|Dec. 21st, 2011 03:30 pm Fur Elise..|
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I take the metro to Dupont and enter Kramerbooks.
I spot the big book on Zen. But it's not just about Zen, it's about finding one's purpose in job/career form.
Practical advice combined with Zen Buddhist principles. It's written well so I read it as I browse the bookstore.
I see a cute girl with about five books in her arms. She's across from me perusing through books. I spot the title, "How to be an Expert Beer Drinker." I could ask her, So does that book really teach you to be an expert drinker? to start a conversation.
But she just picked up a book and I'm waiting for the 'moment' and I don't want to interrupt her and -wait duh, that's what you're supposed to do. Saying 'hi' interrupts girls and is a good thing. Get that through your mind, Paul.
Whether it feels like a small thing or a big thing that's stopping you is irrelevant. If it stops you at all, it's huge. 1s and 0s have no fractions.
I feel comfortable. I feel balanced. It's just... something tiny at the end. I think because there are a bit too many people around. 99% of the way there.. that last 1% is tough (right, Occupy Wall Street?)
I go through this process about eight times that night. I spot a girl. I think of something I could ask. The actual asking part is a very small (but critical) part. If I think about it ten times longer than the opening line takes, it's too long.
There are many opportunities to exercise my 'hi' muscles. What are you waiting for, Paul?
A cute girl in red.
A girl with short black hair looking at cook books.
A blonde girl looking at business books.
Two asian girls next to the restaurant entrance.
A hot girl who works there.
At one point I think of asking one girl, Have you eaten at this cafe?
But I don't.
Well Paul, this pattern isn't going to change itself. I've got to do something.
I gotta keep my average up, of talking to one girl a day, I realize.
But I don't quite feel it. I consider leaving. I turn to the left and realize I'm facing a really cute girl.
She's got dark hair, dressed in white, and holds a black bag.
It's an attractive black-and-white theme. I could use this opening line, What's black and white and cute all over? But thankfully I don't, haha.
I ask, "Hi, have you eaten at this cafe?"
She looks up at me with a friendly smile, "No, I haven't."
"Me neither," I respond, "I'm curious to know if it's any good."
I continue, "They display their cakes over there, they look delicious."
"So did you find the book you're looking for?" I ask.
"That's the thing..I didn't come here looking for anything in particular. Just browsing," she says, "What about you?"
"Yeah I'm kinda browsing too, what kind of books do you like to read?"
"All kinds," she answers, "I'm kind of all over the place, what do you like to read?"
"Yeah me too. I like sic-fi, fantasy. Oh one book that caught my eye over there about Zen Buddhism and career paths. It's this big-" I say, holding my hands out.
"Oh, interesting," she says. "So do you like coming here a lot? Are you new to the area?"
"I've been in Maryland my whole life," I say, "What about you?"
"I moved here eight months ago," she says.
"So you're still kind of new. Where were you before that?"
"Oh my parents are in Flordia." I say.
"Mine too," she smiles. "Which part?"
"Not far from Orlando. I'm going there for Christmas. Which part of Florida are you from?"
"Tampa Bay," she answers.
"Ah, that's a long way from Orlando. A few hours away, right?"
"Eh, on good days it can be like two or two and a half hours."
"Florida is so huge," I say. "So did you grow up there?"
"No well not really. We moved there when I was thirteen."
"So what made you come to d.c.?"
"I just wanted a change things."
"Haha, which do you like better, Tampa or D.C.?"
"Mmm, I like D.C."
"Why? The diversity?"
"Well it's diverse in tampa too, but it's more.. I don't know, I just like the change," she says.
I think about asking for an email or phone number. But even if I do, i rarely get responses. Why not try something different? So I do.
"Hey, do you want to join me in the cafe?" I ask.
She smiles looks at me and says, "Well, I'm actually about to head home."
I know that girls will say no to test men. So I push a little.
"Yeah? Not even for ten minutes? We could share a slice of chocolate cake. Here in d.c. at night.."
She smiles and says, "That..does sound nice."
"Just not nice enough to stay for ten minutes, hmm?" I tease.
She pauses, smiles and says, "It's been a long day. I met a friend earlier."
"So where in d.c. do you live?" I ask.
"Columbia Heights," She says.
"Ah, that's a nice place." I say, "I had a friend who lived there once. And it's near the metro. I feel like you can get to anywhere in d.c. when you're close to the metro."
She smiles. "What about you? Where in Maryland?"
I tell her my city, "I like it because I'm far enough from the fast pace of the city but close enough to go into d.c. when I want to."
