Maeve Higgins’s ideal . . . chat-up line


I was in my room the other day, experimenting with my self-control. I had one marshmallow on a plate, and the promise of a second if I could just resist eating the first one for 15 minutes. With the help of a third marshmallow and a number of phone calls to family members, I managed not to eat the first one. Although I was winning, I suddenly tired of science and decided instead to imagine the ideal chat-up line.

In the swirling pick and mix of humanity, it’s tough to choose your Sweet. If you’re unlucky, you’ll end up with a half-eaten flying saucer. If you’re lucky, they’ll turn out to be an everlasting gobstopper. Either way, unlike chocolate mice and fizzy cola bottles, you can’t just shovel them into a paper bag and eat them in the dark. You have to talk to them first.

I like a man who’s not backwards about coming forward. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t like backwards men at all. I’m blessed – men give me their numbers pretty much everyday. “Please” they say, eyes shining with hope, “just give me a call”.

My appeal is universal – men from all walks of life hand me slips of paper, neatly printed with their name and number, along with a short job description. Pest control guys, pizza guys, personal injury claim guys: you name it, they want in!

That stuff we learned in school – that men keep their genitals on the outside and their emotions on the inside, and women being the other way around – is only half true. We’re really not that different. Women can approach men too, and say just what’s on their mind. Although “You seem nice. I have triplets and a mortgage, I could really do with a hand” isn’t a seductive opener, even when whispered.

I like to compliment a man right off the bat. Famously, I made the first move on my ex-husband. I sashayed right up to him and bellowed, “Look at those feet, Michael, so narrow and pointy, like a bird’s! I would love to take a plaster mould of those dainty little feet and hang them in my trampoline room.” The compliment made him feel good, and the detail let him know I had a trampoline. If that’s not impressive I don’t know what is. A compliment paired with a hint at what you might do to them is even better. For example “You’re so spherical, like a snowman. That big roundy head on that big roundy body, I want to put my arms roundy YOU.”

The thing is, words can’t hoodwink hormones and no mere line is strong enough to bust a heart right open. You can’t just manufacture a giddy zing, to be felt simultaneously by two little humans.

My dream chat-up line is silent save for booming veins and a sharp inhale, it’s a terrifying connection, an eye-crossing panic attack and a promise of something about to happen.

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