I’ve got this friend who thinks of himself as a pick-up artist. No matter
how you slice it, it’s amazing to watch.
Wherever we go, he engages the prettiest women around us. And just for the record, he’s not super-attractive. He’s
short and has a big nose. So don’t think for a minute he’s getting over because of his good looks. That’s
not what’s at play here.
Simply put: He tests women—waitresses, hostesses, women sitting innocently nearby. No one is immune. When one of his
test questions backfires on him, he isn’t deterred. “It’s just added information I use to refine my approach,”
One evening, we are in a fancy restaurant in midtown Manhattan. The waitress comes over and welcomes us. My friend turns
and asks, “Have you ever met anyone as handsome as me with such a big nose? How handsome do you think I am?”
She doesn’t respond; he switches it up. “Let me guess,” he says. “You are Lebanese and French and
you only date Jewish men?”
I try to rescue her. “Ignore him. He’s an idiot.”
That gets a smile from the waitress, so he alters his approach again. “Don’t you think it’s rude of my
mom to call me an idiot?”
Now I feel compelled to explain to the waitress that I’m not his mother, that I’m clearly younger than he is…
“Don’t believe a word my mother says. Can’t you see we share the same pointy chin?” he asks.
She chuckles. He sees an opening, or he just goes with a hunch. “I love Lebanese women,” he says, “but
I feel bad that you are falling for such an ugly guy like me.”
She says he doesn’t have to worry about that happening, but what actually transpires that evening is a very different
story. By the end of the meal, he has coaxed her into talking about her dreams of being an actress, her overbearing Lebanese
mother, her dating sagas and her weekend plans. And, as promised, by the end of the meal, she has fallen for him. She thinks
I don’t see her slip him her telephone number.
My friend explains his technique in one simple sentence: “It’s all recoverable.” He explains, “Every
answer she gives, every facial expression—it is all just data. I don’t take any of it personally. I am learning
what works and what doesn’t work, and I’m constantly reinventing my approach so that I figure out what she’ll
like. Give me enough time and an available woman, and she will be mine.”
His key to success: reinvention.
Everything you say is recoverable. Every misstep needs to be taken as information to be used in crafting your next attempt.
The big nose line didn’t work. Try the mom joke. If that gets you an eye roll, promise to behave. Pay attention and
stay in the game.
Life is a series of these seemingly small reinventions. Every experience you have provides you with feedback. If you allow
it, this feedback can help you figure out how to get what you want.
Of course, the real challenge comes when you get negative feedback. You tend to take negative feedback personally and as
a reason to stop what you are doing. You respond emotionally and break down. That’s not reinvention. That’s giving
The truth is that negative feedback is the most important information you can get.
If you don’t respond emotionally to setbacks or disinterest, then you can reinvent how you approach everything, like
my friend. But you have to keep forcing a reaction, paying attention and reinventing your approach until you get what you
Go ahead, admit it. You think I have a pointy chin, but you love reading my columns.