Friday, November 6, 2009

Pick-Up Lines – The New Pick-Me-Up?

Last night I went out to meet an old friend for drinks who, like so many friends these days, shared with me the story of his recent engagement. It’s the fifth piece of “super couple” news I’ve received in the past month. I chuckle to myself when I learn of these things, as it seems the movie of my life would have to include a crawl at the bottom of the screen to announce who is getting married, buying a house or having babies around me. In reality, it seems the other way around. The big screen is reserved for these all-important milestones while the other nooks and crannies of life carry on in the background.

After a couple glasses of wine, my friend excused himself to the restroom before we were going to leave. In what might have been one of the most awkward pick-up moments ever, a man approached me and asked if he could take my picture on Santa’s lap. (Santa, so you know, was visiting this particular bar to deliver another keg of Great Lakes Ale as part of the Beer Week event going on in town). Accompanied by some horrible country-pop holiday music playing in the background, I agreed to take the photo.

A flock of men gathered to take my picture with Santa on their smartphones, and my Chardonnay-laden giggle reminded me that the scene was getting ridiculous. I extracted myself from his red velour pants, feeling a mild static shock as I stood up. (In my mind, I “modeled through it” just the way Tyra would have told me to if I were on a shoot for America’s Next Top Model. Yes, I watch the show.)

My friend returned from the restroom just in time to see the flock of men disperse as Santa gave me a “high five.” Simultaneously, the man who approached me was now flanked by another, who began to talk about triathlon and how he wanted to change his fitness lifestyle. For me, this was a guaranteed conversation starter.

“Are you okay?” My friend asked. Based on what he’d just seen, it was a valid question.

I was aware that these guys (both 20 years older than me) had me in their crosshairs and were trying to pick me up – but I happen to have a pretty passionate sales pitch when it comes to getting people involved in triathlon, and I wasn’t about to let this opportunity slide. A little bit of wine mixed with a little bit of soul, and conversations like this become an amusement park of inquiry and persuasion.

My friend left, and there I stood with a pair of 50-year old cousins who bought me another glass of wine and stared at me curiously as our conversation took flight through a random assortment of topics. We went from triathlon to career goals, to stories about their ugly divorces (trending!) and children (one of their daughters was getting married – please refer to the crawl at the bottom of the screen).

At times they attempted to resume a flirtatious banter, but for the most part they seemed to be taking me seriously as someone who could help to change their lives (in the gym, not the bedroom). I felt like the pilot show for a sitcom – testing their interaction with me to see what they were all about. Losers just looking to score, or legitimately nice guys? I believe the latter is true.

I told them about my broken engagement and how I was in a new relationship that was going well; about Ironman; and my inability to follow recipes. They told me about being self-employed; their college days of competitive swimming; and characteristics about future in-laws that annoyed them. I was compared to sisters, “Wouldn’t Renee just LOVE her?” and privy to pre-supposed confessions such as, “If I come to your class, I’m probably going to fall in love with you.”

“Yes,” I said. “Yes, that’s probably true.”

Some women take offense to being hit on – I’m not one of those women. If it happens to be annoying, I walk away. If it’s engaging (not necessarily in a carnal way) I’m game for an exchange of dialogue.

Blame it on my penchant for reality television and dating shows. It’s challenging to present yourself to someone for the first time, while spontaneously coming up with what you perceive to be an effective blend of words, movement and wit to keep that person interested. Many people suck at it. I’ve walked away from them plenty of times.

For the record, the cousins were well-dressed, polite, and worth the engagement.

Some of my readers know that I work in advertising and “ghost write” some social media pieces for a promotional campaign we’re doing for Remington. As such, I’ve been spending considerable time talking about pick-up lines and coming up with tips for men to impress women. Since the promotion goes so well with this post, I’d like to share the following link to a list of, “The Top 10 Looks That Will Get You Nowhere With Women.” Then make sure you try out the game (click on PLAY THE GAME in the top right corner). You might be surprised how much fun the pick-up can be if you just go with it.

Ironic sidenote: After all of my babble about triathlon, I should mention that I still can’t score with Trainer Patrice in the game!



Nicki said...

I am sure I found your blog off a tweet from Matt Hames. I am so glad I did as I find your outlook and your writing fantastic!

Have a great weekend!!

freshcrackedpepper said...

I love this post for many many reasons. Your analysis of flirting is smart and witty -- I've often felt the same way while bartending or just out socializing. It's a way of being new, even for we who are "taken." I've always thought flirting a far more sociologically complex matter than simply trying to score. Well written -- I love the evangelical triathlete angle!

Anonymous said...

Have the photos of you and Santa appeared anywhere online yet? ;-) This seems to be all anybody does .... take photos and video and go sharing it with millions of people they don't even know!! ;-)


Marilyn B said...

I think fit, buff people enticing others into triathlons via pick up would be a hysterical reality show.