A quick pick me up

Here’s yesterday’s Sunday Times Column. It’s about pick up lines.

And I just want you to know, that if I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put U and I together. Urgh!

No seriously, thanks for visiting.



Hey ladies, here’s a question for you, when last did someone try to pick you up? Not in the fork-lift sense, I’m talking about the good old days of the pick-up line? When a woman would be out and a man would come up to her and lay a smile and his very best line on her.

Anything from the simple classic, ‘So, do you come here often?’ to the ever so slightly more adventurous, ‘What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?’

There were tons of them. ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ was well-worn. And there were the slightly more dodgy oldies, like ‘you must be tired because you’ve been running through my mind all night.’ Or ‘great legs, what time do they open?’, and let’s not forget the thankfully more charming, ‘Your father must be a gardener, because he plucked the stars out of the sky and put them in your eyes.’ Cue vomit.

Mostly they were the same tired old lines passed down from generation to generation and guy to guy, and trotted out in bars or clubs. They were designed to be conversation starters. Just a little something to get the ball rolling. So it didn’t matter that they were cheesy and overused, that was part of their charm.

Some of them even had an element of physical comedy to them. A guy would lick his finger and place it on your sleeve (gross – that was clearly before we had hygiene) and then say, ‘Hey, how about you and I go back to my place so we can get out of these wet clothes?’ Or he might lean over and take a look at the label on your shirt and say something like, ‘Made in heaven, just as I thought.’

Every now and then a guy who really had moves would make up one of his own instead of pulling out an old faithful. Such as, ‘Hi, can I borrow R1? I want to phone my mom and tell her I just met the girl of my dreams.’ My friend Donovan claims he made that one up some time in the late nineties, and it worked a storm for him.These slightly more original ones, if they worked, would quickly get circulated until they became old classics too.

Donovan (whose name has been changed to protect his wife from embarrassment) is married with kids now, sorry ladies. But could that be the reason that the pick-up line has died a slow and painful death? Were they so effective that everyone who used them got snapped up, and so they no longer got created or passed around anymore, and slowly fell out of use? Probably not.

Together with the pick-up line, The Wingman is another age-old tool in any single guy’s arsenal. The Wingman is the adult version of that junior school thing whereTommy would rope in his best mate, Stewie, to tell Sylvie that Tommy likes her.

A guy-friend of mine used this technique to pick up a woman a while ago. He was out running along the beachfront with a mate, when he spotted a lady he thought was really pretty, who was also out running. So while they were stretching after their run, he sent his pal over to do his dirty work for him. It’s the wingman’s job to go say hello, break the ice and tell the lady that his friend is too shy to come over, and ask her for her digits so his friend can perhaps give her a call some time, if she’s keen. She agreed and long story short, they’re now married with a kid. So proof for you singles,The Wingman Technique is still effective, if used correctly.

Which is good to know, because with the death of the pick-up line, how else are single people supposed to meet other single people in this day and age? Dating rituals have changed drastically over the last two decades. And the fact that these changes have coincided with the arrival of the internet is no coincidence.

Internet dating has given anyone too lazy, too ugly or too shy to go to a bar and approach another human being, the opportunity to do it from the comfort and anonymity of their computer monitor, which definitely makes it easier. So it’s no wonder that over the years the internet has kind of taken over as our pick-up joint of choice and we’re doing it less and less in real life.

And while I absolutely agree that the internet is the best thing to happen to singles since the invention of the milkshake with two straws, I do have to blame it for the demise of the great pick-up line. No girl should have to go her whole life without some man
plucking up the courage to come over to her and say something like ‘You’re so sweet you’re going to put sugar out of business.’ Or that old chestnut,‘Do you believe in love at first sight, or do I have to walk by you again?’

11 responses to “A quick pick me up”

  1. Elaine says:

    aw, this is so sweet Paige……x

  2. . says:

    Ah how I miss hearing “get your coat luv, you’ve pulled!” 😉

  3. ssr says:

    Absolutely amazing so cute to hear those old lines

    • Paul says:

      Dear Agony Aunt,

      So I tried this line on a little number in a bikini :-

      “Are those your leopard skin shoes? Are you on the hunt?”

