THERE'S A SCENE in Big Daddy, last summer's hit movie, where Adam Sandler's character explains to his adoptive son that "initiating the conversation is half


Love's labors lost

A would-be pickup artist strikes out.

THERE'S A SCENE in Big Daddy, last summer's hit movie, where Adam Sandler's character explains to his adoptive son that "initiating the conversation is half the battle" when it comes to landing chicks. Thinking this advice was the key to digging me out of my current rut of lovelessness, I decided to hit on unsuspecting women using only crass pickup lines for three consecutive weekends.

Together with five of my best buds I quickly designated Fremont meat market El Camino as ground zero for my role as Seattle's ballsiest bachelor. In keeping with the spirit of the mission, my wardrobe consisted of a disco shirt, mirror shades, green pants, and a white blazer. Loud and dangerous, just like me.

We rolled into the Camino, where my first order of business was to get lathered out of my farking skull, as there's no way in hell I could spit these zingers out sober. Five shots of tequila later, I spotted two women at a corner table. Thoughts of m鮡ge ࠴rois raced through my head.

I sauntered up and promptly made use of the worst line on the list.

"I'd like to wrap your legs around my neck and wear you like a feedbag."

Dead silence for five seconds (this type of shock would become a trend), and then the unthinkable comes out of one of my targets' mouths.

"This is my girlfriend—and you can fucking leave."

Nice one, I winced. Of all the girls in the bar, I would pick out the gay couple with no sense of humor.

Needless to say, my confidence wasn't exactly in peak form as I readied my second come-on. I decided to throw myself a softball, and moved in on a pair of thirtysomething ladies whose hair was reminiscent of Demi Moore in St. Elmo's Fire.

"Baby, you're like a championship bass—I don't know whether to mount you or eat you."

Uncontrollable laughter comes out of one of these now-distressed damsels and soon I'm rapping with them like I'm the king. With things looking brighter, I spot two more seemingly unattached gals at the bar.

"Is that a keg in your pants, cuz I'd sure love to tap that ass."

The word "shock" doesn't even begin to describe the reaction of the sweet girl at whom I had aimed this fraternity-esque line. In fact, I was the one who broke the postpickup ice (after a solid 20 seconds of silence) by admitting to her that I was "just fucking around."

We picked up the pieces and hit Luau, a Green Lake tiki bar that bore the added incentive of Tony the Magic Cocktail Waiter, a dear friend of mine. Usually a white-hot spot for singles' action, Luau was pretty dang dead on that particular Saturday night. We claimed a booth while Tony read our minds and brought us a tray of shots.

My options were limited but far from nonexistent, as a lonely soul sitting by herself at the center of the bar grabbed my fancy.

"Do you know how to suck-start a Harley?"

A deadpan response: "Actually, yeah, I've got one outside—wanna see me do it?"

Great comeback, I thought. I told her as much via a high-five before I retreated to my booth. By this time, I'm sauced—and want to keep my momentum. The back table, three girls and two guys, beckoned.

"Fuck me if I'm wrong, but isn't your name Gretchen?"

This would mark the closest I came to fisticuffs on the whole mission.

"Leave her alone," shoots back one of the guys, accompanied by one of those "you have five seconds to retreat before I smash your head in" looks.

Realizing my shortcomings in the bodybuilding department, I took the advice of his eyes. Round one to the bar.

EXACTLY ONE WEEK LATER and I'm all hyped up for round two. I'm thinking I need a prop for this session, so I go to the Daily Planet on Phinney Ridge and purchase Toby the Amazing Electronic, Walking, Talking Robot. Toby-bots, for you non-robot aficionados, are the ugly stepfathers of Verbots and Omnibots, circa 1982.

My old Toby had arthritis, however, and we couldn't get him to walk, so I bought him at a discount and buckled him up for the ride back to my Ballard Avenue chateau. Right in line with my assignment, one of Toby's two sayings was a pickup line: "Toby likes to have fun, come play with me."

I rounded up a posse for Sunset Bowl's venerable karaoke bar, where the master of karaoke ceremonies immediately informed us that they weren't taking any more requests, even though it was only 11:30. This was of no consequence to my robot, however, who dragged me over to a table of three girls and immediately started talking.

"My name is Toby, the amazing, electronic, walking, talking robot."

One of the girls was so impressed that she grabbed Toby and gave him a big fat smooch on his robot mouth. Toby knew that girls are a sucker for a guy who can sing, so I escorted him to the microphone. Here we encountered some drunk guy who was butchering Supertramp's "Goodbye Stranger," so Toby didn't feel all that guilty when he swiped the mike.

"Toby likes to have fun. . . ."

Sunset's bar roared, and after Toby received three more polite kisses (Toby asked one of the girls to give him a hand job, to no avail), my friends and I escorted him to Hattie's Hat.

Everyone at Hattie's loved the robot except one girl, who walked up to the table and kidnapped Toby. She kept playing with his head like she wanted to break it off, so I had to intervene. She told me that if I could beat her in an arm-wrestling match, she would relinquish control of Toby—so I took her up on her offer.

This gal had arms like a lumberjack, so going all out was my only option. I decided to taunt her by calling her Sylvester Stallone and telling her just how bad the movie Over the Top was. Weak as I am, I dominated the matches (she insisted on a best-of-three tournament) and partied until the wee hours with the two girls who appreciated Toby's virtues.

But once again, I went home alone—while Toby spent the night with the foxy redhead bartender.

The following Friday, some co-workers and I descended upon the J&M, a Pioneer Square bar so cheap that they serve shots in plastic keg cups. Eager to get down to beeswax, I needed only two shots before tromping over to a gorgeous blonde and her frumpy friend, uttering the line: "Hi, my name's Pogo. Wanna jump on my stick?"

"Fuck you, you fucker," came the blonde's reply, with a heavy German accent. "Get the fuck out of here."

I damn near didn't make it back to my table before she was in my face again—giving me a light shove in the chest and adding, "Go fuck yourself!"

As if that wasn't enough, her boyfriend magically appeared. I thought he would take their cumulative anger out on me, but instead was shocked to see them get in a verbal battle with each other and race out of the bar, kicking and screaming.

Great, I thought, not only am I not doing myself any good, but I'm messing up other people's relationships along the way.

Take it from me: A macho, chauvinistic pickup artist gets nowhere in this town. Stick to chivalry, flowers, and chance meetings on the wine aisle of the Queen Anne Thriftway.

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