Believe it or not, one of the most common (if less serious) questions about English involves PICK-UP LINES.
For those who are not familiar with this word, this means how to start a conversation with a girl at a bar. That's why we have the expression: “pick up.”
Before anything else, I have to say I can’t blame students for asking about this topic because it's really interesting and practical.
And, yes, we can also say this is part of practical English. ;-)
I can understand why non-native speakers of English wonder about this. It's because when they speak English, it’s hard for them to feel what is natural and what is weird, what is actually romantic and what is corny, what is too formal and what might be impolite etc.
Well, I’m not an authority on getting girls, but I do know the language. ;-) So I’ll tell you what I think.
Step No.1: Stop Thinking Too Much about the Pick-up Line
Bad news, guys.
If you opened this Blog hoping that you’ll get one really perfect and amazing pick-up line - one that will blow the mind of your target (i.e. the girl) - I’m sorry to tell you that that’s impossible.
A perfect pick-up line is an impossible thing in English and in any other language, as far as I know.
The problem with this idea is that men who usually look for a pick-up line start to depend too much on the pick-up line. They think that it’s the answer to all their problems. They believe that there exist the perfect words written by perhaps angels and can make the girl fall in love as soon as they speak them.
They are either too lazy or too helpless, because they are betting everything on one miracle pick-up line that would do all the work for them.
Remember: the more you depend too much on a pick-up line or the more you believe in the myth of an ultimate pick-up line, the more unnatural (weird) you will sound.
In communication, what's natural is the best.
Now, listen to this bit of poetry from a Spanish writer named Luis Cernuda, then tell me what you think:
“You justify my existence:
If I do not know you, I haven't lived;
If I die not knowing you, I do not die because I have not lived.”
Does it sound good?
If your answer is Yes, then I agree with you partially.
Yes, this piece of poetry is really romantic. In fact, it’s one of my favorites.
But the real question is: Is it good to use as a pick-up line?
The answer is: No, it isn’t.
It would sound unnatural because it wouldn’t match the situation.
To put it simply, you’d sound like a stalker.
Got it? ;-)
Got it? ;-)
Next, what do you think about these lines?
1. You look like my next girlfriend.
2. I have crossed oceans of time to be with you. (or, We are destined to be together.)
3. Shall we dance?
If the answer is surprising for you, then this means we’re on the right track.
Like I said, stop your obsession on one single pick-up line that would capture the heart of the other person right then and there.
It’s just a myth.
Step No. 2: Be Natural
After we change our thinking, we can move on to the next point. The name of the game, guys, is “Keeping It Natural.”
What does this mean?
After you throw out all fantastical ideas of the “Super Pick-up Line,” concentrate on the actual situation you are facing. Know the environment, the setting etc.
Is it a bar, a club, or a party? Is it too noisy to have a conversation in? Hell, is it even appropriate to pick up someone there?
In other words, get your mind down to reality.
The closer you are to Earth, the more sensitive you become to the most natural words.
Here are my top 5 ideas for the most natural pick-up lines:
1. Do you come here often?
2. Excuse me. Do you have the time? (or, What time is it?)
3. Hi. Can I get your… PIN number?
4. You look like you’re into RNB. And I can’t seem to recall the name of this song. Can you help me out?
5. Hey, I noticed that you were reading Paulo Coelho... Are you a fan?
You might’ve noticed it yourself, but the one thing that these lines have in common is that they are all very simple.
That’s right. Simple is natural. Natural is good. So simple is good.
Step 3: Other Things Come into Play
It might come as a surprise to you but the best pick-up lines are actually the most common things you say. It doesn’t have to be a special line.
The more important thing here is not WHAT you say but HOW you say it.
This is really, really true.
Always ask yourself: Can I say the words clearly, confidently and comfortably? Can I say them to the girl without choking or stuttering or sounding the least bit nervous? Can I say them while keeping eye contact?
If your answer to these questions is Yes, then Congratulations.
You don’t have the perfect pick-up line that you are looking for, but you CAN pick up a girl.