Now, I don’t know if it’s just a reflection on me, or the fact that I was a bit of a ladette during The Pick-Up years but I never really got chatted up much. However I do remember overhearing a couple of notable cringe-making moments. There was the incident where a young, low-ranking off duty soldier attempted to convince a friend that he was a dolphin trainer, but she was no fool and played him at his own game by claiming to be a test driver for Vauxhall Motors. They exchanged phone numbers in the end so one assumes he considered the approach to be a success until he actually tried to call…
However the most bizarre pick-up line occurred in the very early hours of New Year’s Day back in the nineties. I was young, free and single and living in Southsea, near Portsmouth, in the south of England. A busy port with a naval dockyard and a university made for a diverse and cosmopolitan community with a lot of pubs – it was a great place to live! I shared a house and the female croupier downstairs invited me and my boyfriend at the time to a New Year’s party after the pubs shut (she had to, really, on account of the noise she was intending to make!). To my disgust, The Boyfriend had sneakily invited one of his loser friends along for the night and not asked me beforehand (dear reader I did NOT marry him you will be pleased to know). The gooseberry was called Charlie clad in a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, shirt and tie, jeans and some dodgy looking, Cuban-heeled boots. He had very strange, oily hair as well. You might be tempted to feel sorry for his lack of sartorial savvy, but let me tell you now; he was a pretty ghastly, arrogant, posh English public schoolboy SOD. No wonder nobody wanted him around on New Year’s eve (apart from My Stupid Later-to-be-ex Boyfriend …)
Anyway, we duly get to the party and our eyes become accustomed to the gloom through the smog of joss sticks and cigarettes. Charlie begins to grumble that there aren’t many girls at this party and adopts a very sulky expression. There are a couple of tall guys in full naval uniform with one sporting a very real handlebar moustache (moustaches are NOT allowed in the British Navy …). There are some very glamorous ‘ladies’ too, with enormous hair, false eyelashes and sequinned frocks and they seem very happy chatting to the shaven-headed bikers. All jolly good, boozy fun until Charlie says in a very loud voice, “I think there are some gays in here.”
However, undeterred, Charlie takes a deep breath and heads straight for a girl chatting to our hostess, the croupier. She looks startled as he takes her by the hand and says:
“Would you like to dance? My father is the President of Mexico.”
Now, I very much doubt that Charlie’s Dad is or was the President of Mexico and I never saw him again after that evening, but apparently he made this claim quite often. And on this occasion he was successful and he got his dance. It lasted about two minutes and then the sailors debagged him. I believe the phrase is “pantsed” in the US!