BFM 2021: The first voting round

An image of a man and a woman at a bar, both laughing, as if he has just used a pickup line to show his interest.

We’re sure we can think of a clever pickup line to get you interested in this voting round, but then again, we know many people have been waiting for the marathon to start. Where the writers have already started when they received the first assignment, it’s now time for you – the readers – to do your bit. Your input is a very important part of the marathon.

The Assignment

The assignment for round 1 was:

Write an original pickup line
Only ONE sentence, no dialogue
20-50 words, with a title of maximum 2 words

The no dialogue needed a bit of clarification, as what we meant is that we didn’t want any dialogue tags such as ‘he said’ or ‘she said’. We only wanted the sentence.

Short assignments seem very easy, but they mostly are not. Add to that the pitfall of a cheesy pickup line, or one that’s too general, and each writer wanting their pickup line to stand out – and how do you do that? Keeping all this in mind, makes the ‘simple’ assignment of writing a pickup line, suddenly become a lot more challenging.

Readers, what should you do now?

Read all the entries, and vote for the stories you like the best. Try to keep the assignment in mind when you make your choices. You have to choose three stories, no less, no more.

The survey is at the bottom of the page after the last story. Don’t’ forget to click the ‘Finish Survey’ button when you’ve made your choices!

Also, we would love if you can leave the writers some feedback in the comments section below.

Please note:

  • Writers are not allowed to tell anyone which entry they have written!
  • You can only vote once. Votes will be monitored and double votes will be removed.
  • The voting round closes on Tuesday 27 April 2021 at 23.45 GMT (see the countdown in the sidebar).
  • Results of the voting round will be published on this site on 1 May 2021 and then the author of each story will be revealed.

The entries

As you can read in the rules, the stories were first sent to the jury, and from their votes the top 70% go through to the public vote. We also add a wildcard, chosen by the Blogable Babes, from the stories that didn’t make the 70% cut. For this round, that would’ve meant 21 stories from the jury cut, and 1 wildcard added to it. Since there were 5 stories at the bottom with the same average jury results, 22 stories from the jury cut made it through to the public voting round, and to that we added our wildcard.

Below you can read all the entries. Those that have not made it through to this, the public vote, have been given a RED title. So reader, please remember you cannot vote for those with a red title in the survey below. But you can vote for 3 of the 23 that made it through.

And who knows, you might just find a pickup line you can use once we are allowed to socialize again!

If you are one of the writers whose story did not get picked in the top 70% by the jury please do not be despondent. Your did receive marks from the jury and they will go through with you to round 2 – all writers are allowed through to the next round.

1. Naughty Nun

You look like just the sort of man the sisters who taught us in our How to keep our vows of celibacy classes at the convent warned us about; I really hope looks aren’t deceiving.

2. No Regrets

You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and I knew that if I did not come over to introduce myself and ask you for a date, I would forever regret it.

3. Travel Fun

Maybe, I could try book a hotel room, much more comfortable, safer and may I suggest more rewarding than this.

4. An Application

Mistress Mia, in regard to the instruction on your Fetlife profile, here is my submission – I would be honored to serve as your humble slave, dutifully completing all tasks assigned to me and enhancing your pleasure as you see fit.

5. Let’s Go

So shall we go to your place or mine—the furthest stretch of your imagination or the furthest stretch of mine?

6. Brie Yourself

Allow me to explain my fondness for cheese: it’s delicious, it’s welcome at every occasion, and if you’re lucky, the beautiful woman at the end of the bar appreciates its use as a conversation starter.

7. Unjust Infringement

What do you think about [[cough cough]] leaving this crowded bar and finding somewhere a bit more private where we can compare COVID-19 vaccination conspiracy theories, actually see what’s under these masks, and [[cough cough]] talk about this unjust infringement on our civil rights?

8. Thin Ice

I don’t use pick-up lines, because that’s how an insecure man would open a conversation with a woman whose beauty intimidated him and I prefer to break the ice by smashing it with my huge penis.

9. Sincerity Rulz

I beg your pardon; I’m so sorry, but when you went and smiled I completely lost my train of thought.

10. Friday Night

Do you realise, you’ve been tantalising the olive in that empty Martini glass for roughly fifteen minutes straight now, permit me to rectify that?

