How to Fail at Picking Up Girls (with Personal Anecdotes!)

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As you might have been able to tell from our blog, we are female. As females, we occasionally have guys try pick up lines on us. Sadly, the vast majority of pick up lines are either delivered at inappropriate times or in an inappropriate way, which leads us to believe that a guide to picking up ladies, written by ladies, might be helpful. To spice this up a bit, we’re also including some actual anecdotes from our own experiences as examples of what NOT to do.

Rule #1: Don’t be scary

Guys, really, this should be obvious. But for those of you who aren’t aware of how scary you are, let’s break it down a little more: don’t yell, don’t insult the woman if she says no (see also, Rule #5), and for goodness sakes, don’t ever ever ever invite a woman to a secluded place as your first attempt.

And don’t be offended if we get scared despite your best efforts. Women are trained to be cautious around men, and we’re at our most vigilant when a guy expresses romantic interest in us. It may not be fair to all the good guys out there, but it’s a real fear; 1 in 4 women will be raped before graduating college, after all.

  • A’s Story: I was in high school and my mom had dropped me off at the movie theater to watch a movie. The movie wasn’t very popular, so it was just me and these two guys in the theater while we waited for the previews to start. I was sitting a few rows ahead of them, but they decided to come down, sit directly behind me, then lean over and tell me to smile (also a big no-no; surprisingly, people do not like smiling on command). I politely declined and the dudes started calling me a bitch and prude and telling me that I wasn’t good enough for them anyway all the way until the previews started. I spent the rest of the movie terrified of being alone in the dark with them and then waited until they left the theater first before venturing out to wait for my mom to pick me up.
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This would have been my next step if I had been old enough to drink.

  • R’s Story: I went to college in New York City, and this happened the first week of my freshman year. I was walking to the grocery story on Broadway when I heard a man call out to me from a moving truck. I don’t remember the exact phrasing anymore, but it was something about how good I looked. He then proceeded to call out an invitation into his extremely sketchy looking moving van, and he stated that he wanted to take pictures of me in said moving van. Needless to say, I walked on past him and his possible Death Van quite quickly.

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  • A’s Story: This didn’t happen to me, personally, but to a woman who was waiting for the subway with me. She was just standing there, minding her own business when a guy stopped in front of her, pointed and started yelling “You are gonna marry me, cook my meals, have my kids, go to work and pay all the bills and you’re going to like it. And when you ask if I love you, I’m not gonna say shit.” Then he patted her arm, laughed, and walked away. The poor lady looked too bewildered and scared to say anything.

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Rule #2: Don’t make comments about the woman’s body

There are a few caveats to this one. If you follow the other rules, then a comment about a lady’s eyes or hair or something might be fine (we say might because everybody’s different). But we think we’re safe in saying that you should always avoid commenting on anything below the neck unless you’re actually in some kind of a relationship with her.

Especially avoid the words “ass” and “boobs.” You sound like a 15 year old boy at best and a total creep at worst.

  • R’s Story: Again, this is in NYC, but this time it is during my senior year. So, by this point I’m 21. I was walking to my university’s gym one afternoon, and some man yells out a comment about my legs. According to him I had “nice long legs” and a “pretty mole”; I have a mole on the back of my thigh shaped like a seahorse. Taking the high road, I flipped him off and continued to head to the gym.
  • R’s Story: I’ve been a runner since high school, and this story occurred whenI was just starting to run fairly regularly. I was 16, and I had stopped by the grocery store after running a few miles. I also distinctly remember that this encounter occurred while I was staring at sugar and flour. Minding my own business looking at the flour, this huge man comes up to me and leads with “those are some nice legs you’ve got…..you a runner?” I made a noncommittal noise and started to edge away, and he asked where I ran. I, naturally, lied my ass off, and he stated that he’d definitely love to see me run sometime while looking at me as though I was a piece of meat. I fled, and that ended that encounter.

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Rule #3: No pictures, please

Another rule that should be obvious but somehow isn’t as the below anecdotes indicate. Nevertheless, it’s an easy one. Don’t take pictures of a strange woman without her consent. Ever. There are no exceptions.

  • R’s Story: While I lived in NYC for college I frequently went for runs all over the city. On this particular occasion I was going for a run in Riverside Park. Naturally, I had my headphones in, so I couldn’t hear everything around me particularly clearly. I heard this man shouting, so I looked up towards the street, and this guy hung out of a car with a camera, snapped a picture of me, yelled something, and drove off. During this interaction I had managed to make a very confused face and just barely start to flip this car the bird. So, somewhere in the world there is a picture of me looking mighty confused and flipping someone off halfway.

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Rule #4: Pick your location wisely and read body language

This one is the most complex and nuanced of them all because there really are no hard and fast rules that we can impart to you that will work in every situation. But generally, avoid yelling your appreciation at a woman on the street, don’t approach a woman romantically at the gym, and respect headphones and lack of eye contact as a sign that the woman does not want to be engaged. Other than that, just use your common sense.

  • A’s Story: While standing on a corner in a residential area with my headphones, a moving truck pulled up to the stop sign across the street. The driver rolled down his window and yelled something to me so I took my headphones off and asked him to repeat it. He asked “Can I sing to you?” I shrugged and turned away at which point he started singing “You Are So Beautiful” for a few bars before driving away. The whole time, his coworker in the passenger seat stared straight ahead and pretended nothing was happening.

