Gaby's Guide to Picking Up Men

Inspired by Lily McElroy’s photo series I Throw Myself at Men I acted out my own version of a play on words involving gender roles. This photo series began as a way of reversing gender stereotypes. Typically in romantic comedies, popular culture, and in real life men are considered the predators and women the prey. I have never been picked up before and am completely awkward in any type of romantic interaction in my everyday life. I avoid relationships and romance just to avoid my own embarrassment. Despite my own inexperience being picked up, pick up lines have always interested me. Pick up lines are considered ridiculous and not taken seriously. Lines such as, “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven you angel?” The idea that with one line a guy can obtain a girl is quite hilarious, and yet guys still do it.

So why not just skip all the words and get strait to the point? Maybe the best pick up line is to just ask, “Hey, can I pick you up?” When the prey gets confused imply you mean to literally pick them up and lift them. Shockingly enough all men I have asked in these environments agreed with no hesitation, and allowed me to lift them.

Since I was physically lifting up men the way I interacted with them changed. Instead of checking men out based on their appealing qualities; I kept checking men out based on their weight. I kept saying things to my friends like, “What about him? He looks thin! He will be light enough!” Not only had I taken on the role of the (stereotypically masculine) predator, but I had also changed my criteria for checking someone out. The idea of women being the ones to pick their partner based on their ability to carry them over their shoulders was really hilarious to me. I felt like a prehistoric cavewoman attempting to lug my potential mate over my shoulders and back to my cave. This experience evoked a very literal archaic style of picking a “mate” into a modern setting where typically men are the aggressors.

The attention I drew to myself caused a few women to make fun of me. One girl thought I was actually using my art project as a way to get a date or boyfriend. It seemed like other women became competitive with me, or upset with the way I was interacting with the available men. Two men even tried to pick me up after I picked them up, but my goal was to switch gender roles so I didn’t allow it. I picked up my last man outside of a club, while waiting for my cab ride home. I was so into character and in the zone that I managed to not leave any man in my path behind.