Romantic comedies make meeting people and falling in love seem so easy, but in real life, that’s hardly the case. How often do we get tall, dark and handsome (or the female equivalent, for the men!) strangers offering to buy us coffee during a chance encounter at Starbucks?
Nevertheless, in our valiant attempt to bring you one step closer to being a Hugh Grant or Drew Barrymore, LunchClick has curated this exhaustive guide consisting of 47 research-backed, power-packed tips that will help you make yourself irresistible. Enjoy!
1: Wear the right perfume
The sense of smell is a powerful one – but make sure you wear fragrances that will titillate him, not turn him off. Studies have shown that men react the most positively to spicy scents (eg Black Orchid by Tom Ford) and fresh orange scents (eg Eau d’Orange Verte by Hermes). Steer clear from perfumes that smell of food (vanilla being the only exception) or flowers!
2: Take care of your hair
According to the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, younger women tend to have longer, healthier, and better managed hair as compared to older women. As a result, hair length and quality is often a marker of a woman’s youth and health, and men consciously or unconsciously find themselves being attracted to women with longer, healthier locks. Keep those tresses conditioned and glossy!
3: Wear red, and red lipstick
An often-cited study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that men are more drawn to ladies in red. If you’re not comfortable wearing such a bold colour, red lipstick works too – according to a study by Manchester University, men spend an inordinate amount of time staring at women’s lips when they’re wearing red lipstick – that’s an average of 7.3 seconds.
4: Fake a 7:10 waist to hips ratio as best you can
It’s pretty difficult to manipulate the size of your waist or hips within a short period of time, but you can always make use of optical illusions to fake it as best you can. According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, you’re aiming for a 7:10 ratio – regardless of how heavy women are (within reason, of course!), as long as they adhere to this “golden ratio”, they’re considered proportionate and attractive.
Not sure how exactly to fake it, and need some guidance? Lunch Actually’s Image Consulting team can help you!
5: Show off those arms
If you think that guys are more attracted to women’s legs than their arms, think again! A study from the University of New South Wales found that men actually place higher priority on women having nice arms instead. Take some time to make sure yours are well-toned, and then emulate Michelle Obama and show them off in a nice sleeveless dress.
6: Get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables
Ian Penton-Voak, an experimental psychologist at the University of Bristol surveyed a large group of respondents and found that men prefer women with yellower and redder skin tones. This is likely to be attributed to the fact that these both signal good health.
Here’s how it works – people of any race who lead an active lifestyle have more oxygenated, and redder blood and skin, and people whose diets are rich in fruits and vegetables have yellower skins. For the latter, the specific pigment that we’re looking at is beta-carotene, and it can be found in tomatoes, carrots, apricots, and other fruits and vegetables which are red, orange and yellow in colour. Remember to exercise and fill yourself up with plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables, to get that radiant complexion!
7: Exploit the cheerleader effect to your advantage
When you’re trying to meet new people and potential love interests, do you go with a group of friends, or alone? If you picked the former, chances are that you’ll be more successful, according to the cheerleader effect. This states that individual faces will look more attractive when presented in a group, because each face appears more similar to the average group face, which is in turn more attractive than each individual face. Bottom line? Always have your best wingwomen with you.
8: Be selective about your tastes in music
Or if not, at least be selective about what you disclose about your tastes in music! Zillman and Bhatia found in a study that men were more attracted to women who professed to enjoying classical music. On the other end of the spectrum, men were less attracted to women when they mentioned that they liked heavy metal and country music.
9: Embrace your individuality
You know that thing you do when you finally score a first date with someone you really like, and you withhold all strong opinions because you don’t want to accidentally disagree with them on something major? It’s time to stop. According to a study by the University of Queensland, men prefer non-conformist romantic partners who aren’t afraid to stray from the pack, or to provide an alternative perspective.
10: Just keep smiling
Researchers from the University of Bern found that the more you smile, the more happy and hence attractive you are perceived to be. Also, according to researchers from the University of Leeds and University of Central Lancashire, white and straight teeth go a long way in increasing a person’s attractiveness as well. Time to invest in a killer smile!
11: Don’t be too eager
Even though as per the above tip, you should be happy and smiling, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should show too much interest in your guy right from the start. A study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people ultimately find it more rewarding when they need to put in the initial effort to impress their date and win him or her over. In other words, play it cool and make him chase you for a bit.
