So, as a man, should I holler at a girl if I like her? Even if she’s a stranger on the beach? At a club? At a family reunion? Because if I’m talking to a girl I’ve never been introduced to, you better believe her physical attractiveness plays into that decision, just as it presumably played into your friend’s desire to get to know the wakeboarder. Is your advice equally applicable to men, or is this meant as a counterpoint to Cosmo, a magazine whose cultural reach is (in my opinion) exaggerated. Should men be afraid that by addressing a stranger she will assume that instead of her beauty being a pre-screen (I would like to get to know her better because she physically resembles women I have had meaningful interactions with in the past), the man is instead thinking “now that I have determined her waist-to-hip ratio, all interactions from my end are attempts to convince her to surrender to my advances”? I can’t just take a picture with my phone and have her Facebook page pop up, HIMYM-style. That leaves me with saying “hi” and risking traumatizing her with my gaze or ignoring the urge to learn more about her. Is there a third way?
Here’s my opinion on ‘hollering.’ I do not want to be ‘hollered at’ ever. It sounds terrifying. I imagine you standing 6 inches from my face and reciting rap lyrics through a megaphone. If you are a person who uses the word ‘holler’ to describe an activity you take part in sans-irony (thank you hipsterverse for providing me the perfect word) then I do not want to meet you ever.
I do not, however, mind being approached and engaged in lively conversation.
Here’s the thing. If you start said lively conversation with someone who isn’t interested then you are a creeper. If you start the same conversation with someone who is interested, then game on. Thusly, the question becomes how to tell if the person you want to engage is interested or creeped.
Fortunately we human beings have these things called bodies which we use to indicate such information. Please do not confuse this with the cosmo point-your-bellybutton tips.
How to tell if someone wants you to engage them in conversation (pick two):
- When you look over they smile.
- When you look over they wave.
- When you look over they say hi.
- They introduce themselves.
- They look directly at you and then smile/curtsey/blush.
If they do none of these things or intentionally turn away from you DO NOT assume they didn’t see you or that they secretly want you to come say hi but are bashful. When a grown up wants to be approached they make it clear.
Your job is to listen closely enough to hear it. That is the magical third way. If you come say hi because you find me attractive, then that isn’t offensive or going to traumatize me. If you approach me I’m going to assume it’s informed by the fact that you’re attracted to me.
If you ‘holler’ at me about how ‘bangin my body is’ then yeah, I might be a bit traumatized. If you take a picture of me on your phone before saying hi that also might do some psychological harm. If you approach me and my every word/signal says ‘get lost’ AND YOU IGNORE IT then I will be likewise upset.
Pay attention to whether or not the object of your affections truly wants to be approached and then approach keeping an eye out for clues this person wants to be left alone. Then, if they seem to want out of the conversation, let them go.
Following these easy steps will ensure you are never a creeper. Following these steps says that you are interested and attentive. It shows that your partners desires are as important to you as your own and it’s what my friends and I look for in partners.