Talking (& listening) to women
My name is not Steve
Look it’s not a pretentious thing, it’s brevity. If I’m in a coffee shop and I’m asked my name, I hesitate.
Do I tell the truth?
Do I say ‘Alden’ and watch the poor barista’s brain grind to a halt and witness the sharpie pause that precedes their attempt at spelling a simple old English name with just 5 phonetically basic letters? And especially BEFORE I’ve had my coffee?
I say Steve.
It’s just easier. And I’ve been doing it for years.
and btw, I like Steve. In fact, I like a lot of Steves.
I know what you’re thinking,
“You? You don’t have a problem talking to women..”
And mostly you’re right. I don’t.
It’s just that I haven’t been.
“What, talking to women?”
I mean, no. I haven’t.
“Since how long?”
Well, probably since I started saying my name was Steve at coffee shops.
“You’re not serious?”
I think I am.
“But you love talking to people — especially strangers.”
I know. .
I guess I. .
felt so transitional for so long that I slipped into a really bad habit without realizing it.
“And what habit was that?”
“Really? To where”
1996’s Swingers has so many great lines it’s hard to pick out just one. But how many people — dames and daddy-o’s— didn’t love Vince Vaughn’s truthful advice to Mikey when he admits he’s “been out of the game for so long, man.”
“Look, I know it’s hard I’ve been there, I mean not six years but talking about it all the time is depressing man..”
But the movie’s only 90 minutes, so we know Mikey will figure something out by the end right?
Not so lucky.
According to the math, I date about every 6–7 years. Now mind you a few of them have been straight up hot and they’ve all been cute and some more ‘maternal’ so no regrets but. . .
It’s a numbers game.
And as a former car salesman who should know that?
If you’re following you may know I’m working on a book. Actually I’ve finished a book.
It’s been a little bit of drama to get it through the hoops of the self-publishing world but right this minute? It’s IN PRINT.
How good does that feel? I can’t explain it that’s how good.
So what does that have to do with talking to women?
A new-ish friend who’s also finishing up a book sent me an encouraging article recently — she likes physical letters, actually thank you notes is what her book is about. The article was about a traveling road-trippy guy with a youtube show about life on the road and she thought I’d be interested in his story.
And I was.
But on the back of the article, it might have been from Rolling Stone, was a sidebar of self-help advice, the type I typically wouldn’t read, but it was sitting on my tiny kitchen table for about a week.
It was something about patterns and habits and starting new habits or breaking old patterns. It was alleging that a new habit could be started in 21 days, or a pattern broken, and if you really wanted a change, do it for 90.
Look if anyone loves over-thinking patterns and life trends it’s me. Probably to my detrimate at times.
But hey I’ll usually try anything new — even if I’ve tried it before and so I thought:
“I’m in Nashville now, I have a Costco card, I bought a plant, maybe it’s time for a new habit.”
But what habit?
I’d already started to get in a better saving habit, and a focus-on-immediate-goals type of habit so no, those were both out.
Maybe, but I bought a pull-up bar and already’d been riding my bike more so nope.
I have a good start of friends here in Nashville, but I travel and my home group is on a break for the summer so I thought sure — maybe I need a better habit to meet people in a new town.
What if I just slowed down I thought, like just in general, slowed down and allowed conversations to happen — even if it was just at the coffee shop, or Kroger’s.
So I did.
I set an alert on my phone and it repeats every day at 8 am:
“Slow down Alden/ talk to people / Listen to women.”
Why did I add the women part?
I don’t know.
Figured it couldn’t hurt.
I started at my coffee shop. I started by answering truthfully when they asked my name.
They laughed when I told them the story of Steve.
Correction, Allison laughed.
See, I already met a new person.
She’s also a CA transplant, from San Diego.
Then I met Josh.
And a few others.
And I’ve been out on a date.
And I met a random woman on one of my work road trips. Tall. Red dress. Bright red lipstick. Beautiful actually.
And wicked smaat.
I just got back from another trip, walked in to my coffee shop and was welcomed with—
“Hi Alden, Americano?”
Yes Allison. That would be great.
Only 72 more days to go but I think this habit will stick.