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Chat Up Lines
Chat Up Lines
HEY baby, what’s your favourite pizza topping? Surprising though it may seem, that question could hold the key to dating success.
Apparently us blokes need to forget carefully crafted compliments and witty jokes, because an inquiry about the merits of pepperoni versus anchovy is more likely to get you that coveted telephone number, according to a study of speed dating in today's Times.
And speed is important, you can't hang around! That champion chat-up line must be delivered quickly, because women are even quicker to judge than they are. Almost half (45 per cent) of the women in a mass speed-dating experiment gave prospective partners the mental thumbs down in less than 30 seconds. The men took a minute and a half.
The study, at the Edinburgh International Science Festival last week, involved 100 single people aged from 22 to 45. Each participant had ten speed dates, then had to decide whether they wanted to see any of the ten again.
On average, each man was smitten by four women, whereas women were interested in only two of the eligible males. The 70 couples who registered a mutual attraction will be monitored as they go on further dates over the next six months.
Two participants, one man and one woman, managed an envy-inducing 100 per cent success rate, with all ten of their dates hoping to see them again.
But, according to the organiser of the study, Richard Wiseman, a psychology professor, “they were by no means the most attractive people in the room”.
He said: “They asked interesting, quirky questions. He asked people who they would be on Stars in their Eyes, and she asked them what their favourite pizza topping was. It’s difficult to answer either without a smile on your face.”
In sad contrast, there was a plethora of cringeworthy one-liners and tragic misjudgments.
“I have a PhD in computing,” was never going to light any fires, and “My favourite place in the world is anywhere you are,” sounds like the confession of a particularly cheesy stalker.
Both sexes were heavily influenced by physical appearance, Professor Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, said. “But women tended to look for an instant ‘chemistry’. If that was missing they quickly rejected the man, so the opening line really matters.
“Guys were less judgmental and took a bit longer to assess a woman’s attractiveness.”
In a second experiment, 500 people were asked to play Cupid for a male participant, Kes, a 30-year-old mechanical engineer. Lucky Kes shared a four-course meal with four women, each joining him in his private dining room for one course.
Members of the public were given photographs and short descriptions of the women and were asked to predict which one Kes would find the most attractive.
The most popular choice was a 26-year-old nurse, Ray (37 per cent). Those who rated themselves as good matchmakers were particularly adamant that she was Miss Right. But Kes proved them wrong, opting for a teacher, Jan, whom only 23 per cent had predicted he would choose.
Women (25 per cent) were slightly more accurate than men (20 per cent), but both sexes did better when concentrating on looks alone – 44 per cent of those who made their choice based solely on the photographs picked Jan.
“Jan and I had a lot in common, but I also had lots of shared interests with the other women,” Kes said.
“The difference was that the conversation was really natural with her, and I was sad when our time was up. Plus, she kissed me on the cheek when we met, whereas the others just shook my hand. I think the extra body contact might have helped.
“Looks were important – maybe 30 or 40 per cent of the decision – and I made my mind up within a few minutes of meeting each girl where I was going to rank them.
“I might see Jan again, I have her phone number, and the experiment was certainly a lot of fun.”
OPENING GAMBITS THAT MAKE MARK
Don’t talk about yourself. Instead, ask questions that encourage people to talk about themselves in a light-hearted, unusual way.
Don’t show off, particularly if your best effort is, “My mate’s a helicopter pilot”, one of the least successful lines in the study.
Talk about subjects on which you are likely to agree and which make you feel good. Couples who discussed travel were much more likely to want to meet again (18 per cent) than those who discussed film(9 per cent), a topic on which men and women frequently disagree.
Avoid questions that encourage “yes” or “no” answers, because this will lead to stilted conversation. The man who asked “Do you have a motorbike?” scored an unsurprising nought outof ten.
Don’t be meticulous about dress; avoid looking like you have made too much of an effort. The most successful participants dressed “like normal people”, rather than desperate singletons.