I am very bad at talking to strangers specially when I have no clear purpose. I cannot be one of those guys who have game. And by game I mean a topic. Because, I don’t think there is no need to talk to a stranger unless you are lost and need directions or that stranger happens to own a shop or is serving tables at a restaurant.
I could never go to someone and say,’Hey!’ because, in my mind, it felt like going out of my way. I respect the art though. I respect people who strike up conversations with perfect strangers. The respect goes up a few notches when those strangers are beautiful girls. Me? I am so defensive about being attracted to someone that I put myself in the friendzone by overusing words like ‘buddy’, ‘friend’, ‘chum’ etc.
But yes, over the past few years, I have sort of tried to push the envelope by trying to talk to some random women just for the heck of it. I failed at scoring a date 100% of the time but I think the lessons I learned can be helpful for those working in the field. So, here goes nothing-
I was in an all males group in Goa and there was this hot chick running across Bagha beach in a green tee and white hotpants. I really wanted to talk to her and when friends asked me to go ahead, I went up to her and said-
‘Excuse me, the whole beach seems to have a crush on you.’
She smiled and thanked me.
I went on- ‘Uhh… So, my friends were wondering if you’d care to join us tonight at Tito’s.’ I pointed towards my group of hairy, half-naked men.
She respectfully declined.
Lesson- It wasn’t a great opening line but she smiled. Confidence is important.
Near Vagator, there is this small restaurant called Thalassa in Goa. I was there with my friends. In the night, the restaurant turns into an open air discotheque and people just go wild. The live show is pretty awesome. So, I was tired of all the rejections from the day and decided to go simple. A girl was dancing next to me. I waved at her and made a ‘hi’ with my lips. She said hi awkwardly and left the dance floor. My confidence was shattered. All I could see around me was beautiful couples and married couples and their children and happiness. I secretly prayed for some divorces.
Lesson- Being single is hard, guys! Also, never wave at someone you don’t know if you have no game.
I was in a flight to Bangalore. Mine was the window seat, the middle seat was empty and a girl was sitting on the alley seat. She had a book in her hand. I planned my move for the initial fifteen minutes. And this is what I came up with-
‘Can I see your book?’
She said, ‘Yea sure.’
It was some spiritual book I didn’t really understand. Something about Buddhism. I started blurting out things about my book meetup group. She seemed interested in the topic, or at least acted interested out of courtesy.
She was Punjabi so of course, we chatted a lot.
‘At my age…’ She said something which indicated how disappointed she was of her age.
‘Oh, you don’t look old. What’s your age?’ I asked with all etiquette out the window.
’28. I should have been married by now.’ She explained how her ex disappointed her. She event went and danced in his baraat. (I imagined Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
Eventually she divulged that she was now looking to get married within 2-3 months. Of course, she hadn’t found the groom yet but, shaadi.com was her hope.
I shared the cab fare with her to the city and then left the story there.
Lesson- Not everything that seems to be going well is headed somewhere.
I was in Social, Hauz Khas and I had finally realized that having a topic to start a conversation is important. I went up to a lady who was looking at the notice board. The notice board had some invitation for the ‘creative types’. I pointed at the notice with a beer in my hand and asked, ‘Are you one of these?’
She said, ‘As a matter of fact I am. I am an education entrepreneur.’
I was like, ‘Cool! So, are you with someone here?’
She replied, ‘Yes, I am here with my husband. She pointed to him with her googly eyes.’
I screamed from within and nodded from outside.
‘So, let me tell you about my meetup group..’ I went to explain to her about my meetup group. That was when I realized that although this one was a failure, my meetup group is a great topic for initiating conversations.
Lesson- Keep a backup plan in case she is married.
Same night at Social, I went to these two women drinking at the bar. Drinking at the bar is so cliched that it sounds like an invitation for guys to come and hit on you. At least in India, it is not. So, I went to these two girls. My line was- ‘My friend thinks I am bad at talking to women. So, this is just me talking to you. I want to know if one of you would like to join me on the dance floor.’
Both of them said no. I had directed the question while looking at both of them. I don’t know what is the proper etiquette to talk to one women when she is sitting with another women. Of course, you can’t ignore her friend.
Anyway, I thanked both of them a little too profusely for their time. I guess I was too drunk that night.
