Asking strangers questions is not polite, it’s rude.
The other day I was at the airport waiting to catch my flight back to Washington DC and I had the great displeasure of watching a train wreck happen. There was an older gentlemen trying to get the attention of a younger woman.
Age differences aside, the painful conversation went a little like this:
Him: “Hey, your ankle tattoo, where did you get it?”
Her: “I got it a local tattoo shop.”
Him: “It’s pretty cool. Did it hurt a lot? I heard it hurts.”
Her: “Yep. The parts closest to my ankle hurt the most.”
Him: “Wow. Why did you pick that design?”
Her: “I don’t know. I just liked.”
Him: “So you just put on your ankle because you liked it huh? Did it cost a lot?”
Her: “Not really.”
Him: “How much does it cost?”
Her: “Uh, rather not say”
Him: “Really? Why not?”
Her: “I can’t remember.”
Him: “So, do you have any other tattoos?”
That is when I stopped paying attention to this painful exchange.When strangers ask other strangers questions, unless it’s for the time or where something may be, it is completely rude and inappropriate to ask questions that are none of their business. The woman was being friendly enough at first with the inquiries, but when it became obvious that this idiot was going keep pestering her with questions, she became visibly uncomfortable with the regret of having to interact with him.
The problem with questions is that it begs for an answer. When a someone ask a question, one is soliciting information from another person. You are essentially asking for their help and when it is form a complete stranger, that person may have no desire nor obligation to help you.
The better approach for men looking to meet women and create the opportunity for mutually enjoyable conversation, is to simply avoid asking questions and stick to making statements of fact. “Hey, I like your tattoo,” is a masculine, leading approach that implies that I want nothing more than you do from our interaction. Take it or leave it.