What women are looking for in pick-up lines.

By Seriously Science | May 8, 2014 9:33 am
Photo: flickr/maximeguilbot

Photo: flickr/maximeguilbot

Ever wonder whether certain pick-up lines work better than others? Should you go for the classic “Do you come here often?” or a simple “Do you have the time?”  Here, researchers tested different types of pick-up lines (flippant, direct, or innocuous; see examples below) to determine which type women preferred. It turns out that women looking for a long-term relationship preferred direct or innocuous lines, whereas women looking to hook up preferred attractive men, regardless of the pick-up line. The authors hypothesize that women looking for long-term partners (a “good dad”) view flippant pick-up lines as signs of low trustworthiness and intelligence, while short-term relationship seekers only care about “good genes” for their offspring.  But in our opinion, anyone who uses the line “Do you have any raisins? No? Well then, how about a date?” probably doesn’t have great genes either (or at least not those that influence sense of humor).

An Evolutionary Perspective on Effective vs. Ineffective Pick-up Lines

“This experiment examined women’s impressions of men using various “pick-up” lines. Seventy women imagined being approached by a man using a flippant and flirtatious “pick-up” line, a direct complimentary line, or an innocuous line that masks his interest. His attractiveness varied too. They then considered him for long-term or short-term relationships. Matching a “good dad” hypothesis, they favored him for a long-term relationship if he used a direct or innocuous line instead of the flippant line, because the latter conveyed lower trustworthiness and intelligence. Matching a “good genes” hypothesis, they favored him for a short-term relationship if he was attractive instead of unattractive, regardless of his pick-up line, presumably because attractiveness signals heritable fitness. Limitations and theoretical implications are discussed.”

Bonus excerpt from the main text:

“We pilot tested 30 different pick-up lines, 15 flippant ones selected from various internet sites, and 15 non-flippant lines selected from the prior research. Twenty-nine female university students (M age = 21.5 years, SD = 3.18) rated each on funniness and ease of response, each on 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much) scales. The nine selected lines, provided below, all scored highest (between 3–4) on ease of response, and the three flippant lines all scored highest (above 3) on funniness:

Flippant lines
1. Do you have any raisins? No? Well then, how about a date?
2. Can I get a picture of you so I can show Santa what I want for Christmas?
3. Shall we talk or continue flirting from a distance?

Direct lines
1. I saw you across the room and knew I had to meet you. What’s your name?
2. Hi, I saw you and thought, ‘I’m gonna kick myself all night if I don’t at least come over and say Hi.’ So … Hi. What’s your name?
3. I feel a little embarrassed about this … but I’d like to meet you. What’s your name?

Innocuous lines
1. What do you think of the band?
2. You look really familiar. Have we taken a class together?
3.Do you have the time?”

Related content:
NCBI ROFL: An evolutionary explanation for baldness?
NCBI ROFL: An evolutionary analysis of tattooed ladies.
NCBI ROFL: Wham, bam, thank you ma’am: an evolutionary perspective.

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Seriously, Science?

Seriously, Science?, formerly known as NCBI ROFL, is the brainchild of two prone-to-distraction biologists. We highlight the funniest, oddest, and just plain craziest research from the PubMed research database and beyond. Because nobody said serious science couldn't be silly!
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