Dating advice, or how not to get a drink thrown in your face
by Camilla Mortensen
I was standing at the bar at Davis’ a couple weekends ago, having given up on the crowded dance floor, sipping a shot of Maker’s Mark, when from behind I felt someone grab my side. I spun around and considered wasting a perfectly good whiskey by dumping it on the grabber’s head, only to discover it was actually a friend, albeit a slightly drunk friend. This friend, let’s call him William, leered genially and explained he was showing his buddy how to pick up women.
|Photo by Trask Bedortha
I gently explained that walking up behind a hapless female and grabbing her in a way that feels like you’re checking to see if you can pinch an inch is not the path to success, even in the less-than-stellar Eugene singles scene. “If you’ve reached a point with a woman where you think touching is appropriate,” I said in my best talk-to-drunk-guys-like-it’s-Kindergarten voice, then “use your open palm on her shoulder or back so it’s less like you’re checking her body fat.”
William is a practitioner of what I call “the shotgun approach” to dating. You load up your double barrel shotgun with some rounds of birdshot and you start firing at the flock. Sooner or later a pellet is going to hit something and you might score. Heck, if you get really lucky you might even pull off a little catch-and-release action (i.e., a one night stand). It works. Despite his technique, William does meet women, but I’m not going to recommend the strategy. A woman likes to feel that she’s singularly special, not just the slowest bird a guy shoots at.
Having had the groping approach slapped down, William then wanted to know what was the best pickup line that had ever been used on me.
Ah, pickup lines. It’s not what you say; it’s all in the delivery and the follow up.
I was sipping a drink at Jameson’s one night, watching the hipsters shoot pool, and one fellow turned to me, handed me his cue, bowed gallantly and offered to let me take his shot. Great pick up; I was intrigued. Unfortunately, after I sank a couple balls, he said in surprise, “Oh! I didn’t think you could actually play.”
If you can’t come up with a brilliant line (“Fuck me if I’m wrong, but I think I’d like to kiss you” " funny, but not brilliant) then go with a classic. The nice man at the KLCC Brew Fest made major points when he saw me sitting alone, and asked, “Is this seat taken?”
He then lost the points when he asked what I did for a living and I said I wrote for the Weekly. He said the paper’s politics annoyed him and he only read the back pages. I’m not sure what was worse " that he said this in front of a reporter from The Register-Guard, who cracked up, or that he just basically told me he pretty much only reads “Savage Love” and the personal ads. Ummm, I don’t write the personal ads, but I do write some of that politics stuff. (Heck, we don’t even edit the personals. EW’s policy is that if you can’t use spellcheck, then the unsuspecting single folks of the world should know that from the beginning). He didn’t notice the faux pas and I didn’t follow up on his offer for a date.
What not to do: Ask a woman about herself and then disrespect it. Instead, make her feel fascinating. (She is fascinating, right? That’s why you’re trying to pick her up.) If you make a faux pas, laugh and apologize. If you say sorry, and she’s feeling what you’re feeling, then she’ll just think it will make a funny story later, when you guys are making speeches at the wedding. (If the word wedding makes you nervous, then stick with catch-and-release dating for now. I’ll save advice on how to gracefully not date a woman whom you had a one night stand with for a future issue.).
Cheesy works for pickup lines, but only if you’re able to convey that you know you’re cheesy and make cheesy endearing. This is not easy to do, especially after a few beers. Saying, “Hey baby, what’s your sign” with an ironic tone is a bit of a risk. You might not sound ironic; you might just sound like someone who thought the ’70s were awesome.
Personally, if you’re going with cheesy, my favorite is the geek gold standard: Flash your up-to-date Eugene Public Library card and say, “It’s a good thing I brought my library card, because I want to check you out.”
My reaction: Swoon. Not only is he funny, but when he’s sober, apparently he can read!
Or you may just want to stick with walking up behind unsuspecting females like a hunter stalking his prey and take a leap. It works for William.