12: Keep your toes pointed towards your date
There are many markers of attraction such as dilating pupils, but one that’s less well-known is your date’s foot direction. According to Professor Beattie from the University of Manchester, whilst people can easily mask smiles or what they’re doing with their eyes, they tend to forget about how their feet are angled. In addition to that, our brains pick up on our date’s foot direction, and helps us to unconsciously determine whether he or she is interested in us. So if you want to demonstrate to your date in a subtle manner that you like him, and thereby increase his level of attraction towards you as well, make sure your feet and toes are pointed towards him!
13: A higher pitched voice is better than a lower pitched one
Researchers at University College London found that women who have higher pitched voices are more attractive to men. You don’t have to purposely force yourself to go an octave higher than your normal tone, just note that the portrayal of low and deep voices to be “sexier” in popular culture is actually a misconception!
14: Walk on his left
Your right brain deals with things such as emotions and feelings, while your left brain deals with logic and reasoning. If you want to get through to your date, and have him be really invested in whatever you’re saying, researchers from Sam Houston State University suggest that you walk on his left and talk in his left ear, which is linked to his right brain.
15: Laugh at his jokes
If he thinks that you find him funny, he’ll like you more. According to a study from the University of Miami, men are attracted to women who laugh at their jokes. Just make sure that in accordance to point 13, you don’t go overboard and cackle indiscriminately at every single thing he’s saying.
16: Strut your stuff
Researchers at Texas A&M University found that women who walk with a swaying gait are perceived to be more feminine, and hence are more attractive to men. If you’ve got no idea how to do this naturally, a simple solution is to wear heels, which will make you take smaller and more frequent steps, bend your knees and hips less, and rotate and tilt your hips more.
17: Less tears
We sometimes hear that men prefer needy women, but here’s a study that seems to contradict at least part of that. Hold the waterworks, especially if you’re hoping to score in the bedroom, because a study from the Science Express shows that men are less sexually attracted to women who smell of tears.
18: Text the same way he does
This is for when you’ve ascertained that both parties are attracted to each other, and when you want that attraction to last. Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin found that couples who have similar writing styles tend to have relationships which last longer. Do you type out “too” or replace it with a shorter “2”? Align your writing style to his (or get him to align his to yours!) to make sure both of you are on the same page, contributing to a long, happy relationship.
19: Be vulnerable
If you’ve dated and experienced heartbreak before, chances are that you’ll have your walls up. We know it’s easier said than done, but make a conscious effort to reveal intimate details about your life to your love interest and bestow secrets upon him, because it implies trust and hence creates a closeness to him. According to a study published by the American Sociological Association, the more vulnerable you are, the more attraction and chemistry you create. It’s all within your hands!
20: Ask him about something positive
We all want someone who is easy to be around, and who brings out the best in us. Here’s how you can hack this: instead of asking him about how he’s feeling about life in general, or how his day went right off the bat, first ask him about something positive in his life. After he replies, follow it up with your question on life in general. This method, according to Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, will result in him feeling more positive about his life in general when you ask the second question. When he feels good around you, he’ll be more attracted to you.
21: Always be around
The “mere exposure effect” is a well-studied one – it means that people like things that are familiar to them (if you want to get deeper into it, it’s because the familiarity means that they’ve lived through the encounter of this particular person/object before, which means that this person/object is not malignant or harmful.)
In line with this, Massachusetts Institute of Technology psychologists found that people who live closer together were closer friends, as they experienced many day-to-day interactions such as greeting each other when they met each other around the block. Now, we’re not saying you should stalk him down to memorizing his exact schedule – we can think of many reasons why that’s a bad idea – but if you can plan something casual and get him to commit (eg becoming gym buddies, or taking a course together), that will mean that you’re going to see him that much more, and according to the mere exposure effect, he’s going to like you that much more.
22: Be playful
In a study by US academics, participants said that these three characteristics – “a sense of humour”, “fun-loving” and “playful” – ranked as the most important traits that they look out for in a long-term partner. Professor Garry Chick from Penn State notes that this is likely to be because playful behaviour provides an evolutionary benefit by displaying desirable qualities such as non-aggressiveness or youthfulness to potential partners. If you’re someone who’s a serious person by nature, try and remember to let loose and let your hair down, especially when you’re out on dates!
23: Compliment others in front of him
When you talk about other people in front of someone, this results in spontaneous trait transference, which occurs when communicators are perceived as possessing the same traits that they describe in others. Simply put, if you talk about Alice being gorgeous and having a great work ethic, your love interest will unconsciously think of you as being gorgeous and having a great work ethic. On the other hand, if you talk about Alice being irresponsible and a suck-up, he’ll think the same of you. From now onwards, benign gossip only!
