The hottest pickup line in the world right now is: "I wish they'd teach us more about Vikings."
Some explanation, clearly, is required.
The genesis of the line comes from 21-year-old Caitlin Whitlock from Michigan. She was at her parents' house back in March, going through her old stuff, and she found a book called A Smart Girl's Guide to Boys. It was published by American Girl, so I'm sure there was plenty of doll propaganda, but surrounding that, Caitlin found tips, tricks and advice for teenage dating.
There was a page called "Conversation Starters," featuring "Things to say when you're staring at a boy trying to think of what to say." That's an oddly worded sentence -- promoting even odder suggestions. The one that particularly jumped out to Caitlin was: "I wish they'd teach us more about Vikings."
It's certainly not a traditional pickup line. We've come a long way from, "Was your father a meat burglar? Because it looks like someone stole two fine hams and shoved them down the back of your dress."
She tested it out on a male friend and got an expectedly befuddled response back.
So she shared a photo log of her whole experience -- the book, the suggestion, the text exchange with her friend -- on Twitter. And gradually, it went viral. By last week, it had become popular enough that people all over were texting "I wish they'd teach us more about Vikings" in a totally non sequitur way and sharing their results.
The primary response seems to be confusion. But I'd like to propose something else: It's possible that "I wish they'd teach us more about Vikings" is the ultimate date filtering tool for a large group of people.
Although it's been a little while since my dating days, I have a distinct memory of a period where I was getting frustrated. I wasn't finding women who aligned with me personality-wise and, as a result, none of my attempts at relationships or even multiple dates were going anywhere.
It peaked on a Saturday night, when I called someone I was supposed to be going out with later that night, and she canceled the date and, essentially, made it clear she didn't want to go on any future ones as well. I was angry, but it was really for the best -- she and I were wildly incompatible, I was just riding it out because I didn't have a ton of prospects at the time.
With my Saturday now free, I went to pick up some gadget at Best Buy. (Yes, this story takes place in the era of phone calls and Best Buy.) The one that had my item was in a part of the San Fernando Valley I'd never been to before. And in the adjacent parking lot that night, there was a giant Mexican circus going on. Literally. A traveling circus from Mexico was in town and had giant tents and rides and whatnot set up in the parking lot.
I remember thinking, "The right woman for me would be one who I could take to a Mexican circus on a first date." I may've even written that quote into my Friendster profile. (That's not me being cute about the timeline. This story did occur during the tail end of the Friendster era.)
Now, as someone who's been in a relationship/married for eight years, I can definitively say the woman I ended up with TOTALLY would've loved the hilarious randomness of going to a Mexican circus in a Best Buy parking lot on a first date.
And that's the Vikings line. A faster, easier, much more "2016" method to arrive at the same point. If I were dating now, I'd love to see the responses to "I wish they'd teach us more about Vikings."
Because the person who just embraces it and responds with "We should sneak into a college class on them" or "Did you know they didn't actually wear those horned helmets" or "I wish their new stadium didn't force injured players to limp through a restaurant" would immediately pass through the weeding out process. You can learn more from someone's response to "I wish they'd teach us more about Vikings" than hours and hours of other small talk exchanges.
Well played, American Girl. You accidentally struck gold. Much like the Vikings once did -- in fact, quite a bit of their gold is now on display at the Sønderskov Museum in Brørup, Denmark. (There you go. Wanna make out?)
This post was originally published on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Dating & Sex.