Gone are the days of trusting weirdos with names like Mystery and Style to tell you how to pick up ladies (read: coerce them into going out with you by any means necessary). I mean, who do you trust to help you pick up girls: a balding dude in a fedora who needs to resort to chipping away at a woman’s self-esteem to even get her attention or, well, real women who, get this, probably want the same things you do?

See, we’re actually on the same team here. We want you to come right. Does that mean we’re going to make it easy for you? If your idea of making a move is wearing a stupid hat and delivering some cheesy line, probably not. From hooking up to taking her home, here’s the no-holds-barred truth straight from the horse’s mouth.

 “Any girl who picks up on the fact that you’re trying to use pick-up artist techniques will immediately think you’re the lowest of the low.”

 Pick-up artist tactics rely on manipulation or preying on women’s insecurities or vulnerabilities. That is the mark of a sexual predator. If there’s something about someone that you are exploiting, that’s not cool. And maybe you’re really not like that; maybe you’ve just taken the wrong advice. Either way, you underestimate us. We can tell the difference between a guy who’s charming and it works for him, and a guy who’s desperate and will try anything. We can also pick up on the tricks you learn in books or magazines because (insert collective sigh from all womankind) you all do the same thing.

 

Once we’re savvy to The Game or whatever, your approach might as well be scripted. Yawn. It’s the same as learning all your sex tricks from porn – we know when that’s happened and we hate it. Women are complicated; our bodies are complicated, our brains are complicated. If you’re approaching women as a formula where x+y=z, you’re screwing up already. Even if it’s your wife of 50 years, you’re screwing up.

On the plus side, even if you haven’t made the best first impression, all might not be lost… Usually by the time a guy comes up to us or decides to speak to us, we’ve probably already decided if we’re attracted to him or not, so if you pull some cheesy move but we like you, we might be more forgiving and think it’s endearing. Don’t count on it though.

 “On Tinder you have to get good banter going really, really quickly and then you have to meet.”

Tinder exists to help people hook up, so the old dating “rules” really don’t apply. Getting our attention requires good pictures – no ambiguous or group photos, please – and a funny profile. Don’t be cheesy (any sanctimonious waffling about how you want to save the world will make us gag), but don’t be explicit either (cue more gagging). We need to get a sense of a real person behind the profile.

When we do get talking, don’t draw it out for days. People are busy – you don’t want to have to chat to someone for five weeks before you can meet them. If we swipe right on you but then don’t seem to be really feeling it two weeks later, it might have nothing to do with you and everything to do with the timing. But don’t think that means we want to meet you right now at 11pm on some random Tuesday night either. We both know what that means and really, it’s going to take a lot more than ‘hey, u still up?’ to get us out of our pyjamas right now.

And if we do manage to get it right and meet? Be open to your Tinder date not going anywhere. Stop taking it so seriously; it doesn’t have to end in sex or a relationship. You can go out and just have fun and it doesn’t mean that you have somehow failed or that there’s something wrong with you (or her).

“Imagine whatever you’re doing is being narrated by David Attenborough.”

Are you a shark closing in on your prey? Are you a lion separating a small, defenceless creature from its herd? Stop whatever you’re doing and drop the hunt narrative. It implies that it’s you against her – and that one of you is ending up better off. You seem like a creep when you isolate us and block us off from our friends (or, for that matter, from the bathroom). It’s the law of the wild. Whatever your mental narrative is as you approach her, it should see you both on an equal footing. You can both be tigers – it’s cool.

“If you don’t have her full interest, it doesn’t mean she’s not interested.”

Here’s the scenario: you’ve spotted a beautiful girl at the bar and you want to get her attention, but she seems to be giving you the cold shoulder. Now try to see things from her perspective. See, when someone is interested in you, you become their sole focus and until you realise or reciprocate, you have everything else going on. Even if that’s just in a club, she has her friends talking to her, her phone and messages she’s replying to, her taxi arriving later…

Smile, introduce yourself and ask if you can buy her a drink ­– confidence is a pretty major turn-on and more likely to yield results than standing awkwardly down the bar and trying to make eye contact every time she turns her head. If she smiles back, you’re off to a good start.

“You have to have a good follow up to anything.”

Don’t lose your swagger. We like confidence, but it’s got to be real: if you’re all talk with nothing to back it up, you’re going to run out of steam pretty soon – and that’s when we lose interest. Mumbling and self-degradation are not hot. On the other hand, once you have our attention, don’t turn into an ass either by suddenly acting as if your existence alone should be reason for us to speak to you, ignoring us or deciding to play it cool. Far from making you more mysterious or alluring, it just gets us wondering why you’re still playing games. Games are for kids, right?

“A guy who’s not interested in being ‘just friends’ with a girl? I wouldn’t want to have sex with him anyway – he probably has a bunch of other douchebag qualities.”

If a guy can approach us and unconcerned with the outcome – in other words, be okay with striking up a conversation that might lead nowhere, let alone into our pants – we’ll like him more anyway. As far as we’re concerned, those dudes cycling around the club at 2am like some sort of testosterone tornado looking for anything to pick up, don’t deserve anything more than the 15 seconds they already wasted slobbering some corny pick-up line at us. We appreciate it when you seem genuinely interested and not just interested in getting us naked.

“If we like you, we’ll find a way to kiss you.”

It’s been almost 17 years since Sex and the City first premiered. Most modern women probably count Lena Dunham as one of their heroes. What we’re saying is the days of the timid, meek damsels who need you to be all manly and assertive are long gone (if they ever existed at all), and sometimes we/she will make the first move.

Granted, it’s not a given, so how do you know when to go in for the kiss? If she doesn’t want to kiss you, she’ll keep talking, or eating, or doing anything else to occupy her face, whereas silence and eye contact are an opening to lean in. But don’t ride on hope alone – have at least 75% certainty before you close your eyes and purse your lips or be direct and ask, “Can I kiss you?” It works.

“You know in video games, when you’re in the bonus level (sweet!) but your time is going down (oh no!) – that’s what it’s like once she’s back at yours.”

You’ve hit it off and you’ve got her home. Now it’s crunch time. You both know why you’re there – you don’t need to giver her a tour of the house or introduce her to your cats. It’s like a sliding scale: the longer you wait, the more she’s going, ‘Wait, I thought I was here for sex and now this guy is showing me his record collection; what am I doing here? I’ve got so much to do tomorrow… Oh my god, I just caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I look horrible.’ Each moment wasted is a window left wide open for doubt to start creeping in, which means her heading out. We’ve got you this far – don’t blow it.