Whose Line Is It Anyway? Reading the recent report in the Daily Express that a majority of women admit to finding chat-up lines hard to resist, I breathed a sigh of relief. Why ‘relief’ you might ask? Because thankfully now I don't feel foolish admitting I was once bowled over by a well-delivered chat-up line.
Sixteen years ago the man who became my second husband used the simple but direct, "Is it hot in here or is that you?" when we were introduced by a friend. Along with the glint in his eye, and a knowing smile lavished on top, I've got to hand it to him he knew what he was doing.
You might think a reasonably intelligent woman wouldn't fall for such nonsense but what men don't realise is that frequently lurking behind our confident facades is anxiety about whether or not a man’s attracted to us.
It helps us when men are so direct as to deliver a line as quite frankly a few surreptitious glances in our direction may not convince us of their interest. No, we don't need him beating around the bush with subtle flirtatiousness we need the surefire approach of lines delivered with missile-like precision.
Mind you, even if we're not interested in falling for a line, in most cases we do relish them. It's rather akin to receiving a good old-fashioned, terrifically un-PC wolf whistle from a strapping workman on a construction site.
Yes, we complain along the lines of how a man could possibly treat us in such a manner, grandly hrumphing, “Goodness, causing a stir in the road by whistling and all that malarkey!” But inside many are flattered that they stand out enough to be complimented even in a slightly down-market fashion. It's the same with receiving a line, despite moaning to girlfriends about a “terrible” line we were told, inwardly we're probably pleased.
Some men take delivering a line to another level and can set pulses racing with a few well-chosen words. Who wouldn't succumb to Sean Connery’s charms as James Bond in Dr No? When Ursula Andress's character, Honey Rider, emerged from the surf in that white bikini she asked if he was looking for shells. Only James Bond could get away with the perfectly-timed, slightly risqué, "No, just looking." In this case, when it comes to a line, less is obviously more.
Not every man has Sean Connery’s famously seductive voice or a film script to work from. And there are definite exceptions to what does and doesn't work when it comes to using a line. As with all aspects of cat-and-mouse game men and women play, technique is crucial and a line stumbled over by a bumbling admirer isn't likely to set hearts pounding.
Nor is the opposite likely to ignite passion: the line so perfectly honed we immediately twig it's been used a thousand times before. Gullibility isn't most women's middle name and many women complain about those men that have a nice little line in, er, lines.
The first line these men deliver might amuse. When single, I had one such "charmer" try the proverbial, "Get your coat, etc." on me. I'll be honest, I tittered. But then when another line tripped off his tongue, swiftly followed by more, I thought, "Crikey, doesn't he know how to have a real conversation?"
It's blatantly obvious that he and other such men simply can't communicate at a level beyond the one-liner. They should hang their collective heads in shame over their scattergun approach to chat-up lines.
However never underestimate the power of a line used to good effect by a man who isn't classically good-looking or confident. If he has humour, he stands a chance! And so the likes of Woody Allen manage to charm women with lines like, "I'm a good lover because I practice a lot on my own." And hapless but humorous film character Austin Powers might succeed with, "Baby, I'm an American Express lover … you shouldn't go home without me!" It’s true sometimes women can be laughed all the way to the bedroom with the right line.
Let's not forget, though, some of the most classic chat-up lines have tumbled off the red-hot lips of women like Mae West. Mae enquiring in her inimitable style, "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me," has iconic status.
Even Hollywood actresses of a more sophisticated genre knew that a good line, delivered well in a film, would be memorable. Audrey Hepburn uttering the line, "I don't bite you know… unless it called for," in the film Charade would brand itself on any male brain.
Sadly long gone are the slightly more sophisticated lines of the past like, Yes, the illusion of viewing fine Art put a high-brow spin on the potential meaning of that question. It’s been replaced by the much more down-to-earth, By all means do enjoy that lovely hot drink at the end of the evening but beware there are potential implications in this line, as with others.
Original: Sadly long gone are the slightly more sophisticated lines of the past like, "Why don't you come up and see my etchings?" Yes, the illusion of viewing fine Art put a high-brow spin on the real meaning of that question. It’s been replaced by the much more down-to-earth, "Why don't you come up for coffee?" More fool you if you think that humble line only implies sipping a hot, milky drink - need I say more!
Chat up lines are as old as the hills and I'm sure Shakespeare's "shall I compare thee to a summer's day" set hearts singing hundreds of years ago. And even 30 or 40 years ago you might be tempted with, Why don't you come up and see my etchings?" Yes, the illusion of viewing fine Art put a high-brow spin on the potential meaning of that question. It’s been replaced by the much more down-to-earth, By all means do enjoy that lovely hot drink at the end of the evening but beware there are potential implications in this line, as with others.
A similar article appeared in the Express newspaper