Book 23 of 52: The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Getting Girls by Lisa Altalida

My usual MO when riding the PATCO high speed line from New Jersey into Philadelphia is to read a book and turn my headphones loud enough that I can’t hear whatever else is going on around me. Not exactly the safest thing to do, but it does keep me from hearing what happened at happy hour.

I live near a PATCO station, too, and wonder what it would be like to ride the train every day, and think that, if I did, how it would be a great place to pick up guys — if I could just get over my desire not to hear about what happened at happy hour and take out my ear buds.

One night a few weeks ago, a young man broke through my iPod bubble in the simplest way possible: by catching my eye and waving at me. How nice, I thought.

I wish I could say that this vignette has a happy ending, but the reason I’m writing about it here is because said gentleman is in desperate need of The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Getting Girls. He followed up that wave by telling me he’d just gotten fired and that it was a good thing because he was an aspiring Christan rapper anyway. When I told him that I owned my house, he said “Wow, you must be rich!” and pressed for more information as to my exact salary. Yup, definite candidate for this book.

But why am I reading it? Because, as I mentioned in my last post, I’m working on an article about dating books that are written for guys. And where better to start than with a Idiot’s or Dummies guide? That brings me to this book. While I lean toward the Dummies guides (Home Buying For Dummies, Jack Russell Terriers for Dummies, Getting Your Book Published for Dummies), the Idiot’s Guides publicist already sent this one my way so I’d consider it for another dating article I’ working on. As the title suggests, The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Getting Girls is pocket sized, and at only 197 pages, didn’t take too long to read. Perfect book to start me on how to pick up chicks journey.

Nothing in this book is rocket science (Surprised? I’m not, either). The tips don’t stray too far from common sense, but there are guys who could probably benefit from seeing them in print, including that guy on PATCO (I ended that conversation by waiting for his seatmate to catch his attention, which is when I jammed my iPod buds back into my ears, and my nose back into my book). Meat heads could also used Altalida’s advice that talking about your workout is not a topic you should go on and on about. I spend a lot of time at the gym, but I don’t like talking about reps and sets all the time, and any guy trying to engage me in a debate about protein bars is probably a lost cause.

For $9.95, it’s not a bad deal if you need to brush up on your pick up skills, or are that guy from the PATCO. But my advice? Just say hello. Gets my attention every time.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.


  1. Jess Riley on January 14, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Oh my goodness. “You must be rich!” I kind of laughed out loud at that.

  2. Franje on January 18, 2008 at 1:41 am

    Alas, just saying ‘hello’ doesn’t work. I would not be able to buy this book because it is written by a woman. I have experienced too many times that women’s advice on meeting and picking up women to be so erroneous, as to be laughable.

    I enjoyed your review of Strauss’ book. It’s not all common sense, as that would be like saying women’s reactions in the dating world are logical.

    I hope you haven’t been offended by what I wrote here. None of it was written in a tone of anger. Remember, text doesn’t convey emotion.

  3. Jen A. Miller on January 18, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Oh, no problem franje! I put these reviews out there so people can comment, arge and debate. As long as the language stays PG-13, you can say whatever you like!

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