A Father’s Journal: Low-impact advice about ‘high-value targets’
My teenage nephew and I were driving for about 20 minutes on the way up to Bethel when it happened. Something I was convinced would never happen. But it did. Someone asked me a question about girls. Someone trusted me enough to seek my counsel about women. Quite a big deal.
I tried to downplay my excitement. My nephew asked me a direct question on how he should approach this girl he was interested in. I had no idea, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I needed to ask him a few questions before I could give him advice. The first question I asked was, “Does she speak English?”
“Yes, she’s in my English class at school.” he said.
“That’s all I need to know.” I replied, easing comfortably into our new Sensei-Grasshopper role.
Since we had nothing but time on our trip, I suggested we rehearse some different scenarios. I assumed a Mrs. Doubtfire falsetto voice and played the role of the girl. After a very short time, Grasshopper got fed up. “Stop it. This is creepy.”
“Why is it is creepy?” (I asked in a falsetto voice.) To be driving with your uncle while he is pretending to be a 16-year-old girl in your English class? ... Oh, okay, I can see where it may be a little creepy (switching back to my normal voice). “It’s probably creepy on several levels.”
When I returned home that evening, I told my wife about how people were now turning to me for advice about women (there was a guy at work who asked me whether or not he should get married about five years ago).
My wife, Laura, was shocked. “You gave him advice on women? Really? You?”
I defended myself. I said that I did pretty well. Then I waited a beat, so that she would recall that I successfully wooed her and therefore was wildly successful with a high-value target. She didn’t bite, so I had to explain it to her. She didn’t much like being referred to as a target, but she did like the “high value” part.
She then said, “I did most of the heavy lifting getting this relationship going. You didn’t have a lot of game. Remember the two girls you and Bill met at the bar? That’s what I saved you from.”
I now regretted telling the story about when Bill and I saw these two women enter the bar we were at in our California bachelor days. They were gorgeous. One was tall for me, and the other was shorter for Bill. It was Destiny. We practically ran over to them when we saw them. They agreed to dance with us and then we found a tall cocktail table to stand around, and started talking. It was loud in the bar but we could still talk. I had my “A + + + + Game” going. My “date” was tall, gorgeous and laughed at every witty line I had. I was on fire. I was going to suggest we go register for our china tableware for eight because I had found my soulmate. She was a definitely a high-value target. After a while, Bill came back to the table with his date and said, “Did you know the girls are cousins, and your date lives in Mexico?”
I turned to her and asked, “Wow, you live in Mexico. What’s that like?”
She answered “Como?”
She obviously didn’t hear me. The music was really loud. I repeated myself, this time shouting, “What’s it like to live in Mexico?
She smiled at me and said, “No, English?”
I really had my best stuff that night. Sure, maybe in retrospect, I could have let her talk once. But I really had my best stuff that night.
The day after our trip up to Bethel, I called my nephew (Grasshopper) to ask him how things went with the girl in his English class. He said that he had briefly talked to her, using my suggested ice-breaker line, but it was “horribly awkward, embarrassing and uncomfortable.”
That sounds about right.
Thomas Lawlor lives in Southport with his wife and two daughters. His column appears every other Friday. He can be reached by email at Tlawlor@mcommunications.com.