Can I Have Your Number?

I was walking home in NYC, understandably you see hundreds of people a day, even in the not so crowded areas, and a guy looked at me and said, “hey, beautiful, how can I be a part of your world?” And this is not an uncommon experience, regardless of how I present myself, people say this all day long, and frankly I’m tiered of brushing it off or flipping them the bird (no matter how subtly) because I don’t feel any better ignoring them. It doesn’t fix anything to ignore it. So tonight I didn’t.

I turned around and said, “you know you really shouldn’t do that.”

“Oh, so you’re part of that movement.”

“The movement of treating people like decent human beings? Yeah.”

And then a discussion ensued where he immediately apologized, said he should have phrased it differently. I said it’s not the words, but that I’m just a person walking home not wanting to interact, just walk home. I asked what did he hope would come out of that situation, to get someone’s number from doing that? Because that’s not how you do it. He asked for the recipe, for how to interact, how to…rephrase it.

I understood that it’s hard to navigate this world where people don’t hand you a manual for how to interact with other human beings, you just have to learn it, but at some point that learning process ends when your mother isn’t standing there to tell you how you speak to other human beings, and how to shake hands or say good morning.

Regardless, he wanted to know what to say, and I said it’s not about the words. It’s about the environment. If you’re at a bar or club, those are the places people go to talk to other people, to socialize. Walking on the streets and sitting in the subway is not a space where people want to socialize but are forced to inhabit the same space as you. My advice, pay attention to your environment and how other people interact with in that space, because no person wants to be hit on during the commute home. Hell, lots of people don’t even want to socialize in bars or clubs, but there are distinct environments where people go to socialize and meet like minded people. Go to those places. If you like reading, join a local book club. If you like gardening, start a community garden. But you still don’t “hit on” or “pick up” people in those environments. You talk to them like human beings and then maybe ask to go for a cup of coffee. Start with viewing them as a person and having conversations with them as a like minded person, not as a woman to be complimented–as if that’s the only way to catch a woman’s attention, through momentary flattery based on nothing of the person’s worth.

Stop it with the pick-ups because the chance of the pick up lines and short pieces of flattery hurting your’s and every other person’s chances of interacting with that amazing person are guaranteed, where as your chances of getting their number are nonexistent.

And for those of you tiered of people hitting on you during your everyday life and making you feel uncomfortable, stop and start a dialogue, so that maybe a certain understanding can be reached about how to interact with other human beings. As happened with me tonight.


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