Posted by: GeekHiker | July 14, 2008

I Need An REI Wingman

I headed over to REI tonight to pick up my new sorta-new kinda-new-but-not-really slightly-used backpack, which arrived just in time for an upcoming trip.*

Standing in line for the checkout were two women, roughly my age, discussing their upcoming rafting trip, for which there were purchasing new clothing. The taller one, a blonde, was nice looking, but her friend, a couple inches shorter than me with curly brown hair and fantastic brown eyes and a cool tattoo on her ankle was the one that caught me eye.

I didn’t catch hers or, if I did, I was just some guy in line behind her. Not that I would have had the guts to say anything, given that I’m generally not the kind of guy who does well with trying to pick up a conversation with a complete stranger in front of her friend(s).

Hence: I’m thinking that whenever I go to REI (where, let’s face it, it’s only logical I would stand a halfway decent chance of meeting those with similar interests), it should always be with a wingman. Someone more outgoing than me, the type who can easily strike up a conversation with two complete strangers.

Any volunteers?

* Okay, here’s the deal on the pack. I started shopping for it about three months ago. If I’m gonna spend this much money on a backpack, I’m gonna get the right one. Finally, I settle on two packs. I tried out the first pack on my last backpack, and while it fit okay, there weren’t enough pockets, so I returned it. Unfortunately, my other choice was named as one of the great backpacks by Backpacker Magazine, and every single one of them disappeared. In desperation, knowing I have a trip next weekend, I had one of the REI employees call around, and he finally found one of the last ones (in the nation, apparently) at a store back east. And it was marked 10% off for having been a floor model and “slight discoleration”. I was worried what that meant, but figured I’d roll the dice. Luckily the pack is in good shape. A couple of scuff marks here or there, but nothing I probably wouldn’t see after the first trip anyway. Hopefully after all the effort, it turns out to be just the right pack for me…**

** Is it odd that the starred comment is actually longer than the post itself?***

*** Is it even odder that the starred comment would yield a starred comment of it’s own?****

**** Or that I would keep making starred comments based on starred comments?*****

***** Oh, this is just getting silly now.******

****** Yes, yes it is. *******

******* And now you know how easily amused I am.********

******** As if you didn’t know already.*********

********* Okay, I’ll stop now.**********

********** Really. *grin*



  1. ***Is it a coincidence that your category/tags read “stuff i like women”?****

    **is it weird that I’m amused by that?**

    *I think not.*

  2. ****Until I read that you had already received the pack from back East, I was going to tell you that after reading your email, I immediately went out and bought it.****

    ***Just to pull your chain.***

    **Because I’m mean like that.**


  3. If tattoo-girl was wearing biker shorts and looked great in them, then I am going to be so disappointed in you. The tattoo is the perfect IN for a conversation because its way less creepy than if you had started talking about their trip–which you’d just eavesdropped on. The girl-with-a-friend is a good scenario as long as you include the friend in the conversation. Man! I see you are in desperate need of my wing-woman services afterall. *smile*

  4. So what kind of pack did you settle on?

    Last year I bought a cheesy internal frame pack at Big 5. I needed an internal frame because we were hiking off-trail down Piru creek. Too many places a frame pack could snag.

    Anyhow, I learned a lot from the experience. All those pockets, compartments, buckles and straps that look so cool in the store and would appear to add so much utility do little more than add weight. The thing weighs 6-7 pounds! (My ancient Universal pack with the wrap-around aluminum frame weighs a scant 3 lbs.)

    But it looks like even the best internal frame packs weigh something around 4-5 lbs. Some ultralight freaks get packs with a removeable frame–use your sleeping pad as the frame.

    Just curious.

  5. Geek.


  6. Ugh, I’m seeing stars…. 😛 Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    I totally want to be your wingwoman. Did you ever watch The Pickup Artist on VH-1? I did. And I memorized like every move – GH, I could teach you so much…

    I like Coconut’s idea of asking about the tattoo. Very smart. Also, did you know REI has classes and group outings? When I was single I looked into them a bit – seem like they could be a great place to meet cool, outdoorsy people. Although, the store may do just fine too. That is, if you can work your mojo and talk to the girl next time. 😉

  7. Going to the REI in Anchorage is very much like going to a bar filled with people who have the same interests as you. I was curious if it was like this anywhere else.

    I second coconutdiaries’ advice to mention the tattoo. Tattoos are a great conversation starter. I like it when a guy just smiles at me and says hello. Simple, friendly and without all the pretense.

  8. I’ll be your wingman. I’ve already got a tall blond, so I don’t need another. I can pretend to be interested. 🙂

  9. I purposefully put a very noticeable tattoo on the inside of my wrist so that people would see it and ask me about it.

  10. So, did you buy the backpack to carry all the crack you were smoking when you wrote this post?!?

    I wish I had and REI nearby but there isn’t one within 200 miles of my zip.

  11. What, you couldn’t break out in song with “You’ve lost that loving feeling?” Dang, Maverick, where’s Goose when you need him?!?!

    I’ve watched this movie way too many times!!

  12. Ms. H – No, no and no. 🙂

    Dingo – That would just be wrong. And exactly the same kinda prank I would try to pull.

    TheCoconutDiaries – But what would I say? “Pardon me, I was just staring at your ankle and would love to talk to you about the tattoo you’ve decorated it with?” Any time you want to stop by and help out…

    Phil – Gregory Baltoro 70. I’ve used both packs with many pockets and those with few and, at least for my packing system, the many works better. Still, 3 lbs. is tempting…

    Just A Girl – *chortle*

    Mel Heth – Heh. That’s a bold offer for someone you’ve never seen! I have looked into them, but I’ve got time management problems as it is! Hey, I’m always up for a trip to REI, my favorite toystore!

    Rachel – I suppose it is, though I don’t know how one would rank the “REI Monday night pick-up scene.” Good advice…

    AA – Hah! Great offer!

    Gabe – Maybe I should look into getting a tattoo…

    Homer-Dog – *snicker* Well, that sews it: I can’t live too far from an REI, so I guess Omaha is out…

    Dobegil – Your comment had me chortling for a while! LOL

  13. I agree with dobegil, next time you walk in front of her and sing. No, really 😀

  14. Narami – Oh, hell no! 😉

  15. Without the “I was staring at your ankle” bit, that is great opener! (look how many other people agreed with me)

  16. I understand it is far more challenging to approach women then to approach man. You need a bit more than cleavage and a smile to talk to women, so I apologize for my harsh.

  17. The Coconut Diaries – LOL, I suppose so.

    The Coconut Diaries – It is, it really is. Don’t worry about it. 🙂

  18. Remember to wear some good cologne =]

  19. Ack GH – it could have been so easy! I got “picked up” in line at REI once. I had a bunch of Clif gels and the guy behind me was like “oh you look like you’re stocking up for a race.” I was like, “no, just restocking, but I did race yesterday.”
    “Oh yeah? which race?”
    “giant acorn. do you race”
    “yes i do adventure racing…”
    and then we had a nice conversation that could have eeeeasily segued into a phone number exchange had i been interested.
    keep that in mind – you already have outdoor adventure in common – an instant conversation starter – i do not feel sorry for you for passing up that opportunity, and you didn’t even need a wingman! i want to smack you on the forehead GH… I wish I had been standing in line there for you, I would have been able to help. Missed ya while I was on vacation – just catching up on your posts now~!

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