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  • Robert Farago

How to Pick Up Women Using Improv

Yes and?

“I recently had my client walk up to a woman at a lounge and begin meowing,” NYC dating coach Connell Barrett (above) told The New York Post. “The woman’s face lit up, she laughed — she probably thought it was weird, but a good kind of weird.”

Gotta love that word “probably.” Either Barrett doesn’t know how the feline improv turned out or he ain’t sayin’.

No matter. The owner of Dating Transformation’s making bank – $3k to $12k per client “depending on each romance rookie’s needs and budget.”

Barrett’s banking on Big Apple mens’ inability to pick-up women in the real world. Because that’s still a thing, despite or because of the tumbleweeds blowing through most men’s dating apps.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

“Being playful through improv is the secret weapon to becoming a better dater,” Barrett avers. I think the term he’s looking for is “pick-up artist.”

Over to Barrett’s in-house expert, improv acting coach Patrick McCartney (above).

“These exercises can sharpen a guy’s wit, improve their active listening skills and help them get to know a potential partner beyond the typical first-date questions,” said McCartney… During the two-day intensives, Barrett gives each man a series of kooky improv prompts like, “Go up to that woman and pretend to be a pirate,” or “Act as if you’re a waiter and offer to tell them the breakfast specials.”  

Note: these one-on-one improvs are performed with both Barrett and McCartney in attendance.

Who doesn’t love an audience? Except painfully shy men, of course. Whom Barrett will drag to the “target” in a headlock if necessary.

The Idea Is Simple Enough

Barrett’s advice when approaching a woman with the improv technique – don’t be yourself – makes sense for a lot of men.

Being yourself with a potential partner is asking a woman to like your self.

In the case of Barrett’s clients, that most likely means being a bundle of nerves, fraught with insecurity, with a terrible or no track record with the opposite sex.

Proof of Concept?

The lack of specificity, Etienne’s and his “date’s” physical appeal and their bar-based staged photo is all a bit suspicious.

But I am assured that Etienne is a real person (see: comment below). Who seems really pleased with his training.

“I saw a cute girl at a coffee shop, broke the ice with a ‘Yes, And’ opener and asked her on a date,” said Etienne, a home-tech product developer from Fort Greene. 

Yes and?

‘“Improv just takes the pressure off when approaching women,” said Etienne, who withheld his last name for privacy purposes.  “I don’t have to worry about saying or doing the wrong thing, I feel more confident and free,” he added.  “Dating is way less stressful with improv. Now, I’m having fun.”

Yes and? What improv did Etienne perform in the caffeine conclave? Did he get the date? If so, how did that turn out? Enquiring minds want to know! *crickets chirping *

Judging from Barrett’s website, improv is a schtick he’s added to his courses to catch the media’s wandering eye – despite telling perspective former lonely hearts that his coaching is not for you if “You’re looking for gimmicky tactics and quick fixes.”

Here’s The Pitch…

MAN-to-WOMAN COMMUNICATION… the MOST AUTHENTIC, EFFECTIVE WAY to connect with women, whether you’re approaching, texting on an app, or out on a date. 

What, pray tell, is this authenticity of which Mr Barrett speaks?

When you’re “Fun, playful and flirty—where you WANT to be in dating! It’s when your masculine side and her feminine side connect and ignite.

Does that recipe apply to gay or bisexual men? Why not? Don’t answer that!

Meanwhile, it seems that Mr. Barrett is repackaging common sense dating advice, albeit advice that goes against today’s PC sexually fluid gestalt.

“Single women don’t want logic and facts,” Mr. Barrett insists. “They want fun, flirtatious energy from an authentic, confident man.”

An “authentic man” pretending to be something he’s not. Go figure. And if that doesn’t work…

Freedom Isn’t Free

dating in new york
We did a fun drill he got from Tony Robbins. You yell “Freedom!” as loud as you can, like in Braveheart, to get out of your head and into your body. He said women are drawn to men who are free in their voice and body.

I assume that Allen (above) didn’t yell Freedom! at Barnes & Noble, site of his “wingman” try-outs. Now there’s an idea!

The Fine Art of Making Shit Up As You Go

The testimonials on Barrett’s Client Reviews hail from three conventionally attractive men in their late 20’s or early 30’s, none of whom mention improv. What does that tell you?

Regardless, what could possibly go wrong? Glad you asked, said the mid-60’s guy whose done on-stage improv.

For one thing, supporting your improv scene partner is mission critical. Your job is to make them look good, providing opportunities for them to shine, being there to catch them if they stumble.

Tell that to your obscure object of desire cruising through a bookstore or perched on a barstool.

For another, fully committing to your character, the scene and the moment is also key. Staying in character, maintaining the scene's reality and being present in the moment.

So… at what point does a pretend pirate drop the act? At the point where their perspective date thinks they’re not funny or just plain insane? And do you want to date a woman who wants to date a pirate?

Confidence Is Key!

While my wives didn’t leave me after nine weeks, I’m hardly a suitable dating coach. Even so, I know this much is true: humor is a feature, not a bug.

That’s if the humor isn’t self-deprecating; nobody is sexually attracted to a nebbish. By the same token, humor isn’t an ideal go-to if you’re trying to make a German woman laugh without hurting yourself or someone else.

Humor will also fall flat if the woman doesn’t find you immediately attractive. Aye, there’s the rub (or not).

A woman can tell if she’s interested in you in a femtosecond. If she’s not, you’re fighting an uphill battle with less chance of success than The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Just so you know, that famous military failure was the result of a misunderstood order from the British commander in chief, Lord Raglan (who had intended the Light Brigade to attack a different objective).

In that sense, pick your love guru wisely.

When it come to improv pickups, it pays to heed Kurt Vonnegut’s advice: "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."

Yes, and?

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