Where to start? Maybe with the word “Sassy” which seems out of place, maybe with “Picking Up” which is 1999-speak for today’s “Hook Up”, and maybe with “Hot Guys” which actually sets the tone a bit for the book… in that it plays upon shallow stereotypes, oversimplification, and an almost detrimental view of gender role relations.
We could also start with the fact that the book is bright pink.
Here’s the thing… the idea behind the book is worthwhile…. It is the methods that are nauseating. So, for real, let’s start with what actually works.
Samantha Scolfield has written what amounts to a quick and easy guide on how to start conversations out of thin air. This is a valuable skill… the skill of small talk, of extroverted communication, of finding a way to talk to strangers in ways that will usually inspire them to talk back to you.
Her voice as a writer is delightful, funny, and honest. Her recounting of bad dates and embarrassing moments are cringe worthy and can be widely appreciated and sympathized with. She even gives a pretty decent list of places to meet people (even if she sticks to examples featuring the gym and the bar), and her party theme ideas had me taking notes.
It’s just the rest of it.
She starts off with the premise that Hot Guys (described as any guy you personally find hot) won’t ever be attracted to girls who are assertive and honest about what they want. Therefore, it is the job of the Sassy Girl to start a conversation with her intended Hot Guy… but, and here’s the kicker, not let him know she is interested.
It’s a whole new way of playing hard to get. A way, she assures us, will work because the guy will suddenly become so engrossed in making sure the girl wants him, that he will forget any idea of not wanting her.
Before we even discuss the problems of her actual advice, we must first consider the premise. Are Hot Guys turned off by women who make their intentions clear? I would wager that the percentage probably mirrors girls who are turned off by guys who are a bit too on the nose. But, let’s be clear. There is a big difference between “Nice boots, wanna F—k.” and “”Hey, my name is….” To distil all men’s attraction or non attraction to women who actually show interest is taking the cheap way out of the question.
This, sadly, isn’t the only time or place where Scolfield decides to forgo actual thought and rely on antiquated perceptions of how guys think. According to her, most guys like golf, most guys don’t want to be hit on, most guys can’t see through her “clever” ruse.
Yes, those quotes were intentional… there is nothing clever about her conversation/not flirting/secret ruse of picking up on the hot guy.
Here are a few examples of how you too could start a conversation with a guy so that he won’t know you are interested:
Ask him why guys grunt at the gym.
Ask him what’s up with guys hogging the TV remote.
Ask him if he thinks Angelina Jolie is pretty.
Ask him to interoperate “guy speak” that some other guy told a some other friend.
If Scolfield finds anything wrong with starting off the conversation by having the female throw herself into the bimbo helpless victim role, she doesn’t show it.
You know what’s coming right? I have to say it… books like this perpetuate the double standard and the objectification of women. Scolfield is telling us that is it okay for women to make the first move… just as long as no one can recognize it as a move.
And what’s worse… any guy not drunk off his ass or with two brain cells to rub together will see through this and know that she is interested, throwing the original premise out the window.
Let’s face it… girls don’t randomly start conversations with guys unless they are interested in something. It isn’t always sex… sometimes we need to know what time it is… but if you are male and in a bar and a girl starts to chat you up about practically anything (especially things like grunting and Angelina Jolie’s prettiness) she probably has a watch.
That brings us to location. Most of the scenarios that are discussed are bar/club sort of interactions. Couple that with the term “picking up” and what you get is a lesson in Quantity, not Quality. In fact, SC extols the virtues of thinking of dating as a numbers game. One of her key pieces of advice is to not talk too long to any one guy… get a date on the schedule (or his number) and then move onto the rest of the guys at the bar.
Because nothing says I’m not at all a flakey bar fly like schmoozing your way through ten different guys in one night.
I would like to point out, Samantha Scolfield lives in LA. Methinks there might be a location driven aspect to this book. Maybe these superficial techniques for winning the numbers game works in what is easily one of the shallowest cities in the world… do you honestly think it would work anywhere else?
The ironic thing is that that it doesn’t really matter what the girls say to the guys at the bars or clubs (or vice versa). With the amount of noise inherent and the over all meat market mentality prevalent in 98% of them… connections are going to be made based on mutual attraction no matter what she says to start the conversation. This is where the book could really have worked… if the idea had been “it doesn’t matter what you say, get out there and start talking” we would have a very different, and much less offensive, guide. Instead the focus is, again, on quantity and getting connections.
But what sort of connections? Again, Scolfield does a great job of listing p[possible ways to start a random conversation… and her ideas of how to mentally psych yourself up to do that if you happen to be shy are worthwhile, but her goal here is to get you as many numbers and dates as possible… which might be just what some people are looking for, but I guarantee that a lot of people out there want actual connections. Quality over Quantity.
Ironically, Scolfield says that she did “research” for this book for three years… which means that she went on a whole slew of first dates but didn’t actually manage to turn any of those into relationships… until yes, apparently she now has a boyfriend who she met using her methods.
She met him online.
Ironic? Maybe.. but also totally understandable. What this book really does is list possible conversation starters and prove that it is hard to meet people at bars.
Like most things in life, we can take what works and leave the rest. And that, is where we have to end it.
PS: I had a chance to interview Scolfield, Read it Here!