I think about the 80/20 rule. How when first meeting a girl the guy is expected to talk 80% of the time and the girl 20%. How before I thought I had to come up with stories and jokes to keep a girl interested.
I remember a few years ago watching videos on how to talk to girls, and people suggested memorizing a few funny stories.
And how it made me mad to the bone because that was not my personality. I like to observe, to listen. And here society was telling me I have to drive the conversation with pre-made stories for a guaranteed laugh? It made me sick to my stomach. It made me feel like I had to be a stand-up comedian when I wanted to be a dance partner. But in lieu of not getting results, what could I say in my defense? Nothing. I had to try something new, right?
Now I feel like I am talking a lot, but with real conversation, questions, real curiosity. It feels 100% more real and I like it. For the first time I'm aware I'm playing the 80/20 rule with my own twist.
"So," I ask, "When you were in Tampa Bay, were you in the city?"
"No, the suburbs," she says.
"You must have a lot of friends down there you left behind."
"Well, no," she pauses and looks up as if pondering, "Just a few," she says.
"Yeah, well you're gonna make a ton of friends here in d.c." I say.
She says, "Yup! I am."
I smile. "Hey, it was nice meeting you. I'll let you go since you have to go home. May I have your email?"
She looks at me and smiles. Then starts laughing lightly.
"You're laughing," I say.
"No.. that's very nice," she says, smiling, "Sure."
I take out a piece of paper and pen. While I do I offer my hand and say, "Hey I'm Paul."
"Hey, Elise." She puts her cup on the book table and removes her comfy dark-looking gloves.
"Let me take this glove off."
"Ah, those look like comfortable gloves." I say.
I shake her hand and it's cold.
"Your hands are cold, the gloves don't work, " I tease.
Then I write down 'Elise' on the paper.
"You spelled it correctly," she says.
"Yeah I get points for that," I joke.
She adds her email ending to her name with the number 1 at the end.
I say, "Ah, there is one other person with that email."
"Maybe she's your twin," I joke.
"She is a teacher in Connecticut."
"Oh? You emailed her?"
"No, I looked her up online," she smiles.
"Well that's good. It was nice chatting with you, Elise. Take care."
And I return to the book I picked up before talking to her. Some history thing.
I feel 100% better.
Even though we didn't go out, it was almost like a mini-date.
I showed her many things in this five-minute conversation.
1. That I interrupt her and drive the conversation. Even just to say 'hi.'
2. That I show interest by asking her out.
3. That I have the guts to respond to 'rejection' with teasing and a positive spin while still interacting with her.
4. That I ask for her contact info and am persistent, but not annoyingly so.
5. That I am a high-energy, funny dude who likes to be curious about her.
That's not bad for a non-date.
She showed me many things too.
1. That she has a friendly smile and her calm demeanor is soothing.
2. That she is open to friendly conversation with a stranger
3. That she acts polite when dealing with men who ask her out
4. That she is a little bit of a challenge, and that makes her mysterious
5. That she likes change and isn't afraid to move into a completely different city. She is mostly conservative but deep down desires adventure. (well, I'm filling in the blanks but it's fun!)
I am attracted to the soothing vibe she gives off when I talk with her. The pauses don't seem awkward because of her eyes, her smile, and her pacing when she talks. And how she listens. I find that rare.
I send her an email. She doesn't respond.
After enough times I start to wonder, what can I do differently to get girls more likely to respond?
And I think it is my initial encounter.. Spice it up. Do something different. Tease more (can be hard with a lot of people around?)
Take more risks.
Like in this case I think I could have ended better. Instead of asking for her email I could say, "Hey we've been talking for ten minutes, and we could have been having a chocolate cake in this time," with a smile.
Push the obsessive thoughts out and -especially- the thought that I need positive feedback right away to continue flirting. I don't. Keep crashing the net.
Bring in the spontaneity, the fun, the teasing.
Make the game less formal.
Well either way I'm glad I crashed the net. Just keep doing it.
All that work for a '1' in my 'talking to girl' total for the day, haha. But it's a huge '1' -it counts the same as just saying 'hi.' But that's good for me at this point.
On my way home I sit next to girl on the metro. She looks younger. With tons of gifts in bag.
"You look like you did Christmas shopping," I say.
She looks at me and smiles, "Oh yes. This one here is a gift for me."
"Oh? A gift for yourself?" I tease.
"What did you get yourself?" I ask.
"Oh no, I didn't get it. Someone gave it to me."
"Ah," I smile.
She's texting on her phone so I let her be. Content that for tonight, I talked to two girls.
Tomorrow is another day.