Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Pick-Up Lines

In my single days -- a lot of years ago -- I was never one of those guys who could pick up women in a bar. I never had a good opening line and was amazed at some of the men who could do it so smoothly while it always felt so awkward to me.

Whenever I tried anything approaching one of these lines, I got the same chilly reaction that Slobodan Milosevic gave his pollsters this week when the Yugoslavian election results came in.

On my show today, I was talking about this and wondering what kind of pickup lines my listeners could remember. I was also curious about whether any particular lines had been effective for the guys, and how women in the audience had responded to them.

Note that I didn’t ask what pickup lines the women used. That’s because, for most single guys, anything a woman says can be considered a pickup line. She may say nothing more than a simple hello, but the man’s ears somehow process it as a come-on.

That’s a scientific fact -- verify it with any man you know – that has something to do with the structure of the male inner ear. She says: “Would you like fries with that?” He hears: “Won’t you please help me cure my terrible loneliness and longing for close physical contact?”

In reading these pickup lines, you may be as amazed as I was at how brash some of the guys have been. I can’t imagine saying most of these. Even more, I can’t believe that they have actually worked. Yet many men claim success with even the lamest lines below. On the other hand, most of the women I spoke to said that they would have to be pretty drunk to respond to these lines in any kind of positive way. Of course, that may just be the point.

Anyway, here’s the list, broken out into categories of ascending boldness...

Insulin Alert!
“We must have met sometime before, because I have seen those eyes before.”
“Where did you put them? Your wings. Because you look like an angel.”
“Where did you park your cloud?”
“Your father must be a thief, because he stole the stars and put them in your eyes.”
“You’re so sweet you’re giving me a toothache.”
“If I had eleven roses and you, I’d have a dozen.”
“Are we near the airport or is that just my heart taking off?”

Third-Party Toss-Off
“My friend wants to know if you think I’m cute.”

Attempts At Wit
“You must wash your clothes in Windex, because I can see myself in your pants.”
“Are your legs tired? Because you’ve been running through my thoughts all night.”
“Is that a run in your hose, or is it my stairway to heaven?”
“Are you from Tennessee? Because you’re the only ten I see!”
“Do you know CPR? Because you take my breath away.”
“If I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put U and I together.”

For Use Only By Men Under 30
“Your daddy must be a drug dealer, because you’re dope.”
“Is your dad a terrorist? Because you’re the bomb!”
“Are you a parking ticket? Because you have fine written all over you.”
“Is that a keg in your pants? Cause I’d just love to tap that booty.”

First Used By A Caveman
“If I told you that you had a nice body, would you hold it against me?”
“Is it hot in here or is it just you?”
“Hi, I’m new in town. Can I have directions to your house?”
“When does your centerfold come out?”
“I seem to have lost my number. Can I have yours?”

What If She’s Lactose Intolerant?
“I’m like milk. I’ll do your body good.”
“You’re so fine, I want to pour milk all over you and make you part of my complete breakfast.”

Guaranteed Face-Slappers
“I may not be Fred Flintstone, but I sure can make your bed rock.”
“Hey, that dress looks nice. Can I talk you out of it?”
“That dress looks good on you, but I’d look better.”
“Are those pants from outer space? Cause that butt is out of this world.”
“I like your hair that way. But I’d really like to see what it looks like on my pillow.”
“I’d like to buy you breakfast tomorrow. Should I call you, or just nudge you?”
“My mother always said that I had hands that belonged on a girl. Can I put them on you?”

Too Crude To Use Except At Last Call
“Can I tickle your belly button -- from the inside?”
“You have 206 bones in your body. Would you like one more?”
“You look like you have a little Mexican in you, and if you don’t, would you like to?”
“That outfit would look great in a crumpled heap on my bedroom floor tomorrow morning.”

Again, don’t blame me for any of these. I have never used them, and never would. I’d be scared to death of the response. Or that she might think I’m Craig Kilborn.

I’m not alone in my rejection anxiety. One guy told me he tried quoting an early Woody Allen movie to a woman in a bar, asking “Would you like to take me home and hurt me?” She didn’t waste any time. She kicked him in the shins right then and there.

A woman told me that a guy sat down next to her and introduced himself as “Bond. James Bond.” Without missing a beat, she replied, “Lost. Get Lost.”

Several ladies also asked me to pass along a tip to the guys. If you recognize that her name is the same as some famous song lyric, you should not start reciting that song to her. No matter how clever you think you are, you are not the first guy to try to impress her by singing “Oh Susanna,” “Help Me Rhonda,” “Michelle My Belle,” or, fer chrissakes, “The I Love Lucy Theme.”

