While we at the Riot take some time off to rest and catch up on our reading, we’re re-running some of our favorite posts from the last several months. Enjoy our highlight reel, and we’ll be back with new stuff on Monday, January 11th.
This post originally ran September 14, 2015.
Why hello there. It looks like you’ve Googled “How to Pick Up Women at a Bookstore.” Before we begin, a brief moment of self-inquiry:
Are you lonely? How lonely? Lonely enough to mine the web for articles written by content farmers posing as pickup artists?
Do you view women as objects? Sex as conquest? Negging as a worthwhile form of human interaction? Has it occurred to you that maybe this is why you feel so alone all of the time?
Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Follow these tips and we guarantee you’ll be able to walk into your nearest bookstore and pick up as many females as your heart desires. Best of all, you can continue to treat women as objects (and vice versa) while avoiding that pesky business of confronting your male chauvinism.
According to a website called Manipudating, which is exactly what it sounds like, your first task is to find a women who looks vulnerable, which is easy enough in a bookstore, where “women aren’t so quick to put their defenses up.” This is maybe good advice if you’re, say, organizing a jewel heist, but it’s really very gross as far as romance goes. No, the key to a great match — and this may be difficult to hear, Googler of pickup techniques — is to find someone who challenges your worldview, a person who forces you to consider yourself and others in a way that you’d previously not. (I know, ick)
So here’s what you do: First, walk up to the bookstore clerk and say, “Hello, can you direct me to Toni Morrison.” You’ll want to stay on script — if you find yourself insulting the clerk’s bangs in the hope of lowering her self-worth so she might sleep with you, you’ve screwed up. Equally important is the follow up line: After you’ve been directed to the correct section, it’s critical that you say something along the lines of, “Thanks.”
Now you’re standing beside a set of highly challenging books, written by one of the most intelligent women on Earth and the only living American to win The Nobel Prize in Literature. OK, deep breaths. You’ve laid the groundwork, selected the target, and now it’s time for the clincher. Reach out and pick one of those novels up by the spine — as for which one, I’d recommend Beloved, though you may also want to consult this guide to her work. Make your purchase, find a cozy place where you two can be alone, and bask in the triumphant glory of victory.
Congratulations young grasshopper, you’ve just picked up your first woman at the bookstore.
As any self-respecting player knows, it’s crucial to cast a wide net. One relationship, no matter how stimulating, is never going to satisfy all your cravings. Hustlers just aren’t programmed that way. Instead of limiting yourself with a “type,” try picking up as many different kinds of women as possible.
If you’re looking for someone to travel the globe with, Valeria Luiselli’s Sidewalks is a must-read. Prefer someone with a biting sense of humor? Try Nora Ephron’s autobiographical novel Heartburn or Lorrie Moore’s collection of short stories Self-Help. Anne Tyler is a great choice for someone to bring home to the family, while Alison Bechdel is an equally great choice for someone you should probably keep far away from your family.
For the modern man, short on time and attention, try Mira Gonzalez’s recently-published Selected Tweets, a collection of funny and sad and heartfelt musings, each under 140 characters. Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist is the best book of essays I’ve read in years, and she too has a book-deal-worthy Twitter.
But maybe you consider yourself an old-school gentleman, a virtuous lad steadfast in his belief that love and morality will win out in the end. The dating landscape of 2015 just isn’t meant for a wholesome guy like you, what with Tinder and 3nder (that’s Tinder for threesomes) and Netflix & Chill, so why not hook up with someone who better matches your classical aesthetic. For the ambitious, George Eliot’s Middlemarch
is the quintessential Victorian doorstopper, widely regarded as one of the greatest novels of all time. Each of the three Brontë sisters earn a place in the canon as well, with Charlotte’s Jane Eyre taking aim at the Woman Question, something you’re sort of wrestling with in your own way, right?
The point, belabored by now, is that there are plenty of fish in the sea — which is actually the name of like six dating sites — and even more women authors worth your time. Take my recommendations or don’t, just so long as you remember that sites like Manipudating are poison and the bookstore is not your personal singles cruise. Also, reading Toni Morrison will make you a better person.