ELITE DAILY recently published an article about a phenomenon called “dropping the handkerchief” entitled “The Real Reason Girls Like You and J Law Aren’t Getting Asked Out,” written by matchmaker Alessanda Conti. The author delves into the things millennial women are miffed about when it comes to dating: all the apps, people on their phones, and, of course, why all of us — including our unofficial BFF, Jennifer Lawrence, the Oscar-Winning actress who really is just. like. us. — are still single. While I think it’s a little bit of a leap to compare our day-to-days to Jennifer Lawrence’s (I’m thinking there’s a small chance she may be too busy filming her next twenty blockbusters to date anyone right now), it still begs the question: if she has the time for it, and if we have the time for it, why can’t we make it happen better?
Conti introduces the dropping the handkerchief theory, which I frankly think is totally brills. The theory goes like this: back in the day (the olden, Jane Austen days, from which I first learned of dating wins and woes), women used to get a man’s attention with a simple trick. Example: dropping a handkerchief as a man walks by hoping that he’ll see it, pick it up, and give it back to her and initiate a conversation. For a more “modern” example, there’s a scene in Clueless (1995) when Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) knocks her pencil to the ground for foreign-exchange student Christian Stovitz (Justin Walker) to pick up and hand back to her. (Incidentally, that’s still a Jane Austen reference, since Clueless is a modern adaptation to Austen’s novel, Emma.)
Since most of us don’t live in movies, these dropping the handkerchief moments are largely nonexistent, especially when you consider the fact being glued to a phone when alone in public has become a safety measure for most people. Some of you may be asking: “But why do I have to be the one? Why can’t the guy?” Because it’s 2016, honey! I really do hope some guys see this post, take the advice to heart, and share it with their buddies. The world would be a better place if both sexes learned to disengage from social media and smartphones. But since I’m also a fan of the motto “If you want a thing done right, do it yourself,” I see no problem with engineering these little moments myself when I think the opportunity warrants it.
So here are some of my examples of conversation openers that relate to our day and age. I’ve even set up a little scene for the J. Laws of the world who are too busy and need literal explanation.
INT. BUSY COFFEE SHOP- MORNING (TAKE 1)
HOT AWESOME WOMAN stands next to HOT AWESOME LOVE INTEREST who is very busy scanning that morning’s Instagram posts. HOT AWESOME WOMAN leans into HOT AWESOME LOVE INTEREST.
HOT AWESOME WOMAN: Is that an iPhone? I’ve heard a lot about those.
HOT AWESOME LOVE INTEREST looks up, confused. HOT AWESOME WOMAN laughs at herself and shows off her iPhone too.
HOT AWESOME LOVE INTEREST: (laughing) What have you heard?
Boom! Conversation is on.
INT. BUSY COFFEE SHOP- MORNING (TAKE 2)
HOT AWESOME WOMAN stands next to HOT AWESOME LOVE INTEREST, who is very busy deciphering the lattes on the counter. HOT AWESOME WOMAN leans into HOT AWESOME LOVE INTEREST and examines the writing on all the lattes.
HOT AWESOME WOMAN: How dairy is your milk?
HOT AWESOME LOVE INTEREST looks up, confused. HOT AWESOME WOMAN laughs at herself and shows off her LATTE.
HOT AWESOME WOMAN: (laughing at herself) Soy.
HOT AWESOME LOVE INTEREST: Whole.
HOT AWESOME WOMAN: Why do you prefer a whole?
Boom! Conversation is on… this time with a little pervy innuendo. I mean, when in Rome…
INT. BUSY COFFEE SHOP- MORNING (TAKE 3)
HOT AWESOME WOMAN stands next to HOT AWESOME LOVE INTEREST who is very busy scanning that morning’s Instagram posts while in some cool workout outfit. HOT AWESOME WOMAN leans into HOT AWESOME LOVE INTEREST.
HOT AWESOME WOMAN: Did I see you down-dogging in my yoga class?
HOT AWESOME LOVE INTEREST: No… Sorry…**
**(I figure this is a more likely response than “Yes! I love downward dog!”)
HOT AWESOME WOMAN: Oh, the person from my class must have been wearing a similar workout outfit.
HOT AWESOME LOVE INTEREST: They must have good taste then.
HOT AWESOME WOMAN: I was thinking the same thing…
Smiles are exchanged.
Boom! Conversation is on.
Ok, so, yes, some of these examples are a little egregious, and one might not be able to think of something so punny on the spot, but the general idea is conveyed, I think. It boils down to this: if you see something (or someone), say something. It doesn’t have to involve literally dropping the handkerchief you don’t carry with you and definitely doesn’t have to be “Hey! I saw you from across the bar and you’re so gorgeous, yadda, yadda, yadda.” But in a world where everyone is looking down at their phones, how are we going to break the mold of the depressing world of digital dating? Look up! And maybe our dating lives will start to also.