And here we were thinking it was just us that was terrible at small talk.
If The Bachelorette does nothing else, it will leave the lasting legacy of reassuring us all that we are not the only socially stunted people out there.
While The Bachelor Sam Wood was a smooth operator, able to keep the conversation flowing with relative ease (or at least with the help of vigilant editors), so far The Bachelorette has fairly accurately reflected the true state of the dating scene (except the part where she has a bunch of hot, successful guys locked in a mansion vying for her affection, of course).
It’s reminded us of the incredible awkwardness that is chatting to someone you don’t really know (and whom you are potentially trying to bed). And for that, we are grateful.
Because, while the guys looked smart, confident and put-together, most of them totally bombed on the small-talk front.
So we have a couple of suggestions for the bachelors for future reference.
1. Ask questions, please.
When the glorious Sam asked what David the plumber did for living, he responded: “I’m a plumber.” (Suggestion 1: Maybe use the natural segue and follow up with, “What do you do?” rather than just stop there.)
2. Maybe, just maybe, don’t start with nipples.
David Number 2 started with, “I’m so nervous”. Probably not the strongest start, especially when it’s followed by him staring down his lady suitor, silently pleading with her to ask him something, anything. When Sam complements his suit, he says something about it giving him nipple rash. (Suggestion 2: Don’t mention nipples within the first 15 seconds of meeting someone.)
David “Yes, I am an International Model” Number 3 pretty much just stared at Sam until she asked him questions and then made up the work “conflictuous”. (Suggestion 3: Make an effort to help the conversation flow rather than offering up silence.)
4. Watch and learn.
But Sasha, well this guy knows how it’s done – he was friendly, used her name and avoided awkward silences by actually chatting. (Watch and learn, boys.)
5. Openers to avoid.
“I want seven kids.” Maybe a tad overwhelming for an introduction, Kieran.
“It’s real baby seal” in reference to your suit.
And “cool bananas.” (Twice.)
6. It’s not (all) about you.
For many blokes, their default mode was to fill the silence with chatter about themselves. Note to the men of Australia: excessive self-talk does not usually lead to bedding. Especially when you list all of the places you have worked in chronological order (and add the countries of the well-known capital cities on the list, in case fair maiden doesn’t know where they are). Here’s looking at you, David the International Model.
Engage with the person you are talking to. People like to be drawn in to talking about themselves. No one likes to hear all about you. It’s human psychology 101. We’re all selfish and just looking for excuses to talk about ourselves, like the time I… jokes. Kind of.
Another bloke did a headstand for Sam. If you’re performing tricks for someone on first meeting, just give up then and there.
David Number 2 detailed his previous relationships and then described himself in three words: “Full. Blown. Legend.” (Sigh.)
If this truly is the state of the Australian dating scene, I am thanking all the Gods that I am not on it. Single friends talk about not being able to meet a decent guy despite the numerous apps devoted to that purpose and, watching the small-talk game of some of these blokes, I now understand why.
It is a universal truth is that dating is awkward. Making conversation with someone you don’t know for those of us not extroverts by nature can be excruciating and knowing what to say to someone to make them want to bump uglies with you is a true skill.
Add nerves, alcohol and unique personalities in the mix and it’s a true recipe for disaster.
Watching The Bachelorette has reminded me of this. But hang in there, Sam. As last night’s episode showed, it will get better (unless you’re talking to David the International Model – that shit ain’t never gonna improve).
And sometimes getting past the awkward conversation stage can be so, so worth it.
What do wish men knew about how to talk to women?