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Funny Can’t Buy You Love I’m a 23-year-old guy, just out of college. I dated a lot in school, and found it easy to meet girls in class or through friends. Now, I’m going out more than ever, but having the hardest time even breaking the ice. I know women say they value a guy with a sense of humor. Should I memorize some jokes or funny lines? I read an article that suggested teasing a girl by pretending you have a point system, meaning whenever she does something you can bust her on, you say, “You just lost a point!” so she thinks she has to work to date you. Does stuff like that actually get you anywhere?

--A Man In Need Of A Plan

Canned pickup lines are the cheap toupee of humor. Sure, they’ll get a woman’s attention, and maybe even make her laugh -- same as she will if your head reminds her of a freeze-frame of somebody being attacked by a ferret.

The guy who tosses cheesy lines around -- “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?” -- is the warm-up act for the guy who talks to women like a human. A study of which openers work best by UK researchers Christopher Bale and Rory Morrison distinguishes “wit (spontaneous jokes that fit the context exactly, are genuinely funny, and require intelligence) from mere humor (the pre-planned jokes and one-liners which were ineffective and do not demonstrate intelligence).” Sexually suggestive cracks can be effective -- when you’re trying to hire a date instead of simply finding one. But, in general, even if a woman’s a cheap hoochie, she won’t appreciate being treated like one. Clever as you feel suggesting places she might re-park her thighs upon exiting the bar, it pays to consider your goal: breaking the ice, not wearing it, along with the rest of her drink.

There are books you can read that will help you be interesting to women, but they aren’t the ones with titles like “How Even A Schlub Like You Can Be Irresistible To International Supermodels Who Are Also Nymphomaniacs.” A recent entry in the Tricking Women Into Liking You genre is M.A.C.K. Tactics, by Rob Wiser and Christopher Curtis, which advocates using hostage negotiation techniques like “creating IOUs.” At a restaurant, you’re supposed to ask your date which side of the table she prefers. Whichever seat she picks, you tell her it’s your favorite, but insist she take it. Later on, if she won’t put out, “it’s time to cash one in.” That’s when you say (“jokingly”), “Wow, I let you take my favorite seat at dinner, and I can’t even get a kiss.” According to the authors, “She’ll smile at this clever, unexpected comment, and might reconsider.” Well, other girls’ mileage may vary, but a man gets all sweaty about his “favorite chair,” and he will be going home, almost immediately, but not with me.

Why would you want to scam a girl into liking you? Not only is it a highly ineffective way of getting a girlfriend, isn’t it kind of degrading if somebody only wants you because she’s too dumb to see through your con? And then, on the off chance you are successful, there’s always the problem of keeping up the British accent or remembering to stick the “war wounds” back on after showering. Instead, try a novel approach: Be real. Just walk over and say hello, and maybe open with a real knee-slapper like “Do you live in the neighborhood?” Talk to a woman like you’re genuinely interested in her -- which involves actually listening to her, not waiting for her lips to stop moving so you can continue your monologue on your own greatness. Remember, it’s a conversational exchange, not a used-car sale with martinis.

No, real life isn’t the surreal, built-in chick stable that college was, but at least nobody in your corner bar is showing their solidarity by waving big foam fingers around. If you fare best when you have common ground, why not create it? Start a bowling league, or a satanic cult, or go again and again to the same bar. Suddenly, you’ve got the home-game advantage: It’s your turf, the bartender treats you like somebody, you know which bar stool is ripped. And maybe that’s all it takes. You open by warning a girl before she catches her skirt, “Watch out for that chair, it eats your wash.” There you are, taking charge, being helpful, displaying generosity, and using mild, situationally appropriate wit -- qualities Bale and Morrison ranked high in girl appeal. The idea is trying to pick up women, but not trying too hard. It’s a lot like being bald. Many women will overlook a bald spot on a great guy’s head, but they’ll never get that far if they’re too busy offering bar snacks to the ferret covering it up.

Posted by aalkon at January 7, 2006 7:32 AM

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It also helps to be incredibly handsome and athletic. But not as much as you'd think.

Posted by: Charlie at January 7, 2006 12:06 PM

Actually, men are more directed by looks than women are. What matters most to women, according to data in various studies I've read, is tallness and body symmetry, in terms of looks. But confidence and status in a man are very, very important to women.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 7, 2006 12:17 PM

>>I read an article that suggested teasing a girl by pretending you have a point system, meaning whenever she does something you can bust her on, you say, “You just lost a point!” so she thinks she has to work to date you. >>

Please don't do this! OMG! I can't imagine what magazine would recommend this to readers, unless it's the zero-population growth society 'cause men and women would never get together if men said this to women, except maybe some slaps in the face. This line is very insulting!

Wit is important, but not pre-fab lines. I think most people can see through lines and games. We all like authenticity. I and most of the women I know do NOT care about status, it is superficial and at the end of the day leaves you with little. Extremely successful men have little time for girlfriends, so I got tired of the VPs who'd call from the airport with little quality time for me. At the end of the day, I want my man at home with me.

Manipulative lines made me angry. Honesty always reads better. Instead of a fake-o line, how about a question (except where she lives--this day and age we don't like to tell strangers where we live). Do you like this band? What bands in town do you go listen to a lot? Is the food here good? What restaurants do you like? etc.