11. Mom’s Advice

My mom warned me not to invite strangers into my house, but she also said that I should take risks, so why don’t you buy me a drink and get to know me a little better so I don’t feel guilty when I risk taking you home tonight.

12. The Guess

I am sitting here in exquisite suspense, wondering if  your name is Oscar because you sure are making me Wilde!

13. Bloody Mary

Hi, will the fact that I accidentally tried to kill you today, keep you from having a drink with me now?

14. S’punk, innit

Excuse me, young man – I don’t know your name so I’m going to call you ‘Spike’ – I’m awfully sorry to bother you but you looked like the sort of man most likely to have a safety pin about his person and I have a troublesome situation with my brassière.

15. Naughty Girl

I hear Good Girls go to heaven and Naughty Girls get a firm spanking; I am not sure I have been a naughty enough girl today, do you think you could help me?

16. Gotta Fever

Hey, baby, have you been tested for Covid, because I’d really love to take you home and probe you tonight.

17. Soaring High

Hey baby, you must be part dragon, because whenever I see you I feel like I’m flying, and you set my heart on fire.

18. First Contact

Across the wide expanse of the cosmos, past bright stars and through vast, glimmering nebulae, we have sent our consciousness, searching at the speed of thought and with the patience of eons, seeking the optimal companion; now we have found you: ideal, perfect, flawless in your brilliance; be with us!

19. Good Things

I think you’ve dealt with a lot of bullshit in your life when you only deserve good things, so I hope you’ll let me be one of them.

20. Tie Me

These sure look well stuffed and ready for a good roasting; would you tie me like one of your pork joints please?

21. Future Adventures

I’m so lucky to have just bought a new journal and pen so I can fill it with the pictures, stories and adventures of our journey, antics and life.

22. Sweet Chance

Please forgive my imposition, but should I miss the chance to speak to you, to know your name perhaps, my mind would forever wonder, whether I had been a fool. 

23. Destiny

A wise person once told me that everything is predetermined by destiny, so my question is, should we simply fall in love now, or should I take you to dinner first?

24. Seeing You

When I look at you it makes me feel like I am under a ceiling fan with flashing lights and it leaves me speechless, trembling like a seizure patient.

25. Awakened

For a long time, I buried my heart’s light beneath layers of pain and anger, but somehow you’ve managed to find a way past my defenses with the simple charm of your brilliant smile and the innocent twinkle of your cerulean eyes.

26. Times Two

Hmm, that Macallan 12 you’re sipping on is pretty good, but my roommate Carmen and I are willing to bet you’d enjoy an entirely more elusive treat — plus a generous pour of their rare Double Cask 18 that we keep back at our apartment.

27. Forgive Me…

I know you want to be left alone because you’ve rejected four guys in twenty minutes, but I can’t help myself because your voice is music to my soul and I’m utterly captivated by your smile; if you don’t respond I’ll leave, but I’ll miss you forever.

28. Luscious Laundry

Excuse me, but how many pegs do you think I will need to hang you on my pick up line?

29. Book ‘em

I once saw a book whose cover intrigued me such, that my fingers itched to caress its bindings, my nose to scent its leaves, and to devote my undivided attention into plumbing its depths … so I’d like to ask: do you like to read?

30. On Fire

Here you are on fire and I have to ask if you have health coverage, because you are giving me a fever!

Image from Pixabay

17 thoughts on “BFM 2021: The first voting round

    1. Hi Gaynor
      The Jury scored each of the entries and the highest 70% are eligible to be voted on by the public.
      Those that are not within that 70% have a red title and will still go through to the next writing round but without any public vote points.
      I hope this answers your question. It is all explained within this post.
      Kind regards

  1. I have never liked pick-up lines and, on the whole, these efforts (my own included) reminded me why! But I have tried not to judge them on the basis of whether I thought they were ‘good’ pick-up lines (i.e. likely to be effective); this is a fiction writing competition so I looked for whether they worked for me as stories:

    • Does the sentence convey a context or setting?
    • What do we learn about the characters?
    • Is there a story; a set-up, an event and a consequence (actual or potential)?

    Other criteria:
    • Is it a true sentence?
    • Is it a good, well-structured sentence?
    • Does it flow?
    • Has the writer made best use of the limited word count?
    • Do the two words of the title add anything to our appreciation of the story? They should!

