The Terribleminds Guide To Hitting On The Ladies

“Hey, Chuck,” you ask. “I’d like to ask, how do I hit on the ladies?


Let’s rewind a bit.

I went to the grocery store as I am wont to do on a Tuesday. I go to the store, frequently when I am hungry which means I come home with 37 bags of marshmallows, an entire butchered kangaroo, a half-keg of chocolate syrup, a backpack full of Ranch dressing, and a mysterious out-of-date jar of pickled wolf gonads. It’s common now I go to the store and I see some of the same faces — people who are on the same weekly circuit that I am, I guess.

Well, one of these is a young woman… I dunno, early 20s?

So, she’s looking at cold drinks, juices, that sort of thing.

And there’s a tall reedy dude there in a tight-white t-shirt and he’s helping — “helping?” — her choose something from the case, and at first I think he’s a boyfriend but it becomes apparent that he’s not when I realize he’s hitting on her. Asking for her name, sidling up close, kind of using that soft smooth jazz voice that some dudes use, like, “Oh, I’m totally non-threatening, listen to the velvet tones of my buttery vocal pipes.”

The drink case isn’t super-huge so I’m not standing right there next to the two of them, but what I hear him say next is roughly this:

“I know you don’t get to look in the mirror but I want you to know you’re beautiful.”

Oh, maybe I buried the lede here?


I don’t mean that euphemistically, like, “She’s blind to his attraction,” or, “She just doesn’t get it, man,” I mean, she’s actually blind. She’s got the tappy cane and everything. People help her in the store because, well, she’s blind. Employees help. Other shoppers help. It’s all very nice.

Until Doctor Douchebro comes along and hits on her.

And that’s what he’s doing. Hitting on her.

Hitting on a blind woman.

At a grocery store.

With his smarmy come-on line designed, clearly, to hit on blind women.

She was very nice. She dealt with him and politely shut him down (not that he deserved such tender handling, nor was she obligated to “be nice” to him, I’m just telling the story as I witnessed it) and she went her way and he went his. He didn’t stalk her or double-down on creep-town. It was a brief encounter and nothing particularly unsavory came from it.

Just the same —

Gents, don’t hit on women.

I know, now you’re saying, “BUT THAT’S HOW I GET MY PENIS TOUCHED,” and maybe you think that’s true. I realize there’s a certain mode of dating advice that suggests men must show confidence and be clear and forthright with their attraction. But “confidence” is a whole lot different than “aggression,” and hitting on someone is a whole lot more like the latter than the former. Note that verb: hitting — itself the language of violence, like you’re walking up and just bashing her about the head and neck with your sexual desire, like you’re clubbing a seal.

You can be confident. Hell, just going up and talking to a stranger is an act of confidence.

Which is what you should do to people to whom you are attracted.

Talk to them. Connect with them on a human level. They’re not a socket for your plug. You’re a person. They’re a person. Go form an emotional-social tether before you go clumsily trying to bed them. I’m not saying every encounter has to end in marriage. Hey, you wanna just hook-up and find other people who just wanna hook-up, well, dang, I hope you two crazy kids find a way to slap your parts together, whatever those parts might be. Just the same, the way we find those people is by connecting. And being human. And recognizing that they’re human too. And not just treating them like prey animals who owe you a pound of flesh for your hunting efforts.

“Hitting on them” is a thing you do when you see them as a target, a victim, a receptacle for your pleasure. It’s dismissive and unpleasant and often embarrassing for all parties.

Don’t be creepy. Don’t be an asshole.

Aggression is hitting on people.

Confidence is talking to them and knowing that’s enough.

YMMV, IMHO, etc. so forth.

79 responses to “The Terribleminds Guide To Hitting On The Ladies”

  1. “I’m not saying every encounter has to end in marriage. Hey, you wanna just hook-up and find other people who just wanna hook-up, well, dang, I hope you two crazy kids find a way to slap your parts together, whatever those parts might be.”

    Thanks Chuck. My co-workers are now all giving me weird looks because I just gave myself a hernia trying to hold in my laughter. Probably looked very similar to me trying to hold a fart in or not poop myself. Too funny.

  2. “They’re not a socket for your plug.”

    THANK YOU!!! Jesus, guys have been hitting on me since I was 12 years old, and probably before that but I was too dumb to know, and it just makes me feel like they think I’m stupid coz they think I don’t know why they’re doing it.

