Thursday, February 23, 2012

Talk Flirty to Me

As you know from my last post, I've been feeling stressed out over graduate school lately because I had hoped to finish my Ph.D. next year. But now it looks like I may have to stay in the Ph.D. program for another year after that. I've been struggling to think of how I'm going to support myself for that extra year and how I'm going to explain myself to my family about why it's taking longer than expected to complete my degree.

I wanted to thank those of you who left really nice, encouraging comments on that post; that definitely made me feel better. I must admit that I'm still worried about what's going to happen; that's one of the problems with being an English Ph.D.: constant uncertainty over the future, because unlike people who graduate from medical school, for example, my chances of getting a decent-paying, full-time teaching job are far fewer. Not to mention it takes more years to get an M.A. and a Ph.D. than an M.D. Honestly, if I could go back ten years and choose a different career, I might have, even though I do like teaching. I'm just so tired of being in grad school and all the b.s. that comes with it, and I'm tired of working all these jobs that barely (and sometimes don't) pay enough to cover my bills.

I've been trying to get my mind off of stressful things like that by thinking of other things that are less stressful and sometimes just plain funny. Pick up lines are one example. I have heard them used by both men and women, and now, with online dating, there are the "pick up e-mails" where they have to make themselves sound engaging and attractive through their writing. (You'd think that the e-mails would be easier for me to do than to just go up to some guy in person, since I am a writer, after all. You'd think, right?)

But here are a few examples of pick-up lines that I've heard from guys (in person):

Want to go back to my place? My mom will be asleep, so we don't have to worry about her walking in on us or anything. (I swear I'm not making this one up. And no, I didn't hear this line when I was in high school.)

Hey, lady! I want to @#$* and @%$#, and then I'm going to @#%*@#! (Several guys I've passed on the street have sworn at me, because apparently they think that curse words are sexy. FYI? They're wrong.)

You looked so lonely sitting by yourself, so I figured that you WANTED me to come over here and keep you company.

My friend's dog has the same name as you. Maybe that's a sign that we should have a drink together.

Why are you wearing so many layers? Take some of them off, it slowly.

I totally think that men and women are equal. That's why I don't think I should ever have to pay for your dinner. In fact, I think you should pay for mine. (I'm not making this one up either. And no, the guy wasn't joking.)

Women do it too, of course. Here are a few examples:

I'm going to let you buy me a drink just because you're so cute.

Quick, my ex-boyfriend's coming this way. Let's make him jealous.

Do you think my top is too low-cut?

Could you bend over and pick up that pen for me?

I've never been good at flirting; in a post I wrote a couple years ago, I wrote about how a friend once described me as "the nonflirt". When I'm around a guy that I'm attracted to, I either start tripping over everything and blurting out embarrassing stuff, or I clam up completely and can't talk to him at all. And I'm not always good at picking up on cues when guys flirt with me (unless they're being totally obvious); a cute guy I used to work with and had a crush on kept flirting with, me and once he indirectly asked me out. But I just brushed him off, because I thought he was joking around. It wasn't until after he left that my coworkers told me he really was asking me out. But by then it was too late, and I felt too shy to tell him that I liked him too.

I'm not condemning anyone who uses pick up lines. I think it actually takes courage to go up to someone (especially someone you really like) like that. On the other hand, I don't like it when guys can't take a hint and won't stop flirting with me. (Of course, except for that guy I mentioned, guys that I'm actually attracted to aren't the ones that flirt with me. No, the guys who have problems controlling their behavior and maintaining their personal hygiene and the ones that look like they should be on one of those reality shows before all the cast members get drastic makeovers are the ones that typically hit on me.) That is, if I've already made it clear that I'm not interested, that does not mean it's okay for them to continue hitting on me. In the movies they often show guys who are very persistent when it comes to pursuing women. But in real life I don't find that to be charming; I think it's creepy, especially if I have already said no.

