is dc friendly? judging by our response to pickup lines…

i was browsing around other metroblogging cities and i came across a post from minneapolis lamenting the difficulty of meeting girls in bars. the writer pondered whether it was because midwesterners are “too nice” — perhaps the girls feel that it is more polite to pretend that a guy is simply not there, rather than “shut him down.”

completely ignoring someone when he is speaking to you is “too nice”? maybe i don’t understand midwestern culture but i just don’t see how that is very nice. this reminded me of how some people (usually from the northeast) consider DC to be a friendly city, whereas other people (often from south) complain that we are so unfriendly.

based solely on that one post (what? is that too small of a study sample to extrapolate reliable results?), i think we must be friendlier than midwesterners. i don’t think most girls in DC would simply pretend a guy didn’t exist. or am i just out of the loop when it comes to the DC social scene?

what do other people think? is it easy to meet people in bars in DC, as opposed to other cities? maybe wayan has an opinion on this, he seems to have a reputation as a ladies’ man.

17 Comments so far

  1. Stone (unregistered) on February 8th, 2006 @ 3:24 pm

    Throughout my travels, I would have to rate DC by far one of the WORST places to pick up a girl in a bar. No matter if the club is black, white, or Latin (I frequent all three), I still get the same amount of resistance. (The worst is getting “cock blocked” by the “best friend”)

    The best cities in the country to pick up girls is by far Atlanta, Miami, and Tampa, btw :)

  2. Jenn L (unregistered) on February 8th, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

    DC girls do have a rep for being honest ah unfriendly. But DC might just be one of the best places to pick up men. Last Friday at Indebleu it took two gentlemen just thirty seconds to hone in on me after my husband left me alone at the bar…

  3. Don (unregistered) on February 8th, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

    If Miami is a good place to pick up women then that breaks any relationship between friendly and pickup-able – I’m Miami born and bred and I can assure you DC is friendlier.

  4. John (unregistered) on February 8th, 2006 @ 4:30 pm

    No, girls here only pretend you don’t exist if you’re below 6’0″.

  5. wayan (unregistered) on February 8th, 2006 @ 6:52 pm

    Ah, now let the expert speak. First off Jen, you’re asking two questions:

    Q1) “i don’t think most girls in DC would simply pretend a guy didn’t exist. or am i just out of the loop when it comes to the DC social scene?”

    Q2) “is it easy to meet people in bars in DC, as opposed to other cities? ”

    The answer to Q1) is “it all depends”. Are you cold calling on the girl, walking up to a random woman and trying a pick-up line without regard to her mood, body language, situation, receptiveness and your game, set-up, and opening?

    A “Hey baby, what’s your sign?” should be greeted by indifference. A “That’s a cool shirt/necklace/drink,” said casually to a girl who noticed you as you ordered a drink will almost always get you at least a few sentences of conversation – all you should expect. Then back away and study her situation, which leads to Q2).

    If you start with a soft introduction, then hang back and make sure she’s in the mood to hear more from you – looks your way, waves you over, asks your wingman about you – picking up women is just as hard (never “easy”) here as NYC, SF, LA, SD, or Miami. As to the Midwest, I’ve never attempted the pick-up. The only time I’ve wandered through I was with someone.

    Now compared to say Russian women or the scene in Tanzania’s Hotel Deluxe, where a “Yes, I’m an American” is all it takes, DC is a very tough town for a pick-up.

  6. jen m. (unregistered) on February 8th, 2006 @ 7:30 pm

    what’s “cockblocking”?

    i think sometimes men in bars and clubs are too “goal oriented.” they don’t really want to TALK to anyone, they just want to find someone to pick up. if someone approaches me when i’m out i’m usually really friendly, but then sometimes the guy will get annoyed at me when he finds out i’m not interested in hooking up, as if i shouldn’t have been friendly to him unless i am single and interested. (i wear a wedding band, by the way, so it’s not like i’m misleading anyone.) but i don’t go around assuming that anyone who tries to talk to me is hitting on me — unless i have reason to believe otherwise, i just assume the person is being friendly. maybe that’s just me being a dork.

    i think if a guy is being too goal oriented, he’s going to turn girls off — even girls who might actually be interested if you just took the time to get to know them before trying to pick them up. i think the reason girls are often unfriendly in bars and clubs is that they are putting on an armor to ward off the hoards of guys who are just there to hook up and have no interest in actually hanging out with them.

