I like it when strangers talk to me. I tend to do things to cultivate whatever it is about me that allows complete strangers to strike up conversation with me as though they've known me for a long time.
One of my favourite ways of doing so is the Witty Banter Game. This works well on pretty girls, which is possibly why it is one of my favourites. Basically, I hold a private conversation with one of my friends, but I do so in a slightly over-projected voice. I make sure the subject matter is something generic enough that anyone can chime in. Pepper the conversation with a few jokes and voila, people suddenly want to talk to you. I have two friends who are particularly good foils for me in this game. They both have deep, projectable voices and are good straight-men.
Another thing that's good for making people talk to you is gardening. I recently got a little plot at the community centre. On the first day I had two complete strangers tell me their life stories. Since then lots of people have stopped to chat with me while I'm gardening. Everything from agricultural advice, to recounting random memories that have somehow been dredged up by my garden, to "pretty flowers!"
Yesterday I set up the sprinkler and sat in my lawn chair reading while my garden was watered. There is quite possibly nothing more entertaining than a sprinkler in a public place which is frequented by small children.
So my latest attention grabber is my new fedora. It's taken me a really long time to find a suitable hat. My head is huge and sort of round and just generally not a good place to perch a hat. This one works, though. It has been, by far, the best tool for attracting strangers' attention. Last, night about 1:30AM as I was walking down Front St, someone actually yelled out of her car, "nice hat!"
I wore it to the club last weekend. It was a total hit. Although I have to be honest, a lot of strangers want to put it on. I keep having these flashbacks grade 3 when they talked about lice and so forth. One girl who wanted to try on my hat evidently had the same flashback.
"It's okay, we don't have lice or any diseases," she promised.
"You know," I said, "that's not a very good pickup line."