    Interesting experience I had once. Standing on a tube station in London roundabout the first day of spring or so, so first time girls are wearing a little bit less than they were a week or so ago. Two guys go past me. First one looks down my shirt, keeps going. Literally – turned his head, looked down my cleavage, kept going. Second guy looks me over, meets my eyes, smiles sweetly, and keeps going.

    First guy is cheesy pick-up line guy – it has boobs, he’ll hit that.

    Second guy looked at me. Sure, he liked what he saw first, but he looked at ME. That’s the guy I’m going out with.

  3. I want a keyboard shortcut so I can link-back to this in response to every comments-section mouth breather who thinks treating women respectfully is “repressing a man’s natural sexuality.” You’re going to raise a good man, my friend!

  4. I’d argue that it’s good advice to all humans. Plenty of women hit on men, and the results are just a disastrous.

    • What happens in that scenario?

      I know jerks hit on decent women, but what happens when a jerk woman hits on a decent man?

      • Woman gets all flirty, sometimes touchy, and thinks the guy should like what she’s presenting because “no man can resist temptation, all men wanna mate like frantic cats thinking they’ll die tomorrow”. Guy gets uncomfortable, tries to turn her down gently, she won’t have any of that. She’s thinking, “He’s a guy, he’ll totally wanna bone me.”

        He’s thinking, “Not interested, please go away, seriously not interested, I’M JUST TRYING TO GET SOME MILK AND GO HOME.”

        Guy feels like he can’t say no outright because “rejecting a woman is basically the same as calling her ugly ’cause you’re a guy and you’re supposed to like sex as if you need a daily prescription of it. Being the good guy I am, I don’t want her to think she’s ugly!” Which is stupid because she obviously is already pretty secure in her appearance. At the same time, he’s definitely not going to “compromise”.

        Everything gets all awkward and stupid. Eventually the guy ends up practically running away as if he just saw his high school bully coming out of the next isle with a bloody chainsaw made of dragon bones and orphan tears. Woman feels insulted and entitled to his D, then leaves to complain about it to someone else later.

        It happens, and it’s pretty damn awkward. Unfortunately, I had a friend similar to the woman described in this (one out of many potential) scenario(s), and this is basically what played out as a result of her flirting.


  5. It still doesn’t make sense in my head. I mean, I get the whole don’t be an arse thing, but if I approach an attractive woman and the only reason I can think of for doing so is that she looked attractive from the other side of the room… isn’t that already slightly creepy? However polite I am, however gracefully I accept rejection, however long-term my hopes for affection are, she knows I approached her with an intention based entirely on her appearance.
    Did I miss something?

    • I mean, you know, that’s getting into a bigger discussion of who we are and what attracts us — generally speaking, we’re frequently attracted to people in a physical way first, and while that’s maybe not the most important component of our relationships it’s still *a* component. I mean, we want to be attracted to people on every level. And so I don’t think appearance as the initial driver is creepy as long as you don’t, well, MAKE IT creepy. The goal is to find out, I think, if there’s more there than just that initial solar flare of sexual attraction between two people (or if it’s even *shared* between two people).

      Though, again, YMMV IMHO.

      – c.

    • No, I don’t think it’s creepy that you’re attracted to someone. It’s creepy when you don’t give a damn who that person is and you treat all the people you’re attracted to exactly the same way – as sex objects, things to rub off to. You might as well be speaking to a blow-up doll, and I was never flattered by that comparison.

    • It is totally fine to approach a woman who you find attractive *because* you find her attractive. Shocking as it may sound, ladies do the same thing with their partners of choice. That said, you need to approach her as a person with interests and characteristics beyond the somewhat slim chance that she might just trip and accidentally fall onto your penis. If you do that, you may well find the vagina you are looking for. If you act like douchebro above, you are essentially doing the social equivalent of making chump noises and gesticulating wildly, which everyone knows is closely followed by poo flinging. Not attractive on anyone.

  6. It’s sort of like the difference in how people handle social media.


    What do YOU think? What are YOU interested in? How can I help YOU?

  7. It’s awful in the real world. It sucks on Facebook. Now I’m getting the same thing on Goodreads. GOODREADS! Yes, loverboy101, we have a love of books in common, and that’s ALL! (Plus, if you want to romance me, at least read my shit first. Sheesh.)

  8. Hahaha! Well said. Funny how many really don’t get the difference between being pushy and obnoxious (even creepy) and simply being human. It must work sometimes, though, or these guys wouldn’t do it. The principles of operant conditioning show that the rat stops pressing that lever if the machine stops dispensing treats. But sporadic and unpredictable rewards will strengthen the behavior and make it much more resistant to extinction.

