Pimpin’ Ain’t Dead, But Harassment Is

By now everybody has seen the video produced by Hollaback, a movement to end street harassment, because it is all over the internets.

Apparently really influential black journalists such as Jamilah Lemieux believe that more Black males need to come forward with their opinions on the matter.  Very Smart Brothas website editor Damon Young has answered the challenge already, but I am still willing to put my two cents in.

Pick-up Artists, or men that make it their business to try and “holler’’ at women they do not know, baffle me.  I have never been one to harass women in the street or tolerate those that do.  The practice always seems so desperate and I was never really good at, and unwilling to learn.

Let’s get these facts out of the way: I have only had maybe 6 hours of pick-up artist experience in my life because I am spoiled.  I’m a handsome man.  I was a cool kid.  I went to Howard University.  I’m blessed.  Everybody isn’t as fortunate to forever have the odds in their favor when looking for love or companionship.

Oddly enough, my six hours of pick-up artist experience came at Howard University during the first hours after dismissal from the Incoming Freshman Convocation, spilling over into the Campus Pals’ Ice Cream Social, and concluded while attending the party that ensued.  I learned so much in that short span of time and the etiquette that I would use to interact with women changed drastically, and permanently.

The dynamics were completely set-up because this was truly a unique situation.  All of the incoming Freshmen were moving into dormitories and were very excited to have, and share, their own personal phone numbers.  No doubt, some of them were like me and had never had a personal phone number of their own before that great day.  (I guess you have to think about life before cell phones, because my first day of college was a long time ago.)  Also the Freshmen tended to move in unison, like a mass hoard of black scholars eager to get far away from their parents.

Now, as I mentioned, my experience in the dreaded cold approach was limited but even I knew a can’t-lose situation when I encountered one.  The problem was that every other guy recognized it too.  One could obtain the names and phone numbers of complete strangers with relative ease just by striking up an innocent conversation on the shared experiences of “our first day.”  All boys school didn’t turn me into a mute and I literally “booked” my first Howard woman –or any woman, for that matter, without even trying.

  • book – African American (East coast?) slang from the 80’s meaning to obtain the name and phone number of a prospective sexual interest.

All of my boys caught on fast.  It became a numbers game very quickly.  I’m afraid that all of the adolescent posturing led to a contest of sorts: who could book the most.  Soon, more experienced pick-up artistry was on display and lame attempts were exposed for what they were.  Did that smooth brother just make his approach off of positive eye contact?  Is this whack negro’s only move to grab the arms of unsuspecting women in a vain attempt to impede their progress?  Win or lose, success or disaster: all of your actions were on display.

Doing less, equaled more.  My final tally was somewhere in the twenties, and I remember being thoroughly proud that I didn’t embarrass myself in front of my new peers.  I also remember thinking that I never wanted to do that again.  Sure, if I met someone then I met someone but I didn’t want to consciously approach with such superficial intentions, again.  If the point of getting the digits was for a greater purpose then I wanted the whole process to suit my needs and desires.

Did I want the woman that could be approached easily, for anything?  Besides being a lot of work to obtain, would any of my efforts to put sheer numbers in the book yield results?  All of it proved to be an exercise in futility, anyway.  We would all, presumably, have to see each other again for the next four years or so whether anyone tried to holler that first day or not.  Genuine connections were more valuable than phone numbers.

The whole entire holler game seemed fake and the knife cut both ways.  Many of the women knew what was up and would oblige any potential suitor with the knowledge that they might never actually call.   There are only so many hours in a day.  I guess I found a better use of my time than chasing women down.  The women that I wanted didn’t appreciate it and my first rule of trying to use my dick is not to be a dick.

If you can create the intrigue and pique the curiosity of your target, you will never have to risk a cold approach again.  So you saw beautiful woman in a public space.  Great.  You really aren’t pimpin’ though until she is wondering what it is like to sit in your lap.  There is no book for that.  Get it together, little brothers, and let these women be.  If she isn’t showing any outward, but even subtle, signs of reciprocation then you need to keep it moving until she does.

Like it or not, pimps are the best at this type of recruiting.  I’m not suggesting that you have to really have to start pandering and dropping quotes from a Hughes Brothers film called American Pimp, but there is something to it.  If you know the game, then make them choose you.  I leave you with this.

  • “It ain’t easy, man. It might look glamour-like to ya, ‘cause you see me ridin’…ya dig? Snakeskin down to the flo’, ya dig? Hat and shoes to match. Diamonds on fingers and watches on arms… It might look easy, but ya gon’ hafta work some to get to this status… see ya at the top.”  – Bishop Don Magic Juan
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