    A lot to ask from 50 words, I know! Unsurprisingly, no entries satisfied me on all criteria (certainly not my own) but two stood out for me and got my first two votes: ‘5. Let’s Go’, and ’22. Sweet Chance’.

    I’ll be honest; if I hadn’t committed not to vote for my own story (’14. S’punk, innit’), it would’ve had my third vote. I know I’m allowed to vote for my own, but it feels so ungentlemanly! So my third vote would’ve gone to ‘18. First Contact’… but the jury had ruled that one out (see feedback below). My third vote went to ‘1. Naughty Nun’.

    Brief feedback on all entries (please remember that my comments might say more about my own preferences, prejudices and peculiarities than it does about your writing):

    1. Naughty Nun – Yes, it has characters that I can picture and a denouement I can imagine. Sentence structure could be stronger and the title is too blunt.

    2. No Regrets – Contrary to the assignment brief, this is a very unoriginal pick-up line.

    3. Travel Fun – The sentence doesn’t work for me and use of punctuation doesn’t help.

    4. An Application – I don’t think this is a pick-up line (and if I was Mistress Mia, would it stand out from all the other applications in my inbox?)

    5. Let’s Go – Takes the most unoriginal of pick-up lines and, with the fewest words necessary, gives it a beautifully imaginative twist. My favourite of this round.

    6. Brie Yourself – I’m not judging on whether I would respond positively to the entry as a pick-up line (I wouldn’t; I hate cheese!), but this doesn’t succeed as an explanation of a fondness for cheese either.

    7. Unjust Infringement – The idea of trying to pick up someone while wearing masks had potential but, sorry, but I couldn’t see past the double brackets around ‘cough cough’ and the anti-vax sentiments.

    8. Thin Ice – ‘I don’t use pick-up lines, because that’s how an insecure man would open a conversation’… but here’s my pick-up line that amplifies my insecurity by referencing my ‘huge penis’? Well, I suppose it does satisfy my criteria of giving a sense of character!

    9. Sincerity Rulz – Why ‘Rulz’, rather than ‘Rules’? And why ‘went and smiled’, rather than just ‘smiled’?

    10. Friday Night – I liked the detail in this (‘tantalising the olive’). It was a contender for my vote.

    11. Mom’s Advice – It’s a believable pick-up line (if you accept that a mom who advises their son or daughter to take risks probably was drunk too…)

    12. The Guess – Were you ever a scriptwriter for ‘Blind Date’?

    13. Bloody Mary – There’s a story here – hooray! – but if you ‘try’ to kill someone, how can that be ‘accidental’? Good title.

    14. S’punk innit – My own story. No comment!

    15. Naughty Girl – I would have liked to have some sense of who this line was being addressed to… Perhaps something like, ‘Do you think you could help me, Officer?’ or ‘Do you think you could help me, Vicar?

    16. Gotta Fever – I’m afraid you lost me at ‘Hey, baby’.

    17. Soaring High – see above!

    18. First Contact – Now, I think this one has been harshly judged by the jury. Yes, it stretched the assignment brief and plays fast and loose with the definition of a sentence and use of punctuation, but it’s different, in a good way! Would’ve had my vote, if it had been eligible.

    19. Good Things – Who is this person who has dealt with a lot of bullshit? How does the other person know this? I needed more context.

    20. Tie Me – This ticked quite a few boxes in my judging criteria but I found the terms ‘well stuffed’, ‘good roasting’ and ‘pork joints’ too off-putting.

    22. Sweet Chance – I have to admit that this fails to tick quite of lot of my judging criteria but I loved the sound of the sentence so much that it got my vote. And it’s probably the only pick-up line here that I can either imagine myself saying or might want to hear someone saying to me!

    23. Destiny – It’s not a bad sentence and there is some element of story to it but not enough to excite me.

    24. Seeing You – ‘makes me feel like I am under a ceiling fan with flashing lights and it leaves me speechless, trembling like a seizure patient’… surely this is a very, very unpleasant feeling and not by any stretch of the imagination a compliment!

    25. Awakened – Although I’m trying not to judge how effective these might be as pick-up lines, with this one I can’t help imagining how I’d feel if a stranger said this to me. Terrified.

