Courtship is perhaps the oldest and most universal form of interaction between two individuals. It can be romantic, mysterious, exciting, depressing, cute, tragic.
But before that, let’s just put this out there: cash, power, respect, position, influence, the way we dress, the car we drive, the size of our house, where we live, what food we eat, who are friends are, who our enemies are, our social influence, the hairstyle, heck, even the sneakers on our feet—all are figurative peacock feathers for the modern man.
Now, whether his idea of “courtship” is a one-night stand, finding a girlfriend or even a lifelong commitment, one thing is clear: It takes two to tango—and somebody’s got to make the first move.
This declaration of intent and courtship is traditionally initiated by the man. But should a woman wish to make her intentions known, I myself would applaud her! We love the attention, and making the first move on a guy is sheer flattery for us.
Unfortunately there is no formula, potion, magic spell, technique or advice that will guarantee that you will land that romantic relationship you so desperately crave. Romance and love are as unpredictable as the weather.
However, there are some “moves” that have resulted in success in varying degrees. I present to you what I can only describe as The List-yours to use, misuse and abuse.
The “Drink.” Buy a guy a drink, make some chitchat.
The “Corndog.” Usually cheesy one-liners, female pick-up lines. Use with caution, though, and a subtle sense of humor; otherwise, it could be a cringe-worthy failure.
The “Lonely Girl.” Dress up, deck out and heel up. Look hot and tantalizingly bored. Hope that the guy whose attention you want will notice.
The “Let’s Get Out of Here.” You’ve had a conversation, you like him and additional chitchat is just wasting precious time. Time to go—now.
The “Crotch Grab.” Direct, to the point, and you better be his type.
The “Holding Hands.” Reach over and intertwine your fingers. Requires a degree of confidence that the guy will reciprocate. When in doubt, see the “Pinky.”
The “Scary Movie.” Okay, the movie isn’t actually scaring you, but it’s an excuse to sneak a hug and snuggle close.
The “Frenchie.” You lean in most of the way for a kiss, and hopefully he closes the deal. If he doesn’t, see the “Tongue Rape.”
The “Tongue Rape.” Forget waiting for him to kiss you. Try doing it yourself. Desperate, but hopefully it turns into a passionate “Frenchie.” If you still don’t get a reaction, see the “All or Nothing.”
The “Invite.” Ask him into your home.
The “Footsie.” So very high school, but effective. Have an innocent conversation above the table, play footsies under.
The “Movie Scene.” A move that is never used on its own, but as an effective follow-up to a good laugh together, a slow dance or another move. Put both arms on his shoulders so your hands touch behind his neck. Move in close, so your hips, stomach and breast are pressed against his hips, stomach and chest. Combo with the “Smile” and/or the “Bedazzle” and hope he initiates a kiss. If he’s dense, take the initiative and activate the “Frenchie.” Do not allow it to become an awkward moment, or all hope is lost!
The “Pinky.” A variation of the “Holding Hands.” Slowly nudge your pinky over until it makes contact with his hand. If he doesn’t pull back, continue to wrap your pinky around his pinky. If successful, see the “Holding Hands.”
The “Beso.” Kiss him on the cheek so close to the lips that the edge of your lips and his almost, nearly, so very closely touch. Also see The “Sniffer,” and alternatively, The “Earlobe.”
The “Slap.” Just that, slap him, for no reason. No explanation. No apology. Wait for him to run after you mad as hell, asking, “What was that for?” Follow up with the “Tongue Rape,” continue with the “Let’s Get Out of Here.”
The “Franking Spot.” Simple. Say it straight. “I like you.” Be frank—put him on the spot.
The “Where Is This Going?.” If you are already intimate with the guy, but want a more romantic relationship, preferably with title such as dating, girlfriend, wife—you could, if your patience is running thin, ask, “Where is this going?” A word of warning: this phrase is notorious for making grown men cower in fear. So, use carefully.
The “Bedazzle.” Some women have all they need in their beautiful and enticing eyes; some need mascara. But if you believe you can seduce a man by just looking into his eyes, bat those eyelashes; the “Bedazzle” is for you.
The “Smile.” A variation of the “Bedazzle,” and indeed used quite often with it. Banish his apprehension with your pearly whites.
