How To Talk To A Woman Who Is Wearing Headphones

To answer the age old question if the question is being asked by an insecure man

Your body tells you not to. Your mind, focused on the white strand dangling from her ears, it throws your cortex into an analytical process breaking down the significance of the signifier.

You’re in a small town, a college town. People there are friendly enough but it’s transient to afford one the luxury of being a stranger.

You’re in a cafe, a library, a common room, or courtyard. You see her there, lost in her own thoughts while staring down at a book or a laptop. You’re taken by the look of her. She is your idealized woman. “Now’s my chance,” you say in egotistical way you won’t recognize until after years of therapy.

You plan your attack (but not too much, leaving room to improvise). She’s in a quiet area but there are people around her. They might hear you talk and become aware of your approach. They might live tweet the whole thing. You get an odd jolt of confidence. You get a slight erection. You tremble a little but are able to keep your composure. You can do this.

But what are you doing?

Obviously her headphones are a device to keep people from talking to her. It’s easy enough to get someone’s attention when they can’t hear. But the question is why would someone willing put on headphones while idling in public? Why would they actively create an obstacle to interaction?

A better question is why do men force themselves into situations like this when there are obvious barriers? They let themselves be guided into it despite years of understanding that this attention is uncomfortable for everyone involved. We all have a natural urge to communicate, especially with those we find attractive or interesting. But why are there guides to overcoming obstacles put in place to save everyone from such an embarrassment?

These guides always pretend to offer some kind of solution, a resolution for the reader. To the sympathetic, it’s always reasonable. To everyone else, it’s a cobbled together string of wishful thinking based in no reality. But an obvious answer to the question how to talk to a woman who is wearing headphones is to leave her alone.