The Gal’s Guide To Getting Asked Out

Are you tired of going out and flirting with no dates to show for it? Try these tactics to increase your odds of getting asked out.

By Julie H. Case

et me begin by saying I am not beautiful. I am not a perfect size six, famous-girl pretty, or a supermodel in the making. I’m fine; attractive enough. An average woman who has made the most of Mother Nature’s moderate blessings. If I’m lucky, I might even be the girl next door, though these days I seem to possess more of the single-mom-next-door appeal.

And yet, despite my completely benign and average
Sure, I have spent the majority of my adult life single.
appearance, I get asked out with an alarming degree of regularity.

If I complain about my single life, my friends just roll their eyes at me. Sure, I have spent the majority of my adult life single — seldom coupled — but, they’d argue, at least I was dating. And while the majority of these affairs were brief (many only lasting for a dinner or two) some have actually stretched across the span of many months. In a city where dating seems incredibly difficult for most, I was getting asked out. Often.

That’s not to say I’m always being asked out by men I want to date. Married men, for example, seem to find me especially compelling. While I am not particularly fond of that breed, on more than one occasion I have been astounded to discover that the eligible bachelor across the table from me simply wasn’t right for me.

But that’s beside the point. I was dating. And what, friends want to know, is my trick?

To some extent, it is a combination of my current state of mind and my ability to flirt in a genuine way. That first part, being in the right state of mind, is the hardest to master. And yet the one weapon every woman ought to have in her arsenal is the power of confidence.

“Real confidence that comes organically is sexy,” says Brent Shriver, a creative director in New York City. “TV confidence that comes from a stereotype, not so much...”

It’s true: Confidence is not the assurance that you’re the hottest person in the room, the smartest person at the table or the richest kid in the pool. It’s not about being drop dead sexy or better than everyone else. It is not the outfit you’re wearing or the height of your heels; rather, it’s an assurance that you belong in the world and that you are finding your way through it with dignity.

“Confidence comes through in easy repartee, an opinion offered (not forced), a steady gaze, a touch,” says Jeff Reeds, a Seattle-based writer. “Those things are sexy.”

Such magnetism doesn’t have to be limited to the select few, but it is a gold mine for those who possess it. Frankly, any woman of any size and age can exude confidence. There are whole legions of women who, if you really look at them closely, have little to boast about. And yet, when they enter the room there’s something about them that compels you to get to know them better. They are confident and therefore inherently sexy.

Naturally, confident men have the same sort of appeal. Why is it, after all, that some of the most unremarkable-looking men marry the most stunning women? It probably has a lot more to do with confidence and the couple’s emotional connection than looks or the size of the guy’s bank account. Confidence attracts the opposite sex in unbelievable ways. Don’t feel confident with yourself just yet? Sometimes faking it helps you make it. Getting a woman to say yes is a lot easier when you approach her with confidence — and if she says no, take it in stride and move on.

There’s A Fine Line Between Confidence and Hubris
While confidence is sexy, a person will still appear unattractive if he or she comes off as aloof, untouchable, shy, unhappy or snobbish. Being approachable matters. A woman who is open to others attracts attention, not jealousy or anger. For my part that means I’ve ended up talking with a lot of homeless people on the bus and
I dated all these men, and many more, because I was approachable.
while walking down the street. Then again, thanks to them, I also have a whole repertoire of funny stories for entertaining dates.

Of course, the homeless aren’t the only people who feel at ease talking with me. So do smart, interesting men. When I’m out with girlfriends at a restaurant or a bar, I’m the opener: men approach me first, even if it’s another woman in the group they are truly interested in.

It’s not just nightclubs that have served as a feeding ground for my social life: so have airplanes and grocery stores. I’ve been asked out at work — once by a campus security guard and a groundskeeper in the same week — and in the local coffee shop. I dated, briefly, a contractor I met who used a question about the difference between sherry and cooking sherry as a pick-up line, and a stockbroker who capitalized on my time at a restaurant opening. Being approachable and willing to engage in small talk with strangers led me to the find of a lifetime: the snowboard instructor who chatted me up on ski patrol one day.

I dated all these men, and many more, because I was approachable. As much as it’s frequently easier and safer to put a wall up to make sure no one you might not want gets in, you might just shut out Mr. Right with your closed body language and standoffish appearance.

So, how do you make yourself approachable? If you look like you’re going to kill the next person who says hello to you, you’re limiting your odds. Begin with a smile and direct eye contact instead. “A smile directed right at me and held for a couple of beats is a sure sign I can approach a woman,” says Reeds. “But if she’s with friends, that makes her hard to approach.” A shared glance and a smile are hints you’re interested in more than the olive floating in your drink.

Increase Your Odds By Limiting Your Posse
Never go out with a bevy of friends to meet people of the opposite sex when a couple will do. Never mind the mantra about sand and the beach: Few men, no matter how confident, are interested in approaching a gang of women in order to speak with just one of you.

Finally, be sure to position yourself in the sightline of the greatest number of people. Don’t stand with your back to the crowd, cross your arms, stare at the floor or hide in the farthest booth at the rear of the restaurant. If you must sit, choose the end seat, not the middle, where you’re most accessible for being chatted up.

And, when he does finally make his move, let him know you’re available. Sure, stuffing your number in his pants pocket will make you memorable, but usually a brief bit of contact — a touch of your hand on his arm, for example — will get the message across without being obnoxious.

The bad news is, of course, that getting a date will still be next to impossible if your idea of socializing includes spending nights with a pint of ice cream and the gang of Glee. You’re not going to meet a man while you’re sitting on the couch alone in your pajamas. Then again, every girl needs a night off from the hunt for The One!

Julie H. Case is a freelance writer based in Seattle. Her work has appeared in magazines such as Sunset, Alaska Airlines Magazine and Wired.
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