Chance and Venus help the daring

Antique face

Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish. – Ovid, Ars Amatoria III:ix

Chance and Venus help the daring. – Ovid, Ars Amatoria I:xv

So, two points here from our Ancient Roman dating guru.

First of all keep up your attraction skills wherever you happen to be. Be pleasant to everyone, not just to beautiful women, because it’s pleasant, because you need to keep practicing light-hearted chat, and because women can smell a false-hearted creep a mile away.

Practicing light-hearted chat with everyone, not just beautiful women, enables you to practice your skills in situations in which your fear of failure is not evoked. You will begin to experience success and get smiles. Those skills are transferable, so that next time you really do want to start a conversation with a woman you fancy, you’ll be able to do it without becoming tongue-tied.

Which brings us to the second point Ovid is making – chance and Venus help the daring. There are few things so attractive for a woman in a man as confidence. Not brashness but quiet confidence. And one way to develop this is to keep practicing light and pleasant repartee with everyone you meet!

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Attracting a woman – practicing repartee

What do you say after you say “hi?”

I talked before about repartee – making light conversation. It can be about anything. Just pick up something in the situation that seems natural to talk about. Be creative, but don’t spend too long thinking about it or the moment will have passed.

Example: you go into a wine shop and luckily you are served by an attractive woman. You ask advice about what wines might go with the meal you are planning. You want advice anyway, that’s why you’re in the shop. You might then say, “You seem to know everything. Do they make you taste all the wine in the shop?” Silly conversation opener, but it has the merit of (1) being lighthearted and (2) being about her.

Top tip: people love talking about themselves.

I’m not going to talk you through how to turn that into a date right now. You may not be ready for that yet. The point of this post is to say, practice. Practice even on women you wouldn’t want to ask out on a date. Practice on the till girl in the supermarket, even if she isn’t your type. Even practice on men too.

The point of practicing on people you don’t necessarily fancy is that it removes the fear of rejection. You will find that you are seldom rebuffed and this will build confidence. You are honing your skills for the moment when it will count. You are practicing becoming a fearless master of light conversation.

Don’t imagine the right words will just come into your head when you see that really hot woman you want to talk into a date. Most likely fear will freeze your mind and by the time you’ve worked out the perfect thing to say the moment will have passed. You need to practice. Don’t worry if it’s a bit clunky at first, but keep practicing and give yourself a mental pat on the back every time you do this.

One more thing to make this easier. Stop worrying about yourself. Your aim is to make the other person smile.

Rush hour crush – 4

I think a lot of us live in dreamland.

Do we really want to meet the man or woman of our dreams or do we just want to fantasize about it?

Here are two examples from the ‘Rush hour crush’ section of the Metro newspaper today.

Example 1:

To the gentleman with the gym bag who catches the 08.32 from Penarth to Queen Street every morning. Let me see how many shades you have. Drink? – Brunette

Ooh la la! The reference to ‘shades’ is probably something to do with the recent publication of the ‘shades of grey’ novels, which I understand have lots of references to kinky sex. So if the guy with the gym bag is into that then it’s game on. But (even assuming he reads today’s Metro) how is he to know which brunette is offering? I can imagine a highly amusing farce made out of that (writers of TV comedy take note).

Ok, there is a chance that the target of these entertaining texts will actually read them. And that might just break the ice (or facilitate a very polite refusal) in the event that the two of them ever actually talk to each other. But please, Brunette, consider adding a bit more of a description. Why not wear an unusual brightly coloured shoulder bag or a distinguishing hair ornament? If you weren’t wearing anything eye-catching on the day you could still have said that’s what you’ll be wearing next time. You’ll have to be the one to break the ice unless you do that.

And for the avoidance of doubt, as the lawyers say, the gentleman wasn’t me and I’m not into shades of grey.

Example 2:

To the man with the white dog on the train from Clapham Junction on Saturday, I wish I’d written your number down before you got off at Feltham. Coffee sometime? – Smiley Brunette

Of course this is better. The description of the man is more precise, because fewer men have white dogs than have gym bags. And Smiley Brunette is a little more specific than Brunette.

On the other hand the description could have been improved by stating the time of the train at Clapham Junction. But maybe this isn’t so important, because the text suggests that they actually spoke. I deduce this because she writes “I wish I’d written your number down…” rather than “I wish I’d spoken to you.” So almost full marks here.

Next time, ask for an email or mobile number, or if really shy, at least a Facebook name. “Hey, are you on Facebook?” is a risk-free question. Actually, asking someone if they’d like to meet for coffee sometime is also risk-free. If they’re not interested (or married – check the left hand) they can always find a polite way of declining.

Lessons?

1. If you see someone you fancy, make some harmless remark (the weather, overcrowding on the tube, ‘nice gym bag, where did you get it?,’ ‘what kind of dog is that?,’ whatever) and see if a conversation develops;

2. If a conversation develops in a positive way, ask for a Facebook name/ email/ mobile phone number;

3. If you only think of these things when it’s too late and you text in to the newspaper, you need to be specific enough that the intended recipient has half a chance of knowing who you are. But I can’t help thinking that the ‘Rush hour crush’ column is the repository of lost dreams.

Why don’t we act on our desires? I’ll talk about fear of rejection another time, but it’s all imagination, really. The sky will not fall in.

Rush-hour crush – 3

Kudos to this one (from the Metro, Wednesday August 15):

To the attractive woman in the parka who got on the Northern Line on Monday, June 11. We broke the Tube rules and spoke to each other. We got off at London Bridge and went our separate ways after exchanging names. You have been in my thoughts ever since. – Guy in the black cashmere coat.

They exchanged names? But not phone numbers?

Kudos, because he actually spoke to her. Brilliant! How hard can it be? Just make some remark about something and see if a conversation develops or not.

Then say, hey, meet for coffee some time? Or just ask for her number?

Asking for a Facebook name is one option, and a non-threatening one because if she is just being polite she doesn’t have to respond to your ‘friend’ request later – or she can give you a false name. Then when you can’t find her on Facebook you can stop thinking about her and move on (the guy in the black cashmere coat is still thinking about her two months on, note). I can’t help thinking that asking for a Facebook name is a bit lame, though.

Asking for email is also likely to be perceived as less intrusive than asking for a phone number. Ask her to write it down for you (top tip: always carry a pen and a diary or small pad of paper). Some say that once she’s writing down her email you ask her to write her phone number underneath, since by now the ice is broken. Consider, however, not being too pushy, as that will not work in your favour.

What I have done (and this did work) is give a woman my number (written down). She rang me two days later.

These are a few ideas to work with. Which you do depends a lot on the situation. If you’re clearly getting on well I’d just ask for the phone number or else give her yours.

To the guy in the black cashmere coat: unless you see her again, you’ve blown it this time. But you have learned the most important first step. My advice: talk to other pretty women on the tube, and follow through by getting some phone numbers. If the woman in the parka turns up in your life again, excellent. If not, then don’t waste your time hoping. It’s in the lap of the gods.