Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Theory & Essay

Why “The Approach” Is The Hardest Thing Any Adult Has To Learn How to Do

Definitely should have won an Emmy

Last Friday, I attended a quite extravagant (well, extravagant compared to what I’m used to) birthday party for my homegirl. Unlimited bottles of Rose. VIP treatment at two nightclubs. Glossy drunk chicks in tiny dresses. Multi-layered birthday cakes made by Arabian virgins (Biting that cake made me feel like I was eating a slice of Heaven. Seriously, that cake is the reason why Al-Qaeda hates America). If you would have added Big Gay Al Reynolds and a gaggle of uncouth to the mix, it could have been a deleted extra from Basketball Wives.

Anyway, towards the middle of this debaucherific night, one of my homegirls (“Tara”) inches up to me and says “Hey, Champ. I think my friend in the black dress is feeling you.

Now, she was obviously talking about Lady Champ, who was chatting it up on a couch nearby with three other ladies. I played along.

Word? She’s hot. Does she have a man?”

“I don’t think so. You should go talk to her.”

Still in character, I glanced over at Lady Champ and her homegirls again.

“Eh. I don’t know. I’ll wait till she’s by herself”

“Why? Just go over and talk to her now?”

“I’m good”

With that, Tara shakes her head in faux disgust and exhales.

“Men are lame.”

“Whatever”

We finally broke character and laughed for a sec before she left to grab another piece of cake.

But, as soon as she walked away, I started to realize that although Tara was joking, her replies weren’t really that far off. I can totally see a woman becoming disappointed that a man didn’t jump at the chance at hollering at one of her single and attractive homegirls, even if said homegirl was surrounded by a vagina barricade.

The more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me that women really have no f*cking clue how difficult it is to approach a woman. None whatsoever.

In fact, I’ll take it even further. Not only is the cold approach difficult, it’s the single most difficult skill that any adult — male or female — is expected to master.

(Don’t come at me with that childbirth is a much more difficult skill bullshit, either. More painful? Sure. But, from what I understand, giving birth isn’t necessarily a skill because the kid is coming out of there regardless of what you do¹. Plus, how difficult can something be if stink bugs do it too?)

Now, to women’s credit, the most likely reason why they don’t realize how difficult it is to approach a woman is that they usually just see the finished product — the actual smooth approach. To make an analogy, it’s like the kid who goes to Grandma’s house and sees Thanksgiving dinner already prepared on the table; not realizing the days of shopping, planning, cooking, and preparing that resulted in the finished product.

They also don’t know that before Grandma The Great Cook was Grandma, she was a 17 year old who wasn’t allowed in the kitchen, a 23 year old whose stuffing was always just a bit too salty, a 28 year old who accidentally made everyone sick one year with an undercooked turkey, and a 31 year old who made the mistake of inviting both Aunt Esther and Aunt Thelma to dinner; forgetting that they haven’t gotten along since they were in high school and would likely fight each other before dessert.

They don’t realize that if I actually were to approach Lady Champ in that situation, there’d be at least 10 completely different questions I’d need to figure the answers to within a 5 to 10 second span, including…

1. What am I going to say to this f*cking stranger?

2. What if she’s crazy??? How do I escape if she’s crazy???

3. How the hell am I going to break through the vagina barricade?

4. Her friend is cute too. Should I talk to her instead?

5. Who all is she with tonight? (This is important because if her girlfriend’s see you attempt to holler at her and get shot down — and trust me, they’ll see you — you probably won’t be able to holler at any of them that night either….even if one happens to be interested. Vagina logic strikes again!)

6. How do I look?

7. F*ck! Did she see me first? (Important because the longer a woman notices you hesitating to approach her, the worse your chances)

8. Do I launch with a joke, a “Hi,” an intentionally silly pick-up line, or do I just go and sit next to her and wait for her to say something?

9. How do I save face if she’s an asshole?

10. Do I need another drink before I step to her?

11. I’m not an aloof asshole, but do I need to pretend to be one to increase my chances of success?

12. I want to grab her titty. I want to grab her titty. I want to grab her titty. I want to grab her titty. Should I grab her titty?

Also — and this is the most important part — while your mind is moving a mile a minute — processing, assessing, reacting — you’re trying your damnedest to maintain your steely, Stringer Bell cool; doing everything you can to not let her see you sweat and ultimately sabotage yourself

This manufactured demeanor, this easiness, this “swagger” is a learned skill; an act (Yes. It’s always an act. Some of us are just much, much better actors than others) that can take decades to master.

It’s no different than watching Kobe nonchalantly hit a pull-up 3 in traffic; an act that was made to look “easy” because of the hundreds of thousands of 3-pointers he’s taken by himself in the gym, and the confidence built by the hundreds of in-game threes he’s already hit.

So ladies, the next time you’re wondering why the cutie at the club hasn’t approached you yet, remember that he probably wants to but just hasn’t figured out the answer to question #116 yet. You wouldn’t hurry him while he’s taking the Bar Exam, right, so why rush him when he’s taking a test that’s much, much, much, much harder?

