August 16, 2009

What age should the crowd be if you want to pick up young girls?

Something struck me tonight, although I could have figured it out earlier had I given it serious thought. Assume that there are girls who are significantly younger than you and who would be cool with -- well, whatever, having a crush on you, giving you their phone number or asking for yours, grinding on you in a dance club, asking you out, or going into the lordosis reflex so that you'll come over and put it where it belongs. The large age gap could be a potential obstacle, so how can you dodge it simply by choosing a different environment in which to pursue them?

To get straight to it, you want everyone else to be roughly the same age -- as young as the girls you're interested in -- while only a few people, if any, are noticeably older. Preferably you're the only one. First, the observations that led me to this conclusion, and then the logic behind it.

I've had extensive contact with young girls in environments where everyone is roughly their age, and only a few are my age. These include the local teen dance club (where almost everyone is 15 to 18), '80s night at another club (which is mostly college kids), and the tutoring center I worked at before starting school (which was mostly high schoolers, with some younger kids too). In these contexts, all girls aged 14 to 21 had zero problem just crushing on me, most made some attempt to get close to me, and more than a few blatantly made a move on me.

Then there are places where there is a very heterogeneous age range, where they're just about the youngest, I'm more near the average, and the upper bound is middle-aged. These include any mall, Starbucks, and the club I sometimes go to on Saturdays -- it's the same one that hosts '80s night, but on Saturday the crowd is pretty diverse age-wise. Here, young girls may make a nervous move in my direction, but it only rarely goes farther than that. Something halts them halfway.

Finally, there are those spots where most people are much older than they are. Now, they are the outliers. I rarely visit these places, but they include a nauseating club where the average age is near 30, as well as Whole Foods. No young girl has made the slightest pass at me in these places, although plenty of cougar women have (shudder).

So, what's the pattern? The pattern is that girls feel most emboldened when everyone else is the same age as they are, while they feel terrified when everyone else is very different from them, and they're pretty anxious but not cripplingly so when there's a broad mix of ages. That's true whether the females are young or old.

Why is that? Simple: being comfortable is required for girls to let loose, and to be comfortable, girls need to feel like they fit in. The easiest way to utterly disorient a girl is to tell her, in a half-pitying tone, that she doesn't seem to fit in here.

wait omigod WHAT????!! i meeeeeeean, is it my clothes? or my shoes? oh wait, did i say something -- omigod, WHAT DID I SAY?!!! tell me!

Unlike guys, girls need for the entire atmosphere to make them feel at ease. Not like they're at a spa or anything, but it cannot put them off -- this will instantly kill any chance you had.

It's an in group vs. out group problem, where age is the ethnic marker. Imagine being the only Black girl in a room full of Whites, or vice versa. Or imagine being the only girl in a room full of men -- yeah, you won't be staying long. The most intuitive way to think about it is as a split between languages. (If you're 18 and he's 38, you might as well speak different languages.) If you belong to the majority linguistic group and you spot someone who you sense speaks a different language but is appealing enough to pursue, you'll pursue him. If you're in one of those hybrid dialect zones, you'll awkwardly approach him halfway linguistically and see if he returns the effort. But if everyone else speaks a language that you don't, you will feel paralyzed -- even if he really appeals to you. The in group usually doesn't treat an out-group member too well, and you might make a complete fool of yourself by going up to him.

This leads to the perhaps counter-intuitive advice that you should approach young girls in places where you stick out as the older person. But if we think about how the age distribution of a crowd affects her comfort level, it all makes sense. First, if she is noticeably younger than you, then you are noticeably older than she is, and no change in the age structure will mask that. So, what really matters is what will make her most comfortable in crossing that ethnic dividing line between the two of you.

If everyone else is older than she is, you won't stick out as being the older guy in the club -- but in this case, she'll feel frightened to cross the line, just based on how the in group tends to treat the out group. If you're the outlier, then she won't feel endangered in crossing the line -- she feels safe because the age range is her home turf. In a mixed area, it's in between these two extremes. Like a Spaniard who spies an Italian, she'll make an anxious effort to get some of her point across, just to see if he'll do the same. She doesn't feel as comfortable as on her native soil, but she doesn't feel like someone's dropped her in an alien land.

This probably explains why it's so easy for young girls to crush on their teachers or tutors. In most other cases where they're interacting with somewhat older, higher-status males, the age range is either pretty mixed (as in most business environments), or is predominantly older people (say, if she were a secretary who only worked with the higher-ups). In a mixed office, you might float the idea with lots of plausible deniability, and see if he bites. If you're a college intern who's job is to record the minutes of meetings with the big wigs, it doesn't matter how high your class background is, or if your parents are as powerful as these guys -- you will feel so out of place age-wise that you'd feel too frozen to approach one of them.

But if he's the only older person in the environment, while everyone else is a young student like you -- well, suddenly you feel a lot more comfortable fantasizing about him when you pull the covers over you at night, or drawing his initials next to yours inside a heart while you're riding the school bus home. It feels like he would be crossing the bridge to join your group, rather than you having to go over and assimilate to his strange new group. Remember how necessary it is for girls to feel like the fitting in part of life is already covered, nothing to worry about.

Of course, if no younger girls would be into you, following this advice will go nowhere -- in fact, it will probably repulse them even more if you approached them on their turf rather than once they had wandered onto your turf. But if you know from experience that there are such girls, make sure to pursue them where you're the only older person. You might feel self-conscious at first, given that you'll stick out, but it'll be easier than if you're at a club (or whatever) with mostly older people and there happen to be a few sorority girls visiting. That's death. Plus, other things will weigh more on your mind than self-consciousness when you're wading through a pool of younger girls.


  1. Interesting theory. I guess we could generalize it to say that if you want to pick up girls, any kind of girls, your should look for as homogeneous a crowd as possible -- an environment where you, not the girls, will stand out.

  2. Ah, finally a post about something really important in life.

    The ideal scenario I've found is to play in a band where you're older than everyone else but the audience is even younger than the band.

  3. your should look for as homogeneous a crowd as possible -- an environment where you, not the girls, will stand out.

    Ideally you wouldn't stand out that much either -- maybe 5 or so years older than they are. Far greater than that, and they start to notice the age gap.

    Imagine a crowd of 17 year-old groupies surrounding a 23 year-old lead singer.


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