10 Rules of the Pickup

dance_floor_discophoto by ezioman

It’s not easy to be yourself when attempting a pick-up. But the more out-of-character you try to be, the worse it’s going to go. The goal is to get someone to like you for you. That said, certain things should never be said or done during a pick-up, no matter how “naturally” they come to you:

  1. If you send someone a drink, don’t take their acceptance to mean they want to sleep with you, or even talk to you.
  2. Never attempt to pick up your doctor/patient, professor/student (at least while class is in session), boss/underling, Zumba instructor, intimate waxer, or fellow funeral attendee.
  3. Do not wordlessly dry-hump a stranger from behind on the dance floor (ladies, you too).
  4. Talk about more than the weather. Safe topics include: your current location, your neighborhood, some inane law your mayor recently passed, your occupations, their darts skills, Lolcats, HBO, and Twitter etiquette. Avoid: astrology, college majors, exes, reproductive rights legislation, infidelity, and children.
  5. Never request contact information merely to score the most digits that night; the pick-up is not merely a numbers game. Inquire only if truly interested.
  6. Feel free to accept or give attention willy-nilly — whether that attention comes in the form of drinks bought, numbers exchanged, or vague promises hinted at. However, once saliva has been exchanged, please limit your focus to one at that evening’s venue.
  7. Don’t lie about your occupation, position, intentions, etc. The end (getting a number) does not justify the means (being a fraud).
  8. Don’t compliment someone on a body part. Sincere compliments will be much more appreciated if they focus on something more specific and unexpected, like an item of clothing, a certain way with the pool cue, a particular selection in the grocery store, etc.
  9. Never look someone in the boobs or genitals while talking, even if that person’s daring neckline or impressive package has a paralyzing effect on your thought process. Everyone — no matter how tastelessly they’re dressed — deserves your utmost respect. Eye contact, people — it’s the ultimate compliment!
  10. Don’t invade someone’s personal space via excessive hand-on-elbow, hand-on-knee, hand-on-the-small-of the-back, close talking, etc., unless you have conclusive evidence it’s welcome. People have different thresholds for the touchy-feely. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.

From our weekly Metro column — see it in print here.


  1. 1000 pick up lines on my iPhone application can help. In any event they make interesting text messages afterwords…

  2. Good stuff… in my opinion though… after getting a little comfortable with a woman, they like to hear something like “you got the nicest ass ever”… or “the things I would do to you”…

    I mean, in most cases, it’s an honest compliment, that can’t be taken badly… and can show some sexual interest. And in all honesty, we are all very sexual creatures.

    Now if she doesn’t know you that well… then she’ll think you’re a creep…

  3. ohai, I can has lolcat pickup? kthnxMEOW.

    Great idea, Em & Lo! Monorail cat and the bukket-less walrus are my wingmen now. 😀

    ‘n wut Drea sed.

  4. At a certain point in life everyone should get a copy of this list for a birthday or other occasion.

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