“Ha-ha! Hu-man interaction!”
Self-published books are one of our best sources for pure, distilled ego and delusion. It takes a certain kind of person to say, “Well, I can’t get a literary agent, or a publisher, but my words must be read via kindle, so I shall do this myself!” This is directly responsible for a whole slew of intentionally and unintentionally (mostly unintentionally) hilarious books, with some of them managing to tackle topics other than fucking dinosaurs.
Similarly, pickup artists are one of our best sources for cringeworthy attempts to dilute 50% of our population into basically stop lights with vaginas, where people who, in theory, have had sex a few times with strangers have decided that they must tell their “secrets” to the world, which ends up being about as interesting as listening to a man shouting on the bus about getting a blowjob in an alleyway this one time. As long as you don’t take it seriously (and please, don’t, that implies they’re saying serious things) this too is a hilarious source of pure, distilled ego and delusion, as well as the most awkward almost alien attempts to mimic hu-man ver-bal interactions in existence.
With that in mind, we stumbled across this little doozy of a book by one Mohammed Zubair, who promises to give you over 500 examples of conversation starters so that you can achieve the one thing you, assuming you’re a male, or a lesbian we guess, were put on this planet to do—have grossly unsatisfying sex with someone you recently met at a bar. It’s incredible, and so, so awkward, and we had to tell you about it. It’s book review time!
AFFotD Book Review: Smooth Talking by Mohammed Zubair
Above you will find a sample page from the introduction of this “book” that “teaches” you how to talk to “women.” Now, if you’re actually considering buying this book, we should probably help you out by giving you a basic definition of the one word in the past sentence that might have confused you. See, a “woman” is a member of a gender that has, usually, boobies and also a little slit where you would find a penis normally. It’s very confusing, we know, but would you believe that they account for half of the world’s population, and they are even sometimes allowed to go outside, where you have a chance to talk to them. Now again, this is if you’re a member of the key demographic this book is trying to reach, but if you say the right things you apparently might be able to trick them into having sex with you, which as far as we’ve been able to discern from movies involves taking off your clothes and sort of wriggling on top of each other while soft music plays from an unidentifiable location.
Now for the rest of you that “fosters relationships” with “friends, old and new” and “function as a self-actualized human” you’ll notice that the way that Mr. Zubair’s approach to the dating scene involves quoting the dude from Deadwood while constantly mumbling to himself “you can do it! You’re the greatest! You can lift a car!”
How do you present yourself in public? Do you generally try to, you know, engage people in conversation and have fun? Do you adhere to some sort of social contract, and thus present yourself in a way that’s conscious and respectful of the way you might be perceived by others? Do you, if you’re an AFFotD staff member, show up drunk enough that fuck you I’ll TELL you when I’m overserved and then send a slew of apology texts the next day? No matter which option you chose, you’re doing it wrong, because Mr. Zubair has studied hu-man charisma, and knows the secrets that will make you the man of her life, whoever her is. Anyway, here is a 10 step process to be charismatic without having a discernible personality, according to Mr. Zubair, who believes he is the king of a small country, and who 50,231 people depend on.
Do you feel a bit uncomfortable right now? Congratulations, you can feel “shame” and experience “awkwardness.” Are you nodding along and saying, “Yeah, you know what, I always smirk in a manner that says I know that I’m sexy, and I’m always aiming my eyeballs directly at the pupils of women, because that’s where the blackness lies and I can bathe in it”? Then oh God, get off of this site and never come back, you’re totally a serial killer, aren’t you?
Let’s break down these helpful hints, shall we? Loosening up your body? That’s, like, fine. That’s a normal thing to request, assuming you’re a tense person, we guess. Move slowly? Um, depends on how slow, but again, not too strange. Looking directly ahead works, because that’s sort of like, how your head is situated on your neck, though that advice seems to be in conflict with the insistence that, when talking to the creepily nonspecific “her,” you look forward, but then to the side, and then forward again. You know, like you thought you saw a prettier girl behind her and then decided that you were still interested in the girl you’re talking to so that doesn’t matt….oh God, that’s totally what he actually thinks that conveys, doesn’t he? We were, like, just trying to make a joke about it, but that’s totally what he’s going for, oh God, we’re so sad right now.
