Pickup lines. They come in all variations from the very clichéd "Come here often?" to the ridiculously improbable "Haven't I seen you somewhere before?" to the always disastrous "Should I call you or nudge you in the morning?" And while many of us are quick to poke fun at your feeble attempts, we must keep in mind your predicament: you want to get a date, and you've got to start somewhere. So, instead of allowing you guys to fumble your way to failure, wouldn't it be kinder to just let you in on the gig and tell you flat out what we really think about pickup lines?
When approaching a woman, whether at a bar, coffee shop, or supermarket, there are a few basic guidelines from which you should not stray. First and foremost, keep it simple! While it may be tempting to dream up some intricate excuse (i.e. you look like my brother's, friend's, cousin's ex-girlfriend, are you from Montana?), please try to refrain. I mean we are not stupid; we know your objective, so no need for the crazy camouflage. Instead, I recommend either a realistic, uninvolved question (along the lines of, "What are you drinking?") or, now hang onto your seat for this one, a basic introduction. I know you guys are schooled in the importance of striving to be funny and/or charming at all times, but, trust me, it wouldn't be so wrong to straightforwardly say, "Hi, I'm Mike."
The second guideline, while seemingly obvious, is actually violated (and often to quite unpleasant consequences) with more regularity than one would think. This principle is simply, no sexual innuendos! Now, I know you may be thinking, wait a minute; she said not to camouflage our intentions? However, in order to keep your cool here, you really need to temporarily reclassify your objective as getting a date or maybe a phone number, not an immediate roll in the hay. Because, even though we may know that is the end goal, to avoid running the risk of appearing either desperate or sleazy, you should try to focus on the task at hand, and leave the sexual come-ons for a more appropriate time (like once you know you won't get slapped).
Finally, you may be wondering if you should forego the approach all together, and instead wait for us to come to you. In my opinion, this is probably not a good idea. Because, aside from the chance that we may never show, most of us still do like the old-fashioned, romantic notion of the man as pursuer. Contrary to what most feminists believe, it is a turn-on to be pursued, and it does make us feel desirable.
Furthermore, unless the approach qualifies as one of the abovementioned offenses, you really have nothing to lose by saying hello. If we're interested, we'll be thrilled, and if we're not, we'll probably still be flattered. So what are you doing still sitting in the corner nursing your latte? Shut down your laptop, and go introduce yourself.