Pick Up Lines: Friend Or Foe?

Not long ago, a guy walked up to me and said “I was just reading about you in the dictionary. You were the definition of ‘fine’.” Obviously, I didn’t give him the response he was looking for. In the real world, it’s a much better idea to just say “hi” and try to engage someone in a real conversation. Even so, there are still a lot of people out there (mostly guys) who think that pick-up lines are still a thing.

After that experience, I took it upon myself to ask friends if they had any good stories about pick-up lines they’d heard (or used themselves), good, bad and ugly. What I learned is that not every pick-up line is bad, although a lot of them certainly are lame. However, there are situations where someone can say something so unexpected and original that it just makes you want to talk to them. It appears that creativity goes a long way – let’s look at what my friends told me about pick-up lines.

First, let’s take Liz (not her real name). Her favorite pick-up line she’s come across was when a guy approached her and told her “I love your shirt. It looks like something Bea Arthur might wear.” She was perplexed by this line and assumed that the guy had had a few drinks already, since that was such a strange thing to tell a girl. He asked if he could buy her a drink, but she refused, saying “No thanks, I’m no Maude.”

Liz is sassy enough to let a guy know she’s not interested, but a lot of women try to be polite and will waste time listening to one bad pick up line after another. Sometimes, it’s just an effort to get a free drink, but it’s really not worth having to sit through all that just for a drink. If I were Liz, I would have ignored that guy rather than responding at all, but we all have our own ways of dealing with unwanted attention.

A lot of people think that pick-up lines are a good thing since it’s a way to start a conversation, but really, all it usually does is to give the person you’re talking to a bad first impression of you. A male friend of mine (we’ll call him Keith) told me that he tries to avoid pick-up lines, because he thinks that there are much better ways to break the ice than “you’re sexy” or “how about those (fill in your local team here)?”. Keith is an interesting, creative guy and he plays these traits to his advantage by asking unexpected questions like “are you happy with your kitchen?” or “if you had a job lined up there, where would you live?” These kinds of questions to work much better, since they tend to get people thinking and engaged in a conversation – and who knows where it could lead. Keith says that he knows that these questions sound dumb, but swears that they almost always at least start a conversation; and once you’re talking to someone, it doesn’t matter that much why you started talking.

I also spoke with my brother in law, who proceeded to rattle off a long list of pick-up lines, including “Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again” “If I told you that you had a nice body would you hold it against me.” He told me that he hadn’t actually used most of these in real life. I’m inclined to believe him, since my sister certainly wouldn’t have fallen for any of these oldie-but-not-so-goodie lines. They’ve been married for a few years now, in case you’re wondering and while I don’t know exactly what he said to her when they first met, chances are it wasn’t your standard issue pick-up line.

The most intriguing pick-up line I’ve heard from my friend Paul. As a woman was about to step up to the counter at a coffee shop, he said “Pardon me, you’re in my way.” Was he being rude, or just trying to get her attention? Either way, he said that it worked. I’ve definitely gotten into conversations while in line at the coffee shop, even long ones. Usually these conversations come out of being polite to one another in an otherwise boring situation, but what I realized is that Paul’s approach probably worked because he said something completely unexpected.

One thing to keep in mind is that pick-up lines are inherently risky. There’s no way of telling how someone’s going to react. They might silently turn around and leave, have a cutting comeback or perhaps, find it charming and start talking to you. Really, it’s better to just be yourself when you’re trying to meet people. If you really need to use a line to get a conversation going, then come up with something that no one’s heard before. For instance “did you know that there are still people out there using pick-up lines?” I’m not going to guarantee that you’ll be successful, but there’s a good chance that it might at least start a conversation.

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