Just after I graduated college, I found myself back at the University of Pennsylvania during homecoming weekend. For the first time, I realized that men, starting with college aged boys, were easy prey, succulent sycophants who would hang on the every word that escaped the mouth of “older” women. I was twenty-two and I finally figured out the game of flirting.
Taking the Pitch
The pitch is what men, guys and boys will say just to get you to talk to them. Sounds easy, right? Not for me. Growing up, I never knew how to talk to boys. I was perpetually scared of them, always wondering how high I ranked on the hierarchy of geeks. It was the early 1990s and I liked Batman, Beethoven and books mixed with old school hip hop music. Often times, I would run away tongue tied.
Starting college, I was painfully shy, preferring to hide in the shadow of my best friend Sabrina, the girl every boy wanted. She attracted boys from every corner of the university– jocks, musicians, Latinists, and weight lifting coaches. They all wanted to talk to Sabrina and thus would employ the “befriend the best friend” technique. Thanks to them, I learned how to participate in conversations without running away. And I learned that all you have to do is wait for the Line to come out.
By the time post-graduation homecoming rolled around, I had lost all fear of the opposite sex, and was finally able to appreciate how much fun they can be. Guys love to talk when they meet women and they will say anything. At homecoming, Sabrina and I spent most of homecoming weekend fending off pathetic yet charming attempts from rookie players who had no shame in throwing out delle cazzate (bullsh*+) in order to talk with us.
Personally, I admire this technique of giving one’s best, showing no fear when faced with a completely uninterested adversary. It shows absolute confidence and a distinct self-esteem. Unfortunately, all men are created equal so thus, the usually cocky senior was equal in stature and in technique to the goofy, inexperienced freshman, which leads me to the second part of the pitch.
For me, flirting is a more than just a two way street. It is an opportunity to show off your linguistical skills, which is why, when asked by overenthusiastic Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors the original “What was your major?” I would respond, “Double Entendres and Clichès with a minor in Puns.”
“Uh, so you like French, right?”
Yes, I like French and I like words. And more than anything, I love messed up and out of place words, and word games.
Evidence #1: Notice anything odd about the above photo? Roman bar, Italian milk carton written Milk. Though this doesn’t constitute a word game, at 8 am with a daunting, about-to-make-me-cry amount of work ahead of me and an immobile Professor lying around the house waiting for me to bring him food, a pencil, an idea (hurt his back, poor thing), I found the English word Milk on a Italian carton extraordinarily funny.
Evidence #2: Italians love word games almost as much as I do. Today, 06Blog, an Italian language blog all about Rome, published an article on one of my favorite topics: Names, the funniest last names in the phone book. Now, it might not be as funny for you as it was for me, even with the google translation, but take a look.
My historic favorite: Engrish