Also, freinds and freinds of friends still best source of meeting people.

Posted by: cosmicmojo at January 9, 2006 9:11 AM

Maybe this guy should stop looking at the corner bar. Most corner bars cater Geritol and Centrum Silver to their patrons as daily drink specials, if you get my drift. Besides, if he's only looking at the local bar, then he could be looking in the wrong place. Perhaps he should try avoiding the meat markets that bars and clubs have become and look in places that would harbor the type of women he wants to meet. If that doesn't work, I suggest he hole up in that corner bar with the local octagenarians and order up a shot of Colace.

Posted by: Kimmie at January 9, 2006 7:49 PM

The whole MACK and Ross Jeffries Speed Seduction thing makes my hair stand on end. If someone puts a really good Judo or Karate style wrist lock on me, it will still work on me even if I know everything about the mechanics myself. With tactics like these, I can feel them working on me, mostly against my will. Usually this just makes me furiously angry, seething with hatred in fact, rather than sexually receptive.

There are some women, a minority perhaps, who hate being ordered around. Studies haven't talked about us, so I guess we don't exist.

But wait! I'm one of the smart women who will never marry because I'm not submissive enough! Just like all those studies have shown! We do exist, in a miserable sort of way apparently.

What a terrible choice... to settle down with the manipulative, domineering jerk whose strong-arm tactics I'm irresistably drawn to because of my biology? Or to live alone and free, a friendless yet liberated being? What if I - gasp! - dated multiple people?

I find "relationships" and "talking about our togetherness" every bit as tedious as most males seem to. Gosh... maybe I could even spend time with my friends! Or maybe I'll go back to school, make art, have an adventure or two. I would like any partners I have to be allies and companions rather than millstones.

I don't think it's all that hard to pair up with someone who has common life goals and values, but you need to have some and live by them first. The problem with these MACKers is they don't have any values that go past immediate gratification of their own physical needs. It's very sad.

Posted by: Red Ree at January 11, 2006 5:53 PM

My boyfriend was extremely successful in picking me up? Why? He's extremely intelligent, naturally witty, and charming, and he's a man, and he acts like one. He's also read a lot of books, knows a lot about history, art, politics, science, technology, and human nature. In short, he's amusing and interesting. He's also real: He is who he is, and if you don't like it, move on. There's no fooling anybody into anything. That stuff makes any girl worth having throw up on the guy's shoes.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 11, 2006 10:55 PM

"just grab the bitch!" - some quote by some dude..
works every time for submissive-wanting girls(meaning about 99%?) :D

anyway.. "Red Ree", are you for real o_O ? please don't say your some dude and please don't say your 50 years old...

how old were you when you first found out you were more than some role?

this fscking stupidity in society makes me wanna puke. please answer.

Posted by: kris at January 14, 2006 8:29 AM

It sounds as though this guy couldn't get laid in a monkey brothel carrying a bag of banannas. From a man's point of view, just be yourself! If you're a horse's a.., then don't pretend to be a stallion. The truth will eventually come out, so save yourself some time.

Posted by: Rob at January 18, 2006 10:18 AM

If he's meeting so many women, why is he so worried about "breaking the ice." All these techniques are just nonsense, including trying to be funny.

Here's what I would tell this guy: If you're not naturally funny, don't try to be. Haven't you learnt anything from watching bad singers on American Idol? You obviously have something going on, or else they wouldn't even talk to you.
Rather than focus on your own dullness, why not get interested in what the woman has to offer. How about asking her questions about her life?

Posted by: Neil at January 18, 2006 11:16 PM

Any guy can screw, but one that can make me bellylaugh to tears, now that, will flip my skirt!
But now there are lots of different senses of humor too. One girl might look at you like you have 2 heads and the next one might be rolling on the floor. Also I read that laughing is very attractive to the opposite sex.

Posted by: chicknlady at January 19, 2006 8:09 PM

Rob, the monkey brothel had me laughing out loud. (Thanks a lot, now the people around me in this café are starting to back away.) Do you write? Got a blog or something?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 21, 2006 7:53 AM

And chicknlady, very good point. It's actually a great weeding-out process, being yourself. On dates, I was always the most "me" I could be without sending men running away screaming before the appetizers came. Among my boyfriend's many good qualities is the fact that he doesn't find me the least bit frightening.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 21, 2006 7:56 AM

A man with a thick skin is a rare commodity in this world--just ask my wife! If you have to be funny, make sure you're fairly original. And yes, just be yourself. You don't want a woman who will expect you to be something you're not--few men are good at playing that role convincingly (and I agree with Rob, the truth will come out eventualy, so why lie?). Oh, and a good pickup line that's actually worth a chuckle or two: "Excuse me, I have amnesia, do I come here often?" It might not work in getting you a date, but it might just put a smile on your potential date's face and get you a little friendly conversation...and what could be wrong with a little twist on a cheezy old chestnut?

Posted by: Bill at April 14, 2006 9:25 PM

Dont use Ross jefries stuff that does not work well.

However there are some great techniques you can learn I would recommend picking up a copy of

"The game" by neil struass.

Posted by: Bob at May 14, 2006 1:37 PM

Tallness, eh? What's your advice to short men? Little bitty women?

Posted by: Brett at January 21, 2007 1:00 PM

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