    So these guys must get laid at least occasionally. This is a truly scary thought, but it explains why douchebag DNA persists in the human population.

    • “So these guys must get laid at least occasionally”

      I once knew a guy who swore by the technique of telling a woman “Honey, I’m a man of few words. Let’s fuck.” He claimed that 99 out of 100 women would slap his face or walk away. But that 100th, he claimed, made it all worth it.

      He was full of shit in a lot of other ways, too.

    • “So these guys must get laid at least occasionally. ”

      Nah. I don’t think so. Not only are they desperate, they’re unsuccessful, too. Women are hip to them. Guys who act like this only shout their douchebaggery to the world, not just the woman they’re trying to hit on. Chuck’s supermarket experience is a prime example of that. He, not just she, was all too aware of the guy’s venality, stupidity, and general creepiness. Guys like this embarrass other guys. Nice, decent guys. We just want to shove a 6-foot bar of lye soap down these douchbro throats.

    • I agree with the others, it’s unlikely they get laid. They don’t use that technique because it works sometimes, they use it because it genuinely doesn’t occur to them that there’s any other way to talk to a woman. They’re just desperate for sex and taking all their dating advice from sitcom characters.

  9. OMG you spelled lede right in the context used. I might have to start stalking you.

    Ha! Just kidding, I already do.

    Kidding! (Or am I?) 🙂

    No, seriously, you get a cookie for not interfering, because I would have been in douchetard’s space edging him out and away from her and flashing wtf signs at him. (Then again, asshattery of his kind is something I can rarely let go unchallenged.) At least he didn’t amp up the asshattery when she shut him down.

  10. My relationship started with a look, drinks sent to each other and a conversation which started something like this – Him, “Why do your friends think I look 40 years old?” Me, “Maybe it’s your receding hairline.” AND he STILL wanted my number. At least he knew what he was getting into. We have been married for nine wonderful years…first date heavily influenced by Bushmills.

    • I met my beloved at a Mcdonalds I was working at. Poor thing, 22 years old and almost completely bald. He had a full beard (which iwas red as hell) and was wearing sunglasses inside. After I was off work I just went and sat at his booth and asked why on earth he was wearing the shades. He said he was people watching and didn’t want them to know. We started talking about the people who had been there that day and we’ve been together ever since.

  11. Nice thing about getting older is that it doesn’t happen any more. Or not very often. Feels so much better to be able to leave the house knowing I won’t be harassed. Age is liberating, contrary to what They want you to think.

    • So true. It’s been years since I’ve had to worry about being the target of this sort of thing. It’s not that there aren’t plenty of middle-aged male asshats. They’re just all hitting on the women young enough to be their daughters now.

    • I agree! When it does happen now, I’m so surprised, I get all — “Um … are you kidding? Must I really explain how awkward you’re being, because … sorry … no time. Bye.”

  12. Even since being married, with two obvious blingtastic rings, I still get hit on by creepers.

    The latest one went like this:

    Me: “I’m married and not interested, dude. Don’t even try” (disgusted look on face)

    Creeper: “Well, that doesn’t bother me. Don’t worry about it”

    Me: “What doesn’t bother you, that I’m married or that I am not interested?”

    Creeper: “Both.”

    Me: “I hope you know how rapey you sound.”

    Creeper: “Uhh…I’ve gotta go”

    Great article!

  13. While ringing his groceries a man began a lively discussion with 16-year-old-me about whether my drapes matched the carpet. While I stood motionless, internally seeking a witty come-back beyond “fuck you”, the woman behind him in line piped up with “no way, I’m a hairdresser and I can tell that’s not a natural red.”

    Both of these people were in their late 40s/early 50s speaking to a relative child about the color of her pubic hair in the check-out line.

    Now, as to “I can be your mirror guy”. He saw a girl and managed to decide that blindness equated to pant-melting-gratitude over a banal compliment. What an inflated sense of self-worth his mommy gave him.

    I’m always awed by those that respond with grace; I probably would have hit him with my cane.

  14. Once I was grocery shopping, while pregnant, and a charming fella in a tight grey shirt asked me if I wanted to go have a beer with him.

  15. Oi! There’s nothing worse than someone trying every pick-up line there is on this planet when you’re out on your usual grocery hunt… eerr, shop. I’m not out to perv on people and hopefully pick up anyone on the way through picking up eggs, tea and coffee and milk, so why would somebody try to make this kind of thing harder for us all by making a shopping centre a place to pick-up somebody?

