October 14, 2008
In No Man of her Own, a 1932 black-and-white beauty, Clark Gable, playing a big-city shark tries to pick up a small-town librarian, the divine Carole Lombard, who was to become his wife later on. “Do your eyes bother you?” asks Clark. “No, not at all,” answers Carole. “Well, they sure bother me…” says Clark. What a great pickup line, graceful, respectful, full of humor. My father once told me that during the ‘20s, Athenian society gals were hard to date without a chaperone. His favorite line was, “Excuse me, does your father own a candy store?” A shocked snort would follow. “Of course not, why?” “because you look so sweet.” I asked dad if it ever worked. He smiled and said, “not really, but perhaps it did later on.” Both lines are now more than passe—one would be laughed out of the nightclub—and yet, and yet… Women, feminine women, love respect by lustful men, and I use old dad’s line at times and am surprised how some girls find it not as ridiculous as it sounds. “Do your eyes bother you?” will be my next one. After all, Clark did get Carole in the movie. If the stock market goes down to 1930s-like numbers, perhaps sweet pickup lines like that might make a comeback.