European Pick-Up Lines: The Good, the Bad & the Bizarre

Featured, Love on the Road — By on February 14, 2011 at 10:00 am
By Sarah Brown
LG Correspondent

“You have beautiful eyes. Do you have Inuit origins?”

You can’t fault guys for trying. Coming up with clever ways to approach and speak to women has baffled them for centuries. Inuit origins? That must have taken some thinking…

With every cheesy line they dish up, we think, “Here we go again!” But while the language and culture surrounding each come-on may change, the subtext of all those lines reads the same: “You’re pretty. Can I get to know you better?” And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like being called pretty?

So straight from the dating scene in Europe, here are the best, the worst, and the most bizarre pick-up lines from around that particular continent. Each and every one has been used on actual living, breathing women. Reactions of said women—it almost goes without saying—can be summed up with a question: How did they come up with these things?!

Ireland: “You wanna go halves on a baby with me?”

A friend of mine says this type of pick-up line is a classic in Ireland. Why, you may ask? Well, the obvious need for Ireland’s repopulation, duh! But in all seriousness, she admits that on the Irish dating scene, copious amounts of alcohol find their way in and influence romantic interactions.

“What’s very common in Ireland, is that you might be queued up at a bar, waiting for a drink, and happen to catch the eye of a handsome stranger nearby. Often, if he likes what he sees, he will make the effort to elbow his way through the crowd to get next to you. Leaning on the beer-stained bar, his hope would be to buy you a drink and ultimately gain the opportunity to chat you up. Possibly starting with a line…”

“Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?” Making a girl laugh in Ireland is key. Laughter plays a pivotal role in any night out, and if he can make you laugh, you’ll probably find yourself leaving the bar arm-in-arm.

Italy: “You are the most beautiful woman in the world. Give me a kiss.”

Italian guys are notorious for their take-no-prisoners approach to seducing women. They love to flirt, and will use any excuse to chat you up, even if it means shouting “Ciao, bella!” from a passing Vespa.

Italian men don’t tend to take no for an answer. While clubbing in Siena, a friend recalls one man’s efforts to woo her for the evening involved numerous bottles of limoncella and lewd dance moves. Decked out in Italy’s finest labels, smelling better than most women, and impeccably groomed, Italian men could best be described as “beautiful.”

Kissing hands, cheeks, necks, and any other piece of skin he could find, my friend’s suitor made her feel like the only girl in the room. As she so eloquently put it, “An Italian man knows how to make a proper lady feel like a real woman.”

The U.K.: “I’ve never kissed an American girl before—I wonder if it’s the same. Want to indulge me?”

Dating culture in the U.K. is a lot like dating in the U.S. Who you see and what you do is governed in large part by your friends and the circles you run in. You can meet people at clubs and pubs, but be warned: It’s a competitive scene.

As my friend experienced in a London bar, first impressions carry enormous weight. She noticed guys standing on podiums and tables gazing across the club, looking for the girl of the evening. How

ever, most girls tend to travel in packs, so getting one alone can be tricky. And that’s where British humor comes in. As a whole, the British tend to be incredibly witty. Part of a good flirtation is being able to hold up your end of the repartee.

Spain: “How does it feel to be the most beautiful woman in this room?”

Like many European guys, Spanish men aren’t shy about complimenting a woman. If they think you are beautiful, they will tell you directly, and have no qualms about doing so—even if they’re in a relationship. “For the most part, Spanish guys aren’t into chat-up lines, they just tell it like they see it,” a friend said. “They’ll come up, say hello, ask you about yourself, and tell you about them. It’s quite a civilized way of dating.”

Spaniards are tactful charmers. They will try to seduce you slowly, without rushing the process. Drinks from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. are common, so the conversation can last, and you can enjoy each other’s company. “They take an old-fashioned approach to dating, often asking for your number, and then permission to take you on a date.”

France: “I cannot wait until we meet again at the crossing of our stars.”

Je t’aime, mon amour. Je t’embrasse. T’es manifique. Tes yeux sont lumineux.” Do you think I’m kidding? This is just a sprinkling of the chat-up lines my girlfriends and I have experienced in la belle France.