    26. Times Two – I think this would have been improved by the removal of the word ‘plus’, keeping a hint of ambiguity.

    27. Forgive Me… – Using the title as the opening words of the story is a smart ploy. But any pick-up line that starts ‘I know you want to be alone but…’ is a no-no for me.

    28. Luscious Laundry – I struggled to build the scenario of a story around these words. Might you have made more use of the permitted word count?

    29. Book ‘em – The sentence doesn’t quite work; it needs ‘I longed’, or similar, before ‘to devote’ to join up the syntax.

    30. On Fire – Some conflicting images and ideas here. Someone is on fire? How would their health coverage help you with your fever?

    Good luck to all writers in Round 2!

    Elk Vilianni x

    1. Have only just realised that No.8’s ‘huge penis’ was knowingly ironic, in reference to the opening of the sentence, in a way that I hadn’t appreciated first time of reading, and therefore a much better entry than I gave it credit for!

  2. First of all, congratulations to all of you completing the first assignment. We know this wasn’t easy, and we know pickup lines can be cheesy and even boring. This assignment was designed to ignite your creativity, to get you to think out of the box, and to immediately capture the attention of the readers. Honestly, had I been one of the writers, I don’t think I would’ve scored high at this, if I could even have come up with a pickup line. You should all be proud of yourselves!

    Below you find my short feedback for each of the 30 lines.
    ~ Marie

    1. Naughty Nun
    Essentially, according to writing rules, this is one sentence, but when you talk, it will sound like two. I think this would’ve been stronger starting with the last part, and then it would be one sentence. That said, I do like this entry.

    2. No regrets
    This sentence totally meets the brief, but it’s too general, too simple. It’s important to make it stand out, to set yourself apart from the rest.

    3. Travel Fun
    Your sentence and your title doesn’t seem to go together. I guess the ‘this’ at the end has to do with the traveling, but you shouldn’t let your reader guess. In my opinion this would’ve been a stronger entry had you replaced the ‘this’ at the end with ‘being on this train’, or ‘being in this bus’, or something like that.

    4. An Application
    The same goes for this as for number 1 – in writing this counts as one sentence, but when you talk, it doesn’t, it sounds like two. Also, I don’t think this qualifies as a pickup line, simply because a Mistress will not tolerate being ‘picked up’? I might be wrong, of course…

    5. Let’s Go
    Another sentence that when you speak it, it sounds like two, but in writing it’s perfect. Plus, I really like this entry!

    6. Brie Yourself
    This sentence is good, but I was thrown at ‘the beautiful woman at the end of the bar’. Was someone else using the pickup line on her behalf? I found this a bit confusing.

    7. Unjust Infringement
    I like this sentence, but in my opinion the ‘[[cough cough]]’ weakens the sentence.

    8. Thin Ice
    Ha! This one made me smile. The first part made me think this is ‘just another pickup line’ and then I read that last piece. Love it!

    9. Sincerity Rulz
    I like this, and it can really work as a pickup line, but I would’ve wanted to see it ‘spark’ just a bit more.

    10. Friday Night
    A nice line, which I think will definitely get the others attention.

    11. Mom’s Advice
    I like this one. You opened the line with a statement, added another statement, and then you closed the circle by tying the end back in with the beginning. No lose ends, great line!

    12. The Guess
    Yes, I absolutely love the creativity here!

    13. Bloody Mary
    I take it the title and the ‘kill you today’ go together, but found this line a bit confusing because of that. If you read only the line without the title, it doesn’t make sense. I think it would be better to add ‘Bloody Mary’ to the sentence too.

    14. S’punk, innit
    I smiled at this sentence, but personally would’ve liked it more without the part about the young man’s name.

    15. Naughty Girl
    I run into the same thing here as several other sentences, where if you speak it out loud, it’s essentially two sentences. Even so, I like the good and naughty girls in the sentence.

    16. Gotta Fever
    With all the probing going on, and us all living the lockdowns all around the world, this sentence fits perfectly, and I can just imagine it working perfectly to pick someone up!

    17. Soaring High
    I like this straight-forward sentence. Great imagery.

    18. First Contact
    This is a really good sentence, but I frowned at the ‘we’ and ‘us’, and I think this is just a bit too flowery to work as a pickup line. Unless of course you bring it in a flamboyant way, with swaying arms to indicate the cosmos, etc.

