Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Offensive pickup lines

[Kevin (one of my SF roommates) says I should have sympathy for the man in the story below because it's hard to start up conversations with female strangers, so I almost didn't post it. But then desire to write overcame sympathy!]

Sunday night I'm at Harry's Bar waiting for Cecilia and her boyfriend. They're lost driving up to Pacific Heights, so I sit on a stool and watch the bar's plasma TV playing "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" on mute.

A Caucasian man, around 30 years old, 5'10" with short wavy brown hair, comes up next to me.

Guy: I'm going to put my drink here next to your water, okay? [Editor's Note: This line isn't the bad one -- it doesn't go bad until a couple minutes in.]

Me: Okay.

Guy: Hey, so where are you from?

Me: Originally? China.

Guy: Where in China?

Me: Beijing.

Guy: But you don't have an accent. You must have been very young when you came to the States.

Me: Yes, I was 5.

Guy: So you're basically American then. You're an AMERICAN GIRL. You're not really Chinese. You can't call yourself Chinese.

Me: Can.

Guy: You can't! You're not Chinese! You can't call yourself Chinese! [keeps going in this vein]

Me: [slightly annoyed, starts looking away from him]

Guy: Okay, okay. So where did you go to high school? Did you go to high school?

Me: [in disbelief] Did I go to high school? What kind of question is that??? By U.S. law, everyone under the age of 16 is required to go to school!!

Guy: Oh. Hey, what the hell would I know about US law?

Me: I guess you can't call yourself an American then.

Just then Cecilia came in and saved me.


ArC said...

I have heard of (secondhand) a much, much more offensive pickup line. But I hesitate to even admit I know it and curse you anyways for indirectly making me remember it.

omar said...

this is interesting.. based on your writing, it seems like he almost took offense to you calling yourself chinese.. ie he thinks you're really american, why would you call yourself chinese?

i find this fascinating because this is one spot where i see a big difference from canada. in canada, people always want to know where you came from (even if you were born in canada).. they're interested in the back-culture.. and many people identify themselves as something-canadian.

here i find the hyphenation rare, and i have also seen people get uppity at others who don't call themselves american.

happy independence day ;)

mtbouchard said...

To me this is just another example of how some Americans insist on turning grey into black or white rather than spending the extra effort to understand the complexities inherient in the real world; I suppose that these days it also makes it easier to decide if you "are with us or against us". :)

Yes, Happy 4th.

Anonymous said...

the guy was obviously drunk (and stupid)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

That guy is funny but stupid =P How can you not calling yourself Chinese if you ARE a Chinese =P


Tun said...

I always find it weird when people think in Nationality and not Ethnicity. However, he could have been trying to show off his highly attractive flair for pedantry, i.e. you're not Chinese, you're Beijingese. But that's being too kind. He'd obviously already made his mind up before he spoke to you. Probably has a degree in Dichotomy too ;)

Anonymous said...

no one picks up people in bars because they're looking for life-long partner. people try to pick up other people in bars because they want an affirmation of their own attractiveness. for the same reason, people want other people to try to pick them up.

this guy trying to pick you up was asking you for affirmation. essentially saying that he was allowing you to judge him. hence the nervousness, i suppose. lord knows i've never done anything stupid when i'm nervous. ... but i've heard that it can happen.

that said, yes, this was dumb.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if that guy was very attractive looking to you - would you have still thought his pick-up was "lame" - and it was, but you know how looks can change one's perception. Thus, instead of your friend Cecelia "saving" you, she might have spoiled your moment. Anyway, I like your writing.

Anonymous said...

Was he from St. Louis? It's a tradition, a compulsion, and ultimately a really funny greeting if you grew up there. Because there are so many small school districts and private schools, the answer tells you LOTS about the person -- easy way to get into conversation instead of by braille.