  7. BAV (unregistered) on February 8th, 2006 @ 10:02 pm

    Chiming in with another female perspective here. IMHO it’s far ruder to just not talk to a guy than to shut him down. The latter says, “I’m not interested,” whereas the former says, “You’re too far beneath me for me to deign to speak to you even to reject you.”

    Unlike Jen M., I do tend to assume that a guy who approaches me out of the blue at a bar is going for a pickup. Unless it’s a friendly neighborhood place where everyone is pretty much within one or two degrees of separation to begin with, or something else about the context indicates that it just is friendly conversation, much more often than not, I will shut the guy down outright (though contrary to what John says, I don’t have a height requirement). I do wish I could come up with a way to shut someone down that is clear enough to not send mixed signals, but kind enough that I don’t come across as a cold, heartless beeyotch. Granted, if I’m not interested, I don’t care if a guy thinks I’m a cold, heartless beeyotch, but I don’t get any pleasure out of inflicting more pain than necessary. And yeah, cheesy, blatant pickup lines don’t work, nor does the all-too-common DC gambit of, “I’m soooo important.”

  8. jen m. (unregistered) on February 9th, 2006 @ 9:56 am

    i get the feeling that in dc most people (men and women) assume that anyone who speaks to them is trying to pick them up. i think that’s really unfortunate for everyone.

    in austin, for instance, my experience has been that you can go to a bar and chat with strangers and have a good time just meeting new people. sure, many people in the bar would like to meet someone to get romantically involved with, but they aren’t so goal oriented that they can’t just have fun meeting people even if no sparks happen to start flying. i think that kind of atmosphere is not only much more fun and relaxed for everyone, but it’s also much more conducive to actually meeting potential dates.

    dc in general tends to be a very “eyes on the prize” kind of place, whether the “prize” is a date, status, political power, money, hipness, social change, whatever. that attitude might be really effective in terms of being financially or political successful, but i don’t think it’s effective in terms of having a rewarding social life.

    now i’m missing austin. if anyone knows of bars or clubs in dc with more of that laid back vibe, please let me know!

  9. cameron (unregistered) on February 9th, 2006 @ 10:14 am

    Jen, I totally agree with you about it being really unfortunate that the bar scene is so goal oriented in DC. But, as you know, I have an unfortunately unbreakable stereotype of DC-ites as being entirely too “life-planny” goal-oriented etc. I have met more men in DC who are really frustrated that they are approaching their late 20s and are not on the path to marriage, family, and the suburban dream. More men then women, in fact, which I think is also sorta unique to DC. But I do feel like the people here, men and women, don’t like to waste time and if you are not interested in furthering their life-plan then you might as well not talk to them at all. And I find this incredibly sad. Especially since I felt like I had a very hard time a year ago, being new to DC, trying to meet people when I was not in a position to be dating or hooking up. I just wanted friends and that turned out to be harder, even, than making friends in L.A. when I moved there.

  10. wayan (unregistered) on February 9th, 2006 @ 11:45 am

    Jen, I think we’ve found the source of your confusion – you’re married. You don’t have to worry about someone “cockblocking” you (when someone stops you from making a move, ie: the friend telling the boy you’re chatting up that its time to go) and you don’t realize that single men mostly have one goal in the bar – to get laid. Of course this is no different than any other place, or time.

    How do you know a man’s trying to get in your pants? His lips are moving.

    That you’re married also means that you’re happy to talk to guys who approach you at bars, you believe they’re being friendly vs. trying to get in your pants. Now how many of these guys stick around after you say “My husband…” like Jenn L does all the time? Or see the ring + rock on your finger? I would guess few.

    Thankfully though, you do wear your ring, so a smart guy would see it before approaching you and adjust his actions accordingly. What frustrates many men (and women) are those that are taken but don’t tell the hopeful amour until after a few drinks are purchased or much time wasted. This makes the amour understandably mad.

