The year I was 21 was the year of that reality show named “The Pick-Up Artist.”
You might remember it. It was that Vh1 reality show with the audacious failed-rock-star-type Pick-Up Guru who attempted to teach groups of men with no game whatsoever how to get any woman into bed. I only watched one episode. In it, Mystery (an appropriate name, since his marketability as a dating guru is a mystery to anyone who saw him) taught the young Jedis how to make a move on a girl who was on the move. That is, he showed these gameless men how to pick-up a woman who was walking down the street.
(Now, for anyone that’s lived in a city, you know there are neighborhoods where any man can be successful at this without even saying a word. Thank you, Red Lights… obviously, the Pick-Up Artist found his disciples on farms…)
If Mystery was anything like Robert Downey Jr., who played in the late 80s flick of the same title, I might have ignored his fur-clad top hat and cut him some slack. I mean, did men take this guy’s advice seriously? I was doubtful… Until the following Friday night…
I was plowing through the lower west side, with a few of my girls a few steps behind, all of us en route to a concert, when a short, chubby, blonde guy walked passed me, looked back and then cut in front of me.
“You look familiar. Have we met before?”
My jaw-dropped. Clearly he’d seen the same episode.
“No.” I pushed him out of the way and kept walking.
“I think that guy thought you were a prostitute,” my friend Maddie said when she and the other caught up.
Maddie always had a way of making me feel better…
“You look familiar. Have we met before?“ <– that combo of phrases was the key to the approach.
It implied a kind of safety (you know me, so you know I’m not a serial killer.)
It’s an understated compliment (you’re memorable.)
It might also imply fate (I knew you before I met you.)
In theory, it’s a good approach.
I’ve rarely fallen for it. The answer is almost always “no,” unless you’re at an alumni event, and then it’s only vaguely likely (You studied in the architecture library!? Me too!… Oh, right… orientation week…)
Every once in a while, it’s worth taking the bait (like that time in the elevator with the Coulda-Been-A-Gucci-Model…)
Unless you’re wearing hoop earrings, stiletto heels, and are walking through that neighborhood where it’s easy for men with no game to pick up women on the move…