What kind of approach would women truly welcome? Picture the scene in “Top Gun,” where Kelly McGillis is at the bar and Tom Cruise (with help from Anthony Edwards) strolls up with a microphone and serenades her with “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.”

Caveat to guys: this overt tactic is considered a winner by women entirely due to the fact that Tom Cruise was doing it. It would not have the same appeal if you look more like George Wendt.

Sunday, September 24, 2000

Olympic Swimming Is All Wet

The Olympic Motto: “Citius, Altius, Fortius.” It means Fastest, Highest, Strongest.

Now add Lamius. The Lamest.

Last week, two swimmers from Equatorial Guinea were allowed to participate in two events in the Olympic pool in Sydney, even though they didn’t come close to meeting the qualifying standards. The group that governs swimming worldwide claims that it is “part of an effort to popularize swimming in non-traditional nations.”

Is swimming unpopular in Equatorial Guinea? No, but on the west coast of Africa, most of the swimming is done in the ocean. Pools are almost non-existent. There are only two, in hotels, and neither is longer than 20 meters.

So, when Eric Moussambani and Paula Barila took part in the heats for the 50 meter freestyle events, they nearly drowned. They finished about as far behind the next-slowest competitors as your average public access cable show does in the ratings behind "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." For this, they received standing ovations from the crowd, and became instant celebrities.

Here’s the problem. The Olympics are supposed to be about competition between the world’s best athletes. You have to qualify, you have to meet certain standards, you have to be able to dive off the starting block without doing a belly flop. This isn’t Spring Break, where anyone can get into the pool and impress the crowd with a Giant Cannonball.

The four competitive swimming strokes are freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly – there’s no Olympic event called The 50 Meter Dog Paddle.

Don’t confuse this with that famous footage of the last guy into the stadium after an Olympic marathon several years ago. He straggled in, weary and bloody, long after the others had completed the race, and the crowd rose to its feet as he rounded the track towards the finish line. That was about bravery, about a man who had worked to become one of the top twenty or so distance runners in the world, who had simply been overcome by the event and the circumstances. He deserved every bit of admiration from the crowd, which realized the enormity of the effort they were watching.

Eric The Eel and Paula The Porpoise, as they’ve been dubbed by the media which started the clock on their fifteen minutes of fame this week, are not athletes. They are seemingly nice people who were plucked out of obscurity to represent their country at The Olympics. You can’t blame them. Compared to your average day in Equatorial Guinea, I’m sure a trip to Sydney and a moment on the world stage was beyond their wildest dreams.

But there are a lot of people who dream of getting to The Olympics. What about all those true athletes who sacrificed for their whole lives, working and struggling and spending hundreds of hours practicing in the water, hoping to some day be good enough to go for the gold? What do you say to them? That they may have been close to meeting the qualifying standards, but because they are from a “traditional” swimming nation, they’re out of luck, while these rookies – Paula has only been swimming for two months! – get a free pass?

I’m sure the NHL would like to expand its fan base to Saudi Arabia, but you won’t see the Blues pulling their goalie, Roman Turec, and replacing him with Sheik Abdul Mohammed. The Cardinals won’t be pinch-hitting for Jim Edmonds with Alexei Barshovsky of Minsk, just so Major League Baseball can pump up interest in their game in Russia.

One of the members of the group that came up with this brilliant deal was quoted last week as saying “It epitomized the feeling of the Olympics. They’re trying to do their best.” But The Olympics are not just about people trying their best. It’s supposed to be about those who are the best. If you want to have a contest between people who just learned how to swim, do it at a picnic, along with the sack race and the water balloon catch.

The powers-that-be in the swimming world should be called for a false start here. They jumped out of the blocks way too early. To increase interest among the people of Equatorial Guinea, they should have started at the beginning. First, get a full-length pool somewhere in the country. Second, send over some coaches who can teach their swimmers the basics of, oh, say, treading water. Third, invite some of their swimmers to observe, rather than take part in, the Olympics. Then, if there’s genuine desire, they can go back home and begin training in the hopes that they’d be good enough to qualify for the 2004 Olympics.

In the meantime, Olympic swimming events shouldn’t have a lifeguard who has to remind the competitors not to hang on the ropes.

Now, Eric and Paula, please get out of the pool. It’s time for Adult Swim.