24: Get a dog
Or any other pet, really. A study from Concordia University shows that animals are basically women magnets. Apparently, the ownership and ability to take care of a living thing signals a tendency towards relationship commitment, and also makes one appear happier, more relaxed, and more approachable. Also from our biased, non-scientific observations: multiple women will stop to coo over your dog if you’re out walking it at the park or beach. Best. Wingman. Ever.
25: Pick up a musical instrument
Research from the University of South Brittany found that women are more attracted to men who practice music, as compared to men who frequent the gym. In an experiment conducted by them, men who were carrying guitar cases received more numbers than those carrying gym bags. The best part? According to these results, you don’t actually have to be musically talented – a basic level of proficiency (being able to strum one or two songs on a guitar, perhaps) is good enough!
Kindness is sexy. A study from Cornell University shows that women have a greater desire to not just date, but also enter long-term relationships with men whose dating profiles indicated that they were selfless (an example being that they volunteer on a regular basis). If the last time you volunteered was when you were forced to in order to log hours for school or work, now’s the time to pick it up again!
27: Be popular (or: Create the illusion of popularity)
Check out this really interesting study – a group of Duke University researchers asked a group of volunteers to look at pictures of men and women (photographed alone), and to rate their attractiveness. They then did the same thing with a separate group of volunteers, but instead of using pictures of subjects photographed alone, they used pictures of them paired with a person of the opposite sex (supposedly their ex). It turns out that the people photographed next to a “hot” ex were almost always rated as more attractive.
No good-looking ex? Make sure your potential love interest sees you hanging out with good-looking friends of the opposite sex (but be sure to clarify to them that you guys are platonic, of course!)
28: Be rich
Something that’s fairly obvious, and also not something that you can change within a short period of time, but we thought we’d include it anyway. Studies show that men pictured with luxury cars are seen as more attractive than men pictured with normal cars. Similarly, men pictured in luxury apartments are also more attractive than those without. One way to hack the system is to borrow a friend’s car in order to get that picture, but be prepared to face the consequences of misrepresentation.
29: Be old(er)
Ever heard of the George Clooney effect? Women prefer older men, and this applies to both younger women, and older women who are financially independent. You can’t exactly whip out your birth certificate and add a few years to it, but what you can do is to date younger women, so that you’ll be older in comparison.
30: Be muscular… or not
This one’s up to you, depending on if you’re looking for something short or long term. According to researchers from the University of California Los Angeles, if you’re a muscular guy, women are more likely to have short-term relationships with you. On the other hand, if you’re less muscular, women are more likely to think that you’re a better fit for a long-term relationship.
31: Have a good personality
This one boils down to the halo effect. It’s one of the most robust findings in psychology, and it’s basically a bias where you unconsciously use a single facet of a person as a proxy for their personality in general. For example, this happens when you think that good-looking people are more capable (regardless of whether they truly are). Luckily for those of us who weren’t born winning the genetic lottery, it works in the reverse too, meaning that people with positive character traits are seen to be more attractive than those with negative character traits.
32: Wear the right cologne
Instead of buying colognes based on your subjective opinion of whether they smell nice, you should actually read the ingredients off the label. Look for Hedione – this ingredient is known to stimulate the hypothalamus, which is an area of the brain responsible for releasing sex hormones in women. Smell-wise, Hedione is a fresh, floral scent which is compared favourably to the smell of jasmine mixed with a small dash of citrus. Some colognes containing this ingredient are 212 Men Summer by Carolina Herrera, Voyage d’Hermes Parfum by Hermes, CKOne by Clavin Klein, and Pacco by Paco Rabanne.
33: Wear Red
It’s common knowledge that ladies attract men by wearing red, but do you know that it works the other way round also? When men wear red, it’s a sign of power and authority, according to the Journal of Experimental Psychology. That having said, we know that men typically steer clear of red, choosing instead to stick to neutral colours like white and black. If you belong to the above category, take baby steps by starting off with something that’s easily incorporated into your wardrobe and not as overwhelming – like a red tie!
34: Grow some stubble
To be precise, grow 10 days’ worth of stubble. According to an Australian study, the “heavy stubble” that you get when you let your facial hair grow out for ten days is the most attractive beard length to women. In comparison, heavy beards, light stubble, and clean shaves are all equally less attractive than heavy stubble.
