I set my pack down and took a deep breath. This is gonna suck, I thought.
I inched closer to the wall, trying blend in to my surroundings. In this type of operation, remaining unobserved is critical. The target is not an issue – you know what’s going down, and they’ll find out soon enough. Sometimes the target wants this type of confrontation, anyway. It’s the people close to the target that are variables you can’t control. Some doctrines suggest allowing the target to escape if the situation is unfavorable for engagement, and I was operating that way due to local conditions.
I ran the plan through my mind again. This operation had been in the works for a month, and I was terrified of fucking it up. I was visualizing the primary and secondary egress routes with my eyes shut when I recognized the target’s distinct voice around the corner. No mistaking that voice – not after all the direct and indirect intel I’d gathered. I took a turkey-look around the corner for a quick visual confirmation. I half-hoped I’d see something that warranted an abort, but conditions were favorable. This, as they say, was motherfucking it.
My mouth tasted like copper.
My abdominal muscles clenched.
My right knee quivered like it always does when I’m scared.
I stepped around the corner.
The target locked eyes with me.
Blood pounded in my ears.
I unstuck my tongue from the roof of my mouth.
“Hi Melanie!” I croaked. “Will you go to Homecoming with me?”
That’s a true story, by the way. All the tactical high-speed bullshit words got crammed in to my head several years later, but the rest of it is 100% truth. It can really be that fucking scary to ask a girl out – believe me, I know.
It doesn’t have to be, though.
What you need is practice.
Start small. The next time you get coffee from a cute barista, ask her the time. Just a simple,”Hey – do you know what time it is? Okay, thanks!” Ask her one question not normally associated with buying a cup of joe.
Go to the mall, find a cute sales-girl, and ask her to help you pick something out. If I was doing this exercise I’d look for a nice dress shirt, because I’m fashion-challenged. That’s fine, because I will Gamejitsu my hypofashionemia into a demonstration of higher value.
“Hi there.” eye contact and smile “You look like a person that knows about shirts. Listen – I’m an expert in advanced cardiac life support. I know all about car crashes and broken bones and gunshot wounds. That stuff comes easy to me. But shirts….they’ve always been a mystery. Help me out here. How many sleeves do you usually recommend?”
That’s it – you’re off and running. It doesn’t matter what you’re an expert in – accounting, 13th Century Welsh nobility, prolactinomas – whatever. Pick something you’re good at and mention it. It’ll pump you up subconsciously. Then admit a stultifying ignorance – ignorance so exaggerated she knows you’re pulling her leg a bit. Keep your tone friendly, maintain reasonable eye contact and open body language, and smile. She’ll laugh.
Then, just let her do her thing. Ask a few questions about the merchandise. Go with her recommendation, thank her for her help (eye contact and smile), and buy it.
Now, stay all-business with these girls – they’re there to do a job, not to be creeped on. If she shoves a number into your hand while the boss isn’t looking, you take it with my blessing – and skip the rest of this article. You don’t need my help. For the rest of you – Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t make some working stiff’s day any harder – and yes, she’s a working stiff no matter what she looks like. We’ll get to BJs in backrooms later.
Even though these girls aren’t going to blow you in the stockroom, you can get something out of the interaction. Pay attention, and they will help you realize something:
To a certain extent, we all act out roles for strangers and people we don’t know well. The girl who’s going to sell you a shirt is playing the part of Apparel Technician #2, and your part is Fashion Challenged Dood #4.
As such, there are accepted scripts to follow, and certain guidelines that keep you “in character”. If you deviate too far off script, you’re thought of as creepy/awkward. Think about what an actor playing a part would do in your shoes, and do that. Embrace it. Take courage in the role – to her, you really are Fashion Challenged Dood #4. She doesn’t know you used to eat paste in 3rd grade, or that you’re a virgin, or insecure about your dick size. Fashion Challenged Dood #4 doesn’t have those problems, so when you’re in his shoes, you don’t have those problems. Wipe that paste off your face before you go in the store, please.
Do this until the “Holy Jumping Jesus! I’m talking to a hot girl! And she is motherfucking talking back to me! Guys! Guys! Do you see this shit, guys!” feeling in your gut goes away.
This will help you internalize the fact that women (even girls you like) are just people. Even the coolest, smartest, funniest, sexiest woman in the universe is just another person. Hell, when it comes down to biology, she’s basically identical to me. No shit. All you guys with tight Game reading along can think about that this weekend while you’re banging some dimepiece. No thanks is necessary, gents. I live to serve.
Anyway, there’s no good goddamned reason you can’t relate to me or her. There’s absolutely nothing special about either one of us. You’ve just got to find the common ground with each and go from there – and every single person on Earth has some kind of common ground with you. Think hard enough and you’ll find it. It’s there.
The “acting trick” is a mental crutch to make that easier. You can (and should) drop it as you become more practiced at reading subtle social cues, and get more comfortable in your own skin.
Good luck, gents. Try it. And don’t buy any three sleeved shirts. It’s after Labor Day and you’ll look unfashionable.