    And the worse place I’ve had some idiot try to pick me up in? Well, there’s two: a bookstore and a music store. Both times, the guy didn’t know I new more than they did about music and the guy also thought I was much young than I really am (I’m going on 40 and I look like I’m in my early 30’s… pretty cool sometimes but doesn’t always play in my favour).

  16. I concur, doctor. We’re all just trying to get on about our days with the least amount of social discomfort and annoyance that we can and I’ll be damned if I add any to anyone’s day.

  17. I think it’s also context. Saturday night in a bar, you might be expecting to be flirted with. What is it with the supermarkets, man? Are these guys just hanging out there all day to try and find ladies? I’ll share my two supermarket hitting on stories here:

    1. Dude chilling outside FoodMaxx, to me: “Hey, girl.”
    Me, deadpan: “Hey.”
    Dude: “You gotta boyfriend?”
    Me, deadpan: “Yes.”
    Dude: “Want another?”
    (gotta admit, that one made me laugh, and he was good-natured when I shook my head and walked away)

    2. Dude chilling in Safeway with his small child: “Hey, girl. *various awkward pick up lines, with smooth velvety tones etc.*
    Me, annoyed, hungry, wanting to buy dinner: “I’m engaged.”
    Dude turns around and leads his kid away without saying goodbye. Learned he wasn’t going to be getting into my vagina, and off he goes to the milk aisle, probably in search of another girl who possesses some lady parts.

    But seriously, it’s always the supermarkets, at least in the US. Never been hit on in a supermarket in the UK.

  18. Screw YMMV! This should be law!!

    Hitting on me is probably the sure fire way to ruin any chance of me wanting to be near you, let alone sleep with you, so GAH just QUIT IT.

    Why can’t every guy get this easy to understand concept of this post?

  19. After every creepy encounter where I’m asked, “You got a boyfriend?” I just wonder…does that shit work for anyone?! Don’t hit on me. I know nothing about you. I’m never going to stumble into bed with someone who can’t carry on a conversation with me about something that isn’t related to sexual desire. I really wish more people understood how aggressive hitting on someone is. You rock for understanding this Chuck.

  20. All that said – and Oh do I agree with both the article and commenters! – I will also say it can be nice to receive a random compliment that comes in the form of a pickup line. So, when some older guy came up to me in the grocery store the other day and gave me a “it must be hard to be so beautiful, I noticed you from across the store” standard cheesoid line — and then smiled and WALKED AWAY — that was actually sorta cute and made my day.

    Unlike the guy who hit on me a few weeks ago in the beer aisle (“I am buying this beer for my husband” didn’t even slow him down), and who I subsequently ran into in the checkout line with his wife and three kids. Yoicks.

  21. Wanna know the worst part of this? When I got to his ‘line,’ I had been braced for impact, and then I thought, “Oh, well that wasn’t that bad.” I expected Dudebro’s supermarket fuckery to be so, so much worse…and that itself is the worst part.

  22. 2 days ago I was selling at a local flea market with my dad. The booth next to us was being ran by some 20 something guy by himself and he didn’t make a single sell all day. Not because he was a bad salesman (Ok he wasn’t very good) but because he was too busy trying to make eye contact with me. Which was hilarious, because I’m OBVIOUSLY pregnant. When my dad left to bring my step mom to work, the guy instantly came over to the booth and started talking to me. Just casual stuff, but shit, I was busy trying to sell shit to stingy fucks. I didn’t have time for his suave talk about playing Skyrim, and what other games I should try. I finally told him I had literally just sold my gaming console. Even when I was texting my fiance about my profits, this guy persisted. However, I laughed the second my dad got back, because the guy bought a pocket knife and went back to his booth.

  23. I guess I never really knew how to hit on a lady until now. I always thought that the point was to get a date, not sex. Then again I have been married for 13 years so I do not really get to practice this skill I apparently never had any more.

  24. I don’t know, I mean what’s wrong with a cheesy pick up line now and again. He wasn’t being overly creepy either. Was it because she was blind and the line could have been demeaning or sensitive? Eh we’re all to sensitive these days.
    Now if he had continued on after she turned him away then yes I see your point. Hell maybe he made her day!
    Sometimes cheesy pick up lines make you laugh or smile because it is nice to be noticed for looks. We all have our moments of wanting to look good purely on a physical level.
    Don’t go over board as some of the earlier comments have mentioned but the example you used was poor imho to go along with your point.

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