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Bars have been known throughout history as the perfect location for three things: getting drunk, getting into fights and picking up women. I’m sure you’re very good at doing the first two on your own, but everyone needs help picking up women – unless your last name happens to be Clooney. Here are 10 tips for turning that first awkward bar conversation into a meaningful relationship or, at least, you know, um… sex.

  1. Offer to buy her a drink, but don’t mention getting drunk. Buying one drink = great. Buying seven drinks = creepy. You may think getting her drunk is the easiest path to success, but if that’s the case, you’re probably a sleazeball.
  2. Lines are for losers. Just say hi. Don’t load up on stupid lines or take your hints from The Game. Use the simplest unit of interpersonal communication: “Hi.” Follow it up with a compliment and you’ve taken the first significant step towards barroom bliss.
  3. Stay away from martini glasses. There’s no worse glassware than the martini glass. It’s nearly impossible to hold one without spilling and if anyone bumps into you, you’re going to watch about $6 of gin wind up on the floor. Stick with a tumbler, fella.
  4. Don’t approach from behind. You want her to see you coming. While we men may never think about the imposing situation of being approached by a much larger human, women feel otherwise. You want to be as non-threatening as possible. That means sneaking up is a no-no.
  5. Whiskey is your friend, Midori is not. You don’t want to send mixed signals with your drink. Your drink says a lot about you. Make sure you’re sending out the signals you want to be sending with a drink that reflects your personality. Midori sours are not a great choice. Me? I like a classic Manhattan. In a tumbler, of course. Screw that dumb martini glass.
  6. Don’t take it personally if you get rejected. It happens to the best of us. You took a shot and it didn’t work out. The worst thing you could do is insult the woman before you walk away. When it comes to bar interactions, it’s best to just chalk up the rejection to a learning experience and try again. There are always more fish in the sea, especially if you’re at a nautical-themed bar.
  7. Beer leads to burps. I’m just saying, if you’re drinking beer you’re going to burp. Ladies don’t like burps.
  8. You’re not nearly as charming as you think you are but your confidence is contagious. This is a two-fer. You may have a few drinks and think you’re The Most Interesting Man in the World, but you’re not. You’re you and that’s great, but you’re not any more attractive when you’re drinking than you are when you’re sober. Turn it down a notch and you may see better results. On the other hand, if you turn it down too much, you might seem like you lack confidence and that’s no good either. Your best bet is to aim for the middle ground: confident but not cocky, charming but not trying too hard.
  9. If you have to yell, this isn’t your night. You can’t win her over if she can’t hear you. If the bar’s too loud, either try to move her to a quieter location or just give up. Communication is key and when Seven Mary Three is blasting in the background, you’ve lost the key.
  10. Her friends are not your enemies. Just because she’s surrounded by friends doesn’t mean she’s off limits. It also doesn’t mean you need to try to push her friends away to get her alone. Take some advice from a professional waiter who knows how to handle multiple tables sitting down at once: work them all as one. Talk to the whole group and keep a special focus on the object of your affection. If you can charm them all, then they’ll be allies instead of enemies.

Picking up women in bars is hard. REALLY hard. These tips won’t get the job done, but they will prevent you from making some elementary mistakes that could blow the whole thing before it even gets started. Memorize them the next time you go out and see how much better you do. If you manage to take someone home with you, then you definitely owe me a drink. A Manhattan, please. In a tumbler.

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