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A history of pickup lines

By MONIQUE TODA, The Philippine STAR Published Jul 17, 2022 5:00 am

When someone asks you to come over to “Netflix and chill,” please don’t be naive and agree enthusiastically thinking that you will be watching a good movie, while enjoying a large bucket of popcorn. How fun! It isn’t what you think it is. Actually, “Netflix and chill” is a pickup line and means casual sex. Shocking, right? How can movie night mean sexy time?

According to the Slang Dictionary, “A pickup line is a planned effort to start a conversation with a stranger in romantic or sexual pursuit of them.”

Pickup lines have been in existence for an exhaustingly long time. I imagine that the first one was a grunt, as a caveman dragged a woman by her hair during prehistoric times. What was the pickup line of Romeo to Juliet? Was it “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight, for I ne’ver saw true beauty till this night”? Well, that’s a good one from Shakespeare.

I learned through K-dramas that asking someone if they want to eat ramen means a one-night stand. In Nevertheless with Song Kang, it was “Do you want to go see butterflies?” In fairness, he had live butterflies under a canopy of nets in his place. In Snowdrop, Jung Hae-in asks Jisoo, “I want to make you some coffee,” and they end up in a passionate kiss. “Want to go to my apartment and see the flowers?” asks Yeon Woo-jin to Son Ye-jin in Thirty Nine, a more mature drama that tackles the love life of older couples.

“I want to make you some coffee” – Young Ro

How about Pinoy pickup lines? I think we take it to a new level of hilarity Proudpinoy.ph enumerates tagalog pickup lines that are described as “nakakakilig, sweet, corny, and funny.” Examples are: “Miss, Google ka ba? Kasi, nasa iyo ang lahat ng hinahanap ko”; “Para kang traffic sa EDSA, because I just can’t move on”; “Top view, side view, bottom view, kahit anong view, I love view”; and “Dalawang beses lang naman kita gusto makasama… now and forever.”

Pickup lines will always exist. For those with the best intentions, they’re not really so bad. It’s a way to break the ice and get to know someone.

There are countless pickup lines (cheesy galore) and I thought why not list down a few for laughs. Most of them (95 percent, actually) are not original, which makes it funnier because they have become super corny clichés. For the sleazy ones, I ask you to control your gag reflex. This is not a guide, but a look at the different pickup lines, from suave, to savage, to the hilariously cringe-worthy. Raise your hands if you’ve experienced some of these being said to you.

Cigar Bar by Brent Lynch

Medical Theme

“I hope you know CPR, because you just took my breath away!” Another version is: “Aside from taking my breath away, what do you do for a living?” On the remote chance that you will actually use this to introduce yourself, find out first if you’re talking to a real medical professional, or someone trained to administer CPR, so you won’t get pahiya. Another medical-themed line is: “Do you happen to have a Band-Aid? Because I scraped my knees falling for you.”

It’s 20/20 Vision

Some common lines involve eyes (I wonder why) such as, “Your eyes are like the ocean, I could swim in them all day.” That’s for people with blue or green eyes, I guess. For Asians, one can say, “When I look in your eyes, I see a very kind soul.” Do you think anyone would buy “I never believed in love at first sight, but that was before I saw you”?

Evening Lounge Red Study by Brent Lynch

Book and Classic Literature Lovers

How do you say that you are a book lover without actually saying you are a book lover? To show off a love for literature, or if trying to impress someone with your knowledge of the classics, here are some fun puns. Bookbub.com lists Literary Pick-Up Lines Book Lovers Will Fall For:

• “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” (Shakepeare) “You’re hot!” 
• “Wanna come back to my place? It’ll be the best of times… or the worst of times.” (Dickens)• “Hey, baby, wanna party like it’s 1984?” (Orwell)
• “I’ll put a ring on it.” (Tolkien)

Profession or Work Centered

In order to be relatable, would-be debonaires or sassy women might ask the following:

• “Are you an electrician? Because you’re definitely lighting up my night.”
• “I’m not a photographer, but I can definitely picture us together.”
• “Are you any good at boxing? Because you look like a knockout.”
• “Are you a karate instructor? Because your body is really kicking.”

Crime Story

In my opinion, these pickup lines are criminal. I wonder why this topic is alluring when trying to approach someone.

• “If being sexy was a crime, you’d be guilty as charged.”
• “If being in love was illegal, will you be my partner in crime?”
• “Let’s commit the perfect crime, I’ll steal your heart, and you’ll steal mine.”

Reader, are you okay? Can you take any more? In my personal experience, pickup lines come in different iterations. I worked in the hotel industry and I’ve met so many characters. There were flowers sent with a card that read “You are the most beautiful woman in the world. Have merienda with me.” I thought, “merienda?” A common theme is showing off wealth or yabang. Sometimes, men will introduce themselves, “I am so and so, and I own so and so.” I just laugh. Who cares, right? Sometimes, insecurity is so palpable.

A personal horror story was when a strange foreigner waited all day for me in the reception area of my office for two weeks. This was before the word “stalker” was even a thing. Initially, I spoke with him thinking he was a guest who needed assistance. It was when he said, “You look like a lovely cat” and grabbed my ponytail that I realized: This old fart is trying to pick me up! Politely, I excused myself. I swear, sometimes I think being polite can kill you. I avoided that man by using the office back stairs until the coast was clear. Creepy.

Pickup lines will always exist. For those with the best intentions, they’re not really so bad. It’s a way to break the ice and get to know someone. Originality, sincerity, and authenticity is key. But action is far better and preferred — a kind gesture, a smile, generosity. In the end, though, what really works are words left unsaid.