You also are NOT ALLOWED TO STUTTER, w-w-w-which so-so-sometimes can’t be helped, it’s an actual speech disorder for s-s-s-some of us, you asshole. Also, make sure to speak a decibel louder. One. One single decibel. Keep in mind, if you’re talking with a raised voice in, say, a bar, you’re probably talking between 76-82 decibels. Take note of your volume, because we’re going to need you to add one to whatever you land on. Speaking at 78 decibels? Sorry, your words have 10% the power now. Hitting that 79 decibel sweet spot will ensure you can have an emotionally empty night of naked thrusting, post-coital weeping, that kind of awkward “putting on pants using one hand” hop you do while putting in a request for an uber on your phone. Finally, don’t talk about your emotions because if you try to talk about them, they will see through your hu-man disguise, as hu-man females do not understand the Cryptoid emotion of Flurmunon.
Plus, touching women subtly—okay, so long as things are heating up. But be subtle about it. Mohammed Zubair does not want you to unsubtly touch, a.k.a. actively hit, women. Probably.
By the way, that is the entirety of the introduction of this book. The rest literally consists of numbered examples of “conversations” that will “totally happen” when you talk to these “women.” Also, we’re going to get this out of the way—almost every one of these has “her” laughing at something that’s not a joke, and he always types it as “Ha-ha!” which, we don’t know, that’s weird right? Super weird, even? Like, we’ve been making jokes about this guy being an alien, but…that’s how an alien would describe laughter, right? “She expelled air and sound in merriment, saying ha-ha!” Anyway, here are a few sample “tips.”
This is not how people talk! This is not even how psychopaths interact. So hang on while we make a quick simile—having a conversation is a lot like playing a game of chess. If you think about conversations that way, it sort of makes sense—you make a move, wait for the opponent to respond to your move, and based on what they do, you have a series of options to go forward from there. So if you, the reader, typically have conversations that you could equate with a game of chess, Mohammed Zubair has conversations like a fucking checkers game.
Seriously, read those two “scenarios” and tell us in what world this actually would be considered an appropriate social interaction with a stranger. Well, okay, on the Cryptoid planet of Kazmishnon, sure, this is probably the norm, but on Earth, with people who actually spend much of their time around other people, this is creepy and weird and gross. Can guys go up to girls on the street and try to strike up a conversation? In theory, yes, so long as you’re not a creep about it and you recognize that most women would be annoyed. You know when people from random charities park themselves on the sidewalk and try to get you into a conversation so you can donate to their cause? That’s basically what it’s like for women when men go up to them on the street or on the “park/somewhere outside” and try to talk at them out of the blue. Sure, sometimes people engage them, and sign the petition, and that’s why they’re out on the sidewalk, but a good 95% of the people passing by just want to get to the fucking subway unmolested.
Either way, we can guarantee that if you say, “You caught my eye” to a random woman, the last response you will get is, “Ha-ha!”
We swear, we’re not going to make you read all 500 of the damn “useful examples” because we’re not monsters, but the first five here completely establish everything that’s terrifying with the world of Mohammed Zubair. So, we’ll go in order, to talk our female readers through the horror tremors they just experienced imagining a stranger going up to them and talking in the manners described in these scenarios. So number three starts by saying, “I DO JIU-JITSU (or any hobby of yours).” Really, guy? Jiu-jitsu is your default hobby? “What’s a normal hobby that hu-mans enjoy? Oh yes, the Brazillian martial arts, jiu-jitsu, you know how hu-man males are, they have bottled up emotions so they must grapple with other males, to express these emotions. Mate with me, female!”
Listen. As a general piece of advice to our female readers who have against all odds stuck with us this far—if a man ever goes up to you and says “I enjoy hitting dudes to express my bottled up emotions, how do you express yourself” run the fuck away. That’s the kind of meet-cute story that ends with a domestic disturbance call and a blurred out face on Cops. Do not engage, fucking run.
