The 5 worst pick-up lines I have overheard in Tallinn
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People-watching is my favorite hobby, but I think most people do it incorrectly. What’s the point of observing sober daytime behavior? The best of humanity is exhibited in bars, pubs, and clubs – at night, when everyone is drunk, lonely, and shameless. What follows are the 5 worst pick-up lines I have overheard in Tallinn.
5. “Tell me how beautiful I am in the Estonian language.”
Location: Suur-Karja (on the street), near Nimeta
Nationality of the Offender: American
Background: This one was cringe-worthy for multiple reasons. The first is that this guy was not at all beautiful; in fact, he was ugly, had a nasally, Midwestern accent, and the distended gut pouring out of the bottom of his ill-fit t-shirt looked like a bicycle tire being stepped on. Given his shave, I guessed he was in the military.
The second problem I had with this pickup line was what prefaced it: before demanding that this woman lie about his appearance, he asked, “So, what language do you speak in Estonia?”
Hearing this question asked in an American accent, I wanted to divert my course to the US embassy to renounce my citizenship. I can understand some guy sitting on his couch in Cincinnati, his mind wandering during a commercial break for 2-and-a-half Men, thinking, “Hey, I wonder what language people speak in Estonia” – but this guy was here. Even a cursory browse through a Lonely Planet guide – or, given this guy’s likely hate-hate relationship with books, a Google search – would have revealed that the language spoken in Estonia is Estonian. When in doubt, always add –an to the end of a country’s name to guess its official language. Hungary: Hungarian. Slovakia: Slovakian. England: American. Ok, so that rule doesn’t always work.
And the third issue I took with this terrible pick up line is how public it was. In a bar, you can blame your shame on alcohol, a dare from your friends, or the beginning stages of psychosis. But this guy was holding court in the middle of the street with cheesy lines that wouldn’t elicit a smile in a strip club. Contrary to what G.I. Retard might believe, the line between courage and stupidity isn’t that thin. The man that runs into a blazing building to save stranded orphans is a hero; the man that runs into the blazing building next door to the orphanage is an idiot. This guy ran into the building next door to the orphanage and set it on fire himself by tripping over an electrical cord.
4. “Do you need a wingman?”
Nationality of the Offender: Australian
Background: This wasn’t really a pick-up line: I was standing near the dance floor with a group of friends, and an Australian guy approached me to ask if I needed a wingman – presumably to save me from the onerous conversation I was clearly enjoying.
Saying this is kind of like asking a guy in a parking lot who just pulled up in a Ferrari if he needs any help spending his money. The answer to the question is almost certainly a firm no, but even if it isn’t, being the guy who asks doesn’t do much for one’s chances of being picked.
I wish I had possessed the clarity of mind at that moment to answer his question with a question: do you need any help drinking that drink? But I didn’t; I simply said, “No, idiot.” It’s probably a good thing – roofie hangovers are supposed to be pretty brutal.
3. “Magus tüdruk peakski magusaid jooke jooma.”
Nationality of the Offender: Estonian
Background: A friend of mine was drinking a cider and complained somewhat publicly that it was too sweet, and a guy standing within earshot proffered his opinion on sweet drinks. I’ll give him points for coming up with clever retort on the spot, but he also loses points for trying to flirt with a girl who is complaining. That’s like feeding a dog who just got finished soiling the carpet.
While this pick-up line isn’t awful, I’m including it in the list for two reasons. The first is that it proves that RyanAir-flying, hostel-dwelling creeps don’t have a monopoly on idiocy (but they do produce the best product). And the second is that it represents an application of the long-lost art of using innocuous-sounding pick-up lines to initiate a conversation. Sure, it’s bad. But unlike something a British guy would say – or the smell that would accompany it – it’s not offensive. The worst reaction someone could expect from this line is rolled eyes, and in Tallinn’s post-RyanAir nightlife ecosystem, anything short of a kick to the crotch is a small victory.
