I originally wrote this for www.ieatgrass.com.
On Tuesday I met up with the cast and crew of Courtesy Flush for a little bonding experience before we all fly out to set. By “bonding” I mean we went to a bar and relied on our favorite social lubricants until we were trading stories about exes and bad one night stands like we were old college friends.
We were at an outdoor bar and at one point I was standing in the smokers section right by the exit with several of the female actors. (I learned “Actresses” is out-dated and makes me look sexist.) As we were chatting, two guys from New Zealand busted up in our conversation. Literally, they just walked up and commented on our topic of choice, while we were mid-sentence. It was obnoxious. Then they asked which one of us wanted to come home with them and I vomited everywhere. Well not literally, but it was pretty awful.
One of our female leads bluntly called them out on their terrible pick-up tactics, and they scampered off into the night.
Okay, we were in the meat packing district, so an abundance of douche-nuggetry should have been expected, but really? You bust up into the convo of four girls–the last group of girls before the exit, mind you–in a last ditch effort to pick someone up before stumbling home? (Alone.)
With that in mind, here are a few tactics you can use to engage strangers when out in public.
Don’t interrupt. The best way to approach someone you want to get to know is just to go up and start an actual conversation with them. However, wait until they aren’t mid sentence, and be sure to have a genuine, non-creepy opener. And make sure your conversation is not riddled with weird, false-sounding compliments that may have them wondering if you’re Jeffrey Dahmer Jr.
Don’t blatantly solo them out. Okay so you are now in conversation with your target! Win! Instincts may tell you to focus your attention solely on them, but this can come off pushy and rude. Instead, talk to their friends, paying your target only moderately more attention. Don’t ignore their company or make them feel like they aren’t included. This will probably bother everyone, or at least piss off the friend enough to make them start tugging sleeves to go home.
Ask some f*cking questions. If they want to know how amazing your trip to Vegas was, they will ask YOU. It’s fine to put out little bits of info about yourself, but if they aren’t biting, don’t blunder forward. Ask them some things about themselves, and if interested, they will most likely return the queries.
My friend Alex Carabano, the hilarious comedian and partial owner of Park Slope’s latin kosher vegan heaven, V Spot, put out this video on hollering at women. It’s called “Yo Ma!” and it went viral on the YouTube. Take a look, have a giggle, and remember never to actually approach a woman this way…