The “Have We Met Before?” You haven’t. But used with the “Smile,” this can disarm the man and open him up like a can of tuna. Voila! A conversation is born.
The “I’ll Drive You Home.” You have a car, he needs a ride. You have exactly the entire car ride to get him to invite you in. Or if your place is on the way, use the “Reverse Damsel in Distress.”
The “Boob Rub.” As you are passing through, intentionally let one or both of your breasts slide across his arm/back/chest/etc. Make sure not to make eye contact. Walk away nonchalantly. Will him in your mind to follow and ask for your name. On a side note, if you are not blessed with the equipment to use this technique, take heart in the fact that only 25 percent of all men actually like big breasts. Try some other move.
The “Martin Luther King.” Great for calling someone when you really have no reason to call them at all. Start your conversation with, “I had a dream about you…” Never go into detail (because you didn’t actually have the dream, anyway) but keep it vague, yet interesting. Suggest, and only suggest, that the dream was intimate.
The “One Night Only.” The backdoor to romantic relationships. Have a one-night stand with the guy. Successfully convert to friends with benefits. And at the right time, use the “Where Is This Going?” Hopefully, that should lead to your living happily ever after.
The “Damsel in Distress.” Make up a story. Call him. Act distressed. (Of course this works better if you actually have a real emergency.) Get him to come to you and help you out. Show him your appreciation. May I suggest Flat Tire, No Ride, Bad Dream, Homework or a Family Tragedy? (Shameful! But it works.)
The “Lifeguard.” You notice that some other girl is making the moves on the guy. He looks scared. You swoop in and declare yourself to be his whatever and save the day/night for him. Solidify the illusion with the “Movie Scene.”
The “Suggestive Text.” Perhaps the most useful in the first move arsenal. Loaded text messages should be both innocent and suggestive. If the guy picks up on the suggestiveness and responds with an equally suggestive but subtle message, the game is on. On the other hand, if you don’t get the response you want, you can always pretend it was an ordinary text, right?
The “Zip-Code.” Perfect for when you already have a strong friendship with your victim. Fix your hair, put on some perfume. Find a dress with a back zipper low enough to provide a little peek of your butt’s cleavage. Ask him to zip you up, or unzip you.
The “Drunk Kiss.” Drink a little, pretend to be very drunk, make your move. Slightly more complicated versions include the “Drunk Dial,” “Drunk Text,” “Drunk Tweet.”
The “Sniffer.” A “Beso” that lingers while you sniff at his neck, hoping he’ll do the same.
The “Earlobe.” Looks like The “Beso,” except you nibble on his ear. Both obvious in intention, but discreet. You know it. He knows it. Best followed up with the “Let’s Get Out of Here.”
The “Kiss-stick.” Touch up your lipstick. Use the “Beso.” Be sure to leave a noticeable lipstick mark. Apologize for leaving a mark. Lick your thumb, seductively, and wipe the mark away-with your face close to his. A perfect primer for the “Frenchie.”
The “Tryathalon.” When a girl will try anything. Includes “Kissing Another Girl,” “Raunchy Dancing,” “Streaking,” “Flashing,” and other moves where all inhibition and self-respect are thrown out the window. Though some guys do like this kind of thing, I guarantee that this does not lead to an emotional connection. But if you insist, use the “Tryathalon” in combination with the “One Night Only,” and many months later, perhaps the “Where Is This Going?” Good luck.
The “All or Nothing.” Nothing works. You’ve made yourself crystal-clear. Now walk away, and tell him over your shoulder, “You don’t know what you’re missing.” If it still doesn’t work, at least you parted on your terms.
Finally, the best and most closely-guarded secret in romantic first moves, often understated, never overused. There is someone out there who’s perfect for you, your soul mate, the love of your life. But sometimes, to find that one, you might have to go through a few rotten tomatoes, and play a few games. And if things don’t work out, remember that it’s not the end of the world. So wipe away your tears, take a deep breath, and if you’re tired of the games and trying to be someone else, then you’re ready for…
The “Just Be Yourself.”
I wish you your own happily ever after.
Reprinted from Look Magazine, available at newsstands and Inquirer digital edition for iPad.