• Thu, May 12 2011

Sex And The Sixties Girl: Meeting Men 60′s Style

“That’s a total old lady pin,” my friend John said as he walked up to me at the L.A. Farmer’s Market. “Only an octogenarian would say anything about it. And an octogenarian wouldn’t be able to see it since the writing’s so small.”

He had a point: I could barely read the words on my California State Fair pin and my eyes were inches away from it. But I’d been thinking about Helen’s idea that a pin could be a conversation piece and decided that, since I lived in New York and was from California, a pin that said something about California could incite an interesting conversation. “It’s funny you should ask why I’m wearing a pin that says California on it,” I could picture myself—or really Kate Hudson in the romantic comedy version of my life—uttering. “It just so happens I’m from California! And I actually got it the last time I was in California!”

But if it’s not visible, I reasoned, it wasn’t a conversation piece. So we returned to the store where I got it and I exchanged it for a pin that featured the New York postage stamp with the famous Love sculpture on it. I was excited by the switch—not only was that one far more youthful-seeming but it also projected exactly what I was seeking. I attached it to the top of my shirt and prepared for commentary.

Nothing happened.

Undeterred, John and I sat down for coffee at Monsieur Marcel, a French cafe in the middle of the Farmer’s Market, both of us eyeing a handsome light-skinned black guy sitting by himself and communicating through eye signals that we thought he was an ideal candidate for the pin test. Sensing our stares, the guy looked up and we both grinned at him. He smiled, nodded, and glanced away.

“Just give him a minute,” John whispered. During that minute, the guy turned around so that his back was facing us. “He’s probably just unfriendly,” John added. I nodded but then we watched the guy initiate a conversation with a girl in workout clothes who was walking by. She laughed at whatever he said to her and they kept talking.

Not wanting to let go of the dream of the conversation-inspiring pin, I turned to the waiter as he approached us to pick up our dishes. “What do you think of my pin?” I asked him.

He glanced at it and shrugged. “It’s fine,” he said. He looked more closely. “Actually, it’s kind of weird. Why does it say 8 cents?”

“It’s modeled after a stamp,” John piped in. “That’s a famous sculpture in New York.”

The waiter nodded warily and asked us if we wanted anything else. We didn’t. When we left, he came running after us and at first I thought he was going to confess that he’d reconsidered the matter and decided my pin was terrific but he was only returning the sunglasses I’d accidentally left behind.

Our next stop was the Apple Store at the Grove, where we asked a 20-something employee what he thought of the pin; he also found the 8 cents part weird and seemed equally uninterested in the Love sculpture. He did, however, mention that if I were someone he thought might buy a computer, he’d without a doubt tell me he liked it.

But for some reason I wasn’t deflated. Because while my pin didn’t attract any suitors on its own, there was no denying the fact that it helped me to interact with men I otherwise wouldn’t have met. Even, it seemed, when Helen’s suggestions didn’t work, they actually worked.

But that still didn’t mean I was willing to consider bumping into a guy carrying a drink.

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  • Dove

    One thing that I’ve found is possibly the modern-day equivalent of the pin idea is a graphic T with something you’re interested in on it. In college I had a “more cowbell” T-shirt that people constantly commented on, more men that women though. I also had a T-shirt featuring a minor character from an Adult Swin cartoon (so something that really only devotees would recognize) and anyone who DOES recognizes instantly feels comfortable talking to you.

    It’s basically like walking around all day with the book you’re reading plastered to your chest.

  • Anna

    Ha. I actually tried a T-shirt. I got this one from a French cafe that had a line written in French. I was taking a French class at the time (to be explained in a future column). Didn’t inspire a single conversation. Though it did make people look at my boobs, where the words were displayed, more.

  • Joey Zilka

    Hey Anna, Its funny that your dating stories help me out with my own issues. Its a good thought, though I have no idea what I could wear that might get a girl to talk to me, that wouldn’t also make me appear to like men. If I think hard enough though, perhaps it will come to me. A thought though. I have LOTS of female friends, we hang out all the time, go to bars, and whatnot, and hmmm, I never get any girls eyeballing me, probably because I appear to already be with a girl. Were I to approach a girl, and start chit chat, she may think I’m being strange talking to her while my girlfriend remains behind, and if I bring the girl with me, unless I make it a point to say she isn’t my girlfriend, its still weird. If I do say that she isn’t, that makes it worse, because then they know why I’m talking to them. So I never approach a woman. which sucks when you don’t want to date any of the ones you already know. Best of Luck hun, You’re gorgeous, and funny, you’ll find someone.

  • Tanya

    I have a pin that’s a 1950′s style heart that says, “Fuck all y’all.” and I have half my head shaved, and I get a crapton of compliments/comments that result in conversations.

    • tanya

      *Sacred Heart tattoo, I am apparently not awake.

  • Marc

    You’re off to an interesting start. Pins/Buttons sound a little dated, this coming from a guy who pnce had 40 on his jacket. I like the towel idea, but talking to surfers before they’ve hit the water is always a waste of time. They’re thinking about getting in the water, watching the waves break as they plan out their session, so anything you said went right out the other ear. Unlike writiers, surfers are hard to distract. A fun read. Hopefully you’re not the Wylie Coyote of meeting men.

  • MM

    The love statue is in… Philadelphia?

  • MM