Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to Hit on a Writer

True love.

So, in reply to an unexpected overwhelming response to my little giggle post, “How Not to Hit on a Writer,” I got several requests along the lines of, “Okay, smart ass, so how do you hit on a writer? Or, any woman in that case?”

At first my reaction was, “Do you know how insane women are? AND writers? Do you know what you ask of me in trying to find some consistency?”

But then I thought about it some more and realized if I just narrowed it down to antisocial-female writers, (i.e. me) I could probably come up with something.

To balance out my cynical sense of humor from Friday’s post, here’s some positive actions you can take when trying to get those ever isolated beings to come out of their shells and socially interact with you.

1. Let her catch you reading.

Any girl who loves books loves a man who loves books.

Personally, I find few things sexier than walking in on a man with a nice, thick fantasy book in his hands. (Take the innuendo as you will.)

It doesn’t really matter what kind of book you have. Pick something you’re actually interested in—if you hate reading, the truth will come out in a very painful way, and it probably wouldn’t have worked between you anyway. If she’s interested in fantasy and science-fiction, graphic novels count.

This will not only draw her interest, but it makes for a good conversation starter. If she’s attracted to you, odds are she’s looking for an ice breaker.

2. Get yourself away from the crowd.

Not all authors are antisocial and shy, but, let’s face it, there’s a good chance that’s what you’re dealing with.

After she’s developed interest in you, she’ll probably try to talk to you when you’re alone. If you’re constantly surrounded by people, she will keep her distance. Crowds make her nervous.

And even if she’s not yet interested, you have a better chance of bonding with her in one-on-one situations. This is hard to do if you’re not willing to ask her on a date yet. But luckily, if she is introverted, she’ll tend to separate herself from the crowd anyway. This is your best opportunity to approach her because she’ll be less likely to speak the more people are around.

If you’re in a situation where you know you’re going to see her, come early and leave late. You want to get there before other people do. Once she picks up that you tend to be by yourself before class/work/rehearsal, there’s a good chance she’ll start showing up earlier too. At the end, don’t grab your things and zip out the door. Take your time. Be the last to leave. If you see her finding reasons to stick around—talking to someone about something inane, doing something that could be done later… or maybe not at all—it’s a good chance she’s trying to get you alone.

That doesn’t mean she’ll actually approach you because she’s shy and possibly narcissistic, but gives her an opportunity and is an indication she’s interested.

And again, even if she hasn’t noticed you yet, she’s more likely to give into conversation when it’s just you and her.

The hardest part of alluring the writer is more about knowing her feelings. There’s a decent chance that she is awkward and unapproachable. But her defensiveness might come from her fear of making a fool out of herself (especially true if she is interested in you), or it might be because she wants to be left alone. It’s often hard to tell.

So, while in social settings, watch to see if she tends to follow you around. She will do this subtly—most men don’t pick up on it. If there’s two groups and you’re both in one, switch to the other. If, suddenly, she appears in that second group, it’s a chance that she wants you to talk to her, but is too shy to start it. (Don’t keep switching though; she’ll take this as an indication that you’re not interested, or maybe even trying to get away from her.)

And make sure once you catch her following you, let her catch you following her. She is watching to see if you’ll follow her to the second group. If you’re not sure, play a game of cat and mouse. Sometimes follow her, sometimes don’t. This will prevent you from creeping her out, keep the fun of questioning still in the game, and prove to your paranoid mind that she does really like you. Without encouragement, she’ll think you’re a wash and back off.

3. Books are her comfort zone.

This idea is another branch to letting her see you reading. When you want to date a writer, you have a lot of information in your arsenal.

For starters, it’s an easy means to begin a conversation. You’ll note that the shy and introverted female author might not have a lot to say when first approached. Every question you ask she gives a muttered, monosyllabic answer, and you’re starting to question if she wants you talking to her at all.

But then, strangely enough, books come up in the conversation. She lights up and all of the sudden she’s running at the mouth. Having her associate with you the joy of reading, and you got a huge bonus behind you.

Writing and books are what she knows about, what she feels comfortable talking about. If she likes you, there’s a decent chance she’s gone brain-dead. And even if she doesn’t like you yet, she might just be shy in general and still brain-dead. If you’re struggling to get a conversation going, books are a great fall back. You can ask her what she’s writing, what she’s reading, tell her what you just read, ask questions about writing rules, or even just bring up anything literary base like, “So what do you think about this whole Fifty Shades of Grey controversy?”

Writing is a way of life, and there’s a lot to go off of there.

4. She probably feels more comfortable talking in text.

So she says one quick word to you and then she’s gone. You have no idea of what to make of that. She’s probably standing around the corner admonishing herself right now.

She sits at home, thinking about you, and decides to send you a message on Facebook.

Unless she has a real reason, no girl will ever message you if she doesn’t like you. That line about “Where did you put your costume?” could very well be a simple question, but if it’s some random bullshit about “Did you hear Stacie got fired?” or “You were right about Mark Twain being a penname,” it means that she’s just trying to get your attention.

You might find that she won’t speak to you in person, but you have a totally different life online.

This also works in reverse. You might not be able to get her to speak to you, but send her a message and all of the sudden she’s an open book. Her shyness might disappear in text form.

It’s important to be careful, of course, because female authors get a lot of guys sending her, “Hi,” that end with messages like, “May I kiss you?” despite her lack of response. (True story.)

