Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Approach Technique: Limit Your Vocabulary

The other evening I spent a nice relaxing night out by myself, acquiring some new music and doing a little pleasure reading. Whenever I go out, I always take the opportunity to meet some new people and work on my approach technique. For the most part, I was just doing my own thing, but I managed to work in three approaches quite effortlessly.

The first two were fun, simple, short and playful. I always imagine ridiculous scenarios in my head, and I'm quite unafraid to verbalize them. In the first instance, there was a cute, young cashier who looked either a bit bored or tired. When I was at the front of the line, I looked her in the eyes and asked: "A bit bored, are you?" The moment I addressed her directly, she brightened up a bit and looked substantially more energetic. She replied, adamantantly: "No, never!" Me: "Never bored, eh? How do you manage that? Do you entertain yourself by throwing things at unruly customers?" Cashier: "Of course not! That's against company policy." Me: "Let me guess. Next you're going to tell me that you always follow company policy." With that she chuckled a bit, and unconsciously adjusted her hair.

Later, I was at a coffee shop in a fairly SWPL area. There were a couple of trashy-looking college girls, wearing excessive make-up and lipstick, who sat near me and were discussing various recent dalliances. Typically, I consider it a waste of time to even bother opening such girls, and at the time I was quite happily engrossed in reading The New Division of Labor. A bit later, they moved to one of the couches across the room that had just been vacated. Half an hour later, when I was about to leave, I was gathering up my things and I noticed that there was an iPhone on the seat next to me, where one of the two girls had been sitting. Given that I would have to approach them to return the girl's phone to her, I figured I might as well try to strike up a conversation.

A few sentences later, I used the word "ensconced," which was met with a quizzical look on both girls' faces. Apparently, neither of their vocabularies was broad enough to include such a word. While I could have cut my opener and gone on to a new topic, a sizable amount of momentum had been lost by the fact that I used a word they were thoroughly unfamiliar with. Obviously, I overestimated the articulacy and intelligence of the average SWPL college girl. Just because a certain demographic views themselves as educated and intelligent doesn't make it so. As a result, I have decided that a useful approach heuristic would be to limit my vocabulary unless a girl has demonstrated a reasonable grasp of the subtleties of the English language.


  1. Sixth grade vocabulary man. Just like the journalists use every day.

  2. I definitely dumb-down my speech in everyday life. And there are many topics I just don't bring up or discuss, because people find it unsettling. Physics, theology, philosophy, history, economics, etc.

    But that's not just a female/male issue. Most people aren't particularly well educated or well-read. Even those attending college.

  3. I've written a little about this before:

    The thing is, bigger isn't always smarter. The measure of intelligence of words isn't how big they are or how ancient their etymology, but whether they accomplish their goal.

    Jocks/cads/douchebags who have severely limited vocabulary and always get the girl? Well, they're actually using language *more intelligently* than the virgin nerds. After all, the jocks' words are the ones which are scoring pussy! In other words, if Encyclopedia Brown were really so smart, wouldn't he be able to get a date?

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