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You had me at “hello.”

“Baby, you’re like a student and I’m a math book. You solve all of my problems.” Unfortunately gentlemen, those cheesy and at times even nauseating pick up lines are usually associated with men rather than women, but I have never been a big a fan of gender roles so I’d like to help the ladies pick up some steam on approaching a man.

I’m about to disclose a vital piece of information that will come as no surprise, but should not be taken lightly: The beauty of men is they are pretty straightforward. Studies show that men like their pick up lines to be direct!  So don’t waste your time with subtleties. No more beating around the bush. You might have to put a little more out there, but by being direct you can be sure that your message won’t be lost in translation. As we all know men are from Mars and women are from Venus, so for our purposes we are going to unravel the mystery of how to effectively approach those martians that we all love so much. Did I say martians? I meant men.

Why be direct?

Researchers in Germany videotaped the interactions of men and women’s initial interaction, focusing mainly on body language. They found that while women thought they were sending the right signals to let their men know they were interested, the signals were often too subtle to be picked up on. In addition, many women send positive signals even when they are not interested as an effort to be polite or courteous. Feigning interest out of courtesy is a tricky game that can lead to misunderstandings.

A study in Personality and Individual Differences (Wade et al., 2009) asked 40 men and women between the ages of 19 and 22 to list ten categories of opening lines that they would potentially use to show their interest in another person.

Next they asked the men to rate them in order of effectiveness. The most effective lines were the most direct, and the more subtle opening lines were not.

Here are the categories of opening lines the men listed in order of most effective to the least effective:

1 Just throw it out there and spell it out for him.

“Want to go get dinner on Tuesday?”

2 Ask him his status.

“Are you single? Do you have a girlfriend?”

3 Give him your digits, and let him know it’s okay to use them.

“Here’s my number. You should call me”

4 Flatter the boy by throwing him a complement

“I like your watch.”

5 Ask him about a common interest.

“Did you watch The Office last Thursday?”

6 Indirectly hint at a date.

“What are you doing tonight? Do you have any big plans this weekend?”

7 Say something funny/sexual humor.

“Wanna go make out?”

8 Suggest familiarity.

“Have we met before?”

9 Ask questions of personal interest.

“How was your week?”

10 Subtle hello.

“Hey, what’s your name?”

Those pick up lines are substantially less entertaining than the classic, “Baby, if I could rearrange the alphabet I would put U and I together.” But is our objective really to get few laughs? No, we are here to meet great people. So next time you find yourself in the company of a real catch “man up” and go get him! Men have a hard enough time understanding our blow dryers, insatiable love for chocolate, mood swings and any other female stereotype you can come up with. What makes us think that we can drop subtle hints and he will be enlightened about our mysterious ways? If we are interested and choose to be clear and up front about it, we eliminate all the unnecessary decoding that he will have to do. Once we have that understanding, then we can pick a place for dinner. I’m thinking sushi?

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