Lesson- If you want it to be a no, you will get a no.
At Bagha beach, as I was sitting with my friend in a shack, we saw two pretty women playing in the ocean. I don’t understand why it always seems easy when you see two single ladies. But as you start walking toward them, you realize that this can never work out and half the wind beneath your feet is already swept away.
With that disappointed face, I went to the girl in red t-shirt and said ‘Hey’.
She ignored me and started walking away. I remembered the golden rule of polite conversations- first introduce yourself. I said, ‘Hey! My name is Abhyudaya and I am a dentist!’
She recoiled, ‘So?’
Maybe I had sounded a bit douchey. I again went to my etiquette box and brought out a polite line- ‘I was wondering if you would mind some company.’
She almost shouted at me, ‘Shut up!’
I was startled. I just gathered myself and came back with a heavy heart.
‘She wasn’t that pretty.’ I told my friend who was chuckling away.
Lesson- If she acts startled when you say ‘hi’, she probably is not the type you want to talk to.
So, after the failure with the ‘Shutup’ fiasco, I went to this group of three. They were three extremely pretty women. Dusky complexion and all their eyes had this unique wisdom that is hard to find in North Indian women but is quite plentiful down South.
I had to salvage my self esteem and there is no better ointment than the smile of an intelligent women. I said, ‘Hey, I am dentist and I had come with a few of my friends to Goa. The females unfortunately just left because they had prior commitments and now it is just me and my friend. You know how it is for single guys in Goa, right? So, would it be okay if I ask you join me and my friend to a club or something?’
I had chosen the wrong group, I knew. The three of them were headed inside a restaurant. It was quite obvious that they had people waiting for them. They all looked similar. It was probably a big family outing.
But as I had expected, they were nice women. They showed the courtesy disappointment in not being able to help me. And then they explained that they already had company. When they got to know that I had come from Davangere. They even hollered ‘enjoy madi’ (Kannada for ‘Have fun!’) to me.
I smiled and came back. Feeling slightly better.
Lesson- South Indian women for the win!
Now, since I was on a roll that day, me and my friend decided to stay and chill out at St Anthony’s Shack for the evening too. When the lights got dim and the dance floor began to rock n’ roll, I tried going to the floor. The security guard promptly came up and told me that the dance floor is for couples and mixed groups only. That was sad.
There were a bunch of girls who were just sitting near the floor and smoking. I decided to give myself one more failure. I went up to one of them and said, ‘The security is not letting me dance here! Would you like to join me for a quick dance?’
She was polite. She said, ‘It is too humid. I can’t, sorry, I can’t.’
I came back. The apologies from her had made me feel really empowered. It wasn’t me! It was the humidity!
After a while, I went to ask her again. This time she looked miffed. I backed off. Failure completed.
Lesson- The reason you want to talk to her cannot be ‘The security’. Show interest or go home.
Now, this one time in Social, Hauz Khas Village- I created a play (ref- Barney’s Playbook) with my friend. We went up this table of two women who were moderately hot and said this-
‘Hey! Me and my friend are having this argument. Do you care to settle it for us?’
‘He thinks it is better to be killed by a tight hug from a Panda while I think a death from a Giraffe stomping on you is better. What do you guys think?’
The seemed confused. First they said, ‘Do you guys want our seats because we are just leaving,’ We convinced them that this was not about the seats.
Then they both picked death by Panda hug.
Now the plan was to engage them in a conversation but we just took the poll results, thanked them and left.
Lesson- We were idiots!
In Delhi, near Connaught Place, there is this American library. People are slightly nutty about getting inside that library. Reason being a nice ambiance, nice central location and cheap membership fee. So, I was standing in the very long queue for the entry to the library one day and this girl just came and stood behind me. She was very cute but, I was tired of initiating conversations.
So obviously destiny made her tap on my shoulder and ask about the membership details of the library. I gladly wasted my library time in showing her around and telling her stuff. I wanted to keep talking to her. Then she had to go. She stood up and left after adding me on Facebook.
She came back and found her seat occupied so, she just sat elsewhere. I never took her number but, I don’t think she was interested either. We never met after that. So, she now just sits in my friend list now.
Lesson- I am ugly.