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Control Tower

Perils of the Pick Up

I talk a lot here about personal ads and other highly specific ways to find sexy people. But I know that for many of you, the strangers who stir your lust are those who you see in your everyday surroundings: the guy on the bus to work every morning, the girl at the coffeehouse where you hang out. So how does one transition from a "Good morning, can I have a grande latte?" to swapping phone numbers, without being shot down?

Entire books have been written about the art of the pick up. It's kinda like cooking eggs—everyone does it a little bit differently, and everybody thinks their way is the best. But in spite of having been a subject of frequent study, there are a lot of unsuccessful pick-up attempts. I've been on both ends of that situation myself, and I've talked to a lot of people—both male and female—about their experiences with being the object of a pick up. I think the failures break down into two main categories: Too Eager and Too Much Information.

Let's handle Too Much Information first, because it's simpler. People, do not, under any circumstances, vomit up a lot of your messy and awkward life details in the course of your attempt to pick up a cutie. If you're riding the bus because your car was repossessed, keep it to yourself. If you're on the way to the psychiatrist to have your meds adjusted, shut up about it. If this is where you first met that lying rat-bastard ex-husband of yours, do not volunteer that information. (Women are especially bad about doing the ex-lover info dump, and most men would rather roll in Chinese chicken crap than hear about it.) Preserve a little mystery, and present yourself in your most alluring light. And if these things are the most alluring aspects of your life, you're in trouble.

The other aspect of the TMI issue is to not make it obvious that you've systematically collected information about the object of your interest. You'll come off like a stalker. Telling your cute neighbor that you've tracked the ratio of loads of whites versus darks he's doing in the laundry room is not friendly, it's creepy. Letting a woman customer know you looked up her name (and address, presumably) in a professional database out of purely personal interest is extremely creepy. If you stumble onto your lust object's blog, go ahead and read it—but then never let on that you have. You must pretend to be astonished by discovering your mutual passion for zydeco music and lawn bowling. Otherwise, you're the Mayor of Stalker City.

Now, to the Too Eager issue. Let me deliver to you all a fundamental truth: Success in the embryonic stages of courtship depends on making other people feel, at any given moment, that they are slightly more attracted to you than you are to them. I don't mean you can't be the one who initiates advancing your acquaintance. But you must do it in a way that makes your lust objects feel that they are leading you along the primrose path, rather than being wheedled and nudged along themselves.

How is that done? Well, because I'm kinky, I'd express it like this—in each encounter, you want to seduce a little more consent than you use up. In everyday life, that might mean sometimes ending the daily chitchat/flirtation with the barista before she does, because hey, it's not like you're after her or anything. You're just a friendly person—and it's she who will decide that you two should go for a drink sometime. If you think you've got a shot at getting his phone number, casually give him yours—or better yet, your e-mail—instead. If you think you could successfully ask her/him out for dinner, scale it back and propose coffee instead. You want the other person to feel that she/he would have agreed to more than you asked for.

I know this doesn't look like the shortest distance between you and your lust object's bed, but I honestly think it's more likely to be the successful one. And that feeling you're going to create, of someone wanting to give you even more than what you asked for? Once you do get someone's clothes off, that's a very happy situation indeed. n

matisse@thestranger.com

Kink Calendar

THURSDAY 3/23

LOVE LOUNGE SEATTLE

Love Lounge is an "adult social club" that holds events for bi women and male/female couples—no single men, please. Lovelounge@lovelounge.net, 9:30 pm, no cover, membership required, 21+.

FRIDAY 3/24–SUNDAY 3/26

SEATTLE EROTIC ART FESTIVAL

The fourth annual show—attended by over 4,000 people last year—will display a juried selection of contemporary fine art celebrating the diversity of human sexual expression, and feature a live art auction, installations, performance art, films, lectures, workshops, readings, and a gallery store for small works and prints. Consolidated Works, 500 Boren Ave N. Festival information: www.seattleerotic.org. Tickets: www.brownpapertickets.com.

FRIDAY 3/24

"TUGS" UNDERWEAR PARTY

The Eagle pays homage to a bygone queer landmark with new wave '80s electro glam music and a $100 prize to the biggest bulge. (Clothes check provided.) Seattle Eagle, 314 E Pike St, 621-7591, 8 pm–close, $5, 21+.

UNDERSTANDING HOW ATTRACTION WORKS FOR WOMEN

What really causes attraction for women? Learn ways to communicate with a woman that make her feel a powerful physical and emotional response. School of One, 523-5544 or www.schoolofone.com, 8–10 pm, $20.

SUNDAY 3/26

COCKSUCKING: THE BLOWJOB, HANDJOB CLASS

Jennifer covers basic anatomy and hygiene along with stroking and sucking techniques for the beginner cocksucker. For the more advanced fellatio aficionados, deep-throat skills and gagging help. 1–3 pm, women only, Wet Spot membership not required, info@wetspot.org or 270-9746, $20.

SAKURA-CON

Indulge your fetish for all things anime during the final day of Sakura-Con, the Pacific Northwest's three-day celebration of East Asian Culture, including comics, video games, and wacky, wacky outfits. Washington State Convention Center, Seventh Ave and Pike St, 10 am–8 pm, $30.

 

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