The truth is, I like it best when a guy can just talk to me without trying too hard to impress me. That is, he doesn't brag about himself or make a big show about what a gentleman he is just because he picked up the check. It's nice when a guy can just be himself, though I can understand that some people (both men and women) are too nervous to be themselves on first dates. I think it's very attractive when a guy is confident and outgoing without being arrogant and aggressive.

The problem with pick up lines, in my opinion, is that it's like you're presenting yourself to be something that you're not. I think that if people just struck up regular conversations with each other without including cheesy come-ons, it would make the dating game a lot less awkward (and also a lot less annoying).

Here's a funny video I watched on Youtube where several celebrities presented their own pick up lines. My favorite is Simon Helberg's (Howard from The Big Bang Theory) seduction attempts. (Side note: A few of the actors make dirty jokes in this video, just so you know.)

What kinds of pick up lines have you heard/used in the past? What do you think of pick up lines in general? If you write fiction, do any of your characters use pick up lines?


  1. LOL, the "dog" pick up line is pretty awful!

    I agree with you, it is better when a guy can just be comfortable enough to be himself, without having to use cheesy lines!

    1. Hi Kyra,
      I also met a guy who thought that the fact that my name was the same name as a girl he used to date was a good pick-up line.
      They say that self-confidence is attractive, and they're right; that's why it's good when guys can just be themselves. As long as "being themselves" doesn't include doing stuff like inappropriate touching, making offensive comments or spitting in public, of course.

  2. Your post reminds me of the Big Bang Theory Episode where Wolowitz and Rajesh are trying to pick up a girl with very elaborate pick-up lines, and Leonard keeps telling them that all they have to do is say hi. But by the time Leonard gets the courage to go up to the girl, she has already left the train, so he can't use his line.

    I'm sorry to hear about grad school problems. Our tiny funding runs out after 5 years (you show me the PhD student who finished in 5 years, and I'll show you the map to Treasure Island). Since the day I stepped into the program I have worked to try to finish in that amount of time, but it's just not going to happen. It's part of the system, as bad as that sounds. Keep your chin up and keep fighting the good fight.

    1. Hi Anna,
      I love it when Wolowitz and Rajesh try to hit on women, because they're always so hilarious; at the same time there's something very real about their attempts to find love. And yes, simply saying hi would be better than most pick up lines I've heard.
      In my first year in the Ph.D. program, I really thought I could finish my degree before my funding ran out. I might have, if my prospectus had been approved sooner. It's just so frustrating because as you can relate, I just want to be done with all of this and move on with the next phase of my life.

  3. I've heard quite a few interesting ones,some of them used on me. When I was a freshman in high school, this upperclassman had an obvious crush on me. He came up to my locker one winter morning wearing huge sunglasses.

    "Why the glasses?" I asked.
    "To shield my eyes from your radiant beauty."

    Ugh. He was so over the top.

    Amusing post, I enjoyed it!

    1. Hi Shelley,
      Thanks! I think the story about that upperclassman who had a crush on you is both funny and sweet. There's something earnest about what he did, and yet if it were me I might have cracked up when he said it. Maybe you could put that scene into a story or something.

  4. Pick up lines are the worst. My favorite though, "Hi I'm John. I'll be standing over there while you catch your breath."

    1. Hi Libby,
      I love that line; that made me crack up! Maybe guys could also play that song "Take My Breath Away" while saying it.

  5. Pick up lines are the worst. Men should just be themselves. "Hi," would go a long way. Maybe the real reason why they're approaching you would be refreshing.

    I'm sorry you may have to face this another year. The Ph.D path is not an easy one. Between my husbands years doing his PhD and his post-doc in science, it took most of our 20s and 30s. Hang in there.

    1. Hi Theresa,
      In "courtship scenes" on TV or in books, the characters that end up with the ones they like usually don't use pick up lines, and I like that. "Hi" is definitely better than most of the pick up lines I've heard.
      I wish that grad school hadn't taken up most of my 20s, because I wish I had had more time (and money) to do other things I always wanted to do. Now it looks like finishing my PhD and finding a tenure-track job (if I find one) is going to take up most of my 30s. Sighhhh...