By Jeff Tedford
Some people say that scouting bars is not a science, that you can’t quantify the quality, the measurables, the intangibles of the women at your local watering hole – and that even if you do “quantify” those very things, the numbers and data you’ve produced aren’t the whole story. Some people say that scouting bars is overrated.
Those people will never average 37.3 digits per weekend like I did in 2004. In Berkeley.
Listen up: scouting the bar isn’t a science, but neither is it voodoo. This is the world’s cruelest arena we’re talking about. I’m not here to give you guarantees or infallible formulas. Those things don’t exist in this environment. You’ve got to show up every day with your lunchpail and your time card or you’ll never get anywhere. There’s a million other guys out there who want your job, and they’ve got wingmen just like you do. I’m not going to tell you it’s going to be easy, because it won’t.
But I will tell you this: if you take the time to scout the bar, you’re enabling success for you and your team on Saturdays. Fridays and Thursdays, too.
To begin with, you have to know where you’re coming from to know where you’re going; you’ve got to scout yourself before you can scout the bar. Review your past outings. Take the time go over every detail. I recommend tasking a wingman with a digital camcorder or even a video capable phone to follow you over the course of an evening, then sit down and watch it from reel to reel. Then watch it again.
(Make sure there aren’t any under-the-skirt shots, though. That’s sexual harassment. You’ll never be the world’s second greatest lover if you aren’t a gentleman first. Always, always respect the opponent.)
What are your tendencies? Do you tend to walk up to women at a bar and not talk to them, hoping they’ll open up conversation? Do you immediately start talking to them then quickly run out of steam? Are you a drink buyer? A joke teller? Do you wear a unique hat as a conversation starter? Are you better with strong wingmen, or weak wingmen? Why is that? Do you go for the hand to the small of the back, or is yours more of a “let me see your palm, I can tell your future” type of offense? Because if it’s the latter you’re taking a big risk… but the reward’s are also big. Seriously. That palm reader thing is the corniest play out there – but if you’ve got the right hat on it’s a 63% conversion rate.
You probably never even realized there was a conversion rate for palm reading with a Panama on, and that’s because you’ve been a barstool quarterback all your life. People like me make their livings on such details because we’re professional, and in the pros the details matter.
Once you’ve documented your tendencies you’ll probably also know your strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to establish that tendencies are different from strength and weaknesses. Let’s say you’re a good dancer: that’s a strength. A weakness would be poor breath awareness. It’s not something to be ashamed of because it’s a common weakness, but you should be aware of that fact.
(I bet you didn’t realize that a recent trend in bar strategy involves rival males singling out stronger specimens and giving them garlic gum – and why would you? I know things like that because it’s my job.)
A tendency, though, is different from strengths and weaknesses. You should play towards your strengths and avoid testing your weaknesses.
(Caveat: depending on the environment your weakness might actually be a strength. Example: here in Berkeley effeminate mannerisms are sometimes a plus. Wearing a scarf in San Bernardino will likely get you killed, whereas wearing a scarf on Telegraph Avenue will likely get you a girl with hemp pants and dreadlocks. As I said, caveat.)
You should sometimes try going against tendencies. Those women are doing their own scouting, believe it or not, and they’ll expect a well muscled guy to wear a shirt three sizes too small and talk about how he’s been taking it easy with his mixed martial arts training, but that he’s really missing it. Sure, that approach might work – but what if that same guy instead talked about the color of her mandarin cosmo, and how mandarin cosmos always remind him of Pablo Neruda who once said of a Hundred Years in Solitude, “Not to read it is the same as never having tasted an orange”?
I’m not saying weightlifters need to go out and start reading Chilean poetry. This is all about efficiency and percentages, so maybe they should just memorize that one line. If you connect on a big play the ensuing momentum is going to carry you far even in a hostile environment, such as a group of women who are suspicious of a linebacker quoting Neruda and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Sometimes, though, you just have to go for that onsides kick, if I may use a rough metaphor.
One area you should be careful with in terms of going against tendencies is your preference for women. I say this only because we are generally attracted to attractive women and if you decide to go against that tendency you might succeed.
Analyzing your preferences in females, though, is key in understanding scouting the bar. The majority of men can’t expect to simply walk into an establishment, order a drink and immediately begin servicing a waiting line of women desirious of fellatiocious interaction. That’s just not how it works for guys like you. It may be painful to hear, but you have to fight through that pain.
Take your time to scout the physical location itself. Where are the exits? Are there multiple bars, and if so what are the male/female ratios around them? Examine the lighting and figure out if you want to go stealth or bright eyed enthusiasm. Locate heavy traffic areas and establish lanes with high percentages of casual interaction with females, then run your routes. Make sure they’re precise routes: do not deviate from, say, the edge of the dance floor where you’re talking to the DJ about a music producer you know from Milan. (Need I even mention that you don’t know a music producer from Milan? Both you and the DJ know that; the conversation is solely for the groups of women around you.) Keep it within two to four yards of these high-yield zones because there are guys out there looking to take up an inside position. Box them out. Remember that elevation is a distinct advantage: talk to her from one stair higher, stand at the bar when she’s sitting on a stool, etc. Can you make eye contact with your wingmen? If not, be sure to move to a spot where you can clearly signal. Outdoor areas are key: both men and women like to get away from the crowd and get some fresh air, so you should post friends at doors leading outside to regulate traffic flow and undesirables.
(Here’s a tip: people don’t go outside because they want fresh air. What they really want is for other people to think they want fresh air, that they’re a little tired of this whole sexual arms race. Smoking is just another way of saying, “Hey, look at me. I’m alone out here. Please come talk to me and ask me if I just wanted to ‘gather my thoughts’.” Letting rival males into the redzone that is the balcony is a sure fire way of finding yourself down before the night even begins.)
Now, I bet you’re wondering when I’m going to actually talk about scouting the women.
Fact: if you scout yourself, your tendencies, your strengths and weaknesses, your location and the location of rival men, you won’t need to scout the females in a bar. All you have to do from there is lie a lot.