The Modern Man Explains How To Talk To Women Wearing Headphones

With No Apologies To Dan Bacon

We all know the many and varied reasons a man such as yourself might be looking at a powerful, web-enabled portable computer: reading a book, finding a nearby brewpub, looking up directions to the local artisanal cereal bar and chainsaw fight club, catching up on some Netflix or just listening to some tunes.

These days, though, too many women walk around playing with a smartphone or tablet device. Many of them are wearing headphones and listening to music at the same time. Why do they do this? What can it mean?

Science has yet to find an answer for any of this, but there is one thing we know, and it is the most important thing: you can still talk to them.

Of course, not all women are open to being approached because of one of the two possible reasons a woman might not want to talk to you in particular at any given random time in any place the two of you happen to both be: she might not be single or she might not be looking.

But the fact is that most women are single and most women are looking, not just for a man but you in particular. By not approaching a woman simply because she seems busy or uninterested you are not just robbing yourself of an opportunity, you may very likely be depriving her of the thrill of a lifetime.

How To Approach A Woman Wearing Headphones

Stand directly in front of her about 1 meter (but less than 2) away from her. Make sure it is closer than you would stand when making a cold introduction to a bloke who doesn’t know you from Adam, which sends an important signal to the woman: you have recognized that she is not a man and as such has no need for personal space or boundaries.

Wave your hand in her face in exactly the way you would not do with a strange man (women love it when you confidently affirm their femininity), smile confidently in case your willingness to wave your hand in a stranger’s face has left any doubt as to your unbridled sense of self, and say, “Hey, how’s it going?”

The woman will not hear you as she is wearing headphones and listening to music, but you are sending another set of important signals: you are oblivious to context and you don’t care what she is doing when it’s time for her to talk to you.

At this point you should not be surprised if the woman removes her headphones. I’m sure you’ve noticed how far most women will bend over backwards to placate men they’ve just met, no matter how abruptly you lurch into her space or what you demand of her.

There is a reason for this: most women — unlike those few who will not accommodate you in this and all other matters — know how to be polite and friendly.

If a woman does not take off her headphones immediately, it may not be because she is rude or unfriendly or does not wish to speak with you. She may simply be confused, poor dear. She may be staring at you blinking in bewildered dismay as she sees your mouth moving but cannot hear anything but the lyrics of her music in her ear.

Why is this handsome, charming, confident stranger singing along to the Spice Girls or whatever women my age are listening to these days? she will be thinking. And why don’t his lips match the words?

This is your chance to step in and be her hero. Say in a loud, clear voice, “CAN. YOU. TAKE. YOUR. HEADPHONES. OFF. FOR. A. MINUTE.”

You should at this time pantomime the act of removing headphones, in case she has forgotten how the gist of the removal process, or never learned it. Be prepared to explain what headphones are and how they transform electrical impulses generated by an electronic device into audible vibrations through tiny speakers, and how through a combination of physically blocking the channel into her ear and introducing competing noises directly into the auditory canal, her use of headphones make it very difficult for you to have a conversation with her.

It is very likely she has never considered this before.

At this point your confidence and clarity will no doubt have won the day, allowing you to have the desired conversation.

It is possible that the woman you have selected is not open to your approach, for either of the valid reasons mentioned above, or because she is unfriendly and rude.

You can verify this by respectfully asking a series of subtle yet probing questions, such as, “Why can’t I talk to you?” or “Is there something wrong with just having a conversation?” or “What, you’re too good for me?” or “Talking to pretty girls is a crime now?” or “C’mon?”

You can use a similar technique to confirm if your intended is in fact taken by another man, if you have reason to suspect this to be the case (e.g., there is a ring on her finger or she told you). Sample questions may include, “Oh, yeah? What’s he look like?” and “So what, you’re not allowed to talk to me now?”

It is possible the woman, not fully grasping how conversations work, will turn and walk away from you at any point during the proceedings, whether when you first appear in her line of sight or during the probing questions.

It would be a mistake to think this means she does not want to talk to you. Remember: women respond to confident men, and most are polite and friendly.

If this happens, simply follow at a distance of 1 to 1.5 meters behind her and explain to her, in terms that she can understand, that it is hard to have a conversation with her when she’s walking away.

You may at this time invite her to a philosophical discussion of her circumstances by asking her why does she have to be the way she is. A self-assured gentleman may find something to compliment on the lady, such as the way her hips sway when she speeds up.

Remember: confidence is key!