This is a little less of a problem if you know her in the real world, but still, if you’re going to message her, make sure to have something to say simply to show her some effort (therefore less likely that she's the 16th girl you've messaged today). Again, books are your best fall back. In any case, you might find that she’s a lot more friendly while using the written word.

5. Give her a book.
 (See a pattern?) 

Want to get her attention? The most romantic thing you can do for a writer is to randomly give her a book, especially one you love. A man once bought me a version of his favorite Neil Gaiman novel because he saw me reading Stardust. I had never really noticed him like that before, but it definitely got my attention and had me thinking about the possibility. He was only temporarily around for a show, leaving in a few weeks to go back home, 1,000 miles away, so it never happened, but it felt pretty good.

Unless you’ve already creeped her out in some form, this intimate gift is a fantastic way to make her feel wanted. It’s personal, it says you know something about her, and that you think of her outside of when you see her.

It’ll creep her out if she doesn’t remember ever seeing you before, if you have sent her several messages and she didn’t respond, if she keeps catching you staring at her, if she’s caught you taking a photo of her (true story), if she has never made a point to be near you, and sadly enough—the most ignored sign a girl isn’t interested—she’s told you to leave her alone.

But truth is, men don’t creep girls out as often as you might think (We’re just vocal about it when they do). So while you should always help her feel like she could “escape” you if she so chose, don’t worry too much about her being weirded out. Even when you don’t like the guy, it makes you feel flattered.

If you’re worried, after giving her the book, back off. If she’s interested, she’ll find a way to talk to you. She might not be sure for a while, but eventually she’ll reach out in hopes of you paying attention to her again. Or she doesn’t like you.

7. Let her know you like her without telling her.

So you’re dealing with a shy woman. Shyness comes from situations where a lot of questions are still up in the air. The introverted person likes to observe people first, understand where they’re coming from, predict how they will probably react, and then they start to come out of their shells.

The trick to pursuing an introverted writer is to let her know the situation without forcing her to give you an immediate answer. If she has no idea who you are/really are, if doesn’t yet know if she likes you or not, you do better if you let her keep gathering information because an immediate reaction will fall back on her natural impulse is to flee from social activities.

So, you tell her you like her, you just don’t say it.

How? Body language. The good news is that women are excellent on picking up on tiny pieces of evidence that you’re into them. This means that, with the right execution, you can make her feel confident in pursuing you without you risking rejection and making her feel in control. (The moment any woman feels she’s lost control is the moment she bails because, honestly, guys can get dangerous and cruel.)

Let her catch you staring at her. Once. Having a guy look at you—your face, by the way—can be flattering the first few times. If it keeps happening, then he starts to unnerve you. Deliberately watch her until she makes eye contact, then look away. One of three things will happen: 1) She already likes you and this helps confirm that you might like her back, encouraging her to try and talk to you. 2) She doesn’t know if she likes you or not, and by the suggestion you might like her will encourage her to consider you as an option. 3) She hates your guts, but it’s flattering, and probably relieves some tension because you’ve given her a little bit of power.

Making yourself physically available to her. (Not like that.) In the same vein of getting yourself alone, you want to place yourself in locations that will make her be near you. If there’s an empty seat next to her, sit there. You both will know why you’re doing it, but if she’s not interested, there’s enough denial there that you did it on purpose. When you walk up to her in a group, stand next to her. When you’re across from her telling a story, face your body towards her. She’ll realize what you’re doing, which will make her in return, consciously try to give you body language that she’s not interested—like she walks away—or that she is, by staying, or feeling more comfortable standing near you.

Dress better. Girls notice this. If you dress up just a little more than you have been, our narcissism will suggest it’s about us.

The name of the game is to show more interest so that she’ll feel comfortable showing more interest until one of you gets the balls to ask the other out.

8. The direct approach.

As Neil Gaiman answered this question:

In my experience, writers tend to be really good at the inside of their own heads and imaginary people, and a lot less good at the stuff going on outside, which means that quite often if you flirt with us we will completely fail to notice, leaving everybody involved slightly uncomfortable and more than slightly unlaid.

So I would suggest that any attempted seduction of a writer would probably go a great deal easier for all parties if you sent them a cheerful note saying “YOU ARE INVITED TO A SEDUCTION: Please come to dinner on Friday Night. Wear the kind of clothes you would like to be seduced in.”

And alcohol may help, too. Or kissing. Many writers figure out that they’re being seduced or flirted with if someone is actually kissing them.

Nothing is more attractive than a guy you like directly and straightforwardly asking you out, and in a clever way. But, I understand why this easier said than done, and sometimes it’s acceptable to be more cautious.

But if you’re pretty sure she likes you, I would say this is the best and most memorable approach. Having someone directly ask you out on a date is really nice, and she’s more likely to take your interest seriously.

Just remember that girls feel obligated to stay true to their feelings once they reveal them. It is very hard for us to change are minds after we’ve started showing interest in someone, getting labels like tease and ice queen. Add that into the already social-avoiding nature of the writer, and you’re going to get a girl who is very reserved. She hides her feelings until she is more sure they will stay that way.


This is the hardest part of pursuing a writer—knowing that they’re interested. She probably won’t flirt or ask you out, she might sit as far from you as possible when there’s hundreds of empty chairs, or excuse herself from the conversation right when you start one, but she will tell her in her own way. Whether it be catching her staring at you, dressing nicer than normal, or even showing up at social events because she knows you’re going to be there, she will find ways to try and tell you she’s interested without, ironically, using many words.