On the way to Shakespeare

Chat-up lines are an important part of the modern dating ritual. With a single line you can either start a beautiful relationship or end up having a drink thrown in your face. Apparently, chat-up lines are not the easiest way to chat up. But who said that it is easy to meet people, especially in a foreign country?

Chat-up (or pick-up) lines are conversation openers used to get attention of an unfamiliar person with an implied intent to engage her/him into romance relationship or dating. Depending on intelligence and creativity of the pick-upper, the lines can vary from a simple ‘hi’ to the masterpieces competing with Byron and Shakespeare. Apart from these individual differences, every language has its own particular ways to chat up a girl (or boy). Sometimes chatting up can be hard even to native speakers, let alone language learners for whom mastering chat-up lines presents quite a challenge. It is not surprising really, considering all sorts of meanings and connotations associated with their use.

To help those, interested in chatting up a Russian girl (or boy) I suggest a list of the most popular pick-up lines:

  1. Worn outHow do you like it here?
    I guess, we are walking in the same direction …
    Hi, what are you doing here? Just standing? Let’s stand together!
    Such a beautiful sunset …
    Would you happen to have a pen?

    The lines in this category do not need explanation and speak for themselves. Most girls hate them, and with good reason. How can a girl be interested in someone who opens a conversation with some worn-out cliché??

  2. RomanticWill you be my Fair Lady and I will be you knight?
    What fairytale are you from?
    My Lady, I am pleased to be at Your service …
    (I gave up translating the following long rhymed verse).

    This group is highly culture specific and demands from the pick-upper extensive knowledge of literature, experience in poetry and language expertise. They can give you a good start unless the victim always hated memorizing verses at school and have never heard of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

  3. DirtyLet’s play weigh-scales: you will sit down on my face and I will tell you your weight.
    The color of your hair matches the color of my pillow perfectly.
    Guess what I can cook best? Breakfast in bed.

    The lines from the last group involve nothing but playing with the ready-made examples from the numerous online guidelines. They are very dangerous as no matter how hard you try, you will never make them sound funny.

This list is no way complete- thousands of different pick-up lines are around. However, there is one common thing about them all. None of the best pick-up lines can guarantee you a success- there is always success and failure in equal quantity. When it succeeds it can succeed extremely well but when it fails, it’s a complete failure. So, if you do not want to take risks, go for the simple: ‘I am John, and you?’ Of course, it’s not as big as Shakespeare but in the end, it is the result that counts.

You might find some inspiration here:
http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~montymex/pickup/Intropickup.html (the most complete and most useless collection of pick-up lines)
http://www.bestchatuplines.com/bestchatuplines.php (top 10 English chat-up lines)
http://www.pickupenc.ru/archives/192/ (an extensive list of Russian chat-up lines)

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