There's a lot of hate out there for the field of pickup artistry, and understandably so, as it often seems to be based on the idea that women who say no don't always mean no, or that women need to be tricked or otherwise manipulated into accepting a gentleman's attentions. I don't want to talk about that crap, though. I want to talk about the more innocent origins of that, the simple lines people use to introduce themselves, or to make an impression.
I've never used lines, myself, as I was never that together as a single person. I was always a very awkward dater. Indeed, most of the people I dated as a younger person started off as friends, so using a line on someone I'd known for six months already would probably have been weird. I did HEAR a lot of pickup lines, though, both good and bad, some unintentionally hilarious, some outright baffling.
I don't know about the best or even the worst, but the most memorable pickup situation I've ever experienced happened in Boston's late lamented Deli Haus, a favorite haunt of goth kids and other subcultural malcontents when I was in college. I was eating fries and gravy in a booth with a friend, in the middle of the night -- like you did -- when we both noticed a particularly attractive cluster of 1990s nouveau-mod kids sitting in the back. Naturally, we began discussing the meticulousness of their Fred Perrys and their stovepipe trousers and wondering if they preferred Oasis to Blur.
I must have been staring, because one of the dudes, a tall, lanky guy who could have stepped out of one of the lesser-known Britpop bands of the era (not like a frontman, though -- maybe a bass player), tried to make eye contact with me. Embarrassed, I looked down at my plate of fries, but he got up, sauntered over to our table, and said to me, with familiar ease, "Hey, how are you? I haven't seen you in forever."
Bewildered, and markedly less self-confident in my early 20s than I am now, I mumbled, "Uh, yeah?" I was unwilling to correct him, because he was super hot, but I was also quite sure we'd never met before, because he was super hot and I would have remembered. Yet he seemed SO SURE we knew each other. I wondered if I had lost my mind.
I was probably turning sixteen shades of fuschia at this point, and still he grinned and said, "Yeah, I don't think I have your number anymore." My friend was staring at me pointedly and honestly it was her (well-intentioned, I'm sure) cock-blocking judgment that kept me from dreamily handing my number to a total stranger. Instead, he wrote his name and number on the back of a receipt. Which I kept carefully in my wallet for several weeks, but never called. I thought for sure he was drunk, or confusing me with someone else, or both.
That said, it turned out we moved in many of the same social circles and we became friends months later. Some time after that, at a house party where we were both very drunk, he cornered me in a hallway and slurred, "Hey remember when we first met at Deli Haus and I pretended to know you to try to get your number? I was such a dick, but you're so hot I had to try." THIS IS HOW NAIVE I WAS, FOLKS: it was only when he told me this in a drunken stupor that I realized that our first-ever interaction was a pickup line.
I have heard many pickup lines since, from dudes in fetish clubs going into grand detail about how much they liked my stockings, to my own husband, who might have the trophy for worst, as his first effort at asking me on a date began by inquiring, "So what's the deal, are you single or what?" Well, maybe it's not the WORST -- the worst might be the dude at an 80s night party at my favorite club, who marched up to me and literally demanded I sit on his face at my earliest opportunity-- but it was definitely the least imaginative and the most straightforward.
And to his credit, he has made it up to me by reenacting this scene from "My Blue Heaven" at every chance.
SIGH. I know, I'm a giant nerd, whatever.
So yeah, I want to hear from y'all -- what are the best and worst pickup lines you've ever heard? Or which are your favorites of lines you've said, or lines that worked on you? Bonus points to anyone who takes dating advice from Will Riker and owns up to it.