Forget shy smiles and pointed small talk - the way to a man's heart is by giving him no room to misunderstand your intentions. Men favour a direct, no-nonsense approach when being chatted up by women.
A recent study found that simple lines, such as 'Fancy dinner?' or 'Can I give you my number?' avoid confusion and thus have more success. The researchers, from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, said that men find it hard to 'read' hints, even if they are accompanied by flirty body language. The scientists asked a group of women for their top chat-up lines. They took the 50 most common answers and asked 70 men and women how well they thought they would work.
Men found a direct approach, such as an invitation to dinner or the cinema, the most appealing.
Exchanges of phone numbers scored next best with the male volunteers, followed by indirect invitations, including 'Do you have plans later?' and 'What are you up to tonight?'
The women also rated the direct approach the most highly - but were also impressed with those lines which were designed to pin down common interests. Supposedly humorous lines, such as 'Your shirt matches my bedspread - you belong in my bed', fared poorly, the journal Personality and Individual Differences reported.
But absolutely bottom of the pack were smiles and openers such as 'You look familiar. Have I met you before?' Psychologist Dr Joel Wade said: 'The direct indication of a possible date as well as the hint of a possible date gives the man a clear signal - instead of sending mixed non-verbal signals that the man must decipher.' He added that straightforward suggestions removed any 'uncertainty regarding the outcome of the interaction'.
However, any woman looking for long-term love might want to think twice about offering her phone number to strange men - because they might view her as more interested in a fling. Surprisingly, for men looking to chat up women, talking about the weather seems to be a surefire hit. An earlier study found that the line 'It's hot today, isn't it? It's the best weather when you're training for a marathon', is the perfect way for a man to show off his intelligence and athletic prowess. The worst line for men was 'I was wondering if you had space in your bag for my Mercedes keys?'
The best chat up lines for women to use on men:
- Fancy dinner?
- Can I give you my number?
- Do you have plans later?
- What are you up to tonight?
- Your place or mine?
And the worst:
- Hello, how's it going?
- Have I met you before? You look familiar.
- Where have you been all my life?
- Your shirt matches my bedspread: you belong in my bed.
- That's a dangerous place you're standing in - because I'm having trouble controlling my urges.