Anyway, people of VSB.com, I’m pretty sure how the men feel about this, but do the ladies now agree that the approach is the most difficult task an adult is expected to master? If not, why not? Why do you hate men?

¹I haven’t taken a biology class in 15 years, so take that statement with a grain of salt

—The Champ

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't.

  • http://twitter.com/MOTRenaissance Adonis (@MOTRenaissance)

    First Fruits

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

    (Don’t come at me with that childbirth is a much more difficult skill bullshit, either. More painful? Sure. But, from what I understand, giving birth isn’t necessarily a skill because the kid is coming out of there regardless of what you do. Plus, how difficult can something be if stink bugs do it too?)

    This cracked me up. It’s all kinds of wrong but still laughing. Carry on.

  • http://vanityinperil.blogspot.com Vanity in Peril

    Well, damn when you put it all like that it does sound hard to pull off with care. Kudos and hats off to all of you men out there b/c if it was left up to us there would be very little going on. I think this has got to be worse than cold calling in sales and job hunting in this recession combined. Damn. O and thank you thank you THANK YOU for the Big Gay Al Reynolds ref. He so wants to be preggo and barefoot in Jen’s kitchen making her turkey bacon.

  • nillalatte

    1. What am I going to say to this f*cking stranger?
    I said, “I’ve been watching you. You like to go hard. Let’s do it.” And, we danced. :P

    2. What if she’s crazy??? How do I escape if she’s crazy???
    What if he’s crazy? This could get messy!

    3. How the hell am I going to break through the vagina barricade?
    “Excuse me, I need to talk to you for a minute.” Leaves the other girls wondering.

    4. Her friend is cute too. Should I talk to her instead?
    Indecisive men. Ugh.

    5. Who all is she with tonight?
    Why? You trying to get at them too?

    6. How do I look?
    Like a dork. But, go for it anyway.

    7. F*ck! Did she see me first?
    Really? Hummm….

  • LMNOP

    (Don’t come at me with that childbirth is a much more difficult skill bullshit, either. More painful? Sure. But, from what I understand, giving birth isn’t necessarily a skill because the kid is coming out of there regardless of what you do. Plus, how difficult can something be if stink bugs do it too?)

    stink bugs don’t give birth. they lay eggs.

  • http://iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

    mmmmmmmm….Idris Elba…he fiiiiiiiiine….oh, wait, there’s a post? *goes back to read*

  • WayUPThere

    “Now, to women’s credit, the most likely reason why they don’t realize how difficult it is to approach a woman is that they usually just see the finished product — the actual smooth approach. To make an analogy, it’s like the kid who goes to Grandma’s house and sees Thanksgiving dinner already prepared on the table; not realizing the days of shopping, planning, cooking, and preparing that resulted in the finished product.”

    Add the fact that women don’t really have to master this skill at all. When you don’t have to deal with something that someone else complains about it, one tends to think that the complaints are overblown. Heteronormative (yes, that’s def a Champ word) standards dictate the man is supposed to approach the woman first, and although things are changing, by and large men are still expected to and still approach women first. But if you’re the type of guy who just doesn’t give a flying f**k, then I would guess the cold approach isn’t that difficult.

  • http://twitter.com/thenaimacyde Naima

    This is hilarious!! I am a people watcher. I LOVEEEEE watching guys approaching girls, its soooo funny.

    I’ve had a few funny experiences, but was one night when my friends and I were walking to a bar and this guy pretended to trip in front of me. He even went as far as grabbing my hand and asking for help. I tried to hold my laughter, but when he asked for my name I just couldn’t. I told him he had nice glasses though.

  • http://jouromeo.blogspot.com Sagey Bear

    This is the point where I decide that no p.-.s.s.y. is worth my dignity and wait for them to approach. Mixed results. SMD when I’m finished p.-.s.s.ing off my rage at my own cowardice.

    Years go by, days go by, moments go by. It don’t matter so much no more. I’m usually well received anyways. Except Asians. Asians seem to not like me so much. Iono.

    Now, I take it as a challenge. Quickly selecting the one that looks like I would be the most attracted to and make her the focal point of my introduction while keying on several possible alternatives. Simply keeping the conversation light enough to be a “mingler.” Definitely make it a point to compliment the ladies and inform my not so urgent thirst. Mixed results.<—Only when there are decent enough ladies though. Read below for the arsehole approach.

    When there is only one potential interest…I am reckless than a mutha. Step in, weigh my piece against the stream. See how it works…it never has…I still do it to be a b-tt hole back…yeah I know…no I don't really care…yeah, I realize I lose at being a jerk and so what?

  • https://twitter.com/#!/mizzcamille MizzCam

    IMO, how hard a man has to try is directly proportional to where he falls on the 10-point scale. i.e. If he’s a 10, he could simply say “hi” and have my attention. Whereas if he’s say, a 6, he’s gotta make up those extra 4 points by being funny/interesting/buying a round of drinks for us/etc. Now, this is just for the initial ice breaker.
    If you prove to be a complete dumb@ss after that, you’re SOL.

    But I do realize how difficult “The Approach” must be, which is why I’m happy that no one really expects women to do it. =)

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