    19. Good Things
    A line which can work on absolutely anyone, because, who of us haven’t dealt with things in our lives, right?! I like the directness of this.

    20. Tie Me
    The same ‘critique’ as I had with previous entries, where if you speak it out loud, it’s essentially two sentences, but in writing it is one. I like the image you have created with this sentence.

    21. Future Adventures
    This is a great sentence, but I think you should’ve left out the ‘antics and life’ and just ended with ‘our journey together’.

    22. Sweet Chance
    Oh this one is good. There is just the right amount of ‘need’ in this sentence to get someone interested. And no one wants to let another look like a fool!

    23. Destiny
    Oh yes, I like this! Really like it!

    24. Seeing You
    I don’t know if the ‘seizure patient’ in this works for me…

    25. Awakened
    There is depth in this sentence. Pain, hope, looking back but also looking forward. I don’t know if it will work as a pickup line, but I certainly like it.

    26. Times Two
    A double pickup – adventurous! I like the reference to whisky here, and think that even if you don’t know the name ‘Macallan’, the essence of the line is totally clear.

    27. Forgive Me…
    Okay, I know I sound like a broken record, but the same as with several other entries, this one works as one sentence in writing, but out loud this will count as two sentences. That said, I like the sentence, but think it would’ve been stronger stopping after ‘smile’.

    28. Luscious Laundry
    Yes, yes, yes! Simple effective, just perfect.

    29. Book ‘em
    This is great, the image you have created here, and then the bold question at the end. Sensual and sexy!

    30. On Fire
    A nice sentence with a lot of heat in it, but me being me, I thought: shouldn’t you use your own health coverage if you have a fever?

  3. For me, a good pick up line needs to be witty and have a confidence bordering on presumption (so any line which assumed its own success and was passably clever made it onto my short list).
    Apart from my own (which didn’t quite meet my criteria) I voted for 23 and 28. 23 manages to balance arrogance and diffidence to create confidence, and 28 made me laugh before I stopped to question what it means.
    I liked the premise of 1, but it crammed too much information in, creating a wordy, unwieldy sentence. With snappier editing I would have voted for it.
    I might have voted for 14 or 15, but for me they lacked subtlety(says the author of “smashing it with my huge penis”)
    I would have voted for 6 if it had made the judges’ list (and, perhaps, if it had been about almost anything other than cheese, which is not a sexy word)
    Many lines might have been appropriate for particular characters or contexts, but don’t work divorced from them: 13 seemed to require a backstory we didn’t have; 17, 18 & 4 were too genre-specific (or didn’t even feel like pick up lines); 20 seemed to be hitting on a service worker (a big no-no in my book); 22 is a line I’d happily give to one of my antagonists, but he’s a very charming, very bad man; 27 is a hard no (the speaker goes beyond confidence and into arrogance/ignorance); 7 is too narrowly political unless the speaker knows the subject’s views.

  4. Some of these are beautiful, poetic even, but hard to say in a crowded bar over loud music or a throng of people. Some were so cheesy that they made my toes curl.

    A pick up line is really a conversational gambit isn’t it? to get something started, but I tend to avoid brash ones as over-confident people make me slightly nervous. Here are my thoughts on how a few would work if used on me, but well done to everyone who rose to the challenge & good luck for the rest of the competition.

    10. This felt a bit stalker-ish, my first thought was “you’ve been watching me for 15 minutes?”

    12. This actually made me chuckle so I feel as if it would open doors to talk about books and plays which is a large topic arena

    19. Although this opener is saying nothing but nice things, it’s also quite bragg-y which I really hate, so it wouldn’t work on me

    20. I love this one, and I think it would be a great ice breaker, while setting the scene for things to get naughty

    28. The nonsense of this one charmed me, this pick-up person can laugh at their own cheesiness. Sit down and chat a while.

    29. I can’t really imagine someone reciting this, and me keeping track of what they are saying when I’ve had a drink, but its literary theme line hints that they might be on my wavelenth

  5. This was such a tricky assignment, and one I struggled with. Well done to all my fellow marathoners.

    The three that would be most likely to work for me were the most natural ones. Sincerity Rulz, Good things and Bloody Mary.

    I liked forgive me, and I’d have chosen it but it was too long for me. The same for Times Two.

