I think the UK may have missed out on the phenomena of “The Pick Up Artist” a VH1 television series. I got sucked into it one summer when I was home with my parents, which often translates into me watching a tad too much cable. It involves a group of shy men being trained to change their luck with women (apparently in the show’s terms this means seducing women for casual sex) and is based on a book that a few of my friends back home seemed to really get into.
Don’t have a clue what I’m talking about? Here’s an interview for your amusement with one of the show’s stars ‘Mystery’ who claims that “Being picked up by a pick up artist is a privilege.”
Really it’s the worst kind of entertainment, so self-assured and trashy that it pretty much parodies itself. Where the chips am I going with this? I started thinking about it today in passing when I was considering what it’s been like trying to settle into Bristol.
We moved here last summer and only now do I feel like I’m making some potentially deep and meaningful connections. The first step is where the difficulty lies – getting a new acquaintance’s number. I’ve met a few potential friends at parties, cafes, other people’s houses, church meetings, pubs and getting into the conversation is actually not that difficult once I push past my natural shyness barrier.
Then the moment of truth comes, will I initiate the exchange of numbers? She’s got no reason to initiate it. She’s settled in her life, her social group. So it’s up to me to make that move. And more often than not, I don’t. I just hope we’ll bump into each other again.
I know this problem isn’t unique to me. Just a couple of weekends ago I was chatting with a friend who moved back to the countryside to live with her parents and asked her how her social life was going. She told me about one instance in which she’d had a lovely chat with a woman about her age who was in a similar situation and also lived in the village. At the end of it, she gave the other woman her number but, because she didn’t have her phone, didn’t take hers. The woman never got called.
Little by little, I’m improving my method, inventing reasons to get someone’s number (actually, that’s pretty much how my husband and I got together!) and casually orchestrating the second meet-up. A lot of people meet me halfway – I add you on Facebook, you invite me for a cup of tea, that kind of thing. But I can’t for the life of me work out why it’s so difficult to stretch out and make it happen in the first place.
So here’s to me and other friends who’ve moved out of Brighton, our university town. May we pick up quality women – for the chats, not necessarily the sex.
Image: Nono Fara