Ahhhhh yes…. The masterful art of the pick up line. A very disciplined and challenging study for any man to master. The various techniques. The decorative approaches. The array of angles and nuances that must be mastered. But just like golf, the tradition of approaching women with crude, clever or even disgusting comments can never truly be mastered. As the times evolve, a man’s mouth-piece to remain affective. But where does this need to be clever and witty come from? What is so hard about simply saying……. Hi….. My name is Jackson. What’s Yours?
This has been a growing topic, at least amongst many of my Facebook friends. And one that was started from a conversation that was sparked about whether or not it is offensive or inappropriate to tell a lady to Smile when you approach her on the street. And two things for sure came from that conversation. #1, women very eloquently explained why some do not like to be approached like that and #2 the very obvious question of why men feel the need to use pick-up lines. And the answer is really simple. So simple that women already know the answer. But before explaining it let’s talk about THE LIFE OF A BOY BECOMING A MAN IN THE CONTEXT OF HAVING WOMEN LIKE YOU. Doesn’t that sound like a fascinating book title?
In general young boys seem to take an interest in girls a couple of years after the girls start to take an interest in boys. And it is generally not until the approach of puberty that boys really start to take an interest in the opposite sex. Prior to that boys are learning about girls in the context of how to treat them more than they are how to seduce them. We are conditioned to be more gentle, more delicate and more considerate of young ladies than we are each other. Understanding what the term Fairer Sex truly means. And in that grooming, we learn that girls are pretty much just like us but softer with different interests. And being silly little boys we just ignore you until we are forced to interact with you at places like school, church or some silly birthday party that our mother made us go to….. But all in all as adolescents, there is no problem for us communicating. If we like the same stuff, we talk to you about it like we talk to the other little boys. With excitement, jubilant enthusiasm and without reservations. But something shifts right around that puberty age that sets up a dynamic that changes the way men communicate with women. Something that shapes how men develop their technique in approaching women moving forward. For some men it is illuminating and enlightening and for other guys it is debilitating and crushing. But one thing is for sure……. The First time a guy gets dissed, it has a lasting impression.
Every man alive knows what it is like to be shut down, stepped on and embarrassed by a woman who just cracks his face for all to see in broad daylight. And after facing that trauma it is followed by the equally embarrassing walk of shame! That head hung, directionless walk back to where you came from that has you feeling like everyone in the school cafeteria saw this girl just tell you that you were ugly. Now despite the contrary words of so many woman I am pretty convinced that just about every woman has dissed the shit out of a guy at least once in her life. And I say this because I have seen just about every woman I have grown up with either do it or laugh about doing it at a later moment. Now I do not think that doing this sort of thing in most instances deems a woman as being a bad person or some Evil Bitch as I heard a kid call a girl who told him he was ugly. Not at all do I think it makes her an awful person. I think it makes her a human being. Human in the sense that she is merely doing what makes her feel most comfortable. Now no doubt there is a hint of defensiveness and immaturity in those sorts of behaviors but there is also a very valid component in there as well. Most women are just looking to draw a clear line between what they are attracted to and what they are not. They are making a distinction between IT and NOT IT. And to do that they go to extremes. And some of those extremes are super hurtful. What makes you think I would ever have any interest in you? Or how about when a girl holds up a mirror and says Look at me. Now look at you! Do you think we match at all? I even once heard a woman say to a guy, You need to go over there with that ugly girl and talk to her because we the bad bitches over here! Or of course my favorite…… The diss when the girl just looks you up and down and laughs! That is the classic one. As sweet as women can be in one moment, they can also be pretty ruthless in others. And it is fair to say that this sort of behavior comes from different places and not just the notion that women are evil. Some of it is immaturity for sure. But another part of it is people’s desire to elevate themselves over others to support their own sense of esteem. Very human sorts of things. But no matter what the reason it clicks something in a mans mind that makes him reassess his approach.
Pick up lines are just as much a mans defense mechanism as it is a way to approach a woman. It is an attempt to approach her without totally submitting yourself for her approval. Submitting yourself to be either dissed or embraced. Women like to think that men should just put up with this sort of dismissal as sort of our “manly duty”. But the effect that harsh words have on a man is real. And it puts a guy in a position where as a man, he will only take so much abuse before he gets antsy about dishing out some abuse in return. So what do guys do? How do they adjust?
Saying to a woman “Hi, my name is Marcus. What’s your name?” is a submissive sort of approach. It leaves a woman in a position of approval or disapproval. Which by the time a man is 22-23 he is pretty much sick of that game. So as an adjustment, guys come at you differently. First we stop telling you our name and we just stiffen our voices and ask you who you are. That is a more strong approach. One that can almost be bully like. And with that, you always have the risk that a woman may believe that you are just as likely to try to rob or assault her as you are to ask her on a date. So the progression advances even further. Men start to approach women with compliments or clever words. Something to catch her attention. Some way to engage her without submitting yourself for her approval. You see, telling a woman she has a nice pair of shoes is a compliment and not a request for her approval. I can conceivably tell a woman something nice about herself without wanting to be in her company. I am not asking for anything or putting my esteem on the line. I am just being nice. And if she rejects my nice compliments I can always lash out at her as being an ASSHOLE. And that I was just being nice and not trying to talk to her. Now……instead of me having my esteem killed, she just made herself look like a bitch! This is the thinking of a man who is trying to protect his esteem. And I purposely say esteem and not ego because after years of being dismissed on the approach, a lot of men deserve to have their esteem protected. And not marginalized by framing it as just a simple case of EGO.
So when women hear guys say things like, You look nice today pretty lady or encourage a woman to Smile when they see her, these things are done to merely gauge a woman’s interest without being played out. It is a man’s way of testing to see if you are open to any further conversation. A way to back door his way through a woman’s defenses without catching the barrage of bullets that women can sometimes shoot into a man’s face when he says……. Hi. My name is Marcus. What’s your name? Ultimately, we are all human beings just trying to protect ourselves. And the more we can get an understanding of the others perspective it allows us all to communicate with each other in a way that allows us to see the humanity in each other……. And not frame the things that we do not like in the worst possible context.