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Jana Hocking: Why men should bring back the art of pick up

Jana says you should pretend until you make it! Photo/Instagram @janahocking


So something happened to me last Friday night that literally reignited my dating spark! I’ll be honest, I feel a little blaaaah about the whole dating scene lately, having just experienced my millionth breakup “sort of”. You know what I mean, we weren’t officially a couple, but we were more than just a casual affair.

Anyway, as is my style, it all ended in fireworks, and I did what any normal person going through a nocturnal existential crisis would do…I booked a trip to London and decided to really throw caution (and bad guys) to the wind! Sidenote: What recession? ! This is a problem that the “future Jana” must worry about.

So when my newly divorced friend came over to my house on Friday night and asked me to put on a dress and go out with her, you could say I did it reluctantly.

We went to a local bar/restaurant down the street and ordered a bottle or a rosé, all the delicious carbs we could eat, and decided to right the wrongs of the world in an almighty rant. It was glorious. I wasn’t even in the mood to peek at the guys, and that’s when, dear friends, it happened.

I felt a warm hand on my back and a bearded man leaned into my ear and asked me what I wanted to drink. There was something about this server that just gave me the “va va vooms”. I can not explain it.

I ordered a dirty gin martini pronto, and he brought it with a warm smile and said, “This one’s on the house.”

You could have shot me with a feather. It’s been so long since a real guy in real life had the confidence to offer me a drink.

What followed next was a really delicious “on the house” ice cream and then another “on the house” glass of wine. All the while, he was constantly watching our table, making small talk, and giving me those good old lingering looks I hadn’t seen in my twenties.

It made me realize, we really lost the art of capturing in real life. We’ve become so engrossed in the swipe left, swipe right for dating, that we’ve forgotten the excitement and sexual tension that comes with meeting someone sporadically, and, to put it in terms most Australians… “have a crack!”

Sure, it takes a bit of bravado, a healthy dose of guts and maybe a bit of Dutch guts, but I tell you what, nothing else can top that feeling. And can I just say, for those of you who are thinking “Oh no, no, it’s really not worth the risk of being rejected” – You. Are. Bad!

No sane person would ever be offended by someone trying to pick it up. It’s a bit of a win/win. See, if we don’t like you, we’re still glad you found us attractive enough to try, so we’ll be nice to you. And if we like you, doesn’t that make a great story for your wedding day!

So I would like to launch a petition to revive the art of pick-ups! Yes, we spent enough time in our comfort caves during the lockdown. It’s time to get hooked up, pause the dating apps for a brief break, and get out into the real world.

It had been a long time since anyone had the confidence to buy Jana a drink in real life.  Photo/Instagram @janahocking
It had been a long time since anyone had the confidence to buy Jana a drink in real life. Photo/Instagram @janahocking

Here are three solid tips that work for me:

1. Fake it until you make it!

Confidence will take you everywhere. Enter the room as if it were yours. Sure, you can freak out inside, but have you ever tried that experiment where you pretend to laugh, and for some reason it instantly puts you in a good mood? Well, try this with confidence.

Give yourself a little pep talk before entering the pub. Something like… I’m not going to stare at my phone all night, I’m going to hold my head up high and be confident.

There are so many times I’ve been attracted to someone who isn’t stereotypically attractive, but they possessed their charisma and it made me weak in the knees. Seriously, pretend until you do.

2. Eye contact

You need a signal before you make your move, otherwise yes, it can feel a bit scary when someone talks to you out of the blue. So scan the room and try to watch someone you like.

According to the google-sphere, a normal person tends to hold contact for about 3 seconds, but if they hold it for 4-5 seconds, that’s a good sign that they’re into you, and it’s worth checking out. go chat. Don’t forget to blink…otherwise, like I said…scary!

3. Keep the conversation light and fun

Remember that you don’t know anything about this person who caught your eye, so keep the initial conversation very cold. Anything too intense might feel thirsty and desperate. Maybe comment on the drink they ordered or ask if their meal was worth ordering? The smallest thing can spark a good conversation.

So go ahead and be brave this weekend. And if you’re wondering about the guy who picked me up… well… twist… he’s married! Yes, my girlfriend really needs to get better at detecting those big metal bands on a guy’s finger. Cheeky bugger! So I won’t be getting married anytime soon, but glad to know I still have it.

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