(With apologies to Dan Bacon, The ModernMan, author of “How to Talk to a Woman Who is Wearing Headphones.”)
These days many Trump voters walk around playing with a smartphone or tablet device and are often wearing headphones and listening to Alex Jones yelling, Sean Hannity shouting, or Paul Ryan weeping quietly in the dark.
Yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them.
Of course, not all Trump voters are open to being approached because not all of them are looking for a political discussion, and most of them are wary of your condescension and contempt.
However, if a Trump voter wearing headphones is hoping to have an illuminating and civil conversation about the 2016 campaign, she will usually be happy to take off her headphones to give you an opportunity to create a spark with her.
Her taking off her headphones doesn’t always mean that she is super interested and wants you to ask for her number. Sometimes, it’s simply a case of her being open to what you’ve got to say and to then see where it goes. If all goes well, she could realize the error of her ways and change her vote!
What to Do to Get Her Attention
1. Stand in front of her (with 1 to 1.5 meters between you—any farther apart and a third party could insert itself into the conversation, so be careful).
2. Have a confident, easy-going smile—a smile that obscures your lingering panic that Trump could actually win the election.
3. If she hasn’t already looked up at you, simply get her attention with a wave of your I’M WITH HER sign. Wave your sign in her direct line of vision so she can see it.
4. When she looks at you, smile, point to her headphones and confidently ask,“Can you take off your headphones for a minute?”as you pretend to be taking headphones off your head, so she fully understands what you mean. If that doesn’t work, call up Sean Hannity’s radio show and ask him to dedicate Ted Nugent’s “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” to “a special someone who should take off her headphones.”
5. If she takes off her headphones to talk to you, do what we call “acknowledging the awkwardness” by quickly mentioning something about the potential awkwardness of the moment (see the conversation example below):
I have to go over and say hi and convince her she’s wasting her vote on a sociopathic narcissist.
For example, in a swing-state shopping mall:
You: Hey—I know it’s not normal for people to talk to someone with headphones in, but I was walking along and saw you and thought: ‘wow, she looks like a Trump supporter, I have to come over and say hi and convince her she’s wasting her vote on a sociopathic narcissist.’ I’m Dan, what’s your name?
You: [Add in some humor to get her smiling and create a spark between you—for instance, you could read her an article by Andy Borowitz, the greatest political satirist of our age, a.k.a. “Dr. Belly Laugh.”] Cool . . . nice to meet you Jessica. I don’t normally talk to Trump voters with headphones, but your big green headphones were just calling out to me.
Woman: [Possibly smiling or laughing, or reaching for her handgun.]
You: Anyway, I’m just out doing a bit of shopping at the moment. I buy organic, sustainably sourced products. They cost a little more, but they remind me that I can participate in a consumer economy without compromising my integrity. How about you?
If it’s clear that she’s interested in talking to you, keep the conversation going. Sit down with her and have a chat for a while before getting her email address and promising to send her some illuminating articles from your favorite web sites.
Three Common Mistakes That Guys Make When Approaching Trump Voters Who Are Wearing Headphones
1. Approaching in a nervous manner
If you want the interaction to go smoothly and not feel awkward for either of you, make sure that you approach and talk to her in a relaxed, confident manner. This may be difficult if you don’t usually socialize with Trump supporters, or if you’re a little bit scared of them.
Most Trump voters are attracted to strength in men (e.g. confidence, masculinity) and turned off by weakness (e.g. nervousness, anxiety), so if you are nervous or anxious, she probably won’t be interested in talking to you.
For example: If a guy asks a Trump voter to take off her headphones and the first words out of his mouth are, “Hi, ummm . . . I was, ummm . . . wondering, ummm . . . sorry to interrupt . . . do you realize that you’re a racist?” you can guess what will happen next: Headphones back in and she’ll likely turn up the volume to block him out.
2. Sticking to polite or reserved conversation
If a guy gets a Trump voter to take off her headphones and then only engages her in a polite, reserved conversation, she’s probably not going to be very enthusiastic about talking to him for long. After all, Trump voters are used to high-energy spectacles.
So, make sure that you have the confidence to talk to her and be real—but with 1,000 percent more energy. Just let your natural personality and sense of humor come through as you yell at her in a confident, easy-going manner.
3. Not leading the conversation
If a shy guy stands in front of a Trump voter and is lost for words, she’s most likely going to just put her headphones back in, or say “The wall just got ten feet taller” as she walks away.
You have approached her, so you can’t expect her to be the one making all the conversation. You’ve got to lead the way. Leading a conversation with a Trump voter is not about bossing her around, being arrogant or being too assertive. It’s about marshalling facts to convince her that Clinton is a better candidate, even though she (Clinton) is the embodiment of a neoliberal system that has contributed to the profound economic anxiety (and subsequent shame) of millions of white Americans who had always assumed being upwardly mobile was their birthright, and are now struggling with the pain of lowered expectations for their children.
This can be a difficult needle to thread. It’s one of the reasons I would rather eat a bag of batteries than talk to a Trump voter. It’s also one of the reasons most Trump voters would rather leave their headphones on than talk to me. The reality of our current situation, and the sad emptiness of so much political discourse in the face of America’s inevitable decline, is simply too painful for most of us to acknowledge in conversation.
Next week I will teach you how to talk to an octopus wearing false eyelashes.