“Step one: Be a gentleman,” said Ryan Wilkinson, a junior economics major at Boston College. But what does “being a gentleman” even mean? Maybe the problem is that a gentleman doesn’t have a goal of getting into girls’ pants– or, at the very least, they’d word it so, so much better than that.
You’ve probably heard the tricks: be funny, be confident but not arrogant, listen, and on. So instead of rehashing them, I’m going to offer some detailed and foolproof tips to knock a girl’s socks (not pants) off.
1. Don’t overthink the approach.
Fellas, it’s as easy as walking over to us. Amy Stevens, a sophomore studying computer science and classics at BC, said, “Just come over and say something. Start any conversation about pretty much anything and you’re going to get somewhere.” Insider tip: girls don’t go out to parties to awkwardly stand in the corner. So man up and come save us– from that stupid corner and our wallflower selves!
2. Remember the “Opening Line” is nbd.
Seriously, we’re not picky. “Hi” will do just fine. But if you’re the over-prepared type, then a compliment or little white lie should do the trick. Cindy Xu, a finance and accounting major at BC, said, “Guys always say, ‘I love your glasses,’ and that works every time.” But her favorite line is “Hey, were you in my (fill in the blank) class last semester?” Lie or not, it gets us every time.
3. Ask a lady to grind.
Never approach a girl “pants” first. Yes, some college parties are sketchy dance floors with a whole bunch of horny kids just grinding up on each other. This, I have little problem with. But why, oh why, do guys think it’s okay just to sneak-attack us? Stevens said, “Even if it’s really loud and dark, always ask a girl if she wants to dance first.” Because even grinding establishes a level of intimacy that requires—at the very least—a first name and some eye contact.
4. Break down the pack.
The pack is our defense mechanism. We feel just as awkward and uncomfortable as you do and therefore congregate together to appear like we are, one, able to carry a conversation, and two, desirable to be around (everything’s a mind game, see?). How do you break down this horrifyingly intimidating structure? Ellie Mancini, an English major at BC, said, “Approach the whole group first, but then hone in one girl you want. You better be standing next to the girl you want, too.” Now, you’re wondering how to hone in on that special lady. Stevens said, “It’s totally OK to put your arm around the girl or on her back. But never the lower back if it’s an introduction.” We do have standards, boys.
5. Ask the right questions.
I know, I know—how can you ask the “right” questions if you don’t know the girl? Mancini said, “It’s way better to come up with a really weird question to ask someone than a generic one. ‘What year are you? What’s your major? Where you’re from?’ Because that conversation takes all of a minute and a half.” But you can weave these old trusties into a great conversation as long as you remember two steps. Firstly, don’t rapid fire off these questions; you’re trying to pull off a prelude to a night well spent, not an interview. Secondly, get creative with your follow-up. To this day, I remember this guy’s reply after asking me my major: “Who’s your favorite author?” A second later, it seemed like I was gushing about Seamus Heaney but really, I was melting like putty in his hands.
6. Find common ground. Fast.
That’s why we allow guys to fall back on the usual “Where do you live?” Because we’re hoping you’ll say, “Coro? I lived there!” But there’s other ways to establish common ground. Sadie Valentine, a sophomore biology major at BC, said, “It’s great if you’re talking to someone from New York and your favorite restaurant is in the same town. Like, ‘OMG I love that place. Have you ever been there?’” BOOM. You’ve stumbled into a conversation. Look at you, player.
7. Remember, conversation equals chemistry.
Gentlemen, the duty of carrying the conversation often falls on you. What can I say? Life is unfair. Mancini said, “Awkward silences are the end. One or two are fine. But the duration and frequency are important.” But don’t panic; awkward silences aren’t too difficult to fill. Remember how I stressed follow-up questions? For those of you who don’t think fast on your feet, answer your own question. We want to know about you too.
8. Laugh at her jokes.
You know how everyone always says, “Be funny,” like it’s some magical key that unlocks all of a girl’s defenses? Well, amen to that. Humor is sexy. How else could I explain my continuous love and attraction to Bill Murray? But what’s even sexier is when you laugh at a girl’s joke. Remember she’s putting herself out there with a joke just as much as you did with your approach. Mancini said, “If I’m talking to a guy at a party, I’m super nervous, so I use my humor. If someone laughed, I’d feel like I was killing it.” The conversation—and amount of laughs—is a two way street. What better reason is there to pick an attractive and, more importantly, funny girl?
9. Sneak in some contact.
A foolproof test, gentlemen: touch. If you playfully grab her waist and she a) doesn’t cringe and b) leans into you—dude, you’re gold. Wondering which areas are good-to-go and which are the danger zones? Anywhere on the arm, the shoulders, even the neck is good. Nina Oberg, a sophomore environmental studies major, swears by the simple gesture of tucking her hair behind her ear (that may seem weird, but seriously, playing with our hair is like PG-rated foreplay for girls). Just remember, if we don’t want you touching something as innocent as the ends of our hair, then we definitely don’t want you touching any of the good stuff.
10. Keep your eyes on her.
Ever heard of the saying that love enters through the eyes? Yeah, so does lust. Eye contact is a big one that gentlemen tend to overlook (pun intended). It makes us more comfortable, shows confidence, and is literally the easiest way to convey interest: My eyes are on you, and only you, for a reason. Xu warns, “Don’t have shifty eyes.” If you’re looking at other girls, then go talk to them—no judgment—but stop wasting the time of the poor girl in front you.
Bonus: Exalt in the mighty drinking game.
I’ve talked about the power of drinking games before, but I’m not afraid to repeat myself. Drinking games can be magic (romance in college these days, ladies and gentleman). It’s a totally acceptable excuse to say, You. Yes, the sexy girl in the black shirt. Be my beer pong partner? Or shimmy up to her left in Slap Cup and ask her if she’s prepared to drink a lot of beer because you’re damn good at this game. Hannah Lambalot, a public health major at American University, said, “If you slightly tease me with a smile after, then I’m like, ‘Ah, take me now.’” Pick any drinking game. Now, I dare you to name a better opportunity to sneak in some high-fives, lower back grabs, witty banter, no-pressure questions and secret alliances.
Getting into her pants has a rather sleazy connotation. It’s one of those phrases that jerks the gag (and chastity-belt) reflex. But honestly, “getting into each other’s pants” is just our generation’s stupid, cowardly, guarded way of saying getting underneath each other’s skins. Because all we want, at the end of the day, is to make an impression. To put ourselves out there and have somebody say, Yes. That was worth it. That three-foot walk to me, that 50/50 opening-line, all that potential humiliation was worth it. We’re all just trying to leave nameless fingerprints on each other’s hearts. But—hopeless—we miss and settle for leaving careless fingerprints on each other’s bodies.
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Updated August 13, 2016: We added cool tees and links to get them.