Devastatingly beautiful dates, sumptuous excursions and scintillating conversations are all benefits of the single life but contrary to popular belief, there is a downside to being relationship-free: the torture of being subjected to stale, decades-old come-ons is penance for all that fun. In a survey taken across a range of age groups, geographical borders and lifestyles, we have compiled the top 10 worst pick-up lines that have sullied the ears of singles everywhere:
1. “What’s your sign?”
The epitome of cheese, this line — which has been around at least since the Beatles came to America, though some researchers say it could be almost 2,000 years old — ranks as the very worst line in dating history. The fact that it’s still in use says a lot about the decay of our society’s standards and the glaring desperation of some singles.
2. “Pardon me, I seem to have lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?”
Maybe this was funny around 1910 or 1915 — back when the telephone was a novel appliance. It does not inspire smiles now, only scared and doomed looks.
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3. “You must be a broom because you’re sweeping me off my feet.”
Maybe your dad used this one on your mom and for nostalgia’s sake, you’re bringing it out again. Nostalgia does not get you dates, though, only pity. “I actually had a guy say this to me during happy hour,” says Kim, a vivacious flight attendant who hears more than her share of clichéd pick-up lines. “I didn’t hold it against him because I don’t know how much he’d had to drink and he was cute. But if he hadn’t been cute, I would have dodged him.”
4. “Do you have a license? Because you’re driving me crazy.”
Caution! Watching too many stupid teen movies impairs your judgment. This probably sounded clever to the person who swiped it from a 1960s beach-party flick.
5. “I gotta thirst, and baby, you look like my Gatorade.”
Generally, comparing potential dates to food or drinks is not a winning move. “I had a guy use this one on me and I rolled my eyes and walked way,” says Susan, a marketing representative who doesn’t usually go for lines. “But a couple of weeks later, I saw this hot guy at the gym and I used that same line... and it worked! I guess there are gender preferences when it comes to lines. He was really flattered, where I was insulted when it was used on me.” And Susan's right; research published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences has borne out that women approaching men directly using any opening line are more likely to get a positive response than using nonverbal flirting cues alone.
6. “Are you lost? Because heaven’s a long way from here.”
Maybe angels like this one, but real women don’t.
7. “Are you religious? Because you’re the answer to all my prayers.”
Prayer is something that anyone who uses this tacky line desperately needs.
8. “Can I take your picture? I want Santa to know exactly what I want for Christmas this year.”
This line is popular with both men and women who think references to Santa are cute and charming, which are qualities that they never possess personally. After all, what if the person in question happens to be Jewish?
9. “Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?” “A stunning woman I had been staring at used this on me,” says Mark, a tawny-haired, gregarious copywriter. “I know it’s an old one but it took guts to say it. I’m afraid I happily fell for it.”
10. “Well, here I am. What are your other two wishes?” A personal favorite, this one takes a certain amount of arrogance — as well as delusion — to pull off. Who wouldn’t wish for a more honest come-on?
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to Happen magazine.