Adequate preparation and planning are essential to the success of any mission. There must always be a plan. Leaving things to chance, and ‘playing it by ear,’ are things that should only be employed in the most minor of instances, where the outcome does not materially impact the overall game plan.
I was at a bar on Friday night, having an Irish Coffee, and surfing the internet. I was sitting alone, towards the fringes of the bar, allowing me a panoramic view of the patrons. I was the sole occupant of the square four-seater table. I had roughly a third of the Irish Coffee left, when a man came over to me. He was holding a drink in his hand, and I like to think that he had a degree of charm granted by the Gods of Libation.
I labour under the illusion that once you reach 35, you should have something vaguely resembling ‘game.’ The ability to speak to a member of the sex you are attracted to, and strike up a conversation of some sort with an eventual end game of hooking up, or some other measure of ‘success’. I like to think that, barring exceptional circumstances, by the mid-thirties, the trials and tribulations of nerves and uncertainty have become manageable obstacles, and people are able to speak to strangers in a civil and non caveman like way.
He started off with the cautious, but tried and tested opener of; “Hi, how are you? Do you mind if I join you?” I gestured with an open palm to the seat to my right. He asked me again, “May I join you?” once more, I gestured. He remained standing.
I understand that sometimes my accent can be difficult for people to understand, especially when they don’t know me. Hence, I rely on body-language. As for this? Did he not understand body? Isn’t Body a fairly universally spoken language? Open palm gesture, sweeping towards the empty seat. What did he think I was doing, herding mosquitoes?
“What are you doing here tonight?”"I’m just having my drink, and then I’m going,” I replied,
In my own mind, I did not say this in a curt manner. It was a question, that I answered matter-of-factly. But granted, this may have been seen as me shooting him down.
“Oh, is there no way I can persuade you to stay?”
“Nope. I have this much time *I gestured to the contents of the drink* left.”
“Do you have a business card on you?”
“Hahaha, not on a Friday night.”
“I wanted to talk to you a little, but it seems like you’re leaving,”
During this conversation, I haven’t had any more of my drink. Mostly due to the fact that I find it necessary to be completely aware of where this person is, in terms of my personal space, which would be compromised if I was to be distracted by my Irish Coffee. I’m paranoid like that.
“Well, I’m here until I finish my drink. When it’s done, I’m done.”
Personally, if I were on the receiving end of a line like this, I would see it as a challenge. I have a fixed period of time within which to make a positive impression. As long as my drink is not drunk, I’m still around. Apparently, not everyone thinks like me…
“I don’t know…” he said.
“I DON’T KNOW”?! You don’t know what? What? How? Wait, rewind, quick reassessment of dialogue. I don’t know? I felt the muscles in my face slump and assume the deadpan expression that has made meme history.
Shortly thereafter, he returned to his table, his parting line that I should say goodbye before I left. I didn’t.
This man saw me at a bar, and thought he would approach. Evidently, he did not have a game plan, or an indication of where he wanted it to go, seeing as he was unable to take it beyond the most banal of small talk. So what was he doing? Surely it makes sense to have a goal in mind when you see someone you don’t know and wish to approach them. Perhaps, he was sprouting an old adage that is quite appropriate here; I don’t know.
Oh, the value of planning…Also, a good argument for headphones and antisocial behaviour.