Barbecues are a surprisingly good setting to hit it off with a girl, despite the fact that you’re standing around in broad daylight, possibly with kids nearby, while balancing a beer and a potato salad dish and trying to keep your shirt from sticking to your back. Before you slowly eat your weight in ribs, here are some ways to create opportunities for yourself.
Play to the plate. Dishes are full of conversation starters. No meat on her plate could signify vegetarianism, warranting an empathetic “How do you handle being around all this meat?” And a near-devoured dessert just begs for the old “So the brownies must not be any good...”
Man the grill. Slinging burgers is an ideal excuse to interact and appear to be a can-do dude. Does she want that bun toasted? See? Now you’re a provider.
Good lookin’ out. If you notice the cooler getting low, grabbing her -- and her friend -- a beer is the mark of a nice guy who cares about her needs. And her friends' needs. And not at all about the needs of his friends, from whom he just snaked away the last beers.
Play with your food. Eat ribs. Intentionally avoid wiping your sauce-covered mug. Then turn to her and ask if you have something on your face. It makes you appear confidently hopeless, which is strangely attractive in a "we can work with this" kind of way. As opposed to actually hopeless, which will just get you a pat on the head.
Game on. Play cornhole with her. Cornhole beats barroom pool for a trifecta of reasons: There’s no strategy involved, so you won't be even mildly distracted from flirting with her. Playing against another guy/girl team also gives you the opportunity to humiliate another dude in the most casual manner possible, which is awesome. And generally, there's not some dick who brought his own bags staring you down because you're playing too slow.