Spring is known as a time of year when love is in the air and young men and women chase each other around like fools. Making initial contact is your first step in creating a potential love connection. But an opening line is often the toughest part of striking up a conversation. That’s why many people try to be creative.
Some pickup lines attempt to sound romantic. “You must be a sweater because you’ve got me feeling warm all over.” Some take a shot at being clever. “Are you a surgeon? Because you just took my heart away.” Others are overly confident. “If you think you’ll regret this in the morning we can always sleep until the afternoon.”
When my editor suggested an April Fools’ article on pickup lines, I paused for a moment, wondering if a prank was being played on me. I thought, “What do pickup lines have to do with April Fools’ Day?” The answer came when I talked to people enjoying a few drinks in the Fox Valley last weekend. Most of them view pickup lines as a joke – something mostly gullible people fall for – just like an April Fools’ trick.
Liz Voight of Appleton recalled a recent line used in an effort to flatter her. “One guy I met at a bar in Chicago asked me if I was from Georgia because I sure was a peach,” she said with a laugh.
Voight and her friends were having a girls’ night out at Route 15 in Greenville. They all agreed when it comes to using cheesy lines, the male species is the main culprit.
Stacy August told me the story of a pickup attempt that was unexpected and slightly inappropriate at the same time.
“We were talking about kids and family and he was like, ‘I have a son.’ I asked ‘How old is he?’ He said ‘Well, you haven’t had him yet,'” she recalled.
August said pickup lines usually don’t work, but they do make her laugh. She said if it seems like the guy doesn’t use pickup lines on a regular basis it’s “cute,” but if it’s his normal strategy for meeting women it becomes “creepy.”
A group of friends at The Bar of Appleton also told me that while men use pickup lines most often, it seems women have a better chance of being successful with a corny icebreaker.
“You can be a gym rat and be all tough in front of your friends,” said Jim Hernandez. “But when it comes to a good-looking woman, we all get a little timid. It just takes the ice right off the situation if she makes the first move.”
Maybe the ladies need to lighten up.
The nationally known pickup artist Mystery (real name Erik von Markovik) is an author, TV personality and mentor to men looking for help in their love life. His books include “The Mystery Method: How to Get Beautiful Women Into Bed,” and he hosted the reality TV show “The Pickup Artist” on VH1.
Mystery has some interesting theories on the so-called art of seduction. For one thing, Mystery believes a man must approach a woman he’s interested in within three seconds of noticing her. Otherwise he’ll become too nervous, get caught staring at her and blow his chances. That’s right fellas, according to Mystery, you’ve got more time to pick up a piece of food that fell on the floor than to make your first move on the girl across the bar.
Mystery also says one reason men get so nervous about approaching women is because the fear is wired into our genetics. He presumes that early man learned if he approached a woman who was taken by a tribal leader, or one of the leader’s friends, that man would receive what we now call a beat down. Apparently, things haven’t changed much since the Cro-Magnon days. You have to wonder if there was a caveman version of Vince Vaughn telling his buddy, “You’re so money and you don’t even know it.”
The methods Mystery suggests may or may not work for you. He tells his students “to get a woman interested you have to be interesting.” Mystery accomplishes this by wearing giant fuzzy cowboy hats, painting his fingernails and reciting odd mathematical trivia. If that’s not your style, you can probably find your own way to be interesting.
The girls at Route 15 have a friend who met his future wife by passing a note across the bar asking “Do you like me? Circle yes or no.”
Women can get creative as well. Beth Manteuffel of Freedom told me how she caught the attention of an old high school crush she noticed on one of her many trips to the mall.
“There was this really hot guy who worked at Spencer’s Gifts,” said Manteuffel. “Finally, one day I noticed him in the food court. You know what I literally did? Sign language.” Manteuffel said she used hand gestures to pantomime the words I think you are hot. “The kid walked over, I met him, and we’re friends to this day,” she said.
Back at The Bar, the table came to the consensus that you don’t have to get crazy when you approach someone for the first time.
“I’ve had people come up to me and they don’t smoke, but they ask for a cigarette just because I have them sitting in front of me,” said Jody Suprise. “Then they try to strike up a conversation.”
Hernandez said, “When you’re at a bar, who hasn’t been asked ‘Do you come here often? Is this your place to hang out?'” That night, he was at The Bar with Jessica, his wife of nine years. She had quite a few stories about getting hit on, which she assured her husband were far in the past.
There is one opening line Jessica suggested all men avoid. “Are those real?”