'I'm looking for treasure. Can I look around your chest?'
Relationships - before all the romance and excitement of free meals, sex and weekends away - are at their most uncomfortable and awkward when they're first beginning.
Modern dating, especially on the internet, is nothing short of a minefield. And before the honeymoon phase - or even the first date - comes the inevitable: the cheesy, often creepy, pick-up line.
You've got to start somewhere, right?
Gone are the days when all it took was a Joey Tribbiani-esque, "How you doin'?" or the simple send of an eggplant emoji.
"But the lengthy, heartfelt emails exchanged by the main characters in You've Got Mail (1998) seem positively Victorian in comparison to the messages sent on the average dating app today."
In 2019, pick-up lines - usually administered via sliding into the object of your affection's social media direct messages (DMs) - can be a shortcut to intimacy with someone and an ideal way to escalate banter for the purposes of flirting, dating, or - if you're really dedicated - true love.
THE PICK-UP LINES TO AVOID
The problem with pick-up lines is that when they're bad - whether they're sleazy, inappropriate or just don't make sense - they're really bad.
And on an app like Tinder, which reported in 2016 that it had more than 50 million users, it's no secret that things can get pretty weird.
Here are some cringe-worthy lines to avoid sending at all costs:
• "If I had to rate you from 1-10, I would rate you as a 9 because I am the one that you are missing."
• "Are you religious? Because you're the answer to all my prayers."
• "Excuse me, but I think I dropped something. MY JAW!"
• "Like feet?"
• "You must be from Tennessee! Because you are the only TEN I see!"
• "Hey - I'm looking for treasure. Can I look around your chest?"
• "Are you my appendix? I don't know what you do or how you work but I feel like I should take you out."
• "Well, here I am. What are your other two wishes?"
• "Netflix and chill?"
• "Would you like to try an Australian kiss? It is just like a French kiss but down under."
• "Let's play Titanic: You be the iceberg and I'll go down."
• "Do you believe in love at first sight or would you like me to walk in again?"
• "Are you Area 51? Because I'd die to get inside you."
• "Did the sun come out or did you just smile at me?"
• "On a scale of one to North America, how free you are tonight?"
TIPS FOR MAKING PICK-UP LINES WORK
If you're starting your chats on Tinder using classic pick-up lines - "Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?" - chances are you're already in trouble.
According to a 2017 study of students from the University of Electronic Science and Technology, published in Scientific Reports, women prefer men who use metaphorical language when paying compliments in a romantic context.
Women's preference of more creative language indicated a degree of evolutionary significance to the researchers - basically, that a more creative pick-up line might mean you're more intelligent, and thus more attractive as a potential partner.
"Men's dating success has been found to be correlated with their creativity," the researchers said.
"Metaphors involve higher cognitive processes and greater activation in key brain language and cognitive processing areas."
Put simply - when you flex your wit in talking to women, you're exercising more of your brainpower and showing off a bit more of your potential. Thus making a memorable first impression before the fireworks and roses - and hopefully managing to break the ice.
The other golden rule? Whether you're on Tinder, Bumble or the sacred space of Instagram private messages, always do as you would in real life.