Now to number four. When was the last time you heard “What’s cooking, good looking” outside of a 1990’s sitcom? And who in the living hell responds to that like it’s a normal question!? “Ha-ha! I’m not cooking anything, I’m at a bar, silly, how are you doing, charismatic male who is speaking one decibel louder than I would have expected?” No, that’s, no. What is even happening with number four? There are TWO “ha-has” there, but also, this conversation makes no sense. “My day is doing great, don’t ruin it” is first off, a dickish way to say “I’m doing well” and also, saying “tell her about something awesome you recently did” as a response to “ha-ha! Why?” makes no fucking sense. Here’s how that conversation would go in real life.
You: What’s cooking, good looking?
Her: Excuse me?
You: Well I’m doing terribly good, ha-ha! Don’t ruin it for me!
Her: Um…I’m with people, so…
You: I bit the head off a hamster.
You: That was an awesome thing I did recently. I bit the head off a hamster. I took a life.
Her: I’m calling the police.
Finally, and we can’t stress this point enough, but the last item here is the exact same thing someone would tell a woman before knocking her out with chloroform and keeping her in a deep pit in their basement for years. “Hi, person minding their own business, you look lonely. How long could you last in solitary confinement? I am smirking. You look just like my mother. She didn’t understand me. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME. Ha-ha!” For legal purposes, we can’t say that Mohammed Zubair has killed women and is looking for a new victim as we speak, but we just typed that now didn’t we?
No. We’re gonna stop you right there. No. Do not ask a woman if she was a Playboy Playmate of the Month and think she will be pleased when you say, “Well, I normally only date models, but I think you fit my standards.” And also, no, the woman will not respond “ha-ha! Why?” to that, because there have been extensive studies to prove that women are smarter than sea cucumbers (science is fascinating!) so she’ll probably figure out that the sketchy guy who just started talking to her about his encyclopedic knowledge of what naked 21-year-old girls look like is trying to say that she looks like a model in the grossest way possible.
Also, please do not approach these suggestions like the Mad Libs they pretend to be, because if you stick to the script you will sound like an insane person. For example.
You: Where you from?
Her: Oh, well, I’m from Wisconsin, but I went to school in Chicago. How about you?
You: Oh no, a Wisconsin girl? You must be trouble.
Her: What does that even mean? What are you talking about? Are you even listening to me?
You: Wisconsin girls are very touchy.
Her: Why are you reading off of your hand? What’s going in? Is this some prank TV show or something?
We have one thing to say about this. And that is to just, zoom in on it. Like a lot.
“No, AFFotD, we get it, you don’t have to..”
Um, no. First of all, “tell me something good about yourself other than your looks” is a weird thing to say to a human woman, and “that’s hard” is a response that, hopefully, no woman would have. Now, we have a few women on staff, and our male staff members have sometimes talked to women, and one guy in HR once mentioned something called a Bechdel test which sounded pretty progressive and female-forward when he tried to describe it to us before the buzz set in. What we’re trying to say is that we’ve managed to interact with women enough to be pretty confident that, if you go to a random “her” and say “tell me something good about yourself” you will never get a response along the lines of “well, I’m attractive” because that’s a very shallow thing, and even shallow people know better than to openly come off as shallow.
Also, for a book that’s trying so hard to be general and leave the reader to insert their own hobbies or experiences as parenthetical suggestions (“describe something awesome you did”) that bald statement is super weird. Like super weird. First of all, there is a HUGE difference between shaving your head and “once going bald” because the latter is not something you come back from. This is something you can only say if you’re currently fucking bald. “I went bald, but the girls loved it. Do you regret talking to me?” is the real life version of this statement. We, we just can’t. This is too much.
MOHAMMED ZUBAIR KIDNAPS WOMEN MOHAMMED ZUBAIR KIDNAPS WOMEN MOHAMMED ZUBAIR KIDNAPS WOMEN.
Sorry, we had this fear scream building up inside us for a while and we had to let it go. But what the actual fuck here! #17, guess what, no, she will find it creepy, and you’re not being clever, Jesus Christ! And let’s real-life #18, shall we?
