Friday, 12 February 2010

Evidence-based tips for Valentine's

Need to woo a partner in time for Valentine's? Follow these simple, evidence-based instructions for boosting your irresistibility ... (Feb 2012 update: see what happens if you take these tips too literally). 

When asking a lady for a dance or for her number, your chances will be improved by lightly touching her on the arm. Try not to do it in a creepy way.

Use mimicry, bodily and verbal. Use mimicry, bodily and verbal (see what I did there?)

If you're male, try to make yourself look taller and vice versa for women.

Hire a sports car, if you're a man, but don't bother if you're a woman. Both sexes should avoid Toyotas - that's a joke, please don't sue, they're lovely cars.

When flirting with a man, use direct, no-nonsense chat up lines rather than the subtle or witty approach. Men are very easily confused you know.

When wooing a woman, use chat-up lines that demonstrate your helpfulness, generosity, athleticism, ‘culture’ and wealth. Don't bother with jokes, empty compliments and sexual references. This ought to do it - 'Hey gorgeous, sorry I'm late: the opera over-ran, then I had to race to my neighbour's to help carry her piano upstairs - the one I bought her as a moving-in present'.

Try not to come across as too desperate. Don't, whatever you do, admit to reading this blog post.

If you're a really handsome man, don't show off your wealth too much - women might just conclude that you're likely to be unfaithful in the future. And anyway Mr Clooney, I'm sure you don't need these tips.

You hunky smile magnet! Here's a good one for heterosexual men: get friends of the opposite sex to smile at you. Women apparently find a man's face more attractive after it's been smiled at by a woman.

If you're a larger woman, keep your chosen man hungry and he's more likely to find you attractive.

Don't flirt and drive! Remember gentleman, interacting with a lady can impair your cognitive faculties.

Wear red. If nothing else, your little scarlet number will match your blushing cheeks as you smile with bashful pride at the compliment your date (hopefully) just paid you.

Desperate situations require desperate measures. If, despite all your romantic efforts, your date remains decidedly unfrisky, you could try reminding them of death. Warning: This could backfire.

Finally, here's a Time magazine article on flirting, just to get you in the mood.

Happy Valentine's day for Monday! (Apologies for male, heterosexual bias - this is a reflection of the available research literature)

Image credit: Clandestini


Simon said...

But don't overanalyze it:

Anonymous said...

utter crap

Ben said...

Nice, this is a great way to start a relationship based upon deception and manipulation. Excellent work, Psychology!

Anonymous said...

hahaha ditching dinner plans for tonight, i an going to look irresistible, this is real psychology

Unknown said...

Nice to see Hetero-normalcy is still in vogue within the psychological society!

Anonymous said...

Oh Dotty, most people are straight. Get over it. (See what I did there, Stonewall?)

EvoDivas said...

Brilliant post!

organelle said...

Interesting and humorous. Nothing about this seems deceptive to me, we all have desires and sometimes we desire each other. When this happens, one might feel uncomfortable or confused or even estranged from our own thinking. Would you rather stumble around trying to understand how to correctly signal and pursue your interest? Why? (I -can- think of a few reasons, involving my own education)...

I had become aware of each one of these things through observation. The only one that took me by surprise was the 'get smiled at by a girl' because you're more attractive afterward. That one would be hard to pick up (no pun intended) on my own.

Anonymous said...

The really annoying thing about flirting is that everybody says it's an instinct - and then writes articles like the above. (PS Leering is really unattractive - that's smiling too widely while hunching your shoulders. And that kind of flirting where you insult the other person? That's a nono.)

Fernando Bellizzi said...

I'm writng a post on my blog inspired by this post! ;)

Dr Gary Wood said...

Where exactly is the evidence-based bit? And there shouldn't be any need for male-heterosexual bias if you don't collude with this. If this is a fun, piece in magazine it would be bad enough. To be represented as evidence-based approach for a professional organizations besmirches the standing of psychology. I'm all for communicating psychological principles to a lay audience. This post does not. It's quite worrying that this appears on the BPS website at all.

Roo said...

For goodness sake, get a sense of humour people. It is obviously meant in a witty and humorous way. Stop taking yourselves so seriously.

Anonymous said...

Dr Gary Wood - each point links to a study in a journal article, that's where the evidence-based bit is. Had you not noticed? The research literature on sexual attraction is biased towards heterosexual behaviour. Did you not know that? Please do share some links to studies about homosexual seduction if you are aware of any.

Anonymous said...

Rather pathetic heteronormalcy wrapped up as 'science'. The studies cited take little account of social forces and the impact that such reproductions as this nonsense have on people's understandings of relationships. Indeed these 'gender role' notions have been found to be damaging since the early 1970s.

The 'lighten up it's only a joke thing' stopped being viable when people realised racist comments still aren't acceptable when they are 'light' or a 'joke'.

The BPS exposes its tired heteronormative 1960s bias once again. I wonder if the organisations energies wouldn't be better spent engaging with the social care bill, funding for higher education and the reorganisation of the NHS, to pick but three examples, rather than peddling this sort of tripe.

Anonymous said...

I think the BPS does all those things and more - for example see
This post is clearly based on research that has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Anonymous said...

I just had a look through this blog's archive. Have Gary Wood and Anonymous (at 9.04AM on 14 Feb) seen these posts? Kinda undermines their claims that there's some sort of heteronormative conspiracy here.

Jesse Bering - My Lust

Intervention helps reduce homophobia

Which is worse: your partner having a heterosexual or homosexual affair?

Can friendship triumph over prejudice?

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