As Tom said, Valentine’s is fast approaching. Just in time, Christopher Bale and colleagues have published a study in Personality and Individual Differences on what 142 female and 63 male undergraduates thought of 40 different chat up lines as featured in mini stories about a man attempting to woo a woman.
It was thumbs down to jokes, empty compliments and sexual references (“Well hey there, I may not be Fred Flintstone, but I bet I can make your Bed Rock!”) and thumbs up to lines revealing helpfulness, generosity, athleticism, culture (“It’s a fine instrument wouldn’t you say? A Steinway concert grand if I’m not mistaken”, he said pointing to a nearby piano) and wealth (“Hi, my name’s William, I’m one of the owners here, would you like to dance?”).
The student participants gave their verdicts by saying how likely the woman was to continue the conversation.
Surprisingly perhaps, the male and female participants tended to agree on which lines were likely to be successful.
The poor ratings for jokey chat up lines were unexpected but the researchers said that could be due to their failing to give different categories to wit – “spontaneous jokes that fit the context exactly, are genuinely funny, and require intelligence” and humour – “the pre-planned jokes and one-liners which were ineffective and do not demonstrate intelligence”.