Is the first thing a man says to a woman he’s attracted to necessarily a pick-up line? Maybe. But that doesn’t make it something sinister. My guess is a sizable percentage of “pick-up” lines are conversation starters gone awry uttered by regular Joes guilty of nothing more than trying too hard.

But, gee…you have to say something.

I met the woman who’s now been my wife for twenty-eight years during my sophomore year of college at a party at her house. A noisy, crowded party. I said, “You’re in my English class!” And she said, “No…I tested out of English.”

A defining moment in a relationship if ever there was one.

Since my hero and heroine in Fast Lane have never met, I have to have one of them say something to break the ice. A mutual acquaintance leads Clay through a noisy, crowded party at his house to where Lara waits at a railing, silhouetted against the moonlit sea.

He says, “The view is amazing from here.”
And she says, “Yes, I’ve always loved the ocean.”
And then he says, “Me, too. But I’m not talking about the ocean.”

Comments I got from my writing group were:

“Typical—what a line!”
“Groan—but great in how it establishes the character” and
“So suave.”

Whoever wrote that last one didn’t write a name on the copy, so I can’t tell if it was a guy being sincere or a woman being sarcastic.

I suppose women hear so many lines that, eventually, none of them sound good. If Clay’s line is romantic, great. If it’s funny (groan) or funny (typical), also great! That’s an advantage of writing a funny romance. I can’t lose—especially if I succeed in establishing character.

I looked around online and found no shortage of sites offering doofy pick-up lines. The best I saw were, “Is it hot in here, or is it just you?” “If I could rewrite the alphabet, I would put U and I together,” and “Nice shoes. Wanna fuck?”

I have a pretty good idea what would have happened if I had opened with that last one all those years ago. But I know for sure my life might have been a lot different if I had used that second one. As everyone reading this knows, the correct grammar is “U and me,” not “U and I,” and the mere suggestion I didn’t know the difference could have made my first line my last.

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