      Response: “Not Now!”

      Is that a definite no, or should I try something more direct.

  4. Paige says:

    Dear Bikini Hunter,
    Leopard skin shoes are very last season.
    Perhaps you should have been the one saying ‘not now’ to her.
    Love Aunty Paige.

    • Paul says:

      Dear Auntie P,

      Good to see you are keeping your hand in.

      Was in the Kruger last week, saw all of the Big Five except the leopard. Maybe “last season” is an understatement, they could now be extinct 🙁

      Some beautiful zebra fillies though.


    • Paul says:

      I can sense you don’t believe the zebra story (“Honestly, I don’t remember anything – when I woke up the filly was already there!”)

      Well here is the photographic proof :-


  5. Paige says:

    Dear Zebra Filly Whisperer,
    I never doubted you for a second.
    Just be grateful that it wasn’t a lion you woke up to, you wouldn’t have had much of a hand left to offer.
    Auntie P.
    PS: speaking of waking up and arms, ever heard of a ‘coyote ugly’?

    • Paul says:

      Dear Auntie P,

      > heard of Coyote Ugly?

      Yes I have, I could have cheated and yahoo!ed them, but strictly from memory they are a chic-band aren’t they? The connection??

      > Zebra Filly Whisperer
      I have a confession, I write far more than I read – am I correct in thinking that there was a book “The Horse Whisperer”? I have seen “The Elephant Whisperer” recently, but did not get as far as opening the cover.

      But speaking of zebra-filly-talk, I sent an anonymous Valentine’s Day invitation to the original zebra filly previously, as far as I know I coined this term of endearment.

      ( Just Yahoo!ed it, 103 hits – virtually all of them the 4-legged genre. But
      “zebra filly” +valentine
      had 5 hits, one of which reminded me that I did send a follow up email a year later, in response to the

      On Valentine’s Day 2000, a zebra filly named Tracy was born with only remnants of striping on her hocks.
      She is the daughter of Luke, and she …

      This one looked interesting, but being a 2002 blog post from Devian Tart, I still claim precedence :-

      A zebra filly froliced amongst her … :love::love::love:Ho pe you all have a fantastic Valentine’s Day
      filled with roses

      In response to my post, someone showed great initiative to find my mobile number and returned the favour :-

      SMS 2009-02-14 15:30:32 from 082-212-5179
      U dnt have an idea how busy I was when I left everything 2 come to meet u and now u dnt answer your phone. I wont bother u again.

      SMS 2009-02-15 10:41:37 from 082-212-5179
      If u still want 2 give me the money u can deposit it in that acc I gavn its a visa card.

      Hmm, initially I thought it would be safe to leave Filly’s mobile number intact, but that would be too much of a temptation to those with great initiative, wouldn’t it? But rather than just using any random phone number, I have encoded a cookie identity into it. Hard, but not impossible, to decode.


  6. Paige says:

    erm… can’t say i got any of that I’m afraid, Paul, but re coyote ugly:

    coyote ugly: A situation encountered after a night of consuming alcohol whereby a person, usually male, wakes the next morning in a strange bed with a sexual partner from the previous evening who is completely physically undesirable (see ugly, nasty, two bagger) and sleeping on the man’s arm. The hapless male would rather gnaw off his own arm than wake the woman and have to face the ills of his intoxicated choices the previous evening. Originating from a phenomena whereby a coyote captured in a jaw trap will chew off its own leg to escape certain death.

    from: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=coyote%20ugly

  7. Paul says:

    Come on Paige, pull my other leg.

    I choose to believe the movie version of Coyote Ugly, I wouldn’t mind waking up with something looking like the visible film cast.


    Coyote Ugly (2000)
    PG_13 100 min – Comedy | Drama | Romance – 27 October 2000 (South Africa)

    Ratings: 5.4/10 from 54,171 users Metascore: 27/100

    Reviews: 366 user | 153 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

    Aspiring songwriter Violet Sanford, after getting a job at a women-run NYC bar that teases its male patrons, comes out of her shell.

    Director:David McNally
    Writer:Gina Wendkos
    Stars:Piper Perabo, Adam Garcia and John Goodman

    Image version at


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