You: what’s your type of guy
Her: Um. I mean, I don’t know, I guess I like someone who can make me laugh, but who also treats me well.
You: My mom warned me about girls like you.
Her: That’s…that’s a weird thing to say to someone you just met.
Her: No, I mean, are you listening to yourself? Do you not realize why this is a weird thing to say to someone out of the blue? It’s very important to me that you realize why this is weird.
You: I just checked you out!
Her: Oh God, you’ve already roofied me haven’t you?
Listen, we’re trying to avoid discussing the obvious negging bullshit, because we want to make fun of this book for more reasons than just its use of negging (for those of you gentle souls who have managed to avoid finding out the definition of this particular term, it’s the school of thought amongst pickup artists that if you subtly insult a girl, she will want to win your affection and prove otherwise. It’s best known as “being a dick for the sake of a potential one night stand”) but there’s something so…assured about this that really concerns us. Call us crazy (“ha ha, okay crazy” oh shut up) but Mohammed Zubair has done nothing to to prove that he has an actual clue what women secretly anything. Mohammed Zubair thinks that girls like to be spun around by strangers and draw naked pictures of a guy who smirks and randomly looks away from her and back again while speaking with the one-extra-decibel confidence of someone who can deadlift a fucking car.
And…Brad Pitt? How is that a joke? How does that make sense….how is that a question that has a he/she option!?!?!?!
This is a general approach to talking to a new person that is completely normal—you ask a girl you’re talking to what she likes to do with her free time. But, because this is Mohammed Zubair, ambassador of the Cryptoid species, he manages to package it with awkward phrasing, random unjustified smirking, and of course the looking away and then back at the girl move that still makes us sad to think about. Here’s how this one looks in real life.
You: Let me ask you something…
Her: Um, yes, you said you wanted to ask me something?
You: (smirk ) what do you do for fun?
Her: …why are you smirking?
You: I just want to know you better before we go out (look away and then back to her when saying this)
Her: Um. Is this like some make-a-wish thing or?
In God mode.
THAT IS A RAPE HE IS DESCRIBING A RAPE MACE HIM AND GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE WE’LL KEEP AN EYE ON HIM AND MAKE SURE HE DOESN’T TRY ANYTHING FUNNY JUST GO FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY JESUS CHRIST OH GOD.
We’re nearing the end of the free preview, and also with our ability to keep describing these without going absolutely fucking insane. Let’s check out this one, as it’d occur in real life.
You: (creepily leaning over to see a girl’s handwriting) I’m jealous of people with fine handwriting.
You: I still write like my 7th grade self. You ever get your handwriting analyzed?
Her: Um, why are you talking like that? Oh God, are you having a stroke, sir? Do you smell burnt toast?
You: Hmm..let me try. You keep your underwear organized by color. You’re probably a designer of some sort.
Her: I work in marketing, also, why are you talking about my underwear, is this like aphasia? Something’s wrong with your speech center isn’t there? Oh God, just stay calm, I can call an ambulance for you, they say every minute counts for…
You: It’s just my super-power!
Her: Bartender, please, this man needs medical attention.
We can’t force you through this anymore. We’re done here. There are a few more left before the free preview of the book runs out (the fact that there are 470 more in the whole book is both terrifying while also leaving us strangely tempted to buy the whole thing for unintentional comedy purposes) but, this will do for now. We’ve shared more than was really necessary of this, um, publication, which was probably extremely terrifying for our female readers (because oh God, you actually have to deal with this kind of shit in real life, we are so so sorry) and kind of comforting for men (because hey, no matter how clueless you are, you’re better at talking to women than Mohammed Zubair).
And in honor of this book, when you next go out, all we request is that you approach someone you’ve never met before…and say literally the opposite of anything in this book. Anything. “Hello, I am not an alien, could I buy you a beer” is an actually better way to meet someone than anything in this book. You don’t even have to pretend that your penis is two inches larger than it is to say it, too. Shit, Maybe we should get into the self-publishing pickup artist game, that one was pretty easy!
Or, uh, maybe we should just stick to getting drunk and writing about beers that are flavored weirdly. Yeah, let’s just do that.