1. “I’m no photographer, but I can picture us together.”
Not only is this line admittedly cute, but it comes with an easy out in the event your target says “no.” If you are met with rejection, simply say, “I told you I wasn’t a photographer,” and walk yourself to the nearest private spot to cry in self-imposed isolation. Plus, there is another added bonus — if you do end up together, you have already established that you’re a poor photographer, setting the bar low when your significant other asks you to take a picture of her in front of that cool mural.
2. “I’m writing a paper on the finer things in life, and was wondering if I could interview you?”
This line is similar to the first one, but slightly worse, as it lacks plausibility. In my four semesters at Mr. Jefferson’s University, I have never been asked to write such an essay — and if I had been, I probably would have written about hummus or something. But if you can get over the initial hurdle this lack of realism presents and really sell this line, fortune favors the bold.
3. “Would you like some hard candies?”
This is a timeless line that has no doubt brought thousands of couples together. It demonstrates value on the part of the pick-up artist — hard candies are a commodity. The only problem with this line is that it sets the bar too high for future encounters. The next time you see this person, they are going to be expecting hard candies. And, eventually, you’re going to run out.
4. “Did you invent the airplane? Because you seem Wright for me.”
Honestly, as a line in and of itself, I don’t find this one very good. It’s a bit forced, no? But the real value in this line is that it serves as a test of intelligence. If your target is unable to bridge the connection between “airplane” and “Wright,” then you move on. “Which pair of brothers are commonly credited with the invention of the airplane?” is too common of a trivia question to be saddled with a partner who doesn’t know the answer.
5. “Girl, you’re the Dumpling Truck of the U.Va. food scene.”
If this doesn’t work, then I don’t know what will. There really is no higher compliment. Just go near the amphitheater anytime a class lets out and let the line speak for itself. The dumpling truck is about 15 times as popular as anything else on Grounds, to the point where one of my friends has expressed a desire to get married inside of it. If you pay this compliment to that special someone and they don’t thank you instantly, it is time to separate entirely.
6. “I’m Group one. Want me to save you a seat at the game?”
Demonstrate value. That is what this line does. The group one folks are the kings of John Paul Jones Arena. They are impossible to penetrate — I have been group two for the past year and a half, with no signs of moving up anytime soon. Adding insult to injury, my group one friends average 6.5 more dates per month than me. Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but there is something there.
7. “Are you okay? You look like you might be lacking a little Vitamin Me.”
Stepping away from the U.Va.-centric options for a second, I want to float this option into contention. Look, it’s risky — suggesting that somebody doesn’t look okay is a bit of a gamble, sure. But Vitamin Me deficiency is actually a serious epidemic and any opportunity to spread awareness is worth taking. Look, Abby, I can make pasta, and I go to the gym two to three times per week, when I am not busy. Vitamin Me isn’t the best you can do, but it’s a safe option. Please?
8. “Who has two thumbs and no better options? Hopefully you!”
A bit of self-deprecation never hurts. Trust me — it’s my own secret weapon. And, if I were underqualified in the romance department, would I be writing this article? I think not. The only downside to this line is that you might accidentally say it to a person with fewer — or more — than two thumbs, in which case you come off as insensitive at best. This is admittedly a low-risk case, but you have to consider every possible scenario when formulating an approach.
9. “Do you like jazz?”
Not only is this a fantastic pick-up line — it is also a fantastic litmus test for a potential partner. If you receive an answer anywhere in the ballpark of, “yes, I actually do,” you can quickly cut your losses and walk away. That is because any college-aged person who claims to like jazz is actually an alien, sent to Earth on a mission to try and understand human life — and failing miserably. If they say, “no, please leave me alone, I’m just trying to order my coffee,” you know you have indeed found a human being.
10. “‘Sonic the Hedgehog’. Opening weekend. You in?”
Romantics, you’re in luck this year. The greatest opportunity on Earth has been bestowed upon you by the gods of romance themselves. “Sonic the Hedgehog” — or, as we will know it in 2120, “Citizen Kane Part II” — comes out this weekend. You could spend Valentine’s Day in some stuffy restaurant, eating food like a loser, or watch Jim Carey and the guy from “Enchanted” try to act next to a green tennis ball on a stick. Is it even a close call?