In Search Of The Cheap Pickup

(NOTE: This essay is part of a group of essays, written roughly between 1993 and 1997, which I privately call “The Receipts.” They were essays written when I was an unquestioning lad engaging with the world in pure shock-jock mode, and if you want proof that I used to be an absolute dingbat, well… Here’s the receipts.

(It’s essays like these in part that made me create the BS-O-Meter plugin for my site, where I said:

(“Part of living life honestly on the Internet means you crystallize some of your past self and present it for current critique – which is fair.  But when you blast Past Ferrett for some crude take, just keep in mind that Current Ferrett may be cringing at being related to that idiot, kind of like those embarrassing relatives who won’t stop posting Trump memes on Facebook – yeah, I’m connected to him, but I’m not exactly proud of that fact.”

(In this case, I left these essays up because I don’t believe in deleting past stupidity.  If you wish to use this as proof that Past Ferrett was an idiot, well, I won’t disagree with you.  If you wish to use that as proof that Current Ferrett is an idiot, well, I can’t blame you.)

I remember a time right after I turned twenty-one, when I went out to a bar with my friend Chris. He, too, had just turned twenty-one, and we were ready to explore the mysterious depths of the Singles Scene.
We were in search of the Cheap Pick-Up.
We both had read lots of cheap detective novels where all you had to do to pick up a floozy for the night was walk into some dive, snap your fingers, and watch your legs vanish as hundreds of model-quality babes threw themselves at your feet. We had read magazine articles where men talked about how degrading it was to have to be so lonely that you’d stalk for women every night, having one-night stand after one-night stand with random strangers.
Maybe it was degrading; but as horny male college students, we were desperate to be degraded.
But whatever it takes to pick up a girl, we didn’t have it. We spent the entire evening downing beers and staring nervously at women; any time a girl dared to make eye contact with us, we panicked and stuck our heads, ostrich-like, under the table. Eventually we went home and shredded our Mickey Spillane novels to pieces.
All my life I’ve heard the myth of the Cheap Pick-Up. I have been told that some women are easily accessible. That cheap sex is easy to find. Not for me, it isn’t. I always have to have a relationship standing in front of me before I can have sex with a woman. Admittedly, I have had some very intense three-day relationships that just happened to involve sex, but just going out, finding a total stranger, and bringing her home with me to play “wet weasel” under the covers? Never.
The prime factor in the myth of the Cheap Pick-Up is the Pick-Up Line. I have always wondered what this line could be. What possible set of words could be that damn effective? What sentence could simultaneously spark her interest, unlock her morals, and part those lipstick-lacquered lips of hers? I was convinced for a while that if I just hung around with the right people eventually the secret would slip out and I’d be rolling in…. well, you don’t want to know what I’d be rolling in, but it would be an extremely pleasant thing to roll in nonetheless.
I found some guys who claimed they had one night stands regularly. But I noticed eventually that these so-called “Trojan Warriors” were so busy regaling me with the fine tales of their many conquests that they never found the time to go out on a date. Matter of fact, any time they saw a girl they broke out in a cold sweat, started trembling, then finally dismissed the thought of having to speak to them with a reassurring, “Naw, she’s not my type.” So much for these bozos.
My good friend Tom Guthrie swears up and down that the ultimate pick-up line is “Do you wanna screw…. or should I apologize?” He tells me that it only works once out of every fifty times you use it, but oh, that fiftieth time…. I myself would have difficulty taking a girl home with me after using that line, considering that by the time I reached that fiftieth girl I would have forty-nine broken bones in forty-nine different places. Not to mention the fact that I imagine that a girl who would fall for that line is the kind of girl who carries social diseases that would cause your entire lower torso to drop off. I mean, if she’ll fall for “Do you wanna….”, can you imagine the kind of line she would reject? “Hi! My bedsheet has many pretty colors! Would you care to come look at it?” “Why, sure!” “Hello! I’ve just been elected President Of The United States! Care to come sit on my Oval Office?” “Okay!”
As I said, my friend Tom swears by this one, but then again he’s rolling around in a wheelchair, so I think I’ll pass.
Alas, I have tried to pick up women for cheap, sleazy, relationship-free one-nighters and it just doesn’t work. All the women that I’ve tried to pick up had traces of taste, self-esteem, and dignity floating through their system. It seems that there’s no one “line” that you can use to have sex with a woman; if she’s interested in you at all, which is her prerogative, you have to treat her like a person and not as some object you take home with you for a night. There may be the standard conversational gambits you can take to turn the conversation towards sex, but women are individuals and treating them like they’re anything else will slowly but surely turn you into an unwilling celibate.
But still – I haven’t given up hope on the Cheap Pick-Up. I’ve tried a variety of methods, but there is still ONE THING that I haven’t done. Maybe I can have a steady supply of pure, cheap, unadulterated (so to speak) sex if I just try this one last thing….

LADIES! Looking for a good time?
Nonsmoking, Pseudo-intellectual writer
seeks plaything to fill his evenings
with love and lust. Mostly lust.
If interested, email

There. If that doesn’t do it, I don’t know what will. See ya.