact, negging is manipulative, underhanded, and in some cases downright mean.
I, on the other hand, will not respond well to you insulting my outfit, hair or drink of choice. Not only is it annoying, it makes it screamingly obvious that you are trying to run game on me... which is really not going to work.
Negging thus simultaneously attracts a woman who doesn't know who she is (and is potentially a hot mess), and repels women you might actually be able to want to be with for longer than one night.
Sounds like a solid strategy to me.
9. Don't lead with your money
I don't really care how much money you make or what kind of car you drive. I mean, I care, but I don't care that much.
Want to know what I do care about? You telling me about it. Straight up: it's weird. Again, this may work on other women, but it doesn't work on ones who have their shit together.
To me, telling me your salary says two things: 1. You're probably lying; 2. You're scared that you don't have anything more important to offer.
Incidentally, you're the same guy who gets pissed when the girl you're dating assumes you will pay for everything. Gonna lead with money? Don't be surprised when she expects you to spend it on her.
8. Don't put yourself down
There's nothing sexier than a man who insults himself before you even know him... NOT.
I've had guys tell me they weren't smart, good looking or successful. I get that you're going for the self-deprecating thing, but there's only so far you can take it before I start to believe you.
Plus, I hate feeling like I have to reassure you, even in jest. "No, no, I'm sure you do just fine." It's tiring. And if you're already using me to reassure you now, what would you be like in a relationship?
Finally, don't kill the mystery. Give me a chance to figure out that you suck on my own. Seriously -- we all have things we suck at. In fact, true intimacy is getting an insider's glimpse into the things someone else sucks at and accepting them anyway.
This is also known as love.
7. Don't get handsy
Unless it's obvious that I'm really into you, stop touching my lower back, elbow or shoulders. It's not that this is unpleasant; it's just that it's so obvious that this is something else you read in Pickup 101.
Seriously? I just told you I'm a sex and dating coach. Do you really think I haven't read The Game?
It's *literally* my job.
6. Don't coddle me because I'm a girl
Don't assume I don't like whiskey or that I don't know anything about cars because I'm a girl.
Now, I happen to hate whiskey and know next to nothing about cars -- but I don't like you assuming this is true. Doing so makes you look closed-minded and occasionally misogynistic. Get to know me before you jump to conclusions -- I'm smart, sarcastic, sweet, well-meaning, unsure, and racy. Yes, some of those are paradoxical. Hi. Have you met me? I'm a woman.
5. Don't make fun of my friends
Maybe one of my friends is a little neurotic. Maybe one is drunk and loud. Maybe one doesn't dress well.
It doesn't matter. You can't make fun of them.
Not only is this unattractive, it reveals a disturbing character trait on your part: you're going to talk about me behind my back in the same way. I'm creeped out just thinking about it.
Plus, I live and die by my friends. I'm fiercely loyal and you trying to dis them isn't going to earn you any favors -- in fact, you'll be lucky to emerge unscathed. My wit is as sharp as the talons I wear on these dainty little feet of mine, and you don't want to be on the receiving end of either one.
4. Don't leave your sexuality at the door
There have been a remarkable number of men apparently hitting on me, who I only realized later were attempting to do so. I've been stunned -- stunned -- to discover that they were interested in me sexually. Bottom line, guys: if you aren't owning and feeling your sexuality, I'm not gonna feel it.
I think a lot of men suppress the fact that they want to fuck because they want to make women "feel comfortable." The problem is, flirting and sex appeal are by definition slightly uncomfortable. That's why it's called sexual tension. How many times have you heard a girl say, "It was so hot how I was in my comfort zone the whole time I was around him..."?
The truth is, you making me feel comfortable will usually make me so "comfortable" that I miss the fact that you're dtf. Because when you act all buddy buddy with me, I assume you just want to be my buddy.
Nobody wants to fuck Mr. Nice Guy. So stop being him if you want to fuck.
3. Don't try to make me laugh
It's not that I don't like laughing. It's that I hate fake laughing.
Look -- I'm a nice person. So when you say something that's supposed to be funny, I'm going to laugh (or at least make a noncommittal whimpering sound to help you save face). But the truth is, many men who hit on me are trying so hard to be funny that it's downright painful.
It's not that I don't want you to make me laugh -- it's that I don't want you to try to make me laugh. If you think of something genuinely fun and funny and clever in the moment, go for it! I love that. It's art in the moment.
But if you're sitting there racking your brain for the next funny/clever thing to say, I can feel that, and I can feel how much you're not actually paying attention to me while you're trying to make me laugh.
Plus, no matter what you're saying all I'm really hearing is, "See what a funny guy I am? Now don't you want to fuck me?"
No. What I want is for you to relax and stop trying to prove yourself so that I can get a glimpse into who you actually are.
2. Don't be cocky
I don't care if you bench 300 lbs, hang out with famous people, or pick up models. It takes more than muscles, a Volcom shirt, and the fact that you "totally know that guy from Arrested Development" to impress me. It takes heart and soul and vulnerability and desire and backbone and groundedness and a sense of purpose and humility.
Because cockiness is distinct from confidence.
Confident men know what they have to offer on the inside so they don't feel the need to prove themselves on the outside; cocky men are obsessed with the outside because deep down they're terrified they have nothing of worth on the inside. Confident men are comfortable just being; cocky men think they have to constantly be doing to qualify.
Lastly but potentially most importantly, confident men already know their value so they don't have to constantly talk about themselves; cocky men are busy talking about themselves in order to impress me.
Guess which one I'm actually impressed with?
1. Don't take it personally if I say no
You could avoid all nine of these other tips and still get shut down. It happens all the time. And it sucks -- I'm not going to sugarcoat that. In fact, I have mad respect for men who hit on women -- you're 20 times better than the guy who stands in the corner and does nothing. Even if you do everything wrong, I salute you for being a man.
That said, your efforts as a man are not always going to pan out. Sometimes women are just going to say no -- myself included. And if I do, please don't take it personally and then take it out on me. Hint: yelling, "Why you gotta be like that!?" really isn't helping make your case.
In addition, some of the men I respect the most -- and some of the strongest friendships I've forged -- are with those who asked me out and I turned down. When I said no and they took it in stride, I had so much respect, faith and trust that they were able to handle themselves, that I wanted to be around them more. I wanted to get to know them; I wanted them to get to know me. They didn't shame me for not wanting to fuck them, which had me feel secure. Ultimately they ended up seeing aspects of me that they never would have been privy to otherwise.
The truth is, attraction is a mystery. You can do everything 'right' and still get rejected. You can do everything 'wrong' and still get a date. The only thing we can all do is show up fully as ourselves and see if there's a match.
So show up as you. You are not what you make or what you do or where you've been or who you know.
I want YOU: goofy, sarcastic, clumsy, outgoing, exhausted, generous, honest, frustrated, sexual, introverted, excitable you.
Hit on me with all that, and I might even hit you back.