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Pickup Lines that Actually Work

If you’re the type of man who thinks that asking “if I told you that you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?” is likely to lead to an actual date, you may need some help. While some pickup lines sound great in a bar with your friends, out in the real world they’re likely to fall flatter than drywall.

So what’s a guy to do? If you’re actually trying to initiate conversation with a girl, you’ll keep actual ‘lines’ to a minimum, relying instead on spontaneous actions based on individual situations. However, not everyone’s got the chops to think quickly when opportunity strikes, so it’s a good idea to have a few basics up your sleeve. Here are six deceptively simple ideas to get you going.

1) Are you Laurie James?

If you’ve got even the merest hint of shared history with someone, it makes approaching that person so much easier. So if you don’t, here’s an idea – pretend that you do! It couldn’t be easier: just pick a name, make your approach and simply ask her, “Are you…?” When she gives her reply, it’s up to you to try and read whether she looks annoyed that you interrupted her or whether she seems open to more communication.

The worst that can happen is she says no and turns away – not the end of the world. At best, she’ll remain pointing in your direction, which will give you the opportunity for a follow-up. “Wow, you look just like someone who I used to work with…” is simple enough, or use the interaction as an excuse to tell her a little something about yourself: “Wow, you look just like a girl from my language class” or “You look just like the girl at my Bentley dealership.” (OK, that one may be pushing it.) Either way, be sure to read her level of interest, and if she’s clearly not interested, just walk away…and try it with someone else.

2) Hey, Nice Shoes

The main problems with most pickup lines are that they’re too generic and can clearly be aimed at anyone. So if you’re interested in someone you see while you’re out, pick something special about her and ask her about it. The shoes example is just one. What do you think of her hair color, purse, coat or jewelry? Is she wearing something with an unusual color, or does her T-shirt have a slogan on it that you could comment on? Whatever it is, make her know that you’re tuned into her, that you’ve noticed certain things about her, and that you’re not just blasting the room with random pickup lines.

3) Don’t I Know you from Spinning Class?

Assuming some familiarity with someone is a perfect, nonthreatening way to approach a woman, and if you root your question in your own reality, you’ll be able to follow up, too. So if you DO go to a spinning class, for example, it will tell her something about you and give her a hook to keep the conversation going herself. If you don’t talk with her about a pastime, ask her if she’s been to a specific cafe. If you see her at a movie, ask her if she’s seen a certain show in a theater or an exhibit in a gallery. Whatever you choose, pick something that’s familiar to you so that you can be ready to keep the conversation flowing.

4) What Kind of Dog is That?

If the woman you have your eyes on is with a ‘prop,’ you’ve already got a clear advantage. Pets famously bring people together on dog walks and in parks and cafes across the country – who doesn’t love to talk about his or her furry bundle of joy? But the idea extends to all manner of props: if she’s reading a book, ask her if she’s read anything by your favorite writer; if she’s listening to her iPod, it’s an opportunity for a music question. Seize the moment, and by asking about something she’s doing right now, it’ll sound less contrived.

5) I Just Got out of a Mexican Jail

Someone we know actually used this line and ended up marrying the girl he was directing it at. The reason it worked? It was true. The man in this instance was a thoroughly decent human being, but had been mistaken for the wrong person on a trip to Tijuana. The point is, he relayed an outrageous story as an opening line – one that had genuinely happened to him. As we go about our lives, strange things do happen. Distill the craziest thing into a single sound-bite, and you’ll come across as witty and interesting.

6) Let me Buy you a Drink

It’s not big, it’s not clever, but it’s straight, simple and directly to the point. Keep it polite, don’t be threatening, take no for an answer (if that is the answer), and try not to sound too cheesy. If you’re not in a café or bar where drinks can be bought, go for that other simple classic: “Hi, my name is…” Again, it’s genuine, it’s straightforward, and out in the real world, it’s worth a dozen “all those curves and me with no brakes” remarks. Whatever you choose to say, just remember one thing – keep it real. Good luck.