35: Plan an exciting first date
This study on misattribution of arousal is actually one of the most researched and heavily cited studies when it comes to attraction. The basic idea behind it is that when couples do something adrenaline-inducing (eg going on a rollercoaster ride), each person misattributes the increased heartbeat and arousal from said activity to liking towards the other person. Both parties end up liking each other more than if they had experienced a less thrilling date, such as a typical movie and dinner. Genius, right?
36: Make sure your date stays warm
A study from the University of Colorado shows that experiences of physical warmth or coldness directly influences feelings of interpersonal warmth or coldness. Try this out – buy your date a hot beverage, and in the process of her holding it, she’ll judge you as being a warmer and more caring person than if she was holding an iced beverage! This is especially useful if you’re an introvert who takes some time to open up to people.
37: Move more slowly
Don’t screw yourself over by appearing like a sketchy guy, when you’re actually anything but one. According to the Journal of Nonverbal Behaviour, guys who move and smile slowly are rated as being more genuine and more trustworthy than guys who move and smile quickly. Guys who smile slowly are also judged to be more attractive!
38: Smile less
There’s a certain stock character that women talk about – the intense, brooding guy, and there’s a reason why that archetype exists. According to researchers at the University of British Columbia, men who smile less appear to be more dominant to women, and hence come across as more attractive. Although a smile is friendly and inviting, it also unfortunately conveys that you’re not as much of an alpha male!
39: Match your walking pace with your date
A study from the University of Illinois shows that when men are walking with women whom they are romantically interested in, they’ll slow down their pace to match the women’s. Women are unconsciously able to pick up on this difference, and are in turn more attracted to men who have signified their interest in this way. Make sure you’re walking beside her, not in front of her!
40: Maintain good posture
Having good posture doesn’t only affect your spine and physical health, it also contributes heavily to the kind of first impression you make on your date. According to Dr Jeremy Nicholson from Imperial College, lengthening your spine and standing up straight makes you more attractive to women, as you’re seen as having more confidence and being more capable.
41: Play it cool
The “thrill of the chase” works both ways, or at least that’s what the University of Virginia found. Results show that women are more attracted to men when they weren’t sure if they were interested in them. While we don’t advocate sticking to archaic methods such as waiting two days before you call, we have to agree that it does make sense to introduce a little friction in between the time that you meet, and the time that you make it “official”. Nothing like a little challenge to make the both of you appreciate each other better!
42: Keep her stomach full
The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Turns out that it applies to women too. According to a study by Drexel University, women who are well fed are more likely to respond positively to romantic stimuli. If you’re planning to confess your attraction to her, ask her to be your girlfriend, or propose marriage, make sure that her stomach is full and her spirits are high in order to avoid any nasty surprises.
43: Be humble
We’ve said it many times, and we’ll say it again: humility is sexy. Researchers from Georgia State University and the University of North Texas found that humble men were rated more favourably by women as compared to less humble men. The women also judge the humble men to be more attractive, and a better candidate with regards to dating potential. It’s fine to be confident, but just make sure that you’re not over-confident to the point of being arrogant!
44: Be a hunter-gatherer
What does that even mean? “Hunter-gatherer” refers to the roles that our ancestors took on in the past, such as handling fire, climbing rocks in remote areas, and swimming across rivers. According to researchers from University of Alaska Anchorage, men advertise their genetic prowess to women when taking on these risks. That’s why women find men who take part in such activities more attractive.
45: Use positive words
If you’re into online dating, make sure you pay attention to this one. Dating site Zoosk surveyed its users about the messages they wrote and received, and also looked at their profile information. Here’s what you can learn from them:
Don’t ask a woman out the first time you message her – men whose first message to women contained words such as “dinner” and “drinks” resulted in a 35% lower response rate. Do use hobby-related words such as “book” or “read”, as it results in a higher response rate. Lastly, do use positive words such as “laugh” and “ambitious” in your dating profile, as it will net you 33% more messages in your inbox.
46: Deep voice
This one’s a no-brainer, right? According to researchers from New York University, ladies prefer men with deeper voices, as they sound bigger and more masculine. However, there’s a condition to that – deep voices are great as long as there’s a touch of “breathiness”, which means that your voice should be manly but not aggressive.
47: Touch her more
Touching a woman can actually make her more willing to give you her number, according to this study. However, not all kinds of touches are equally effective. There’s the “friendly touch”, which is a shoulder push, shoulder tap, or handshake, the touch that is in the zone of “plausible deniability”, which is touching around the waist or forearm, and lastly, the touch that means you’re “going nuclear”, which is a touch on the face. For best success, limit yourself to the latter two categories!
Want to test out these theories in real life? Download LunchClick, a dating app made for serious daters and singles looking to find love.