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A Bartender's Guide to Approaching The Ladies, at a Bar

Editors posted on 30th September

By Anonymous Contributor

I make and serve drinks for a living. The profession however allows me to have front row seats to the greatest drama that unfurls in front of me everyday. I watch couples – falling in love, in love, breaking up, hooking up, the glances at a cute stranger even when hugging someone else; all the time. Movies may have love triangles. But I watch groups with mixed dynamics - an organically driven Rubik’s cube of sorts with just two colours to represent the sexes - former lovers, future lovers, maybe in it for just a quickie or just friends too – if that makes any sense. One show, many seasons, characters old and new. But, there’s a certain sense of curious pleasure in observing body language, gauging reactions and then of course, tying it all in. A mental high five to the guy who just managed to get a number. A standing ovation in my head to the girl who managed to shoo away a complete idiot. And a face-palm to the rather good looking Orlando Bloom look-alike whose attempt at a British accent makes him a walking-talking friend-zone.

Stop rambling you say. Get on with it. What can I do to hook-up with the pretty 17 year old at the end of the bar counter? *Pause*. We do not hook up with them. It’s called statutory rape in our country and I don’t serve minors. *Pause*. How did she get in? Bouncer!

Here are some tips/ methods/ rules/ call them what you may, to help ease the process of trying to talk to and maybe pick up someone you find interesting. Points, which have been gathered over multiple conversations with guests, and observations.

The Basics | The Kamasutra has some pertinent rules laid out in terms of grooming. Be clean, cut your nails {very important if you get lucky}, shave or a trim wherever required. Clean clothes and cologne never hurt. Wear what you like, be yourself but just don’t be shabby. Keep your phone charged. And use complete sentences – while speaking or texting. Carry your wallet, ID, cards, cash and everything you may need. Protection too.

The Window-Shopper | How do I know if a girl is single or is even looking for a quick chat? Look out for the ones I call the window-shoppers. Spot the ones who are scanning the entire place ever so often; even if she’s with others. Her eyes are constantly evaluating everything around. Social evolution has trained her subconscious to watch her surroundings. Women who want to be left alone usually maintain eye contact with the one task at hand – texting/ a book/ talking to the person in front or next to them.

The Art Of The Subliminal Compliment | “I like your shoes!” “I like your ear-rings!” Forget those. Instead, use – “I must say, you really know how to pick the right shoes!” or “Those earrings look really nice on you.” Thereby you aren’t complimenting an inanimate object, as much as letting her know that she’s the one who’s actually special {or so you hope}.

Ask And You Shall Receive | Best to start off with a simple question. Do you come here often? Do you know the closest metro station to this bar? I’ve wanted to buy a bag like that for my sister’s birthday next week – where can I get it. In other words, questions with basic answers that provide a stepping-stone to introducing yourself. Don’t go into detective or job interview mode on her.

An Open Dialogue With The Focus On Her | Talking about stepping-stones. Let your statements be check posts to the next destination on her verbal timeline. Don’t answer something without it being a point to discuss other topics about her or a way to follow up the same with a question about her. “I’ve lived in Delhi all my life. What about you?” “Oh you’re a lawyer, where did you study?”

Glossy v/s Matte | Know your strengths and weaknesses. Learn to present the boring bits about yourself in a less boring manner {glossy}. And learn to downplay the really good details {matte}. Save them – for they are you trump cards. If you’re a pastry chef, don’t say just that. Say – I’m the sweetest guy on the planet. If you work in IT in Gurgaon, say – I’m the only IT engineer in Gurgaon who loves his job. Positivity is good. On the other hand, stay cool and casual about your recent trip to Turkey or buying a new Fender until she asks for more details.

People Say, “Be Confident” | I say, just have an opinion. Whatever it may be. It’s important neither to be a pushover nor to be too pushy with the other person. Be you. Humour is good. But don’t resort to pick-up lines.

Honesty. Honesty | Don’t lie about anything. Make your intentions clear at all times. But don’t be too forthcoming. “I’m an ass guy”. “I used to date the girl sitting next to you; she had weird toes”. Stop.

Be A Pseudo-Douche, Only If You Have A Plan | Spill her drink. Take her parking spot. Take a sip out of her beer bottle. Step into the ladies restroom. All of these are good ways to come across as being an a$$hole to begin with, but, only if you have a way to make up for it and believe that her opinion of you can only get better from that point on. Zoldipem, Rohypnol, Ketamine and other illegal substances do not come under this point. {Side note: Girls, as far as possible – watch your drink being made in front of you if a stranger offers to buy you one, and hang on to your glasses at all times, especially at house parties.} {Side side note: Girls; If a guy did ask you if he could buy you a drink, what if you said – “Would you like to buy me a plate of Butter Chicken instead, I’m starving”. How would that pan out? Hmmm…}

Be A Sweetheart, If You Have No Plan | Being nice helps. Open the door for someone. Watch out for slamming doors. Offer a chair or seat. Offer to take that elusive selfie she’s trying so hard to take while balancing her drunken friend on one side and her martini in the other hand.

You Don’t Need To Be At The Bar Counter To Start Speaking To Someone | The bar counter is so over-rated. Learn to make use of those moments while waiting to use the elevator, rest-room, valet etc. Smoking zones are great if you’re a smoker; bumming a smoke and asking for a lighter are great ice-breakers. {Disclaimer: Smoking is injurious to health. Also a probable cause for erectile dysfunction; just saying.}

Keep Yourself Open To Possibilities | So you make all the right moves, but she says that she’s taken. Game over? Not at all. Life sometimes is about creating enough dots and eventually they join in the most random ways possible. Maybe a year from now she’s single again. Maybe next week she realises the non-existence of the relationship she’s in. Stop day-dreaming and snap back to reality, so what now. Maybe she has a friend meeting her who’s everything and more than you’d ever imagined! Or maybe she just lied about a boyfriend as a defence mechanism. So hang in there. Remember point 10. Be nice.

Drink Something You Enjoy. But Don’t Get Wasted | Repeat after me, “Drinking cocktails doesn’t lower my testosterone levels”, “I will not try and finish that bottle myself”. Don’t let your alcohol consumption be a social repellent. Drinking five different spirits through the evening is a recipe for trouble. Talking, dancing, reasoning, choosing to drive - expect performance issues every possible way.

Don’t Shoot Yourself | You’ve gone through an entire conversation without being shot down. She asks you to join her at her table with her friends. Or wants to give you her number. Or drop you somewhere. Don’t try to play games and refuse. Unless of course you’ve watched the movie Serendipity too many times for your own good.

The End | Regardless of how things progress, learn to say a proper goodbye or part with something to look forward to. A peck on the cheek. A hug. A firm handshake {stop thinking dirty}. An exchange of numbers. A plan to meet for breakfast. A plan to cook breakfast {even better}. Happy Endings isn’t just the name of a massage parlour on Soi-something in Bangkok.

Most Importantly | She’s a person too, just like you. With dreams. Ambitions. Fears. Insecurities. Baggage. Love to share. Anger to offload. Tears to shed. Smiles yet not seen. Treat her with respect. You may not get laid that night, but you may end up with the best friend you never had. But most importantly, karma is a bitch you don’t want to pick up at a bar.

PS: My sincere apologies to the LGBT and feminist communities if I’ve offended anyone for writing such a one-track piece!

Note: The writer is by no means a writer. But someone who believes that everything must start with good food and end with good talk. Or vice-versa.