Eugenie Bouchard recently posted a “December mood” snap on Instagram. The image? Herself sitting on the beach, with a friend dancing in the background. She then asked in the comments: “You go to the beach and see this, wyd [what do you do]?”
This is nothing new for the 26-year-old Canadian tennis star, who resides in Miami and often offers followers glimpses into her life, and frequently stokes conversation in the comments.
A point of difference, however, is that this photo particularly suggests Instagram’s wittiness per capita (commenter?) has fallen to dreadful lows in 2020. After seeing the number of boring and creepy responses to Bouchard’s question, DMARGE spoke to relationship expert and advisor to Channel 10’s The Bachelor, Samantha Jayne, to ask: what the heck?
But first – here’s a few examples of the comments that rolled in. Some were gross (see: “put a towel over my lap” and “probably hope it’s a nude beach”) and some were weird (see: “cry and sing a lullaby”).
Others were depressingly honest (see: “I would not make visual contact and leave quietly” and “I’d think of something funny to say to get your attention, fail epically, spend the next few years of my life wondering why tf I said that”).
Then, though there were also a couple of half-decent (by comparison) responses (“It’s a Christmas miracle – I’d thank god for the opportunity”) there were also various creepy and threatening comments which don’t deserve airtime.
We asked Jayne why this happens. She said: “It’s funny, human nature. If a person has a tendency to hide behind their true self they are more likely to say horrific and over the top things online. That person clearly has issues with who they are and prefer to hide behind being anonymous. Just like a troll, they say whatever it is they want to hide their true identity because there is no consequence to their actions.”
“Bullies do the same, the find the people they perceive as weak and vulnerable use intimidation tactics to undermine the victim and get what they want however if they were to be faced with someone equal or with more power they cower.”
“Some of the comments could be ‘tongue in cheeky’ jokes, whereas others are serious. What’s important is to be your true self in person and online. Working on your confidence and inner happiness, when you are happy you are kinder to others. Being kind goes a long way.”
Jayne also told us, “Social media allows the two parties who would never cross paths [to] come together,” and that, in her view, Bouchard may have a mutualistic relationship with the commenters on her posts: “They are really just ways to grab attention, start conversations… getting more followers and standing out from the other everyday posts. They both benefit from the relationship. Bouchard gets the comments which means more people see the profile which means more followers and reach and these guys get the buzz of connecting with a beautiful woman who is out of reach normally.”
As for guys looking to build bridges online in genuine fashion, not as a passe pickup artist, Jayne stressed the importance of honesty: “Simplicity and keeping it real goes a long way when it comes to approaching women and getting a positive response.”
She also highlighted the importance of being aware of your environment. Making conversation at the beach is a slightly different ball game to striking up a conversation at a bar, for instance: “Keep it casual [at the beach] and keep your distance… because when you are wearing fewer clothes space needs to be larger so you don’t invade her space.”
“Starting up a conversation at the beach is different to the bar, less direct, more subtle and casual feeling more like a friendly conversation. That’s why eye contact, body language and tonality are important to spark up the attraction and flirting and keep her guessing which also creates more intrigue.”
As a general rule, “If you’re approaching [someone],” Jayne told us, focus on your common ground: “You might want to start with an innocent introduction, a compliment and then ask about their interests or anything you both are interested in. Keep the conversation light-hearted and give some time in between messages. This will spark interest and keep them guessing. These conversations might take some time to build rapport and connection however are worth it.”
Jayne also shared, in her opinion, many women actually find it a shame these days fewer guys have the confidence to approach them in real life – which may be down to the creepy “pickup” stigma that has come to be associated with these interactions.
“I hear women say all the time they wish a man would just call or meet her in person, get off the dating apps and stop texting.”
However, this is “NOT in a pickup artist approach where you have to be someone else but more in a way where you can be your best version by being your true authentic self by actually having a voice and living up to your own values and integrity,” Jayne added.
Read: approaching someone in itself isn’t (necessarily) what makes an interaction creepy or sleazy – it’s how you do it.
“Pick up artists are so passe. I think then it comes to approaching it’s important not to overthink it, just treat [the person you’re approaching] like a friend at first. Give them a compliment, ask questions and share something interesting about yourself. What are your talents, accomplishments that you could share with her without gloating. Women love a confident man who is intelligent and knows what she wants, talk about things you’re passionate about and confident about thins will spark her interest.”
“Treating the approaching like a game feels inauthentic and women can detect that desperation, keeping it real being yourself is a much better method of gaining success. The reality is there are plenty of fish in the sea, if it doesn’t work out with her it will work out with someone else.”
“The problem is not the approaching because women [often] like it, it’s actually the way it is being executed, are you being real or are you treating it like a game. The latter will fail in the end.”