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Oakland, CA

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The Secret To Meeting Women Is To Not Bathe. Posted on 06/23/2002.

(from an AIM conversation with a friend; her responses removed, my comments edited for readability)

me: I frame the experience I had yesterday as, "Why do women only hit on me when I'm not available?"

me: I was in Pacific Heights, killing time before a movie. Went to the Grove Cafe. Sat down at one of the few available tables, which happened to be next to a woman sitting alone.

me: As I'm reading my book, I laugh out loud at a passage. She asks, "So what's so funny?" I explain to her, and we start talking, and I realize in no short order that there's a bit of a come on here.

me: Some interesting details:

I was reading THE NEW CONCEPTUAL SELLING a somewhat cheesy book on sales management (my company is having a sales consultant lead us through two days of training, and this is required reading). The book is filled with Rules in Title Case, Numbered Lists Of Things to Remember, and utterly serious use of the phrase "Win-Win" (which is what got me laughing).

me: She was reading ANNA KARENINA, which I realized, in retrospect, is the kind of book you read when you're alone at cafes in order to have something to talk about with someone you meet. (I know, I've done similarly.)

me: She works in "equity brokerage" after having worked in investment banking, which means she probably has scads of cash.

me: She's lived in San Francisco for three years (after moving there from NY), and comments on how she hasn't found people with the same kind of intellectual or political edge as she knew in New York. I ask her, "Do you ever get out of Pacific Heights?" It becomes clear that she doesn't, really.

me: Anyway, the last interesting detail, the one that makes me laugh most:
I had spent the night at a friend's home in the city, so I a) hadn't showered and b) was wearing the same clothes two days in a row. Not the situation to make you feel all attractive.

Some further thoughts--
The New Conceptual Selling, when you strip away its rhetorical excess, is a pretty good book. It's essentially "user-centered sales," encouraging you to try to get in the mind of your potential customer and understand their needs, and not just overwhelm them with sales pitches.

Bringing a book to a cafe in order to spur conversation has *never* worked for me.

I've never read ANNA KARENINA. Or any Tolstoy. I do {heart} Dostoyevsky, though.

5 comments so far. Add a comment.

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Might I point out, though, that Anna Karenina is about a woman who decides to have an extra-marital affair to get back at her husband who is quite the socially accepted philanderer?

It might be good reading.

Well, it is good reading. Hands down. I don't know you pulled it off this time.
Posted by doug @ 06/23/2002 04:05 PM PST [link to this comment]

While you're passing the time reading sales books, try Spin Selling -- selling that's been usability tested.

And then try Built to Last -- Best business book ever!

Posted by Jared @ 06/24/2002 08:03 PM PST [link to this comment]

Mmm, rumpled Peterme, rrrrowrrr!

Thanks for the story, Peter; I am deeply amused picturing the scene.
Posted by Dinah @ 06/25/2002 10:52 AM PST [link to this comment]

Books on marketing rile the shit out of me,
In fact all 'how to' and camouflaged 'how to' books suck, residual childhood trauma I guess..pure common sense and acumen couched in JARGON!!!!!!!

But yeah, normally tend to carry around 'Schrodinger's Cat' when I travel, 90% success rate ;)
Posted by Matto @ 06/26/2002 07:54 AM PST [link to this comment]

I am not too surprised that you have had more success after being not showered because we respond to pherenomes in others.

Your clothes and body probably had plenty for the woman to smell and pick up on.


Posted by Carl Coryell-martin @ 06/26/2002 09:12 AM PST [link to this comment]

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