You never saw it coming. You’re standing in line at Starbucks, waiting for your fancy frappe mocha caramel latte whatchamacallit thingamajig to be whipped according to the specifications you had to repeat three times and wondering how in the hell you managed to rack up a $15 tab for a drink and a little pastry when you spot him.

Up until now “breathtaking” had been a word dusted off as a corny reaction to stuff like the vastness of the Grand Canyon or the New York City skyline all lit up at night. But this man standing three customers behind you in line was just that: breath-ta-king. It’s all you can do to get a grip on the specialty drink the girl behind the counter finally managed to get right. You flash him a 1,000 watt smile. He grins back. You give him a smoldering, Jet-Beauty-of-the-Week stare down. He keeps grinning. At this point, it only makes sense for someone to approach the other and spark this love connection since, in but a few nanoseconds, you’ve managed to picture your wedding day and what your children—twin boys and a girl—will look like. The question is: are you going to be the one to make the first move?

For a brief period in our lives, usually from pre-K to fifth grade, girls dominate the dating game. We knock dudes upside the head on the rug during reading time and inform them that they’re our boyfriends. We lay out the rules and expectations of our contrived new romances and they fall in line faster than groupies with backstage passes. Two days later, we’re chasing a new beau across the playground, plowing over the has-been ex in the process. It starts and stops just like that. Then somehow, as we grew up, we lost the power to call the shots. Slowly but surely, we get sucked into this social conditioning that we have to wait for guys to speak to us first, ask for our numbers first, call us first, initiate the date first. Considering most guys think they’re on a communication roll if they’re putting three cohesive sentences together at one time, that’s a pretty big gamble to take.

Contrary to what you might have heard or told yourself, though, being the first to approach a fine-looking fellow doesn’t take an incredible amount of sexiness, beauty, even confidence. It’s more about being personable and approachable than it is about having all the right one-liners and a presence that oozes sexuality. As much as the average brother would like to think he’d be armed and ready with a set of impressive innuendos and witticisms if Melyssa Ford should happen to saunter up to him, he’d probably fare much better in real-life conversation with the random chick at Starbucks visually sopping him up like a biscuit on gravy.

Truth be told, guys actually welcome the break from having to do all the pursuing since that shift way back in middle school when old-school mamas and grandmothers drilled into their little girls that it was appropriate to wait for a boy to call them, not be the one to do the calling. So anything from the cold/hot/nice/crappy weather to the music blaring from their car at the gas pump can be the conversation piece you need to break the ice and get that holla going. If the chat falls flat and nothing comes of it, there’s absolutely no loss, no rejection, no knock to the self-esteem. You were nothing more than a chatty gal making a little small talk at the A&P who kept it moving after business was done. But if there’s a little something to work with, you can weave that into a date, and maybe another and another. Go on ahead and work that.

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