After a speed-dating competition with two bro friends, dating columnist Michelle Provencher learned one thing: Only tools use cheesy pick-up lines.
I always thought Noah Calhoun in The Notebook was a little forward. If you have zero knowledge of pop culture or missed the 2004 love-story blockbuster, stop reading now, and go rent it. For the rest of you, here’s a refresher.
Ryan Gosling’s character, Noah, climbs a Ferris wheel to score a date with Rachel McAdams’ character, Allie Hamilton. Desperation is unbecoming on everyone. There is a certain methodology to picking somebody up, and, because I’ve never needed to check my OKCupid account in the eight months since I created it (my alias is HonestAbe4U), I like to think I’m somewhat of an expert.
Most Americans are bad at meeting people.
“Even despite the growing social acceptability of massive alcohol consumption and dance-floor grinding,” you ask? Yes, even with these crutches, people still struggle to talk to dateable strangers. That’s why there’s Match.com.
Group, I want to help you. I want to figuratively sprinkle my pick-up line magic dust onto your brains, then put a little heart-shaped Band-Aid on the incision and send you out into the world to make friends and lovers. I hope this story helps.
I recently had two male friends from my small-town Connecticut high school visit me for the weekend, and we quickly began sharing stories of our romantic endeavors. Following our lengthy rum-riddled pregame, we landed at Cavanaugh’s River Deck on Columbus Boulevard. While I usually don’t spend my Friday nights at an establishment with so many fake tans on one deck, this occasion called for an exceptionally hormonal bar. You see, group, we had arranged a contest of who could pick up the most strangers, my two friends versus me.
They had a game plan: They are in a premeditated discussion and ask a couple of girls for their two cents to settle a debate. The pick-up line: “Who lies more, guys or girls?”
Had any man approached me with such an absurd question, I’m not sure I could reply respectfully, and I would probably just walk away to spare his feelings and my breath. Yet, according to my two friends, this line works every time.
I’ve heard worse in an effort to strike up a conversation, though. Most recently, a friend of mine was approached by a boy who began with, “Are you Puerto Rican?”
Other loser pick-up lines I’ve personally had to endure were, “Would you want to be in a movie I’m making?” and “Do you have a baby? It looks like you could be breastfeeding.” For future reference, calling a complete stranger’s ethnic heritage, porn-making potential or milk production status into question is not an effective way to make a good impression. Ever.
My tactic is more tasteful but unfortunately leaves room for my counterpart to completely wreck it. I scan the bar, find my target, make eye contact and pretend it was an accident by looking down at my drink. A moment later, do the same thing in conjunction with an adorable smile, and he will, I can guarantee, smile back. Drunk people love that playful crap.
The part when it’s ruined comes when he is either stupid and can’t deduce that I’m flirting, or is too scared to introduce himself. If I’m not totally annoyed by this point, I’ll walk over and simply ask his name. If he doesn’t offer to buy me a drink after talking for five minutes, I then excuse myself to find my friends. He’ll ask for my phone number, guaranteed.
The gutsy guys who approached me in the first place are my favorites, but when the contest – and street cred – was at stake, I had to make some serious moves.
I eventually grew bored with my personal game of speed dating at Cavanaugh’s and reunited with my friends. Four men had asked for my phone number in the two hours we played. No girls had asked for theirs. They chalked it up to me cock-blocking them by standing too near and, for a reason they couldn’t supply, that girls don’t need pick-up lines.
My advice to my friends – and to you: Ditch the stupid questions, and just ask, “What’s your name?” It’s my preferred introduction to give and to receive. Just make sure you remember her response.
Michelle Provencher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.