Aw…the egregious pick-up line. We’ve all heard them, most of us have ignored them, some of us have fallen for them, and we’ve all pitied the poor fool who actually thought that saying “If you were a new hamburger at McDonald’s, you’d be McGorgeous” would warrant a meaningful relationship. Or that “excuse me, do you have your phone number, I seem to have lost mine” would actually invite a girl to share her number. Or that the oldie but goodie “come here often” will bring about a lifetime of happiness and wedded bliss.
But let’s be fair; there is a certain artistry to the pick-up line. Some are cheesy. Some take an enormous amount of courage to deliver. Some make you stop and wonder. Regardless of execution, they all bring about interaction, which is the goal of the pick-up line in its simplest form. It becomes a go-to for the person who just needs something to break the ice and start a conversation or have some sort of personal connection.
In our English teacher world the anticipation guide is equally equated to a pick-up line. It is an old standby that we feel comfortable with, something we know is reliable and, while it might not help the young girl who has a hard time extracting herself from the amorous locks of her boyfriend to appreciate the beautiful language in Heart of Darkness, the anticipation guide still offers her the opportunity to connect to the subject matter in some capacity. Just like the pick-up line, the anticipation guide is a teacher’s way to initiate a conversation between his/her students and a text, a way to spark interest and a way to encourage a potential relationship with a text.
However, just like a professional pick-up artist, a good teacher knows that to forge a successful and long-lasting bond he/she must dig into the bag of tricks and avoid using the same line over and over again so that it becomes a cliché.
So consider me your anticipation guide “wing man,” someone here to provide updated suggestions to the old classics. This week I’ll proffer three ideas to bring the traditional anticipation guide into the 21st century, without the excess aftershave.