As you may know, I read English and History at university. As an English major, I was taught that being well-versed in the English language was a prerequisite of being a good gentleman. So-called “good English,” especially in Hong Kong nowadays, has become a new Latin where the language of our generation has become vulgar.
The drive to become “well-cultured” is therefore a battle against “vulgarity” and “barbarism”. As the English department drove to “acculturate” students into well-learned and respectable ladies and gentlemen, I think I should do the same by starting a series called “English lessons.” In this series, I will give some practical English tips.
Learning a language is far more than learning just the language itself. Language reflects how a culture communicates its values. Language is culture. The first lesson: how to use English to pick up guys. You have to hit on a guy as if you are not hitting on him. In essence, even though you are really hitting on him, you have to act like a lady in so doing.
Scenario: Ask for directions
You see a handsome guy on the street. Opportunities are given to those who seize them. Don’t think. Just go up to him, and ask for directions.
Pardon me, Sir. I’m afraid I’m lost. Would you be so kind as to show me the way to (location) ?
Your destination could be just around the corner. He points out the direction. Don’t stop there. If he doesn’t know the way, go directly to Step 3.
You are too kind. I don’t know if this might be too much to ask for, but I’m really poor with directions. (Pause) Would it be possible for you show me the way if it wouldn’t bother you too much?
If he says he’s busy, don’t let him go yet. But if he takes the effort to walk you to your destination, go directly to Step 4 below.
It’s alright. I really appreciate your time. (Smile) Do you happen to work nearby? I ask because I’m unfamiliar with this area and would like to know where I could find (a 7-11 / an MTR station / a bus stop, etc.).
Unless he’s already late to a meeting, chances are he will probably answer your question just to be polite. Depending on his answer, ask him to elaborate. Chat for half a minute or so, but not too long.
Thank you so much for taking the time. You must be extremely busy. My name is (…) and I’m very glad to have met you. I hope there is a way to contact you in the future, (in case I would need your advice about the area / to meet you for lunch if I happen to be around this area, etc.) ?
The last sentence isn’t actually a question. As you’re saying it, you take your phone out and be ready to hand it to him to put his own number on yours. And ask him to input his name.
It was a pleasure to meet you, (his name). I’m afraid I have used up too much of your time. You must be terribly late. I hope to chat with you soon. (Smile) Good bye!
See, that wasn’t so difficult. The most difficult part is actually having the guts to leave your comfort zone to practice your “good English” with strangers. Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers. Because chances are, he’s probably more afraid of you, than you are of him.