Another one from Friday’s morning paper:
To the girl with sort white hair and pink streaks reading her Kindle on the westbound Piccadilly line: you are the prettiest girl I’ve seen in a long time. Our eyes met, we both smiled but I regret not saying hello. Any chance I could buy you a drink? – Guy wearing yellow polo shirt
Ok, what did he do right, what should he have done and what should he do now?
First of all, let’s emphasise what he did right, because this is important and it gives him a head start.
Think about it a moment. What gives this guy a chance?
He made eye-contact.
Now of course if you stare at anyone on the tube or in a bus, something tells them they are being watched and eventually they will look up to see what’s going on. This is very a very basic instinctive reaction and it has to do with survival. The other person will eventually look at you and therefore eye-contact will inevitably occur.
If you continue to stare this may be taken as creepy and threatening. This is not what I am advising at all. So what did he do next that made it ok?
Easy isn’t it? He smiled.
How did he know that she didn’t feel freaked?
She smiled as well.
Now as always, caution. Smiling can be defensive. It is not possible in a blog entry to analyse at length different kinds of smile. You have to have a certain amount of emotional sensitivity, and I can’t give you that if you don’t have it (although most of us do have it if we are not blinded by desire, frustration and self-deception – a topic for another time perhaps – for now let’s just point to Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night for those who know the play).
People also smile because we are hard-wired to copy what others do (we have so-called ‘mirror neurones’ that help us do this). She doesn’t necessarily fancy him just because she smiled. BUT…
But he’s in with a chance.
What he should have done of course was what he now regrets not having done. He should have gone up to her and said ‘hello.’ If she wasn’t interested after all would the sky have fallen in? No, of course not. She’d have made an excuse, smiled again and left. No problem. There are other women and there will be other times.
What he should do now is obvious isn’t it? Assuming he’s lucky enough to be on the same carriage of the same tube train as her again.