A friend of mine asks what is the best way to get to know a strange girl. I’m sure I don’t know. When I say I don’t know the best way, I mean that I don’t know any real way to get to know a perfect stranger.
Yet, I have been approached, propositioned, ‘hit upon’, asked out, wooed, chased after…and all the other things that are done as a prelude to the human mating dance. I’ve dated and had boyfriends and to be sure I wasn’t born with a little black book and all their contacts in it. Each of them was a stranger at some point of time. So how did they get to know me?
Was it an introduction by someone else? A common purpose or forum like college, workplace? Na….not quite…
*Staring into space…..oops the guy across the road thought I was ‘making eyes’ at him*
Still no clue…
I do remember the first conversations I’ve had with most people who are anything in my life (yes and that includes the bottom-of-food-chain species a.k.a ex-boyfriends).
One of the memorable ones is the one with this great friend of mine. I noticed him at a college cultural meet when I heard him on stage and later I walked up and asked him whose words he had been spouting.
He said “My own”. Then he paused and said “I like to write”.
So I said, “Great…and I like to read!”
And that was that. With some people you just don’t need an introduction…the conversation flows like it had never ended before and never needed to be started up.
Another memory is the time I was introduced to ‘da dude’. Our preferences are probably defined and set in concrete during our teens, based on the ‘coolness’ learnings we get. This guy swaggered up and introduced himself and proceeded to say “I know” to everything I said about myself…name, birthday, interests, college, course, address. He really did know since we had common friends and he had taken the trouble to find out and what’ s more…didn’t find any reason to hide that fact. Moreover, ten minutes later, when the silly ragging started, someone hooted “So when’s the wedding?”. He shot back “When we decide we’ll send you a card.”
Definitely worth continuing the conversation with.
Then again, there are the others..
One morning in the bus, on my way to work, I was rudely interrupted from my dozing by an eager male voice asking if I’d move over my bag. I must have snarled at him and moved my bag wherein he slid into the seat next to me. Early-morning flirtations aren’t necessarily my favorite way of kick-starting a working day. About half an hour passed, during which I was subjected to a frequently ringing cellphone and detailed descriptions over his work, punctuated frequently by “I’ll be there in ten minutes and I’ll show you how to do it”. After a bit, I took out a bottle of water and had a sip. Mr.Very-Important-Job-to-do put on his suavest manner and blurted..”Is that rum?” I shot back, “No, its vodka but don’t tell anyone..its a dry day.”
Nasty? Yes, perhaps. As a woman travelling alone in the city I have to build some defenses and nastiness is one way to ward off unwanted attention. Just what about this guy turned me off? Well…I guess I took one look at him and knew I wasn’t interested and after that nothing he did would have seemed right. And then too, I was testing him to see if he was genuinely witty or just in possession of some pick-up lines. Since he had no witty comeback, I assume he was one of the kind that prowls bookstores for “100 new ways to ask a woman out”
Also, like a lot of women I know, I’m not impressed by men who try to impress me. Or at least…try so very obviously. It is an instant turn-off to have to keep listening to yarns about the guy’s long list of admirers (well, why don’t you go deal with them…don’t let me hold you back..) or how indispensible he is at work (really? how come you’re here talking to me? what if there’s a fire or a flood? what if the phone rings? what if they need someone to think?). Yes, I do like confidence….but so many people don’t realise that showing off is a sign of low confidence, not the opposite.
Obviously every woman has her unique preferences. A friend of mine likes nice guys. Polite, courteous, god-fearing types. She can have them all….they’re the kind I avoid like the plague. So she’s the kind who’ll smile back only at the guy who apologizes for bothering her and asks if she would be kind enough to direct him to the airport. (While I would be likely to say “If you can’t read the signs, however will you manage in a foreign country?”
Another friend only looks at men who ‘take the effort’. This includes dressing right, holding doors open for her, bringing her flowers….*yawwwnnn* (wake me up when the Mills n’ Boon is over). Now tread carefully here, polish your shoes and pour on the charm with a light hand.
I set store by my instincts especially about the liking meter for people I meet the first time. It isn’t scientific but it takes just a few seconds to know whether you are going to like the person or not. Nearly all of my friends are people I just felt drawn to the first time I saw them, and they to me.
In reply to his question I guess, I can only say keep trying and keep your fingers crossed. You can’t deny that one good start-of-something is worth a hundred other botched-up beginnings.