Are you paralysed with fear at the very idea of chatting a man up? Good, because you’d be wasting your time. Chat-up lines belong in bad sitcoms, not in your romantic strategy. According to the men we spoke to, “I fancy you” is a message far better served in silence – or, if you’re feeling brave, an ear-tingling whisper. Here are the eight pick-up moves that they want you to put into action.
Move 1: Seduction with a smile
What to do: See someone you want to impress? Here’s the single most powerful thing you can do to wrap him round your little finger: smile. Relax your face, lift your chin and break out that grin. Easy.
Why it works: Lots of reasons. First, you’re prettiest when you’ve got a nice big smile on. Pouting (like 25-inch hips) looks great on the catwalk but won’t get you very far with a flesh and blood man. Then there’s the infectious effect: smile and the world smiles with you. That lovely-looking guy at the bar feels all kinds of happy since you smiled at him. Your smile also says to men that you’re the kind of girl they want to be around: confident, warm, drama-free, fun-loving and happy in your own skin. Flirtation win.
Move 2: The hair do
What to do: Brush your hair out of your eyes or off your face, ideally whilst hitting him with that gorgeous grin.
Why it works: He wants to touch your hair. When you touch it, it makes him want to touch it even more. He wants to stroke it and twirl it and smell it and wake up in it. This is just one reason why too much hairspray is the enemy of romantic success.
Move 3: Contact sport
What to do: Accidentally-on-purpose brush his arm when he gets up for another drink, or let your fingers linger against each his when he hands you your glass. You’re sending him a strong signal of attraction, and if he doesn’t pull away, he’s saying “me too”.
Why it works: In normal daily interaction we put up barriers against physical contact with other people. If the supermarket cashier gave you a quick finger-stroke when handing you your change, you’d switch to a different supermarket. But the barrier dissolves when there’s active flirting going on, so use those powerful “oops!” touches to your advantage.
Move 4: The double take
What to do: Make eye contact with him, then look away. Wait a second or two, then look back at him. Throw in a cute suppressed smile for maximum impact.
Why it works: The double take isn’t just eye contact, it’s eye contact with a big green light attached. You’re silently inviting him to come over, and unless he’s got a girlfriend hidden in his manbag he’s unlikely to resist the temptation for long. Do remember that men are just as shy as women, so you may need to double up on the double take before he feels brave enough to introduce himself.
Move 5: Pick up his pick-up
What to do: Let him deliver a chat-up line (a double-take and warm smile may help to encourage him), and enjoy it. Revel in it, then turn the tables and chat him up with his own line.
Why it works: First he’ll be wildly relieved that you haven’t laughed at him or ignored him. Men are terrified of making fools of themselves when approaching women, so he’ll be delighted by your warm, witty response. A man knows he’s struck gold if he meets a girl who makes him laugh – but not as quite much as her makes her laugh.
Move 6: Whisper it
What to do: Lean close and whisper a suggestion into his ear. No, nothing saucy (yet) – anything will do, as long as it’s whispered and includes his name. “Charlie, have you tried raspberry sambucca?”
Why it works: Some men can be slow to realise that you’re sending out subtle pick-up clues, but there can’t be many who’d miss the message in this one. If he doesn’t seem to enjoy your husky voice whispering his name while your breath tickles his earlobe, you really need to be chatting up someone else.
Move 7: Wink
What to do: When you spot a handsome stranger at the bar, flash him a quick, cute wink and watch his face. You’ve certainly got his attention.
Why it works: If your wink is delivered with speed and panache, it sends a clear signal of intent and tells him that you’re a cheeky, sassy woman who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. You’ve already made his evening, and the night is yet young.
Move 8: Finders keepers
What to do: If you’ve been chatting to a guy at a party or in the pub, leave him after half an hour and mingle. Before you disappear, mention that he should find you before he leaves.
Why it works: This isn’t so much a pick-up as an insurance against dropping what you’ve picked up. Desertion may seem like a risky strategy, but if he likes you it’s the perfect way to seal the deal. Why would you want to follow him round like a puppy all evening? Instead, you’ve left him wanting more while you go off to be popular. Just watch him appear magically at your side when it’s time to call a cab. Maybe this would be a good moment to ask him how he takes his coffee.