2. A guy starts doing push-ups in front of a group of women
Nationality of the Offender: Australian
Background: The whole crew went to Shooters to celebrate after our very first Stand-up Comedy with Louis and Eric show at Club Prive, and when we got there, a group of Eurotripping Australians cornered Louis and chatted with him for 30 minutes about whatever Australians discuss when they’re not busy oppressing Aboriginals (probably the disappointing lack of Aboriginals to oppress in Estonia). One of the Australians in the group was wearing a shirt that said “WHERE’S THE FUCKING BOOZE”. I thought this was the most interesting aspect of the shirt, until he informed me that the holes in the back of it were bullet holes. That quickly became the most interesting aspect of the shirt.
One member of their group didn’t spend much time talking to us. He was busy being productive – I watched as he walked up to random girls at the bar and lifted up his shirt, revealing his abs. I don’t know how he expected girls to react – Delight? Glee? Shock? – but in clear contrast to what he anticipated, most girls pretended that he wasn’t there. I don’t think they were used to these kind of antics; it’s probably just a visceral reaction, kind of like how we all know not
to look directly at a solar eclipse. Even if we’ve never been explicitly told it’s harmful, we’re somehow aware that it can cause us to go blind.
Not content with being ignored, the Australian put his strategy into overdrive: I watched him approach a group of about six or seven girls sitting at a table, take off his shirt, and begin doing push-ups on the floor.
I wanted to shout something out to him: “My God, man – you’re in Shooters! Don’t ever touch the floor!” But I didn’t. Instead, I grabbed a beer and watched from afar as he implanted a memory into his head that he’d never be able to fully suppress. This guy could go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize, take home a gold medal in the Olympics, or become the next Prime Minister of Australia – but in his mind he’d never be elevated above the guy who was so desperate one night in Tallinn that he started doing shirtless push-ups on the beer-encrusted floor of Shooters — and later wept furiously into his hostel bed’s pillow.
1. Do you like having sex…with men?
Location: Levi’st Väljas
Nationality of the Offender: English
Background: A friend of mine was visiting Estonia from San Francisco, and instead of going to sleep early on the night before his 6:30am flight out of the country, we decided to go drinking. Note: staying up all night before an early morning always seems like a good idea and always ends up being a torturous struggle to stay awake in a dingy dive bar filled with the kind of people one assumes prisons are built to accommodate. In the US, these dive bars are usually named BAR and have black sheets covering the windows. Only one such dive bar exists in Tallinn; its name is Levi’st Väljas.
It was under these circumstances that I heard the coup de grâce of atrocious pick-up lines; nothing short of instantaneous nuclear Armageddon could kill a conversation faster. I could spend 10 years in Phuket and never hear a pick-up line so unlikely to lead to anything other than a shame-filled RyanAir flight back to Liverpool. I actually almost missed this pick-up line because I was surrounded by multiple train wrecks in progress that I wanted to witness. On our left was a guy who had passed out holding a full beer and was very slowly falling into it. And on our right was a pair of 50-ish-year-old English guys barking terrible lines at anyone who walked by and looked remotely female. I couldn’t decide who deserved my focus more: although they were taking different paths to it, it was obvious that within a few minutes, the people sitting at both tables would be covered in someone’s beer.
I decided to focus on the guys to my right. And I’ll be forever grateful that I did – because after baiting a group of girls to sit with them, one of the English guys began running through the standard creep interrogation procedure: Are you a student? What do you study? What are your hobbies? What’s fun to do in Tallinn?
But then he decided that the interaction wasn’t advancing fast enough. Maybe it was the time; at 5am, small talk is an afterthought. Or maybe this guy wanted to
test just how invested in continuing this conversation the girl really was. Whatever the case, he asked a question that he apparently felt required a verbalized answer: “Do you like having sex?”
Reflecting on the words that had just come out of his mouth, he qualified the question a little more after a slight pause: “…with men?”
And like witnessing a double rainbow, the moment faded in an instant. The girls didn’t respond; they didn’t even hesitate to consider what they had just been asked. They immediately stood up, collected their bags, and left the bar. SPLASH! The guy to my left had finally fallen into his beer and knocked it onto the floor, but I missed it. No regrets. I made the right choice.