A guy who just asked "What your sign?" having a conversation with a woman at the bar.

We all know it. Almost every romantic comedy in the world features some sleazy guy asking the most cliche pick-up line in the world to a pretty girl, usually at a bar.

“What’s your sign?” he asks, with a predatory grin, while eying her like a piece of meat. Usually what follows is the actual love interest of the story coming to save the day.

And while I’m not coming to put respect back in those creepy guys’ names, I am coming to put respect back in the question, What’s your sign?

Because it’s not a bad question. The thing about pick-up lines is that a lot of people do them wrong. Saying to a girl, “Are you from Tennessee? Because you’re the only ten I see,” isn’t going to get anyone talking. Another popular pick-up line format is the compliment. It’s when a guy comes up and says, “Hey, I like your necklace.” That’s nice, but where do you go from there? Unless you actually like her necklace or like jewelry in general and enjoy talking about it, it’s not that great of an opener. Because that’s what a pick-up line really should be: a conversation opener.

“What’s your sign?” has the potential of being a conversation opener, when done right. It’s a situation of what’s old is new again. She’s not going to hear that question much because nearly every movie now tells men not to say it. But that may be a point for you. In doing something cliché, you actually could get points for originality.

First things first, do you have any knowledge or interest in astrology? If not, maybe skip this line and go for something else. You want to start a conversation and you’re not going to be able to say much if you have no idea what you’re talking about. And she’ll know if you’re completely BSing her.

But let’s say you do have some former knowledge. Maybe you read the horoscope sometimes or you’ve looked up your own sign to see what signs you’re compatible with. That’s a good basis. Then you can use the line and actually use it well.

The line is just an opener, just a way to move into a conversation. And that conversation doesn’t actually have to be about astrology. Let’s say she responds and says, “Aquarius.” And you say something like, “Oh, you must be really creative. Are you an artist?”

You just did two things that can take you into a deeper conversation than, “Hey I like your necklace.” By saying that she must be creative, you’re issuing a subtle compliment. And then you asked her about her hobbies. You’re showing interest in who she is as a person and showing that you appreciate who she is. It’s a lot better than showing interest in what she’s wearing.

Pick-up lines are often one hit wonders. Actually, they’re usually no hit wonders. But sometimes they hit one note and you get one sentence out of her. That’s not what anyone is going for.

If you don’t know anything about astrology, try something else. Ideally something that makes you a little unique. Every guy in the room is telling her they like her dress or her earrings. Say something that makes you stand out. Don’t go up to her and try to tell her your whole life story, but open the conversation in a way that she’s not expecting. If it’s not about astrology, talk about something you do know something about. Don’t brag, of course, or you may enter the realm of mansplaining. Like if she’s drinking whiskey, please don’t go up to her and try to tell her the history of whiskey. It’s not as interesting as you may think.

Maybe you’re in a club and you just saw her dancing and you can talk to her about music. Or you’re in a park and she’s playing with her dog and you can talk about animals. It just has to be something small that can open the door. Like with astrology, the whole conversation doesn’t have to be about it. You just need to find something that shows an interest in her as a person. Because the best pick-up line is personal. And, if there’s a spark, that one pick-up line will be all you need.

Jacqueline Gualtieri

Freelance Writer

Jacqueline Gualtieri is a writer and blogger whose best friend once told her to quit her job and become a couples and sex therapist. Since she’d miss writing too much, she figured writing for The Date Mix would be the next best thing.