1.1.1. The "grim" solution: Brothers Grimm - Rumpelstilzchen

 "It´s all in the name!"

 Rumpelstilzchen and the miller´s daughter1

    The "boy on the beach" told us that he knew he looked ordinary, which wasn’t necessarily all that bad, as he was non-threatening. That made it easier for him to use his "Rumpelstilzchen" method.  He said he would never, ever approach a woman without knowing her name, her full name: first name, nickname, middle name, last name, maiden name if applicable.

    The women who made up the market niche with whom the “boy on the beach” would not connect were celebrities, or women who deluded themselves that they were. A movie star is not going to be amazed that you know her name. Assuming the woman was not a celebrity, he would proceed with a variation of the following.


     “Hello, Stephanie, nice day, isn’t it? Stephanie Dorothy Derammelaere," he´d smile, "and your friends call you “Dee Dee,” but you know I really like your first name. Listen I’d love to sit down and talk to you for a bit, but I understand perfectly if you’d just like some quiet time alone. . .”


    Straight to her brain – how does he know my name? Who is he anyway? He is unprepossessing, looks commonplace and non-descript, and oh so easy to forget. Did I meet him at school, at work, or maybe at some forgotten party?  He’s the son of some casual friend of my parents? She’s on the defensive, only half listening to him anyway, trying to figure it out. And he starts asking her friendly, neutral questions, not talking about himself at all.

    Sometimes a woman never did confess she had had no idea who he was upon meeting him. He had great fun with that if he wound up dating her. Some days later he might say to her friends, “The way Stephanie and I first met years ago, was, well, kind of embarrassing actually. No, no, we're certainly not going to tell that story. . .”

    Occasionally a woman, especially a married one, would challenge him right away. “Did my husband introduce us? I’m sorry, but I have no idea who you are.”  That never fazed him. He would tell her that he was very shy (a lie).  He had found her really attractive, but how could just a regular fellow like himself get into a conversation with such a stunning woman? 

    Finally he had had an idea. Maybe if he knew her name, that could break the ice. So he had tried to find out her name. He would then tell a long story about how incredibly difficult it had been to find it out. He had tried to bribe the hotel manager, who had thrown him out.  He had tried this, tried that, until, finally, success!

    Now is the woman insulted at all this effort just to find out her name? Or does she take it as a complement? Usually he did not try to meet a woman upon finding out that she was married anyway. However every now and again he would make an exception. He said sometimes a married woman would tell him the name of a girlfriend of hers for him to meet. When the woman offered to give him further information about the friend, he declined. He felt that would be like spying. All he wanted, all he needed, was the name.




    Getting the girl to turn around with a smile is easy enough if you know her name. Just add "hi," or, if you want to be more formal, "hello."  Without the name, your approach is going to require a little more thought. What exactly are you going to say to her anyway? "I think you're callipygous,"2 is unlikely to work, even if she knows what the word means. And trying a more direct version of that complement does not seem too promising either.

    Did knowing the secret do the clique any good? No. The boy on the beach was an expert on this kind of market research. Over his months there he had built up a network of information sources – shopkeepers and travel agencies giving him names off of credit cards, hotel managers off of guest registrations, waitresses overhearing nicknames, in addition to all kinds of other tricks. We half-heartedly tried to get a woman’s name, often found it wasn’t all that easy, said the heck with it and tried our luck without it.




    If you are dealing with the C-suites, some of them still have executive secretaries wandering around and about. These are women who are next to the seats of power. They can wield more influence than you think. Learn and remember their names! You'd be surprised at how many visitors do not.

    The single right piece of information makes all the difference. Think what the "boy on the beach" could accomplish nowadays on a smart phone with Linked-In, Facebook and Twitter.


1 The Brothers Grimm first published the tale of “Rumpelstilzchen” in the 1812 edition of their Children´s and Household Tales. (The link is to a nicely done English translation.)  A miller had lied that his daughter could spin straw into gold. The King locked her in a tower three nights in a row to do this, or be executed.

    A dwarf gave her that power each night, finally demanding her first born child in return. She marries the King and the dwarf returns to claim her newborne. He agrees not to take the child if she can guess his name. Her messenger overhears the dwarf singing to himself his name, Rumpelstilzchen, so he loses the bargain. (The image is by Anne Anderson, cf. the copyright below.*)


2 dreamstime.com, ID


3 "Callipygous" means having shapely buttocks.


 * © "Miller´s Daughter," Anne Anderson (1874- 1930), public domain, (EU/U.S.); Gayan Web Design 2010