Stammer Time

Stammer Time

I can’t talk to really pretty girls. If I’m talking to a girl I’m not that interested in or a dude, I’m golden. But if I’m attracted to a girl, my thoughts get totally scrambled. After a party, I walked this sweet, gorgeous girl to her car. She said some funny or cute thing about me, and I meant to say something witty back. Instead, I just said, “Huh.” Somehow, it was all I had at that moment. It felt too awkward to keep standing there, so I just mumbled goodbye and walked to my car. Pathetic, huh?
— Kicking Myself

It’s good to keep a woman guessing — but not as to whether you want her to go out with you or give you the Heimlich maneuver.

A Dutch study confirmed what you and most of us already know — that talking to a hot woman can turn a man’s brain into a pudding cup. The researchers —a team led by Dr. Johan C. Karremans — did the study after one of them was chatting up a “very attractive girl” he’d just met, intent on impressing her, but when she asked him where he lived, he suddenly couldn’t remember his street address.

University of Chicago researcher Dr. Sian Beilock, author of “Choke” — a book about overcoming performance anxiety in sports, business, and the arts — explains that we have different types of memory. The type crapping out on you every time your head says “Well, hello, beautiful!” is “working memory,” the cognitive horsepower that allows you to hold relevant information in mind (and protect that information from disappearing) while you’re trying to do something else. Stressing about what a woman might think of you and overthinking things you normally do without much thought, like tossing around witty banter, depletes working memory resources that would otherwise be available — maybe to the point where you find yourself glancing around the bar for help recalling the simplest facts about yourself: “My name? Uh…Bud. Bud Light.”

You stop the pretty ladies from pulling the fire alarm in your head and evacuating your every thought the same way you, haw-haw, get to Carnegie Hall — practice. Beilock lays out numerous examples that suggest that the more you practice under pressure the less likely you’ll be to choke when the stress is on. For example, golfers who had their putting practice sessions videotaped and judged by coaches did much better in competition than those who practiced without scrutiny.

You, likewise, would probably be helped by going out and practicing hitting on hot women with your friends watching in the wings or — better yet, to raise the stakes — with them watching and placing bets with you on how you’ll do. To avoid self-conscious overthink, shift your focus from fretting about what a woman thinks of you to having a good time saying things you find interesting and fun. With practice, words should stop deserting you and you should have fewer grammatical accidents, making you far less likely to compliment a beautiful woman on how smashing she looks with, “Drop dead, gorgeous.”

(c)2013, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail ( Weekly radio show:

Categories: Advice, Advice Goddess