HELP ME LEVENSON!!!! HOW DO I TALK TO GIRLS!?!??!??????!!!!!!?!?!?!!?!?!?  – Bo, Buffalo, New York

Dear Bo,

Talking to girls is the hardest part. Luckily, they only really want you to talk to them for the first month or so. After that, your job is just to listen. Very, very carefully.

I see girls everywhere that I wanna talk to. Just some talkin', you know?  Just to discover some stuff. Where they're from, how they got here, and whether they'd like an all-inclusive three-day weekend in Orlando. Also, I'm curious if they'll eventually disregard common sense and have sex with me.

Since the answer is almost always “no,” I've come to respect women as a superior source of reason, and The Price is Right as an inferior source of vacation ideas. 

Truth is, I can't believe how hard it is to talk to girls. Still! In my thirties! And Bo, I've accomplished some challenging, complex things in my life. For example, I've taken out the recycling. Bought the clear bags and everything. Tied it up so the cans didn't spill out everywhere when the wind blew, rolling downhill and picking up speed before leg-sweeping a toddler. Like I said, that didn't happen last Tuesday, and I certainly didn't lie to my landlord and blame it on the blind guy upstairs. Because I'm diligent! Capable! Meeting the challenges! (The kid's fine. Just stitches. I think 20 or so.) But girls? You can't just put them in a bag and throw 'em down the stairs. It's more complicated.

I know what you're thinking: “That's not what Mel Gibson says.” Well, Mel Gibson hates Jews, and that's only attractive in Europe and most of everywhere. For the rest of us, it's time to grow up and do something annoying. I'm talking about talking. Let's talk about it. I'll talk first.

Breaking the ice: More than most of the time, I quietly tell a girl that I like her shoes. Quietly because I don't want to seem creepy, and shoes because pants would imply I'm thinking of her vagina and anus area, which I am.

Sharing: Once a rapport has been established, it's nice to open up and offer some details about yourself. What are you into? What do you do? What's in your heart? If you're like me, the answer to all three is “nothing,” and you can use the remaining silence to explain that you're not crying. Explain it a few times though, so she really believes you. You should probably ask her a couple times if she believes you. 

Be engaged: Don't do all the talking! Girls love to talk, so it must've really sucked for Helen Keller. Point is, unless you're hitting on a deaf mute, ask some questions. And if you're hitting on a deaf mute: Dude. Shit. Jesus.

Wrapping it up: Be smart. Gauge your surroundings and seek a situation with a natural endpoint. An intercontinental flight is good — but try not to begin a conversation in a perpetual meta loop of infinity, like the line at Duane Reade. If you see a pretty girl waiting there, there's no point anyway, as she'll be dead soon.  

Well, I think those are the important points. There is one circumstance you should be prepared for, and that's the overwhelming likelihood that the object of your desire will refuse to talk to you at all. Pay attention to the signs: The donning of headphones, the sudden placement of a cell phone to her ear or a series of big, dramatic, sighing yawns. If any of that stuff happens, I like to play it cool by faking a seizure.  (It's easier than you think, particularly if you've ever tried acting or cocaine.)  


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