As the woman speeds away from you, you might find that it is a matter of out of sight, out of mind with many women. Now that you are no longer in her field of vision, out comes that darn phone again! Now she’s talking on it. Women, always talking, right?

“I’m at the corner of ____ and ____,” she says. Some women are such natural chatterboxes they will find anything to talk about, no matter how inane or trivial. Their biggest fear in life is not having an audience to gab to about every little thing that transpires, which is why they so often they say things like, “Please stay on the line in case anything happens.”

You might well think that just because she is now talking to a friend, your chance for a conversation with her is over, but you’d be wrong. Remember: most women are polite and friendly. If her headphones didn’t stop you, why would a regular phone do so?

Again, the main thing is confidence, which is why you must not back down whether she’s talking to a friend on the phone, or the woman in a couple whose eye she caught and who are now walking alongside her, or a bouncer, doorman, taxi driver, or police officer.

Despite what a lot of less enlightened men think, most women today don’t play around. If a woman doesn’t want to talk you, she’ll find a way to tell you in a way that makes you understand she means it, instead of playing games like trying to get away from you or telling you to go away.

Don’t worry too much if the law gets involved. Police officers, prosecutors, and judges are even more likely than women to be polite and friendly about this sort of thing.

Now, a lot of women have been upset by this article because they are imagining that the guy doing all this must be some kind of creep, right? Well, shame on them for making assumptions. I am not the least bit creepy and I do not know why so many women have decided I must be.

The key — aside from confidence — is to make sure you are not a creep when you do this. The difference between a guy who is being creepy and one who is being genuinely nice is so obvious that any woman will be able to tell and respond accordingly.

There is nothing at all wrong with two people, provided that one is a man and one is a woman, meeting and having the real unmistakable spark that comes from a sincere social interaction arising organically from a genuine connection, as in this example:

Me: *smiling in a confident, easy-going manner at a woman in the mall* “Hello! I know it is unusual to approach someone who is wearing headphones, which is why I certainly do not have an elaborate step-by-step system for doing so, ha-ha, but you are so hot I had to make an exception to my general rule of not doing so!”

Friendly, Polite Woman: “I am so impressed that you spontaneously overcame your adherence to obvious social conventions in order to talk to me. You must be really brave and handsome.”

Me: “And I know karate. Step 2 in my system for talking to women who are wearing headphones is to add some light humor to generate some heat. I don’t normally talk to girls with headphones on, but your big green headphones called to me!”

(Note that most women don’t “get” humor, so be prepared for even a brilliant joke like this to confuse her. That’s okay! Most women are polite and friendly enough to laugh anyway.)

Her: “Um, okay. Ha. Ha.”

Me: “Step 3 is to let you know that I have other things going on so I won’t stand here talking to you for thirty minutes. I am just doing some [shopping] at this [mall] as [human beings] do. Yourself?”

Her: “Uh, yeah. I’m also doing that.”

Me: “Well, great! I have to get on with my [shopping] but I am enjoying our conversation. The 4th and final step is for me to ask for your phone number so we can continue it later. This conversation. About [shopping].”

Her: “This is everything I have ever wanted in a conversation or a man. Please take me now while continuing to talk to me and ruin me for all other men and conversations forever.”

I guarantee that if you find friendly, polite woman and approach her as I have outlined, it will happen exactly as I have described. Believe me. I can prove it. I have had this exact conversation dozens of times with women who turned out to be rude and hostile and it never went like this with them. This is how I know that as soon as I find a woman who is polite and friendly the way all women should be, it will go exactly as I have described.

Nothing wrong with that. Just one man and one woman forming a genuine connection in a sincere interaction.

Common Mistakes That Guys Who Talk To Women With Headphones On Make

1 — Not Confident Enough

I cannot say this often: confidence, confidence, confidence.

Talking to a woman, especially at a bus stop or in an elevator whatever is a bit like being a hostage-taker. You’re not actually holding her hostage, or even threatening her. Some guys will harm or even kill a woman for turning them down, but since they look exactly the same as every other guy who might corner a woman in a bar, it’s not like any woman will be thinking this of you!

But even while there is no implication of physical violence to the scenario, it is, in some ways, as though you’ve taken a hostage (the woman) and you’re using it to extort a ransom (her number).

Put yourself in her shoes. Imagine you’re a hostage. Whom are you more likely to obey, the hostage-taker who brandishes a weapon with confidence and states his demands boldly and confidently, or the one who looks down at his shoes and mutters, “Um, uh, er, it might be nice if…”

If you think about it, the meek hostage-taker is doing himself and his victim both a disservice, because by acting in a manner that is less likely to be respected and obeyed, he increases the chance that the kidnapping will go south and end badly for all involved.

