Dissecting the anatomy of a pickup
So there you are, standing at a party, keg cup in hand, talking about the State of the Union address with other people who also just heard about it from their friends who are Gov. majors, when all of a sudden you see that person. That person who beat you in beer pong last weekend, smiled at you in line at Thorne and sits in the back row in econ. What to do? Whether you want to date this person or just hook up with them, you are inevitably going to have to at least start a conversation. As with all mating rituals, there is an established way to pick a person up, whether you are male or female and depending on what you want out of it. This week I would like to examine THE METHODS OF HITTING ON SOMEONE.
MALE: Guys will usually hit on a girl in a pack. This group technique can best be described, as it was once explained to me, using flight crew terminology. It can be composed of as few as two players or up to four. Example: Charlotte, the target, is sitting with Carrie, Ramona and Talbot at the bar in town. Brad, Tim and Steve, who all live together, approach the table with Lloyd, who nobody really likes. Actually, Lloyd does really need to be a loser; he may also be a friend who is willing to take the dive. Steve is the captain, flanked by Brad the co-pilot, Tim the wingman and Lloyd, the kamikaze.
Brad starts in with Talbot-they both play lacrosse and discuss their upcoming seasons; Carrie joins in. While Tim asks Ramona how her brother is doing and Lloyd stands there looking like a tool, Steve smiles sheepishly at Charlotte. "So," he says pseudo-shyly, "what're you drinking?"
Ten to fifteen minutes into the conversation, when Carrie starts flirting with Brad (bonus points!!), Talbot loses interest and through a series of looks gets Ramona to go with her to talk to someone else. They say they are going to the bathroom and leave Charlotte there with Steve, Tim and Lloyd.
Tim's job, as wingman, is to make Steve look as good as possible. He laughs at Steve's jokes, tells great stories about him and they reminisce about their semester abroad, making them seem all the more cool. Lloyd, being naturally lame, interjects occasionally and the other two guys make fun of him.
Twenty to thirty minutes go by. Tim finally bows out, claiming he needs more beer. Lloyd doesn't get it and stands there awkwardly, the Screech to Steve's Zack, making his captain look better and better by the second. Now, Steve has to get Charlotte to ditch Lloyd with him; this is key because if she goes with him, he knows he's got her hooked, if not, then he is left with Lloyd and they will have to go tell their friends that she sucks.
After this point, Steve and Charlotte will either talk intimately for the rest of the night until they go home together, or they will have a great conversation, go their separate ways, leave it at that, and sow the seeds for a possible relationship.
FEMALE: Girls tend to go with a solo mission. Sometimes they will bring a friend along as moral support when approaching a large group of hockey players, but this is merely a formality and the real flirting is done one-on-one. Example: Jackie stares at Mike across the room as inconspicuously as possible until they finally make eye contact, when she smiles and then makes herself seem thoroughly engrossed in whatever conversation she is having. She may do this a few times before finally going up to a group of guys, dragging Meghan behind her. Meghan is there only because Jackie has done this for her before.
As the girls approach the group, Jackie and Meghan laugh at the first joke they hear; Jackie makes eye contact with Mike. This laughing/eye contact routine goes on for ten to fifteen minutes, until Jackie is able to find a suitable conversation topic for her and Mike. At this point she will hold extended eye contact with him and place herself either right next to, or directly facing him. Meghan will stay for approximately five more minutes to talk about something very insignificant with Matt and Dave in case Jackie needs a way out or support on something. After this her job is done and she may leave. Matt and Dave, not being prepared for a full-scale pickup operation will soon go away as well.
Now it is all up to Jackie. She maintains continuous eye contact with Mike-this is extremely important. She must find a perfect balance between teasing him and flattering him-teasing him enough to break down his ego, flattering him enough to make him associate talking to her with feeling cool.
First physical contact is when she touches his arm to make a point. This is repeated several times. Her excuse being that the music is too loud, she will lean in and talk directly into his neck/ear region.
Now comes the crucial decision: whether to leave it at flirting in hopes (all too rare at Bowdoin) that he will ask her on a date or more likely, end up going out with her, or if she just wants a hookup, this is when she goes in for the kill. If Jackie is looking for something more meaningful, she will claim to have to go to the bathroom or need another drink or even go talk to someone. Secretly she is crossing her fingers that he will email her on Monday.
If she is looking for a one-night thing, this is when she will lean in to whisper again, put her hand on his back or shoulder and make full-body contact, also known as "the hip thrust." They will begin to speak very closely, brushing cheeks. She may maneuver him against a wall or in a corner. If he does not ask if she is doing anything later, she will either ask him to walk her home or ask if he wants to order late night pizza. It is highly unlikely, if Jackie has gotten this far, that she will be rejected.
Every relationship and/or hookup has to start somewhere-this is what makes the pickup so important. A wrong move can label someone as a jerk, bitch or slut. A subtly orchestrated series of pickups can lead to a wonderful relationship; a high volume, sexually charged, all-out campaign is the origin of every one-night stand. At a school like Bowdoin where everybody knows everyone else at every party, cheesy pickup lines are obsolete-you already have the in, beneath the pines it's all about the execution.