Let me tell you about a simple train journey in Alsace that quickly turned from a quiet couple hours of reading to what could have come from an episode of “The Young and the Restless.” Minding my own business, nose stuck in a book, I spent the first moments of my train ride avoiding the blatant stares of a man across the aisle. When I finally took out my iPod headphones to respond to an email, he pounced. “Is that the new Blackberry?” Good one. “No,” was my simple reply. He continued, “Well I have a Samsung.” Swoon. A Samsung. How much better can you get? After an hour of conversation, and repeated affirmations that my French phone no longer worked, my new friend suggested two things: One, that I invest in a Samsung. And two, that we exchange email addresses to keep in contact. Eager to rid myself of this nuisance, I relented, and gave him my email.

Forgetting about the exchange for the better part of the afternoon, I arrived home that evening to find I’d received an email from him. Clearly my insincere swooning had translated to genuine interest. In an effort to avoid his advances, I ignored the email. Ever the romantic Frenchman, he assumed I was playing hard to get, and one week later, I received an email containing the corniest line I had ever heard in my life. “I believe meeting you was fate. I cannot wait until we meet again at the next crossing of our stars.”

Seriously? Does this live up to France’s reputation as the birthplace of romance? I’ll call you and tell you when I get my Samsung…

Turkey: “What’s your name?”

In my experience, it can only be said that Turkish guys are one of a kind. Culturally different from westerners, Turkish men tend to take a more traditional approach to dating. Gentlemen through and through, they are polite, courteous, complimentary, and charming. When they take girls out, they open doors, pull out chairs, and pay for everything. As one Turkish friend of mine put it, “We would get seriously upset if a woman tried to pay for anything. Paying is the least we can do for having enjoyed a lady’s company.”

“Cheesy in a charming way,” Turks don’t tend to use chat-up lines to romance women. A friend says, “Starting with ‘what’s your name?’ and going from there is the best thing to do. Every woman and situation is different, so you change your approach.”  Mature, eh?

Never would a Turkish man just waltz up to a lady at a bar and ask for her number. “He would probably look for a way to meet her, either through friends, school, work, whatever.” And the best thing about dating a Turkish guy? My friend says, “They shower you with gifts and treat you like a princess.” All in all, not too shabby!

* * *

Of course, all of this information is specific to my friends’ and my own experiences. A few other lines to keep an ear out for:

Greece: “You are my monkey and you smell like bananas.”
Greece, used when looking at a woman’s engagement ring: “That’s a nice ring. Do you want help getting out of that marriage?”
Sweden: “Did you know that I read self-help books? Do you want to get to know a better me?”
U.K.: “Fancy a shag? My friend wants a shag with you.”
France: “If we got married, you could choose the religion of our children.”
Spain: “Give it back.” “Give what back?” “My breath.”


  • Michelle says:

    Haha this is really funny. I’ve definitely experienced a few of those!

  • Amanda says:

    I was in Italy asking some friends about pick up lines and they translated one for me that is definitely too big to fail…”I forget you only when a deaf painter can paint the sound of rose petal falling on a crystal table!” It’s a pretty convoluted way to say never.

  • Hello, my name is (your name here) I took a shower once. That seems to get a smile.

  • These The Young Turks are sometimes dead on their political opinions. The Young Turks remain as a informatave view. I pray The Young Turks will always be brave enough to tell it like it is and counter the GOP funded Fox Network propaganda.

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  • Mia says:

    That was really funny. All the different guys and their strategies are one of the main reasons why i travel. It´s simply amusing. If you look for handsome, tall men, you should go to Denmark. I thought i was in paradise when I walked through Aarhus. They are mostly blonde and blue-eyed and they will hit on you casually, you almost won´t notice that he just asked for aour number. In Germany, some guys simply say I love you (Ich liebe dich) straight away, and the issue is of the table.
    In France, there are a lot of arabic guys, and they have absolutely no fear of rejection. You´ll get a ca va and a wink from much older guys and the younger ones won´t stop there.
    And personally, I dont think that Irish Boys are handsome. They seem to like sweat pants alot.

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