‘How To Pick Up Girls!’: Reviewing Dating Tips From 1970

how to pick up girls

Last month I was helping my wife’s parents move out of their house, and as I carried a box of dusty old books down from the attic, out fell my father-in-law’s ancient, forgotten copy of “How To Pick Up Girls! (Featuring Interviews With 25 Beautiful Girls!)” Holy f*ck! Did this manual help create my beautiful bride?!

Originally self-published by 22-year-old Eric Weber, “How To Pick Up Girls!” sold millions of copies. The book, which PUA types apparently consider legendary, is testament to the fact that some things stay the same and a lot more change. Much of the advice is ridiculously obsolete and offensive by today’s standards, but there are sporadic nuggets of evergreen insight for the modern guy looking to find a special someone. Let’s break it all down…

The Obsolete

Aside from the dated language (“You’ll pick her up. And won’t that be a gas!”), guys today wouldn’t have much luck with these once-surefire approaches:

“Try on some of the new wild clothes. Bell bottoms and English boots and wide ties…leather dungarees or a groovy vest. … Leave the top button of your shirt open.”

“March in a peace demonstration, even if you’re secretly for war. I’ve heard countless stories of guys who’ve picked up fantastic broads at peace demonstrations.”

“What makes a man sexy? … Without exception, each member of The Fabulous 25 said she much prefers men with long hair. … According to the girls, long hair is dynamite!”

Weber also includes a list of “Fifty Great Opening Lines,” with dozens of ludicrous, don’t-try-these-at-the-bar classics such as:

“You’re a Pisces, aren’t you? (Most girls are fascinated by astrology. Whether they’re a Pisces or not, they’ll be interested.)”

“How do you cook a leg of lamb? (You’ve spotted a pretty chick in your grocery store.)”

“Where did you get that great hat? (To any girl wearing a wild hat.)”

“Who’s your dentist?”

To his credit, Weber (along with his son) mocked these stinkers in a Funny Or Die video a few years ago, so at least he’s got a sense of humor about ‘em:

The Creepy

Less quaintly, the book’s dated vibe isn’t limited to hippie astrology and fashion recommendations. Its attitude toward women (who “get terribly lonely and depressed” because “they don’t have exciting jobs…to keep them busy all day”) is straight out of “Mad Men” at times:

“As a man, it’s your right, your privilege to approach a woman any time you want.”

“Next time you move in on a girl, think to yourself, I’m doing her a favor.

“Try to pick up receptionists and executive secretaries. They’re sitting ducks because they’ve got to stay behind their desks. And they’ve got to be polite to you.”

“If she hits you with her pocketbook, you may even be able to sue her.”

No lady would find that boorish outlook attractive today, and Weber toned it down in later editions. Remember: Creeping a girl out is NEVER following Guy Code. And we’re lucky when they talk with us, not the other way around.

how to make love to a single girl
Advertisement in back of “How To Pick Up Girls!”, except without the censor bar, because it was the ’70s.

The Eternal

This book is a product of its time, sure, but some truths don’t have an expiration date. Whereas modern PUAs popularized “negging,” or subtly insulting a woman to manipulate her into feeling less self-assured, Weber encourages complimenting her most unattractive feature as beautiful, because then you’ll have “made her feel very good about something that had always made her feel very bad.” In other words, being a nice guy is the way to go:

“[A]cting mean for no reason at all is just about the most stupid and destructive thing you could do. … The world we live in is often an ice-cold one. People are looking for warmth.”

And that’s not the only solid advice Weber has to share:

“Believe it or not, looks are only secondary when it comes to picking up girls. … They’re much more interested in what a man is like on the inside than the outside.”

“It’s the people who act most nonchalant and least uptight, most unafraid of failure, who do the best.”

“Just be yourself. For most women, that’s the most extraordinary and wonderful quality of all.”

Hey, no wonder this book helped my father-in-law find his perfect match! Any bell bottoms from the attic are going straight into the garbage, though.

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Marty Beckerman (@martybeckerman) is the Associate Editor of Guy Code Blog