Maggie’s Guide to Gettin’ Some

No one knows the secrets of the meet-up game like a lady bartender.

How many woulda, coulda, shouldas are there per week in this town? In my 15 years tending bar, I would guess I've witnessed approximately 10,000 "missed connections." Screw the so-called dating experts—we bartenders see exactly what you're all doing wrong. We're just too busy banging out round after round of liquid courage to tell you. You will be rejected. This is the law of averages coupled with the laws of attraction. We all have our turn-ons and turn-offs; the trick is to not take rejection personally. Shake it off, order another, regroup, and repeat. Probability says striking out even 75% of the time makes you a pretty good player. Here are some other key points to bear in mind: Confidence: Humans can smell lack of confidence like you wouldn't believe. Ladies find insecurity a most unattractive trait; it won't cut through the aloof wall most of us throw up at first meeting, and it paints you as a chancy mate. Men shy away from insecurity, too, and its evil sibling: neediness. (Unless a guy's only in the market for a hookup; then the insecure girl becomes easy pickings.) I've made plenty of money behind the bar playing the odds on confident, mediocre-looking guys getting the girl. It's animal instinct. Benicio Del Toro looks like a bedraggled sack of yesterday's cat sick, but I don't know many ladies who don't puddle when they see him; the man's all animal, but cool. It's all about projecting a confident calm. I won't tell you to be cool, though, because guys just fuck that up all the time; it's an advanced skill. Let's just call confidence the art of being yourself. Three seconds and a word: This is where Seattleites fall apart. Sure, you want to make and break eye contact once or twice, it's kind of coy and sexy. But when you look at someone and count to three-Mississippi, and that someone's interested, you set the hook. If the object of your interest doesn't look away and you don't look away, take that as a sign of interest. Don't collapse trying to think of the perfect opener. Lines sound forced. If you can make your way near, either at the bar or close to the table, just say "Hello." If she returns a hello and holds eye contact as if waiting to hear what you'll say next, you're golden. And it really doesn't matter what you say next. The second first move: Men making the first move is as much a cliché as women staying home with the kids. You get stuck doing it because women are often looking for cues to your personality, on a base level. Call it giving you some rope either to reel us in or hang yourself. We want to make sure you're what we want, whether that's sensitive, confident, or bold. We're also more diabolical than you, believe that. Forcing you to make the first move makes you more vulnerable than us, which is passive-aggressive, yes, but for some women this is the time to be the aggressor—even if it is the passive-aggressor. And though we all may protest a little too much, most of us ladies want to be swept up: in conversation, with a kiss, or a killer—honest to God—compliment. Learn body language: It's not what you say, it's what you touch, accentuate, or play with while you say it. Our gestures really haven't evolved much beyond the rest of the animal kingdom. If we like someone, we lean towards that person. Women will show you their neck and touch their hands to their chest. We run fingers along our hands and forearms, and you know we like you when we touch your arm or thigh when making a point. Think of a purring cat that rubs against legs and presents its ass. Men usually try to lean on the bar or sit in such a way that they are presenting their arm muscles and chest, just as a gorilla or pigeon does. Learn to recognize and use these signs to your benefit, because your monkey brain already responds to them. Conversation: Keep it light, don't put on any airs, and don't lead with too many loaded questions ("What's your favorite...?"), as if it were an interview. You're looking for chemistry—for the right-now. Worry about compatibility later. Women fuck this part up all the time. You're not at Grandma's house, so don't be on your best behavior; let your humor and personality show and see if you can get banter going as though you were with a friend. Women: In the beginning, guys don't want to hear about your last relationship, your pets, or any kids you may know; you will scare them. Men: Don't touch her until she's touched you first. Be sure to make the first compliment, but do it at an unexpected time; never lead with a compliment. End game: Most of all, have the courage to be direct. In business there's a saying, "Don't forget to ask for the money." Don't waste 10 or 15 minutes talking to someone you like, only to walk away without asking the big question, whether that's asking the person out or for a phone number (though e-mail is better). What, you like chit-chat so much? Get a clue: If someone is willing to talk to you for any length of time, you've got a better-than-average chance. Little-known secret: We're not in high school anymore. Approach someone with thoughtful confidence, and whether it works out or not, you won't die. Though I've seen thousands of botched hookups and new beginnings, I've hardly ever seen someone be outright mean to someone who had the courage to approach them calmly and nicely (i.e., not drunkenly). Ask yourself this: What's the worst that can happen? mdutton@seattleweekly.com

 
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