Generally, the best pickup line is the one with only five letters, ‘hello.’ However, there are times when a pickup line has its place. But just as much as a creative and well-timed line can work, it could also prove disasterous. Why do some work and others not? Quite simply, because men and women see pickup lines in an entirely different way.
A classic study at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland put Scott Baio’s entire arsenal of pickup lines to the test on over 205 undergraduates. Using 40 different pickup scenarios, the researchers noted the likelihood that each student would be interested in continuing a conversation with the deliverer of the line. The scenarios were depicted in four categories: sex, humor, compliment, or intellect.
Sex– “I was just on my way outside to make out… care to join me?”
“I can carry a dozen donuts without even using my hands.”
Humor– “If you were a pirate and I was a tree, I’d let you shiver me timbers.”
“Well, I’m here … What were your other two wishes?”
Compliment– “You know your martinis. This restaurant makes the best in town.”
“Those are some fancy shoes, but I’d bet you a drink you can’t dance in them.”
Intellect– “Have you been to the art museum next door?”
“Did you know that this restaurant used to be an old mine shaft?”
The relationship advice researchers concluded was that the intellectual, humorous, and sincere compliments worked reasonably well on most women. The sexually oriented material was a big turnoff.
While this study may have merely pointed out what women have known for decades, it helped shed some light on why some of these lines still exist, beyond making women roll their eyes before moving to a stool on the other side of the bar. The men in the study were given the same scenarios,
and they actually rated the sexual scenarios as being the most effective way to start up successful conversation.
It’s a wonder men and women ever find their way to each other, standing on such opposite ends of the compatibility spectrum. But there was some helpful dating advice to come out of this study:
Laughter Is a Good Ice Breaker- Most women reported that they liked humorous pickup lines. They broke the ice effectively, made them laugh, and put the guy in a positive light. The only caveat is that these lines have to be delivered successfully — otherwise they are uncomfortable and unflattering.
Custom Lines Beat the Standards- Most women have heard the gambit of pickup lines, so to stand out, show her that you put an effort into thinking up something more original or custom-tailored to the situation (bar, library, bookstore, etc), and specific to her. “My mother always said it was impolite to stare … would you like to dance?”
Compliment Sincerely, and Without Sexual Innuendo- In the initial stages of getting to know one another, women prefer compliments that are honest, plausible, non-threatening, and show a sincere interest in getting to know her. “That’s a beautiful bracelet,” rather than “That’s a great rack.”
Skip the Line and Just Go for Simple Conversation- Assuming a man has not been the center of a woman’s attention all night, approaching her cold isn’t going to lead to romance unless he gives her time to find an attraction towards him. A catchy one liner means nothing without having some honest, charming conversation to follow it up.