I consider myself a great observer of people. I fascinate myself endlessly by creating stories for the people I see. That dude over there, sitting and feeding the pigeons, he's a retired Navy officer who just lost a game of Battleship. That woman wearing a black turtleneck works as an internet executive. Her twelve year old daughter loves soccer but, I'm afraid, is not very good, and that annoys her competitive mother. That middle age couple sitting in the window of the coffee shop just started dating. How do I know? Because only newly-dating couples want to see each other under so much light. Years ago I started to incorporate my imagination into my dating lifestyle. Sitting at dinner I would find some interesting people and point them out to my date. "I wonder what the story is with them. Whadya think?"
Together we would come up with our ideas for them. Sometimes we would agree and sometimes not. Sometimes our stories would become outlandish and sometimes ordinary. But here's the kicker. Once we had our ideas, one of us would have to walk over and find out the true story.
This always felt dangerous. "Excuse me sir, my date over there and I were just wondering... see you look interesting to us and we were trying to figure out exactly what you and your lovely companion here are all about. Because we have our own ideas, and curiosity being what it is, we had to ask. Don't feel you have to answer. It may be none of our business. But what's your story?
Approaching people in a humble but direct way like this almost always works well. I met some fun characters doing this and I have yet to meet a woman who is not impressed by a guy who has the courage to approach strangers at dinner. Its exciting. It's fun. It's kinda sexy.
Too many guys, in the community and elsewhere, think of dinner dates as antiquated. Somehow they associate them with supplication or 'interview' dates. I think this thinking is mistaken. Think of dinner not as dinner but as dinner-theatre. The table is a stage and you and your date are the principle dancers. Dinner is an opportunity to create a shared experience in a safe environment, and demonstrate your social skills, with the staff and other random... victims, ahem. And let's face it, eating is as close to sex your likely to get in public. No pickle jokes please. And after dinner comes desert - ice cream floating in Claret at your place.
Now as to what to talk about at dinner and how to discover your bad-*ss conversationalist that is lurking just under the surface of your skin, ready to break out and devour the hotties, sign up for a Conversation Camp with me, your host, Wayne Elise. We just put up a few new cities: Ann Arbor and San Francisco among them, which coincidentally are great restaurant cities. Bon Appetite!