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By Gina Bever

"How much do you think a polar bear weighs?"

Oh, snap! Is it Trivia Night?

Oh, wait. Is that this guy's opening line?

Oh, my. Where's that creepy pick-up artist dude Mystery when you need him?

Lest you think I am a cold-hearted wench, I did give Mr. Arctic Explorer points for originality and played along with a guess of 1,500 pounds.

I know it's difficult to talk to strangers, especially of the feminine variety -- or at least it seems that way. Why else would there be an audience for that truly horrifying show, "The Pick-Up Artist" on VH-1? (Okay, I have watched it once or twice, but in my defense, I was so jet-lagged I barely knew my own name.)

But, gentleman, I promise you don't have to turn to the World Almanac, or a Las Vegas magician with funky facial hair named "Mystery," to work on your game.

The truth is if a single woman is out on the town or even in the produce section at the market, there's a really good chance she would love to talk to you. But you have to talk to her first. Why?

Because.

Because that's the way things worked for cavemen and cavewomen. And Antony and Cleopatra (Oh, wait, I think she actually talked to him first. Never mind.). And Romeo and Juliet.

But please leave the cheesy pick-up lines and trivia questions at home. In the back of your medicine cabinet. Next to that old, dusty bottle of Drakkar Noir. C'mon, you're better than that!

So what is the best way to start a conversation with a lovely lady? Here's My Fool-Proof, Three-Step Conversation-Starting program:

Step One: Make sure the lady in question has looked over and smiled at you at least twice before talking to her. These smiles are anthropological proof that she's interested. Seriously. It's a scientifical fact.

Step Two: Make sure your fly is zipped, nothing is in your teeth, and erase all cheesy pick up lines from your brain.

Step Three: Walk over to her. Smile. Say, "Hi." Or "So, what are you drinking? It looks good." Bonus points if you offer to buy her another drink. Your reward for forking out a little cash for another Cosmo? A captive, female audience for at least 20 minutes. Unless she's really rude and scoots with her drink. And who wants to talk to a rude girl anyway?

I think you'll find my fool-proof, three-step conversation-starting program friendly AND effective. Or your money back! (If I haven't spent it already on shoes.)

And if I ever see Mr. Arctic Explorer out and about, I'm going to ask him the airspeed velocity of a coconut-laden swallow. Just for fun.

Gina Bever is a local public relations professional and woman-about-town. She's known for providing her friends -- male and female -- with thousands of hours of free therapy and (asked for) relationship advice.

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