Lesser-known incident in Pyramus and Thisbe saga. After conversing for 9 years, Pyramus attempts to close gap in wall.     Anti-Woo
Stephen Potter

The Climate of Anti-Woo

First Lessons for Men

It is vulgar technique to employ tricks of an outmoded and obvious kind.

Do not say ‘Let me get you a drink,’ and then slink off and keep out of her sight: don’t say ‘Look – my wife wants to meet you. May I get her?’ The essential thing is to leave the girl complimented but too puzzled to reply, so that you can pretend to take her silence as a delicate dismissal. E.g.

1. Start with a swingeing compliment: (‘I think Mr Dior has been using your face – hasn’t he? In the glossies? To heighten the effect of mink?’) Then look as if you feel you may have gone too far, and disappear.

2. Similarly, begin ‘You won’t remember me. Stage 4, Pinewood, ’62.’

Only one girl in 5,000 will say she has never had anything to do with films in her life. You can then get away instantly if you add, in a lower voice, ‘See you at the Three Farthings tonight, I shouldn’t be surprised?’

3. Briefer exit lines need a certain virtuosity. But if the tone of voice is approximately correct a simple ‘I wanted just to say “hallo,” if only for five seconds, before I left’ is a good quick one.

4. Or ‘Alas, I have someone “in tow.” Let’s speak later.’

5. If girl is not susceptible to semi-romantic approach, try the humdrum ‘Good God. We mustn’t be the last to leave. I have got to get her out of this’ (wave to the opposite corner of the room as if to escortee) ‘Wish we could have talked.’

6. Try, as a long shot, ‘Well, I like people. Don’t you? Thought you did’ (step backwards, looking intently at the roots of the girl’s hair, like in the films).

7. I myself have been making increasing use lately of ‘Excuse me, I’m not supposed to stand.’ For this purpose, I need, and have, a stick. It is important that the girl should not attempt to follow you to the chair towards which you pretend to be manoeuvring.

‘Anything wrong’ Gattling typically said.

‘My talisman,’ I had to reply, with a meaningless wink. But many are now using these sticks.

8. Although this final ploy can only be used once, I still prefer, however: ‘You wrote me a very beautiful letter after my late loss. I shall always treasure it.’ Don’t look directly at the girl when you say this. Immediately afterwards, walk diagonally away.

Eighth method of painlessly leaving woman within twelve seconds of introduction.

Stephen Potter, Anti-Woo, 1965

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