“I’m almost off, thank God,” the cocktail waitress smiled. “By the way, I’m Deb.” She reached for my hand – not to receive a tip but to give it a firm squeeze.
I was recently in Vegas, comped by the Wynn (for the hours I’ve put in at their poker tables). The room was incredible, the games good, and I was in an awesome mood despite the late hour and the cocktail waitress who sloshed my coffee as she set it down. But instead of anger, I reacted in humor, and as a consequence struck up an ongoing conversation with…Deb. Was she just fawning for tips or was she really intrigued? Well, considering my tips weren’t any higher than those of the local tightwads around me, and that I caught her glancing at me from across the room more than once, I would guess the latter.
While it would be great for my ego to report that it ended up with her legs over the headboard of the bed, lit only by the lights of the Strip, that wasn’t going to happen. Being happy in my current relationship as well as with the game at hand, I wasn’t about to test it further, despite the visions of Swingers running through my head.
Same with the flight home, where the exotic Filipina beauty in the next seat (sometimes you just get lucky) apparently couldn’t sleep on a plane. Wait, that sounds bad. I mean, she really wanted to talk. About me, about her home country, about how I should take a trip there sometime, and about how she would love to show me around. She asked for my card as we disembarked, and I was happy to give her one based on the principle that women don’t call, even when they seem interested. (And she hasn’t.)
The point here is not that I’m somehow irresistibly handsome. (I’m not.) It’s that deeply ingrained good habits and confidence can help you everywhere.
Always be ready to meet someone – and not just women. Even though I’m in a relationship, I can’t and won’t stop smiling, joking and meeting people. And a guy who’s the center of attention and having a good time is attractive to women. Poker has an advantage in that it’s a social game: you’re usually sitting for a significant amount of time with several other guys, kidding with them, trying to get information about their play. And of course, being congruent means bantering with the dealer and even the cocktail waitresses. I get great service (usually) and nice strong drinks…when I drink. That’s all I’m looking for, but after that initial connection is made escalation is possible.
Don’t be the “needy dog.” The plane presented a different circumstance: close quarters. Some people deal with it by sleeping or relaxing with music (usually me) or by occupying their attention with conversation. My neighbor on the plane clearly preferred the latter. Oddly, she chose me rather than her niece in the aisle seat. Perhaps it was due to my kidding when we were about to take off – she’d never sat in the bulkhead row before, and I teased her about getting in trouble for keeping her purse on the floor. At a couple of points I put in my earphones, and while she didn’t disturb me until I removed them, when I did she was always even more talkative than the time before, feeding off the fact that I was practically trying to ignore her – attractive women aren’t used to that.
Teasing isn’t mean – if you do it right. In both of the above examples I really opened the conversation with some good-natured teasing. It’s just something I do kind of automatically. But there is always the risk that the other person will be offended rather than amused. If this is the case, you’ll then have to settle down and take her side. In the case of my waitress, it went like this:
(She sloshes my coffee – a few drops hit the table in front of me)
Me: “You’re trying to mark my cards, aren’t you? Which one of these guys paid you to do that?”
Her: “I’m so sorry. I’m just a little tired right now.”
Me: “I saw you here this afternoon too, didn’t I?”
Me: “Are they making you pull a double shift?”
Her: “No, I’m covering for someone tonight.”
Treat everyone as if they can help you – because often they can. After a while at the poker table, a seat opened up and an older gentleman moved from another table. When I say “gentleman,” it’s in the loosest possible sense of the word: his first words were “Where the hell’s the floor (management personnel)? They need to clean this shit up, it’s disgusting.” He pointed at a side table with a couple of old glasses and napkins on it. He then proceeded to give the dealer the evil eye every time he lost a hand, and demanded a new “setup,” consisting of two brand new decks of cards, which take about 10 minutes to inspect and shuffle. I have never seen anyone with that attitude win much at the poker table. If he’s not winning and not having fun, what kind of life is that?
If you’ve read some of my other stuff, you’ll realize I prefer to enjoy what I’m doing. If I’m playing badly and not enjoying myself I’ll go do something else. Life is just too short.
But meanwhile I’m getting great service from “my” waitress, floor helped me out with a buffet VIP line pass, and my tablemates are giving me their money with a smile (most of the time). On the plane I got an extra cookie my neighbor didn’t want, plus (if I had chosen to take it) a tour guide for the Philippines.
That’s my life in a nutshell. I don’t have to be on vacation to take advantage of what a positive attitude and self-confidence can bring. (Ask me about my credit card rates.)
Suggested reading: Unstoppable Confidence by Kent Sayre.