Hi. I'm going to be a senior at the university in the fall, and I wonder if you could help me with something. I need an absolutely foolproof pick-up line to use on women at bars. I've tried various ones in the past, like "Come here often?" and "Aren't you in my psych class?" But they never seem to get me very far. The women always say no, and the conversation dies. I need a line that will do most of the work for me, because I tend to nerd out in these situations if the woman doesn't seem genuinely interested or at least kind. Know of any?
Not-So-Smooth Operator:You're in luck, my friend, because I'm what you would call an aficionado of the pick-up line. Not that I would ever actually use one myself, for it has been scientifically proven (and anecdotally rubbed in men's faces for centuries) that pick-up lines, even the "best" ones, don't work. In fact, the "better" they are, the less likely they are to work. But I've nevertheless been collecting them for years, because I find them funny, clever and more than a little pathetic, which is how most women find them as well.
Let's start with the least funny, least clever lines, also known as the direct approach. "Fancy a shag?" Austin Powers used to say, and somehow he made it sound so innocent that you forgot he was basically saying "Wanna screw?" "Your place or mine" isn't quite as blunt, and you can throw in some humor by saying, instead, "Your place or my mom's?" Likewise, "Nice rack" is way too blunt, but if you happen to be in a pool hall at the time, it's suddenly clever, possibly even funny. Of course, you won't know that until she either is or isn't smiling.
What I like about these lines is the boldness, the let's-just-get-down-to-it-ness. But the true pick-up line, in my opinion, is both clever and sexy. Therefore, "Hey, baby, there's a party in my pants, and you're invited" is out - not clever enough, too sexy. And "Excuse me, do you have any raisins? Any figs? How about a date?" is also out - too clever, not sexy enough. But "Let's go back to my place and do all the things I'm going to tell everybody we did anyway" kind of works for me, not that it would work on a woman. As I said, none of these would work on a woman.
But, as I also said, we can still admire them for their sangfroid - some of them, anyway. "If I tell you you have a great body, will you hold it against me?" needs to be retired, even as a joke, but "That outfit would look great in a messy heap next to my bed" still has some life in it. As does "That's a great pair of pants. Can I talk you out of them?" And they're both infinitely preferable to those old diehards like "You must be a parking ticket, because you have "fine" written all over you." Or, "Hi, I'm Mr. Right. Somebody said you were looking for me."
No, I didn't invent that one. I would be much more likely to go with what I call the meta-approach - a pick-up line that draws attention to the fact that it's a pick-up line while, at the same time, denying that it's a pick-up line. To wit: "Do you mind if I try a pick-up line on you?" or "I'm not going to try some lame pick-up line on you." But to finally answer your question, Not-So-Smooth Operator, the single most effective pick-up line, according to a study by the University of Chicago is - Are you ready for this? Are you sitting down? - "Hi."
You had them (or didn't) at hello.
To tell me what you'd like for breakfast, write to: MR. RIGHT, ISTHMUS, 101 KING ST., MADISON, WI 53703. OR CALL 251-1206, EXT. 152. OR E-MAIL MRRIGHT@ISTHMUS.COM.