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Top 10 Shakespearean Pick-Up Lines

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A truly old-school guide to getting handmaidens to do the deed of darkness.

We tend to think that life in Elizabethan times was all prim and proper, but don’t let the convoluted language fool thee. Close inspections of the text indicate that Shakespeare’s world of saucy wenches and raunchy rapscallions was filled with more intrigue, backstabbing, fatal misunderstandings, genderbending, and double suicides than your standard Lifetime movie. Few people know that “fishmonger” was Elizabethan slang for “pimp,” and history suggests that Shakespeare was quite a prolific fishmonger. Rumor has it that his (allegedly fake) surname alludes to more than just the way his quill quavered quickly on his page.

Alas, the lyric lothario would slap men in the face (backwards, no less) if he heard the vomit inducing ways in which cliched lines like “I am the east, and you are the sun” are used by overeager dorks. With Joss Whedon’s much-anticipated Much Ado about Nothing coming out this Friday, there’s never been a better time to don your pantyhose and break out your most honeysuckle lines. Use some unique linguistic lady traps and make sure you deliver them with the type of self-debasing irony that is also reserved for stripping to the Lion King. In the wise words of the Original Playa himself, “Love goes by haps; Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.”

1.“Come woo me, woo me, for I am in a holiday humour and like enough to consent.”- As You Like It 

I am hammered and you’ll do for the night. The lady doth not protest at all. She’s ready, as Billy puts it, to “grope for trouts in a peculiar river.”

2. "Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged! Give me my sin again." -Romeo (Romeo and Juliet)

Nothing’s sexier than using the word “sin” to describe the act of trespassing all over someone’s face. This will surely cajole her into doing “the deed of darkness.”

3. “I do beseech you – chiefly that I may set it in my prayers – what is your name?”- The Tempest 

Sure, tell her you only want her name so you can pray for her health, chicks love that shit.

4. “When you do dance, I wish you were a wave o’ the sea, that you might ever do nothing but that.”- The Winter’s Tale

This one is especially useful for when you’re flailing around wildly in a vaguely oceanic way on the dance floor. If you want to be super-cool, you can also merrily shout, “If music be the food of love, play on.”

5. “O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?”- Romeo and Juliet

A much more flirtatious way of encouraging your lover to finish you off than whining, “Wait, what? That’s it?”

6. “She’s beautiful, and therefore to be wooed; She is woman, and therefore to be won”- Henry VI

Whisper this dramatically to your wing man to give him some extra courage before he claims his prize. If you want to be especially chauvinistic and creepy when discussing a woman’s looks, you could go with a line from Pericles: “She would serve after a long voyage at sea.”

7. “I pray you, do not fall in love with me, For I am falser than vows made in wine”- As You Like It

The rule with rakes is that, if they’re honest about they’re douchebaggery from the very beginning, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself when they crawl out of the window and trot away at dawn. “Men’s vows are woman’s traitors” says another character in Cymbeline. Men, they make lies with their mouth words.

8. "What a pretty thing man is when he goes in his doublet and hose and leaves off his wit!"- Much Ado About Nothing 

I say that every time one of my male roommates goes out to a nightclub.

9. “You have witchcraft in your lips”- Henry VI

This is the chat-up line he uses to, as he himself puts it, “make heaven in a lady’s lap.” Hell yes, he doesn’t keep any of his ladies waiting.

10. “They are in the very wrath of love, and they will together; clubs cannot part them.”- As you Like It

What to whisper forlornly to yourself when you realize you have lost your bro to the clutches of love, and that he won’t be partying with you anymore. If you want to start a jealous duel over breaking the bro code, you can zing him with this As You Like It line, “Love hath made thee a tame snake.”