history of ‘did it hurt when you fell from heaven?’

As Ian Sample wrote in Male faith in racy chat-up lines misplaced, study says, published in The Guardian (London and Manchester, England) of Wednesday 18th July 2007, “the meaningless complimentdid it hurt (also were you hurt, did you hurt yourself) when you fell from heaven? is one of the “chat-up lines that send most women running for the hills”.

However, according to the text in which I have found this phrase first used, it was originally one of the chat-up lines that met a demand for originality—the text is The fine line, published in the friday extra! section of The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida, USA) of Friday 11th January 1985:

The line isn’t dead — it has just evolved beyond the what’s-your-sign-, my-place-or-yours level.
Today’s singles scene is less tolerant of cliche, more demanding of originality.
So as a service to the tongue-tied, we’ve compiled a list of the best opening lines we’ve heard recently.
If you use them, don’t tell anybody where you got them.

“I hear you have a marvelous figure, if you don’t mind my getting personal about your bank account.”

“Hi gorgeous. Haven’t I seen a picture of you with Miss America?”

“My friends and I have a little bet going. I say the quarter in your back pocket is heads.”

“Hey, can I buy you a condo?”

“Ever since my mother left the family to join the Navy, I can’t resist a woman in blue.”

Were you hurt?
Hurt? When?
When you fell.
When you fell from heaven?

“Hello, my name’s Godot; been waiting long?”

“Your beauty is so natural, you must get hate mail from cosmetics companies.”

“You look just like my second husband.”
“How many times have you been married?”

friday extra! recommends you not try these lines in public. They’ve never been tested outside the laboratory setting.

Stephen Holden was not so complacent in 2d Chance for Sitting Ducks, his review of Bio-Dome1, published in The New York Times (New York City, N.Y., USA) of Friday 12th January 1996:

[…] Bud (Pauly Shore) and Doyle (Stephen Baldwin), two hyperactive pals with the manners and attention spans of 2-year-olds, find themselves trapped in an environmentally controlled scientific community […].
Bud and Doyle are so dumb (Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels’s characters in “Dumb and Dumber”2 are Einsteins by comparison) that they mistake the bio-dome for a mall.
When Bud makes a pitch for one of the female scientists in the experiment, he asks her, “Did it hurt?” “Did what hurt?” she replies. “When you fell from heaven,” he says.
That’s the high end of the movie’s verbal humor, which is generally more concerned with flatulence and pent-up body fluids than with courtship rituals, however inane.

1 Bio-Dome is a 1996 U.S. comedy film directed by Jason Bloom, starring Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin.
2 Dumb and Dumber is a 1994 U.S. comedy film directed by Peter Farrelly, starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.

In any case, the phrase was popular among U.S. high-school students—according to The High School Beat section of The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California, USA) of Monday 19th February 1996:

Palm Springs
By Lewis Leiboh
Enjoy an extra bit of humor this week, as I present the Top Seven Student Pickup Lines Overheard During Valentine’s Day.
7. “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?
6. “Your legs must be tired, because you’ve been running through my mind all day.”
5. “How ’bout a romantic evening of McDonald’s and the dollar theaters?”
4. “Come over to my place, and I’ll show you my grade-point average.”
3. “Hey, baby, can I buy you a cafeteria lunch?”
2. “I forgot my phone number. Can I have yours?”
1. “I can tell you’re the teacher’s pet — and I’m the teacher.”

It was, more generally, one of the best chat-up lines—according to Dave Lavender in Looking for a date?, published in The Leaf-Chronicle (Clarksville, Tennessee, USA) of Thursday 12th February 1998:

chat-up lines - The Leaf-Chronicle (Clarksville, Tennessee, USA) - 12 February 1998

Best pickup lines

There are always new pickup lines, but the classics are still the most popular. Here’s our Top-10 list.
10. “I lost my phone number. Can I have yours?”
9. “Are your legs tired? Because you’ve been running around in my mind all night.”
8. “How do you like your eggs in the morning?”
7. “If you were a new hamburger at McDonald’s, you would be McGorgeous.”
6. “Let’s go to my place and do the things I’ll tell everyone we did anyway.”
5. “I don’t know who invented the alphabet, but if it had been me I would have made U and I a lot closer together.”
4. “You look just like my first wife. How many times have you been married? I haven’t.”
3. “If you’re going to regret this in the morning, we can sleep until the afternoon.”
2. “Did it hurt? Did what hurt? When you fell from heaven
1. “I may not be Fred Flintstone, but I bet I can make your Bedrock.”

But, as Ian Sample wrote in the above-quoted article, women loathe this phrase; on Sunday 27th September 1998, The Detroit News and Free Press (Detroit, Michigan, USA), which had asked readers to tell them the worst pickup lines they had ever heard, published the following response:

“The worst pickup line I heard is: ‘Excuse me, Miss, did that hurt?’ I asked, did what hurt? He said, ‘When you fell from heaven.’”
Sheila, Detroit

This and other such chat-up lines are also in usage in Britain and Ireland. According to an account of a survey conducted by For Him Magazine, published in the Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, Merseyside, England) of Monday 6th April 1998, did you hurt yourself when you fell from heaven? was a favourite of Merseyside men’s:

“I may not be Fred Flintstone — but I’ll make your bed rock.”
That’s one of the favourite chat-up lines used by men, according to a new survey.
Others which get top ratings include:
● “Did you hurt yourself when you fell from heaven?
● “Is that a ladder in your tights, or is it a stairway to heaven?”
● “Pretend you’re with me, then he’ll leave you alone.”
Merseyside men have poured their hearts out about their relationships with women.

In an article about chat-up lines, published in the Irish Independent (Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland) of Friday 12th November 2004, Ed Power made the following list:

Classic come-ons:
I have lost my phone number, can I have yours?
Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?
If I could rearrange the alphabet I would put you and I together.
Do you believe in love at first sight or should I walk past again?
Is that a ladder in your tights or a stairway to heaven?
Do you know how much a polar bear weighs? Neither do I, but it broke the ice!
Can I borrow your library card? Because I want to check you out!
You’re just like a parking ticket — you’ve got ‘Fine’ written all over you.
You must be exhausted, ’cos you’ve been running through my mind all night.
Hi, I’m Mr. Right. Someone said you were looking for me.
You with those curves, and me with no brakes.

But it is not only in the USA that women loathe this phrase. In The suave, sophisticated and downright chauvinistic, published in The Kerryman (Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland) of Wednesday 18th October 2006, Aoife Moloney recounted how she checked out the best chat-up lines in Listowel at the weekend:

Last Saturday night, accompanied by an equally adventurous accomplice, I ventured to the Listowel hotspots in research of the age-old art of ‘chatting up’ (to put it politely). Where better to turn to than the horse’s mouth?!
I headed straight to Quilters and first bumped into the charming Padraig Quille, Listowel and his friend Martin Kennelly Knockanure. I was particularly impressed by Padraig’s example “God was showing off when he made you.” Martin preferred a less fussy approach with a simple “how are you?”
Of course there was the inevitable handful of “Is that a mirror in your pocket?..” and “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?”,  but no man should ever believe that such attempts will ever lead to anything but a slap in the face.

[On another chat-up line, cf. ‘are there any more at home like you?’: usage and origin]

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