    And Mom’s advice felt like it needed to be two sentences, but then my mum never gave me dating advice, so perhaps I’m just sore on that.

  6. These were a lot of fun! #8 was my favorite and nearly made me snort! On a personal note, being called “baby” as a pick up is a HUGE turn off for me. Other than that, great job everyone! Good luck! And thank you Blogable Babes! You rock!

  7. The ones I voted for:

    No. 12 – It’s cheesy, but it made me chuckle and I thought it was an original one.

    No. 13 – I loved this line, cause it’s the perfect interlude to a story. I want to know what happens!

    No. 29 – Okay, I’m a booklover, that may have warped my opinion, but I thought it was well-done. The sentence was original, though a bit long for a spoken one-liner, but I liked the different take on the subject.

    The one that didn’t make the cut was no. 5. I liked the take on ‘place’ and ‘imagination.’

    No. 24: I loved this sentence, until I reached the final two words. There is no way whatsoever that a ‘seizure patient’ is a sexy metaphor.

    No. 1: I liked the premise in this sentence, but the second sentence didn’t round it up for me.

    I’d like to thank everyone for joining. I know how hard it is to pack an original message in just one sentence. Well done to everyone and best of luck in Round 2!

  8. #8 started off making me grin and finished with me cringing. Talking about your penis as a pickup line will most certainly have the opposite effect. Unless of course you’re using it on a long-term partner or at a comedy club. All thisngs have a time and place.

    #15 would have me saying “lead the way.” It is a great ice-breaker and would have many men and not a few woman squirming in their seat. It could very well have the opposite effect as well though, depending on the crowd.

    #19 made me wonder whether they were offering to be more bullshit or a good thing. The sentiment is excellent; the wording leaves it open for interpretation. Great, if that was the meaning, but hard to grasp if it wasn’t.

    #22 is very sweet and speaks to my romantic side. Had it been said to me, I would have blushed a lovely shade of red.

    #26 is excellent should you know a lot about scotch. If you don’t, you’re completely left in the dark (although left wanting to study on various liquor types so it doesn’t go over your head in the future)

    #28 was very clever, and is a perfect opening to a conversation. Charming and witty.

  9. My view of a pick up line usually involves humor. It can be groan-worthy humor, but that’s sort of the nature of a pick up line. They’re usually silly, in my experience, meant simply to break the ice. If they get too flowery or involved, they lose me.

    #10, 11, 12, 14, 23, and 28 fit the bill for me. My faves were 12, 14, 23, and 28. I find wit sexy, and as I read these, I honestly chose the ones that were most likely to work on me.

    The ones that just lost me because they had too many words: 29, 27, 18. Pick up lines should be short and punchy…memorable and repeatable.

    The ones that jumped right to sex seemed a little too forward for a pick up line, imo.

    30: why do they need health coverage if you’re the one with a fever?
    28: made me giggle.
    23: oh so perfectly sappy.
    13: ????
    12: the nerd in me loves this.
    6 also confused me a bit…who’s the woman at the end of the bar? Is the person picking someone up for someone else?
    4: this didn’t feel like a pick up line to me.
    1: this one is alright…I’m a little thrown by the nun image in relation to picking someone up.

    Great job this first round! I can’t wait to see the variety in the next round!

    1. Forgot to mention Times Two, one of my other favourites. How so few words could convey a whole evening of debauchery was something else!! Excellent work.

  10. I think this was quite a hard first well done to all the writers. .Firstly I read the entries aloud to see if they tripped off the tongue and then looked for ones that had interesting wordplay and ones that amused me. It was all very close and for me about half a dozen just edged ahead. As the Duke of Wellington remarked “It was a near run thing.”

    11.. A long sentence but well balanced. It flowed., but I like the repeated use of ‘risk’..
    14. The use of “excuse me young man,” gives this pick up line added meaning. An older woman is on the make. And she does it with great humour. Mae West sprang to mind..
    15. Fun and cheeky. Full of verve.
    18. This was long winded, but humorous with flashes of originality.
    21. This was like a pick up line from Woody Allen..
    29. This was enjoyable and quite sensual, said by someone not afraid of making a fool of themselves. To avoid using ‘like’ twice, I would have finished with “do you read?”.

    The End.

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