The Gentleman's Guide to Speaking To Women on the Street.
I published this "guide" in 2014 and wanted to revisit it a few years later. I think it still holds up as a common sense "how to interact with humans in public" guide. I'd love to know what you think all these years later. Please enjoy again!
Earlier this week, a video of Shoshana B. Roberts walking though the streets of New York City went viral. The video shows Roberts walking silently and receiving numerous cat-calls, whistles and other horrible attempts at flattery. You can see the video here: http://youtu.be/b1XGPvbWn0A
It seems that a few of my fellow XY chromosomes are confused about what is and is not appropriate when attempting to speak to a member of the opposite sex. For those of you who are confused, no need to worry! I've created a quick guide to get you up to speed on being a decent person in the 21st century. Be sure to take notes wannabe gentleman.
- A pick-up line doesn't start with "HEY!" This includes, but is not limited to, hey mami, hey girl, hey you, hey come over here, hey pretty lady and/or hey yo bitch. As my mother used to say, "Hay is for horses". And in case you forgot, horses are animals. When approaching a woman, it's important to remember that you are attempting to interact with a HUMAN BEING. Consider this the New Golden Rule. Women are people, not animals. So when you yell "HEY!", it does two things. First, it shows that you are incapable of the simple distinction between humans and animals. This in turn makes the woman aware of your lack of intelligence, making it highly unlikely for her to interact with you. There is zero benefit here. So maybe chill the fuck out with HEY.
- "SMILE!" - At a certain point in Shoshana's video, she is told to smile about four times in a matter of seconds. And guys, look...I get it. You're awesome. Women should become a beam of light at just the sight of you. The fact that you're a strange dude on the street means absolutely nothing! But, it turns out, that women are people(see New Golden Rule). People go through a range of emotions. Contrary to your warped sense of reality, women are not always smiling. And just because they're not smiling, doesn't mean there's something wrong. It actually doesn't mean anything. So, if you see a woman who happens to not be smiling, take three breathes, and remind yourself that everything is going to be OK. She isn't broken. Heck, she can't be broken...because she's a human being! Are we learning anything yet guys? (See New Golden Rule). QUICK HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT! Check out my friend Janelle James' sketch "The Smile Bitch Training Camp" on just this subject here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7IkNAzyR9k
- If you're going to speak to a woman on the street, try "Hi" or "Hello" instead of "How you doing?". I know this is tough because we ALL idolize Joey from Friends. But, there's no getting around how sleezy this sounds. Seriously, try hi or hello and if she's not in the mood to talk, she will continue on her way. Important: YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY LET HER CONTINUE ON HER WAY WITH. NO ARGUING OR FURTHER PROBING! JUST LEAVE HER ALONE! Don't take it personally if you she doesn't talk to you. Some people have places to be (the #1 reason for going outside), or just don't feel comfortable speaking to strangers. It's OK. And hey, let's say she does want to talk to you. You must resist that urge to say something idiotic such as, "You should smile more!". "Well Dwight," you might be asking, what do I say to a woman on the street?" Honestly, I don't know. (This isn't a post about picking up women. It's a post on how not to be such a fucking piece of shit douchebag). But, I'd suggest staying away from things that you might find in the YouTube comments of a Beyonce or Rihanna video.
- Damn isn't a compliment. This is self explanatory right? As with "Hey!" This is ultimately ineffective. When you use "damn", you're usually using it to "compliment" a woman's body or body part. You should stay away from this. If you want to give someone a compliment, especially a stranger, go with something that isn't a physical attribute. Try complimenting something that doesn't make her feel like a piece of meat. By noticing more than just her body, you become more perceptive, which in turn, helps you become more genuine. Am I getting too deep? My apologies, I forgot I was talking to fucking idiots. JUST STOP WITH THE DAMN! SEE THE NEW GOLDEN RULE GOD DAMNIT!
- Remember, cat calling hurts everyone. Besides making the male race look like a unit of complete jackasses, it makes women extremely uncomfortable. They don't like it. Get that notion out of your head. Now. It leaves people feeling vulnerable and unsafe and that is absolutely not fair. It's not funny and its effects are far reaching. Plus, think of the benefits that you'll reap! With all of the time you save not harrassing women, you'll have more time to:
-Read a fucking book or two.
-Reflect on how you're mother/sister/daughter is affected by this.
-Find a more appropriate way and setting to ask a gal out.
All in all, as men, we can do better. Come on guys, let's get our shit together.