"Excuse me…"

A friend of mine asks what is the best way to get to know a strange girl. I’m sure I don’t know. When I say I don’t know the best way, I mean that I don’t know any real way to get to know a perfect stranger.

Yet, I have been approached, propositioned, ‘hit upon’, asked out, wooed, chased after…and all the other things that are done as a prelude to the human mating dance. I’ve dated and had boyfriends and to be sure I wasn’t born with a little black book and all their contacts in it. Each of them was a stranger at some point of time. So how did they get to know me?

*Brows furrowed*
Was it an introduction by someone else? A common purpose or forum like college, workplace? Na….not quite…

*Staring into space…..oops the guy across the road thought I was ‘making eyes’ at him*

Still no clue…

I do remember the first converations I’ve had with most people who are anything in my life (yes and that includes the bottom-of-food-chain species a.k.a ex-boyfriends).

One of the memorable ones is the one with this great friend of mine. I noticed him at a college cultural meet when I heard him on stage and later I walked up and asked him whose words he had been spouting.
He said “My own”. Then he paused and said “I like to write”.
So I said, “Great…and I like to read!”
And that was that. With some people you just don’t need an introduction…the conversation flows like it had never ended before and never needed to be started up.

Another memory is the time I was introduced to ‘da dude’. Our preferences are probably defined and set in concrete during our teens, based on the ‘coolness’ learnings we get. This guy swaggered up and introduced himself and proceeded to say “I know” to everything I said about myself…name, birthday, interests, college, course, address. He really did know since we had common friends and he had taken the trouble to find out and what’ s more…didn’t find any reason to hide that fact. Moreover, ten minutes later, when the silly ragging started, someone hooted “So when’s the wedding?”. He shot back “When we decide we’ll send you a card.”
Definitely worth continuing the conversation with.

Then again, there are the others..
One morning in the bus, on my way to work, I was rudely interrupted from my dozing by an eager male voice asking if I’d move over my bag. I must have snarled at him and moved my bag wherein he slid into the seat next to me. Early-morning flirtations aren’t necessarily my favorite way of kick-starting a working day. About half an hour passed, during which I was subjected to a frequently ringing cellphone and detailed descriptions over his work, punctuated frequently by “I’ll be there in ten minutes and I’ll show you how to do it”. After a bit, I took out a bottle of water and had a sip. Mr.Very-Important-Job-to-do put on his suavest manner and blurted..”Is that rum?” I shot back, “No, its vodka but don’t tell anyone..its a dry day.”

Nasty? Yes, perhaps. As a woman travelling alone in the city I have to build some defenses and nastiness is one way to ward off unwanted attention. Just what about this guy turned me off? Well…I guess I took one look at him and knew I wasn’t interested and after that nothing he did would have seemed right. And then too, I was testing him to see if he was genuinely witty or just in possession of some pick-up lines. Since he had no witty comeback, I assume he was one of the kind that prowls bookstores for “100 new ways to ask a woman out”

Also, like a lot of women I know, I’m not impressed by men who try to impress me. Or at least…try so very obviously. It is an instant turn-off to have to keep listening to yarns about the guy’s long list of admirers (well, why don’t you go deal with them…don’t let me hold you back..) or how indispensible he is at work (really? how come you’re here talking to me? what if there’s a fire or a flood? what if the phone rings? what if they need someone to think?). Yes, I do like confidence….but so many people don’t realise that showing off is a sign of low confidence, not the opposite.

Obviously every woman has her unique preferences. A friend of mine likes nice guys. Polite, courteous, god-fearing types. She can have them all….they’re the kind I avoid like the plague. So she’s the kind who’ll smile back only at the guy who apologizes for bothering her and asks if she would be kind enough to direct him to the airport. (While I would be likely to say “If you can’t read the signs, however will you manage in a foreign country?”

Another friend only looks at men who ‘take the effort’. This includes dressing right, holding doors open for her, bringing her flowers….*yawwwnnn* (wake me up when the Mills n’ Boon is over). Now tread carefully here, polish your shoes and pour on the charm with a light hand.

I set store by my instincts especially about the liking meter for people I meet the first time. It isn’t scientific but it takes just a few seconds to know whether you are going to like the person or not. Nearly all of my friends are people I just felt drawn to the first time I saw them, and they to me.

In reply to his question I guess, I can only say keep trying and keep your fingers crossed. You can’t deny that one good start-of-something is worth a hundred other botched-up beginnings.

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About IdeaSmith

IdeaSmith is the digital doppelganger of Ramya Pandyan (intrepid train-traveller and frequent spouter of post-midnight rhymes and rants). As IdeaSmith she battles obscurity and slays boredom with her stories about men, books, digitalia and Mumbai. She performs live and also blogs, tweets, Instagrams, Facebooks, +G’s, Youtubes and Goodreads all as IdeaSmith. Ramya is a blogger, digital storyteller and spoken word performer. She also runs a forum for aspiring writers called Alphabet Sambar. Tweet-bomb her at @ideasmithy.

Posted on September 30, 2005, in Battle of the sexes, Survival Guide. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Would leaving a comment in your blog count as a ‘Good start of something’, I’m sorry I dont have any pick-up lines handy!

  2. Anon: I am having you arrested for stealing my lines!

    Smithy: F*** me if I am wrong… but have we met before?

    😉

  3. apoo: pickup line competition chal raha hai kya? i will also think of one and put it in the comments section later…

    idea: hmmm… lots of things to do with startings… starting a day in the loo, starting a conversation with a guy… somethings cooking… i mean starting… sochna padega!!!

  4. Lemme try too!!!
    So Smithy, here i am, What are your other two wishes?
    No? That not doing it for you? ummm

    *ruffling through my cheat sheet*

    Man! for a fat girl you sure don’t sweat a lot… SHIT! wrong one!

    *ruffling some more*

    Yeah… Come sit on my lap and we’ll talk about the first thing that pops up!

    Hey, that last one got me the closest contact I’ve had with a woman in years… and I have the scars to prove it!

  5. * sits down on first bench and takes copious notes while pausing intermittently to adjust glasses *

  6. Hmph….bhala karne chale they hum!!! I was trying to answer a question not hold a pick-up line competition!!!!!

    Anon, Apoorva, Valhalla…all these lines are great. Now come back and tell me when you have something original! *sharpening my claws*

    Rumpy…nothing starting, which is why I have time to analyse what beginnings are like (or should be like!)

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