It’s funny how pickup lines when you’re younger don’t sound that bad, but as you get older you realize that they’re awful and usually a bit creepy. And when you’re young, it’s especially hard to filter out the genuine from the creepy when you don’t get picked up often enough to have a good base for comparison.
Getting older tends to change that. But when I was twenty years old, sitting in the college dining hall with a friend, an attractive guy came up to me after I’d finished my meal and asked me out with this line:
I saw you over here, eating. You know, for a small person you can really pack it away.
Then he asked me to go to dinner with him one night. And I said yes.
Now that I look back on that and actually break down what he said, I should have turned him down. Now, I both laugh and cringe at the idea that I took him up on the offer. Because here’s how I saw it then and how I see it now:
I saw you over here, eating.
Then: You caught my eye and I couldn’t look away. This is romantic, right? It sounds so romantic when interpreted this way! Especially to a nerdy twenty-year-old with less-than-perfect skin and bad hair. I was practically swooning into my empty plate when he said this.
Now: I’ve spent the past half hour watching you eat. That’s so creepy. Not to mention that I look like a troll when I eat because my mouth cavity is weirdly-shaped (It’s a thing. Just go with it.), so I don’t exactly project “sexy” when I’m eating. The idea of someone watching that action go down and still being interested in asking me out? Alarm bells.
For a small person you can really pack it away.
Then: You’re a small person. At the time, this was the only part of that sentence that I heard. All I could think was, Oh my gosh, I’m small! He called me small! I was so chubby in high school and now I’m still a little chubby and it is agonizing that I am not model-thin with a perfect oval face but he saw past that and called me small LET’S GET MARRIED!
Now: I can’t even. I’m not that small any more, even though I eat less. I wish I’d appreciated my youthful metabolism when I had it. And what he said isn’t that bad…I mean, I did eat a lot. But now it gives me the willies, the idea that a guy would comment on what and how I ate and somehow that would translate into a pickup line. I mean, I think about what it would sound like if I turned it around and thought about walking up to a guy: “Hey, tall, broad-shouldered man. I’ve been checking out your incongruously tiny portions and bird-like bites. It’s so hot.” And that…that just doesn’t work. I don’t know why this guy thought that commenting on the way I ate was important. It worked on a younger me, though, so I guess he knew what he was doing. But if someone said that to me now, I’d probably retort that, yeah, I should be in the circus, or that it’s one of my employable skills, or something equally ridiculous, and then roll my eyes and walk away.
But, hey, we live and learn. We get older, and sometimes we get wiser, and our perspectives are constantly evolving. I’ve been with my husband for nearly eight years, so things like, “I remembered to take out the garbage,” and “Let’s make a retirement plan,” are the pickup lines I get from him. Not the sexiest or smoothest lines in the world, but you know what?
I fall for them every time.