Dating Handbook: Pickup Lines and Driving Stories

RE: Love on Four Wheels, or, How to Pick Someone Up in Traffic

Warning--This discussion is aimed primarily at the male audience.

This is truly a question with vast implications. Ever since open-container laws swept this nation it has been getting harder and harder to find pickup lines that people will fall for when two or more vehicles are involved. Once upon a time, a traffic jam on a Friday afternoon in Texas was as good as an evening at Billy Bob's, the World's Largest Honky-Tonk, but no more. Used to be, you could roll down your window, offer the lady in the next lane a Lone Star, and if your Silverado was clean and the beer was cold you might stand a chance. Now? She pulls a Lady Smith & Wesson from her leather-fringed purse and tells you to get lost, to take that beer to a men's encounter group and share it with the guys after you finish banging the drums because *she* has a date with a Cabernet-swilling record executive from L.A. So what's a boy to do?

Don't lose heart! (They *still* can't blame a boy for askin'.) Of course, the best answer was given on your show, which is, get a dog. A cute puppy, maybe with a bandanna around his neck, is a great conversation starter. A wide-eyed, tongue-lolling, tail-wagging, floppy-eared dog has the disarming effect of convincing (many) women that you--the strange guy getting out of his car in a traffic jam in order to tap on her window--are not a raving ax murderer. (Never mind that the state of the hyper and drooling canine is an exact representation of your emotional state at that moment--she won't consciously make that connection.)

But assuming she rolls down the window (in Texas at rush hour 10 months out of the year, if she has A/C on then that's *damn* unlikely and no reflection on you personally), what do you say? As Daddy and Plato both said, honesty is the best policy--that is, if you're *not* a drooling slack-jawed ax murderer--so try something like this: "Ma'am, I know this is a very awkward time to introduce myself, but you're so pretty that I just know I'll regret not trying, and this here traffic jam is an opportunity I just can't pass by. My name is Buford Granger and I would truly appreciate a chance to meet you somewhere for dinner and get to know you, so please take my card, and please consider giving me a call." If she hasn't shot you yet or punched 911 on her cell phone, you can ask her name. If she still reacts positively and traffic is really stacked up, then you can negotiate for her number or even arrange to meet her at the Whataburger at the next exit (after all, wouldn't that be better than being stuck in traffic?).

Now, those of you hoping for a line that's pithy, easy and short are going to be disappointed, but face it--the situation you're in means you already have two strikes against you, so it's inappropriate to act overconfident. If the woman is not one of those poor creatures who are tragically attracted only to cocky egotistical slimeballs (I trust you are not that kind of man), then spouting a line crafted for the barroom will only be your third strike. If your manner suggests that you are actually taking a risk with your feelings, she is more likely to respect your courage (and originality, considering the situation) than not. Courtesy is the key: If you're wearing a hat, take it off (never mind the burning sun on 130-degree asphalt, you twit, this is about *love*). If you're chewing tobacco, spit it out on the *far* side of the car, where she can't see. If your hands are covered with axle grease or compost, don't leave big nasty prints on her paint job. You get the idea. Of course, this advice isn't 100 percent foolproof, but then nothing in this world is. Good luck, cowboy!

Marvin Long Jr.
Austin, Texas
"A beer, bluebonnets and thou."

P.S. Here's the real problem, worse than the one outlined above. What do you do when you see the temptress of your the rearview mirror? At a red light that will change any second? Now, there's a tough one!

[ Previous Letter | Tales from the pickup lane | Next Letter ]