I’ve been spending a lot of time at UCLA lately with Son #2, as he prepares to start college. I’m happy to report, we have yet to run into any stupers (short for mercilessly stupid persons). That is…until yesterday.
As we canvassed the huge campus (I easily walked six miles from the residence hall to the book store; well, it was actually one mile, but it sure felt like six with the hills and valleys we crossed), I eyed a clean-cut fellow, a bit too old to be a student, as he appeared to be hovering around the ripe old age of thirty, dressed in a sport jacket and slacks roaming about. He looked quasi official, as if he might be capable of offering needed information. Feeling a bit frustrated, as we’d just circled the maze-like, Math Science building three times in search of Room 121 B, I was about to ask the fellow for directions when he suddenly approached two young women walking toward him.
“Hey! I know you,” He enthusiastically told one of the ladies.
“Really?” She smiled and waited for him to shed some light.
He finally said, “Do you have a friend called ‘Potato?'”
“Uh, no, ” she replied, made a face and started to walk away.
“Are you sure?” he insisted.
“I think I’d remember a friend named Potato.”
“Weren’t you at that party last Sunday night at Fran’s?” He called after her.
And so on, with Son, me and the woman’s companion the hapless audience members, as the guy continued to fumble along, insisting he knew the girl. If there is a Guinness World Book of Records for worst pick-up lines, this would make a strong entry.
I once knew a boy called “Cucumber,” but that was in the third grade, and his nickname was pinned on him thanks to a buzz haircut and a sallow complexion which made him resemble a freshly picked cucumber. Fortunately, “Cucumber” grew out of that name a short time later.
Pick-up lines do not work. Recent research backs this up. A study by psychologists at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh put a host of pickup lines to the test on 205 undergraduates, who rated whether they would be likely to continue the conversation. The results, as my intelligent readers may imagine, were unfavorable. According to this same study, the types of lines that do work are tinged with helpfulness, generosity, cultural literacy and sincerity. Any other varieties of lines are typically uttered by stupers.
Son and I ultimately found the classroom we sought in another smaller, unmarked structure across from the Math Science building. Clearly the configuration of classes at this University is designed to keep idiots away.