Why Picking Up Girls Isn't A Science
Every single poll of women says the same thing: The number one thing they look for in a man is confidence.
It's A Man's World" is a column on anything and everything related to the modern man, by Ian Lang. If there are any topics you'd like to see addressed here, send them to us at email@example.com. or let us know in the comments section.
Who doesn’t want to do better with the ladies? Even if you’re in a steady relationship (or even married), it’s nice to know you’ve still “got it” when it comes to the fairer sex. Sadly, nature (being the mother of all cock blocks) makes it difficult for us by making women harder to figure out than the Riemann hypothesis. This is good for women because it makes it such that only the most capable of suitors find themselves getting the ladies’ attention (a damning example of the 80/20 rule if I ever saw one).
Does this secret weapon even work?
Fortunately for men, all is not lost. Our secret weapon in the battle of the sexes is known as the dating coach, a “professional” who, ostensibly, has the know-how and skill necessary to transform Stan Marsh into Steve McQueen. Indeed, many companies and individuals advertise guaranteed results, though I’m not sure how they define a result. Thousands of men spend tens of thousands of dollars every year on books, seminars and boot camps hoping to improve their chances of consensual coitus.
There is such a thing as a good dating coach (I’m by and large a fan of David Wygant’s writing. here on AskMen and elsewhere, and there are a handful of other good dating gurus whose writing appears on this site), but most of these coaches are good at teaching men overall life skills and applying them specifically in a romantic setting. Because, really, that’s more or less what dating success boils down to — social skills. Men who are able to read into social cues and respond accordingly are simply going to be more successful in any situation (including dating) than men who are not, regardless of looks, status, etc.
But instead of just teaching broad, common-sense concepts that would neither fill many pages nor be considered revolutionary to many readers, many dating gurus develop theories and strategies that promise to unlock the secrets of exactly what you need to say and do in order to score that hot half-Asian/half-Colombian girl beckoning you from across the bar (I know most guys like blondes, but it’s my column, so we’re using my fantasy).
Practice does not always make perfect
To demonstrate my problem with this, I’m reminded of a fraternity brother of mine. He purchased some dating books and would often “try out” some of the lines on his female roommate. I give him a lot of credit for at least practicing, but, unsurprisingly, his roommate’s typical response was, “No, that probably wouldn’t work.” Similarly, I recall being in a bar in Stamford, CT, sitting
next to two women who were maybe in their 30s. A guy my age approached and proceeded to spit out entire routines of canned pickup material. Despite making no headway whatsoever, he plowed ahead with all the finesse of a torch juggler, finally asking for and being denied phone numbers.
Both anecdotes represent the fundamental problem with any dating manual: There’s no such thing as a universally perfect pickup line. My reasonably good-looking and successful fraternity brother’s lines fell flat for the same reason those of the nerdy kid did. It doesn’t matter how brilliant something is on paper or coming from someone else’s mouth, because if it’s not something that you would naturally say, women are going to know it. A chubby, awkward guy trying to demonstrate status by telling a girl his ex was a model will come across as less believable than a bunch of politicians playing an honest game of poker. For as much as dating books highlight women’s heightened ability to pick up on social cues, much of their advice centers on boldly ignoring that and misrepresenting yourself in one way or another.
Every single poll of women says the same thing: The number one thing they look for in a man is confidence. I don’t doubt this, but most men misunderstand or misconstrue what confidence really is. Going out of your way to demonstrate your value as a suitor is the opposite of confidence. All the money, all the status in the world is rendered moot when you have to flaunt it for attention.
Confidence is the starting place
Confidence is a result, not a cause. A lack of confidence isn’t necessarily the result of failure, but rather the failure to meet expectations. If you’re unemployed but feel like you should be working on Wall Street, then you’re not going to feel very comfortable in your own skin. But if you’re unemployed but have a realistic view of what you can do to get back on your feet, you’ll have a lot less anxiety. Women recognize that. Musicians get laid for two reasons: 1) They can play music, and 2) Most of them genuinely believe that the sky’s the limit in terms of their success. That kind of steadfast optimism and self-assuredness is intoxicating.
If you find yourself failing with women, maybe the problem is less about the man you are and more about how comfortable you are being that man. Don’t look for pickup lines, cure-alls or secret codes, because none of it will work if you’re not in the right place mentally. Reevaluate your ambitions and goals, and you’ll start coming across to others (men and women alike) as more stable, easygoing and, most importantly, confident.
If you need a dating or life coach to help you do that, fine. Remember, if there really was a successful formula for figuring out women, whoever came up with it would be a lot richer and a lot more famous than any pickup artist you’ve heard of.
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