Congratulations to my fellow singletons on surviving the most nauseating holiday of the year.
Maybe you shrugged off Valentine's Day as just another Tuesday. Or maybe you celebrated with a bottle of wine, a box of tissues and the complete cinematic collection of Ryan Gosling. Either way, you made it to the other side and now have a whole year to nail down that Valentine's Day date.
First things first: Where are you going to meet your new special someone? While courting at a bar is not always the most effective approach—especially if you are looking for roses and not regret—it is probably the most common.
It takes a lot of courage to approach a stranger in a vulnerable situation where the possibility of rejection looms like a dark cloud (and kudos to anyone who has mastered the technique).
In my opinion, honesty is the best policy when approaching someone in a bar-like setting. Say hello and deliver a genuine compliment. Done. Easy peasy. Even the most over-used, under-creative "baby, did it hurt when you fell from heaven?" pickup line is more palatable than what happened to me a few weeks ago when I was with some friends at a Wicker Park bar.
A few guys whom we had seen on the town before were eyeing our table for most of the evening. (Guys, if you think we don't notice the internal debate you are having from across the bar about whether you've consumed enough liquid courage to converse with a stranger of the opposite sex, you are wrong. We always notice.)
Now, there are a dozen ways to break the ice in this situation: introduce yourself, say your name, crack a joke or whip out a magic trick if you are stuck in 1998. Whatever you do, do not do what this guy did.
After stumbling over his words—and a bar stool—the smooth criminal approached me. I took a sip of whatever cucumber-vodka drink I had been nursing all night. Then he said, "I missed these curls," grabbing a handful of my trademark curly hair.
Oh, if only that were all that happened.
Before I could process why this man's pudgy fingers were fondling my hair, he put his entire face into my hair and nuzzled it against the back of my head. The looks on my friends' faces, as their jaws dropped, were a combination of shock and confusion.
I holstered my instinct to elbow him in the gut and opted for gently pushing him away. That was a mistake. Instead of easing him off me, I accidentally touched his face and a wave of embarrassment rushed from my fingertips through my entire body. There is no recovering from this situation except for laughing it off and praying the nuzzler never returns.
What can we all take away from my bar-tastrophe? Two things. First, never touch the hair. Second, any approach would be more effective and less offensive than this poor guy's.
Why not swallow your pride and fear and go talk to the cutie at the end of the bar? Take a chance in the name of love. Whatever you do, though, just say no to the nuzzle.
SARAH FREEMAN IS A REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR.