The fine art of talking to strangers

Noelle Pennyman

With the club scene growing less attractive because of the many dangers, the opportunity to meet guys is dwindling.

For those who don’t like to mix business with pleasure, the workplace and extracurricular activities are canceled out for a potential place to meet dating hopefuls. So the few places left are classes, night clubs, online and random places.

But when it is OK to give or take numbers from strangers you meet in random places?

Two of my friends were recently “hit on” during spring break by men they did not know. My one friend was hit on by a 50-something-year-old man and the other was hit on by what appeared to be a 30-year-old man.

The former is obviously put in the discard pile because of his age and the possibility of being a pervert is high because why else would a man well into his golden years want to date a girl barely starting out. But the 30-year-old could be a possibility. He was reasonably attractive and considerably nice.

However, a person has to be cautious and not mistake crazy for nice.

I have the notion that there’s an explanation for why a person talks to a stranger for no reason. Whether it’s how they look, how they interact with others or their laugh, something has to attract a person enough to make them get the courage to talk to a complete unknown. Are their motives always noble?

I’m not the type to talk to strangers, and if I get a hint of psychotic nature, I run in the opposite direction. I could be throwing away possible dates or I could be remaining safe. The distinction is unknown.

For some reason the only ones who seem to come my friends’ and my way are the ones who should be in straight jackets. I don’t know if we have an invisible sign that says “We’ll take anything,” but it never fails that I have to look for alternative exits in case something should go awry.

When a person dates a stranger, there will always be the unknown about them. Yes, a person can get to know them and the people in their lives, but they may never truly “know” the person. There are the checkered pasts and the skeletons in the closets.

A lot of relationships start through acquaintances. That way, a person can have some background information and at least have some kind of knowledge of the person before going on a date.

There is also the wonderful world of Facebook and MySpace. It’s come to a point in dating where if they don’t have a profile on either Facebook or MySpace, there’s no point to pursue.

So without the common friend or family member, Facebook or MySpace, a person is pretty much left in the dark.

If a person decides that it’s OK to date a stranger, they are really relying on the other person to tell the complete truth.

It really comes down to a compromise. People have to be willing to walk into a situation blindly and take a chance on a relationship. But that is dating anyway.

Noelle Pennyman is a junior public relations major and a columnist at the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].