    Some, women try to head off hopeful amours by ignoring the ones they aren’t interested in. Not nice, I agree, but if she’s a hottie, after the 264th guy tries, I can understand her cold shoulder. I’d do the same if I were so lucky.

  11. jen m. (unregistered) on February 9th, 2006 @ 12:11 pm

    i don’t get cockblocking. why does the friend do that? is it that the recipient of the attention is too shy to brush the guy off herself? how does the cockblocker know that the attention is unwanted? single or not, i don’t play those kind of games.

    it might be true that most single men in the bar (or anywhere else for that matter) are trying to get laid, but in other cities they don’t always go about pursuing that goal with such drive. and i think everyone, including the guys trying to get laid, is better off for it. i bet if anything, guys in austin (to continue with my example) generally have more luck getting laid than guys in dc.

    i’m sure cameron and i aren’t the only ones in this city who would like to go out, have a drink, and meet new people who aren’t on the warpath for something or other, whether its booty or business cards. or maybe we are just a couple of slackers who are out of our element in this town.

    jeez, this discussion depressess me. (as do the words “you’re married” when directed at me — i’m not married, just too lazy to write “i wear a ring on the ring finger of my left hand that is indistinguishable from what most people consider a wedding band.”)

  12. Jenn L (unregistered) on February 9th, 2006 @ 12:47 pm

    Don’t worry, there are lots of places in DC that you can go to without every interaction being a pursuit for something, whether it’s a date or a hook-up or a job. Honestly, there are. As BAV says, friendly neighborhood bars are great. Then there are the places people go to specifically to hook up, period. It’s like that in every city. I don’t honestly think DC is better or worse than most.

    (and don’t worry about Wayan’s ‘ring = you’re married’ leap, Jen M., as you can see from his constant ‘husband’ jabs at me, he thinks anyone who admits to being attached is pathologically righteous about it ;)

  13. wayan (unregistered) on February 9th, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

    Cockblocking is usually done by the friend out of annoyance that s/he is not getting the attention of the one being perused, not protection. The cockblocker is called a submarine – as in s/he torpedoed your game.

    And you and Cameron aren’t the only ones just out for drinks w/o a ulterior motive – just in the minority unless you go to a local. Wonderland, Tonic, and Marx Cafe are three low-key places in my neighbourhood where an outright pick-up would be out of place.

    Last but not least, sorry to lump you in the with the commitment crazies. Married folks like Jenn L shouldn’t be out in bars anyway. Home, barefoot, kitchen I say ;)

  14. jen m. (unregistered) on February 9th, 2006 @ 3:13 pm

    hmm, i’m not sure i buy that. who would go out to a bar with a “friend” who acted like that? maybe the cockblocker knows the target isn’t interested in you (maybe she the target is interested in someone else in the place) and is actually being a good wingwoman. ever think of that?

  15. Don (unregistered) on February 9th, 2006 @ 4:22 pm

    To think of that Wayan would have to believe there’s a woman not interested in him :)

  16. wayan (unregistered) on February 9th, 2006 @ 5:56 pm

    You’d be surprised by the amount of cockblocking going on, even in libraries.

  17. BAV (unregistered) on February 9th, 2006 @ 9:07 pm

    Like Jen and Cameron, I’m annoyed by the hyper-life-planning common in DC residents. In my experience so far, it’s good to have goals, but if you make too strict of a life plan, it’s that much harder to adapt to unforeseen events, or deal with things not always going your way.

    I do like going out and meeting people without agendas on my part or theirs, and I believe that one can never have too many friends–which is why I spend most of my time and beer money at those low-key neighborhood watering holes, and am nicer to people there, than I am at your average DC bar. In those places, well, after 265 pickup attempts, far too many by creepy, self-important forthsomethings looking for their very own Katie Holmes, a girl can’t help but be a little cynical.

    And for the record, the only time my girl friends and I cock-block guys, it’s when we know the ‘target’ girl isn’t interested in the guy chatting her up, or when someone in the group wants to head elsewhere and hasn’t caught onto the fact that someone else has game going. More often, we help each other out, but then again, I don’t keep bad friends.

    Though if I let one loose in a library or other quiet place in front of a hot guy, I know exactly what I’ll be doing. :)

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