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  • R’s Story: This is pretty weak compared to A’s, but I can usually pretty successfully intimidate people into just leaving me alone. This one man, however, was evidently magically unperturbed by my death stare. Instead, he would constantly try to talk to me at the gym; he asked about my exercise routine, what weights I was using, all of this stuff. The man was also a good three decades older than me. Finally, I (who was 17 or 18 at the time) finally just broke and told him “Leave me alone. I do not want to talk to you; consider this your final warning.” That actually worked, and he avoided me the rest of my time there.

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  • A’s Story: I was on my lunch break at a local Chipotle-style restaurant, sitting at a table with my headphones in (as they often are), staring at my phone in one hand while eating with the other. Suddenly, I become aware of a guy standing ridiculously close to my table. When I look up, I see his lips move but I can’t hear him because my music is turned up really loud. I take them out and he repeats his question: “May I sit with you and talk for a while?” You get three guesses what my answer was, but I bet you only need one.

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Rule #5: Take “No” for an answer

And finally we reach the biggest and MOST IMPORTANT rule of all, because you will approach a woman who will reject you. And we’re not required to be nice about it, either, especially if you break one of the rules above, and you are not entitled to have us accept your advances.

But maybe you didn’t know you were breaking a rule! Maybe you were just trying to be nice! That’s all well and good and we appreciate your good intentions. However, the key to not being a true douchebag is to move the fuck on. Don’t call her names, either to her face or behind her back, don’t yell, don’t pout like a little kid. Just leave her alone.

Also remember, despite what most romantic movies would tell you, being persistent is rarely ever successful. In fact, it’s more likely to get you an even angrier response the more you try than getting you an actual date. We are not rocks to be worn down by time.

  • A’s Story: There was a guy at my school who had a crush on me. I knew it, but I didn’t feel the same way so I generally just avoided him outside groups. After a while, the guy asked if I wanted to come to his neighborhood and play on the shared tennis court. I declined, saying that I didn’t know how to play tennis. The conversation then proceeded thusly:
    Him: “I can teach you.”
    Me: “I don’t want to learn.”
    Him: “We don’t have to play, we can just throw the ball back and forth”
    Me: “No.”
    Him: “Alright, we can just stand there with rackets or something then.”
    Me: “Dude. No.”

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  • A’s Story: This is actually an awful first date story, but it belongs here as an example of not taking no. I went out with this guy to the movies and of course, as soon as the lights went down he put his arm around me. This was fine until his hand tried to wander further. I told him to stop and put his hand back on my shoulder. He tried twice more with the same outcome, so then he moved his arm behind my back and started to rub my stomach. I asked him, none too kindly “What are you doing?” to which he replied “Feeling our baby.” Let’s just say that the date was pretty much over after that.

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Bonus Rule: If you do get to know a woman, don’t assume something’s a date until you know the woman’s on the same page

Assume that you’ve successfully navigated the meeting phase and are now on acquainted with a woman you would like to get to know on a romantic level. When you do decide to ask her out for a proper date, please make it clear what you have in mind. You don’t have to make a neon sign or anything, but please make it clear with your words. Using the word “date” would be nice, for instance. There’s nothing worse than finding out that you’re on a date that you didn’t know was a date until the very end.

  • R’s Story: This isn’t so bad, but it is still worth noting. I had a friend who I would hang out with, occasionally go to science fiction movies with, and grab dinner with sometimes. There was nothing beyond platonic, nor had I ever indicated that I had anything beyond platonic interest. So, this friend asked if I wanted to “hang out” one Saturday and see a movie. This was totally normal and something that we had done before; in fact that was the exact word-for-word invitation that had been used before. However, it became increasingly clear that he believed, for no particular reason, that this was a date. He kept on touching me, tried to pay for me, and other factors. I eventually just straight up told him that this was not a date. However, he still stopped the car and started to lean over to try and kiss me when he dropped me off at home. But, by that time, I was long gone and he was leaning over to put the moves on empty air.

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  • R’s Story: This is the real story. There was a guy I had been friends with for at least a year. We would gchat, occasionally hang out and watch science fiction shows, and sometimes get Chipotle for dinner. There was basically nothing else to our friendship, and it mostly consisted of him gchatting me what were essentially soliloquies on random topics. One afternoon he came over to watch Battlestar Galactica with me, which was totally normal. We also got Chipotle later. Again, totally normal. However, when he went to leave he hugged me (NOT NORMAL). When I still attempted to usher him out the door after that, he hugged me again, but this time tried to kiss me. This was the single moment of my life that I have been most grateful to be really, really tall. Because, you see, the guy was not tall enough to reach above my neck. So all he could do was kiss my neck as I literally physically shoved him out the door. However, my unabashed shoving did not get the message across. The next day he told me (over gchat, naturally) that he was “really, extremely attracted to [you].” I was not attracted to him at all, and I told him so. I also stopped being his friend because when you make me feel that uncomfortable, I’m not going to want to continue being your friend.

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Keep in mind, this is by no means a complete list. So, bottom line, just be considerate and remember that any given woman probably has suffered through similar encounters to the ones we’ve written about here, so they’re a little weary of being hit on. Be considerate and a good example of your gender.

Feel free to leave your thoughts or questions in the comments, but before you do, take a moment to reflect by watching this adorable kitten gif (and also read our comment policy in the “About Us” on the sidebar).

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