Man Law #62 – Institute “Always-Already”
The term “Always-Already” was first introduced to me while sitting in a Social Theory class by a professor who made her own clothes. Despite her waist length dread locks reminiscent of a 70s hippy at Woodstock, she had a great way of teaching and getting the class involved in the subject manner.
In this particular class, “Always-Already” was applied to society as things that were always in motion as if “without question”. For instance, we use money and would never think of any other form of payment. Our parents used money, their parents before them, and their parents before them, all used paper currency in transactions. Although people may work out different arrangements such as the barter system, it’s generally accepted in modern society that at the end of the two week period, our paycheck will come in the form of monetary compensation and not a four-week supply of milk.
This concept also can effectively be applied to a person-to-person situation. Instead of thinking of a formal meet-and-greet (“Hi, My Name Is”) that you might use in a business setting, when you are at a party/bar/lounge, it’s BEST to act as-if you already know each other – “Always-Already”. It works. For instance, if you are at a bar, and you are standing next to a girl and the bartender looks to you for payment, point to her and say “She’s got this round.” I have done this countless times with complete strangers and it has never failed to break the ice. But the power of it is that it doesn’t have to be at a bar or a party, you can use this “Always-Already” concept anywhere. It turns out that “What you say” is less important than “How you say it“. If you are completely comfortable in the situation and don’t come across as overly eager or ogling at her, she will easily play along. In fact, many women are masters at using this to “pick-up” guys. They are so good at this that most of the time, we don’t even know its happening.
Another instance to practice this is in something I’d like to call the “Elevator Exercise”. The elevator is a great place to strike up conversations with strangers. Chances are, you will NEVER see these people again. You only have a few seconds to make a clever statement. No matter what the person looks like – male, female, old, young, fat, skinny – act as if you already know the person and say something. While you would guess this would be a no-pressure situation yet for some reason, many people feel awkward when standing in a confined space with a complete stranger. It might seem odd to try this out at first, but if you can walk away with a person’s contact information such as a business card from a few seconds interaction, you’ve successfully mastered this concept. The key component is to not act like you are going to be there that long or that you are walking into a job interview with an “Ask me anything” expression. You have a purpose and reason to be where you are, and just couldn’t resist the brunette standing next to you.
Matt Damon in The Departed did this perfectly…Observe. Take Notes. This is the absolute epitome of a great pick up: