The number of times that I have picked up men at bars solely due to the charm and wit I injected into a single sentence that I also expertly delivered is exactly zero.
I've never used a pickup line in my life, and I'm usually resistant to fielding them. Really? A line?
Pick up lines and dad jokes feel like they belong to the same family. Usually eye-roll inducing and sometimes hilarious, both are really hard to master. (For expertise, see former President Barack Obama.)
To be fair, I'm no expert at approaching guys in general. The cuter you are, the more likely it is I'll pretend that you don't exist. Maybe it's because your piercing green eyes are going to melt my heart, or maybe it's because I'm terrified of rejection.
My swagger level with strangers is directly proportional to the number of cocktails I've had: zero and I'm not making eye contact; two and I'm perfectly capable of replying nicely to flirtations; five and I'm talking to the face on the tiki glass.
So, because I am only getting older and adult beverages are not always going to be part of the equation when I see a cute guy, I figured it was time to learn how to use a pickup line in real life. (Bumble openers are a whole different ballgame.)
After all, technically I need something to say if I'm going to walk up to a stranger.
First things first, what words should come out of my mouth?
Julia Armet, director of operations at Tawkify.com, a matchmaking company, shares her favorite pickup line a woman can use IRL: "Nice to see you!"
Wait a second... am I punking him?
"Regardless if she knows him or not, it's an excellent entry way into a conversation. The dialogue that could ensue: 'Do I know you?'… 'Not that I know of' (smile)," Armet explains. "There is so much power in the delivery and the body language of such an exchange."
I like it. But I might need to warm up with something simpler.
Alessandra Conti, matchmaker and dating expert at Matchmakers In The City, suggests,
It is more [about] breaking the ice so that he is then comfortable to take the lead! The most important thing a woman can do when she is breaking the ice with a guy is lead with an indirect question. It could be asking about a drink at Starbucks, asking if he knows when the next train will arrive, asking if he knows what is in a Manhattan at the bar.
Ah, I see. The goal of a pickup line is to initiate contact rather than blow his mind with some hilarious one-liner. (That's what memes are for anyway.)
Armet refers to a pickup line as "an entryway to conversation." Sounds much more manageable.
So, it's really just as simple as talking to a guy?
Communication is the key to any relationship, so it makes sense that talking is the first step to any meaningful connection. The good news about that? Talking is easy. We've done it since we were two.
Conti shares some simple suggestions of what to say:
When you are in an elevator with a cute guy, ask him what floor he needs and then push the button. If he has an accent, ask him where he is from. (This literally just happened to me — he was German and super cute.) Just act like you are on vacation, be bubbly and outgoing, and enjoy meeting all of the attractive men around you!
It all sounds so straightforward. How did I not think of all this on my own? Why am I such a freak? Maybe my problem has been that I've put too much pressure on what to say and how to say it. The term "pickup line" has so much unnecessary baggage attached to it.
Armet has a different name for them: "pickup dialogues." "The magic is in the banter, so your goal is initiating with a remark that will solicit a question and curiosity in the other," she says.
I know this is heteronormative, but won't he approach me if he thinks I'm attractive?
Not necessarily. After all, this is the age of dating apps. (And we can blame everything on dating apps.)
"With the advent of the dating apps, so many women complain that no men ever speak to them when they are out and about. Rejection is a very real fear for men and women alike, and it is much easier for a man to take a virtual rejection on a dating app than an actual rejection IRL," Conti, who works in Los Angeles — arguably the best-looking city in America — explains.
So just because he didn't come up to you first does not mean you're not a 10. He's not going to freak out and scream "loser!" if you approach him with a question; he's simply going to take notice of you.
"I like to use the analogy of 'tag, you are it' when considering the dynamics of men and women. There's a constant switch up of power in the dialogue," says Armet.
Her tag analogy makes sense to me. Dating should be fun and playful.
So, cute dudes of the world, look out. I'm coming for you IRL. Even though, yes, if you were a chicken, you'd be impeccable, I'm going to keep it simple and maybe just ask if you wouldn't mind passing me my drink from the bar.