So when you talk to a woman, for God’s sake, put yourself in her shoes and act accordingly. This is called empathy, by the way.

2 — Don’t Give Up So Easily

It’s true what they say: headphones are a great barrier between a person and the world. Some women, having been told this by a man, have begun using this knowledge in the only way they can: to test the confidence of men who approach them.

If a woman does not take out her headphones when you instruct her to, it may be because of one of the two permissible exemptions outlined above, or it may be because she is not polite and friendly like most women. There remains a third possibility, though: she might be waiting to see if you have the drive to power through and seal the deal.

How can you tell if this is the case? It’s no secret that I offer great advice about how to approach women, but this is a path that you must walk alone. Only you, there, with your boots on the ground, can read the situation and determine what the woman wants. No one else can do it for you. Not me, certainly not her, not anyone.

Whatever you decide is the case, remember: the most important thing is confidence. Stick to your guns. Just like a hostage-taker would.

3 — Asking Women If They Want To Be Approached When They Are Using Headphones

This is a big mistake. It’s a confusing time waster that only serves to muddy the waters around this contentious and controversial topic. I can tell you confidently (confidence is key) that I already asked a woman and she told me that she likes men who are confident and would be impressed if the right guy came up and did as I described.

Further, she assured me that she is not like those other girls and also she sometimes eats pizza and plays video games, but not so she can complain about the outfits the characters wear because she understands that she is a guest in gamer culture and it’s her job to make us comfortable, not the other way around.

Obviously you wouldn’t want to date a woman like this, but it is useful to keep one around for when you have questions. This is also an important lesson for us modern men: it really isn’t true that women are only good for one thing.

4 — Reading Comments Or Responses To An Article You Wrote About Talking To Women Wearing Headphones

If you think it’s bad to ask women, just imagine how much worse it is when you don’t and they tell you anyway. There’s something downright rude, threatening, almost about the kind of responses I get when I write a piece like this.

Women I would never have sought out a conversation with, who are not at all the type of women I would even want to talk to, virtually come up to me and demand I give them my attention and listen to whatever they want to blather about.

There is such a hypocritical double standard. If men expected women to put up with this sort of thing, there would be riots in the street.

5 — Washing Pepper Spray With Water

This is a rookie mistake, like reaching for a glass of water when you take a bite of spicy food. Water only spreads the acrid substances around, maybe diluting it a little but doing nothing to neutralize it.

This is pretty much basic chemistry. Capsaicin, an acid, has a low pH which causes it to damage your sensitive tissues and attack your nerves. What you need is a base, a high-pH alkaline substance, to counter it.

I know what you’re thinking: it’s not like you have a handy jug of alkaloids just conveniently sitting around, right?

Right! And you wouldn’t want to throw them on your face if you did. The good news is that while the overall pH level of common household milk is on the low side of neutral, it contains sufficient bases to neutralize the burn while also being cool and refreshing. Be careful, as while it will soothe, it will not remove the acidic oils. Gentle application of any soap will do that, though mild detergent with a de-greaser may be most effective.

These tips will not only help take the “sting” out of a momentary setback, they can help you take the conversation farther once you have exhausted the obvious aspects of how a woman using pepper spray on you makes it harder for you to talk to her.

Approaching Women

If you’re a lot like me, you may have noticed that women don’t ever start conversations with you or stay in places where they have to be alone with you.

This is because women instinctively know it is the man’s role to be the confident one who makes the first move, and if necessary the second, third, fourth, and fifth one. If you’re not willing to do that, you will never meet a woman, and since women rely on you to make the first move, this means women would never meet men, either. A lot is riding on your willingness to go up and talk to a woman, no matter what signals she may be inadvertently giving off.

Try not to let the pressure get to you! Remember: confidence is key.

They key to talking to a woman is to be confident, easy-going, and relaxed. Just act like you don’t have a care in the world, like you don’t care about anything, not what she thinks or what she’s doing or what words tumble out of her pretty little mouth.

And remember above all else: just be yourself.


Alexandra Erin is an Alfie Award-winning humorist, author, poet, and blogger. Her work is mostly self-published and crowdfunded. If you enjoyed this post or it made your day better or your world brighter, please show your appreciation via PayPal, or by supporting her ongoing work on Patreon.