Conventional wisdom says if you want to attract a guy, look hot and play it cool. But have you ever thought about why this technique works? “Appealing to the primal, subconscious part of a man’s brain, rather than being overtly sexual, is a better approach to landing a mate,” says Scott Haltzman, M.D., author of The Secrets of Happily Married Women. “When you take control and use subtle tactics to reel him in (rather than making your intentions obvious), he’ll start falling for you without even realizing why.” Ahead, we share seven tactics to grab his attention.
Look up at him
If you’re flirting with a guy, tilt your head forward while you chat. According to Australian research, when a woman looks up at a man, she appears more feminine, because the height difference between them is amplified. And when guys feel strong and tall around a woman, they’re more motivated to win her affection.
Rock something red
Aside from her famous curves, there’s another reason red-haired Christina Hendricks is an indisputable TV siren. Research conducted by the University of Rochester says that women who wear red are more appealing than women wearing any other color. “In the animal kingdom, when a female monkey is ready to mate, her skin flushes. As a result, men are instinctively drawn to the rosy color,” says Andrew J. Elliot, Ph.D., of the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences at the University of Rochester. So swipe on some rose-tinted lip gloss, tie your hair back with a red ribbon, or just paint your fingernails a fiery red.
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Stand on his right when you speak
If you’re bold enough to ask him out, boost your odds of getting a “yes” by whispering your invitation into his right ear. Research conducted at the University of Chieti in central Italy found that guys are more likely to respond positively when they’re spoken to on that particular side rather than the left. Why? Scientists say the left side of the brain — which is the side that best processes verbal communication — absorbs information through the right ear.
Slip on a pair of stilettos
In addition to making your legs look toned and lean, high heels give the illusion of smaller feet. Why is this key? According to research presented at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, men think women with smaller feet have prettier faces. When scientists showed male study participants photographs of women with various hand lengths, foot lengths, and waist widths, the guys were 3.5 times more likely to rate the small-footed woman as being more attractive, and almost 10 times as likely to say she seemed more feminine. “Smaller feet on a woman signify healthy genes and a positive rearing environment with high-quality food,” says the study’s coauthor, Jeremy Atkinson, an evolutionary psychologist at the University at Albany-SUNY. Not a lover of stilettos? Black boots and pointy-toed flats will reap similar minimizing effects.
Play the right tunes
If you’re at a party and have access to the music, play James Blunt or Bruno Mars. A study published in the journal Psychology of Music found that tunes with mushy lyrics make men feel more romantic and generous. In the study, researchers had three groups of men walk into a flower shop and make purchases. The men who heard love songs playing while they were in the shop spent significantly more money on flowers than men who listened to pop tunes or no music at all. Not surprisingly, researchers surmise that love songs subconsciously prime men for real-life romance.
Spritz yourself for a beauty boost
Wearing black has a great slimming effect, but the right scent is an even sweeter trick to try when you’re looking for love. Although it’s not clear why, women who wear spicy floral fragrances appear 5-12 pounds thinner to men, according to research conducted by Alan Hirsch, Ph.D., of the Smell & Taste Treatment & Research Foundation. The same research also shows that women who smell like grapefruit appear to be five years younger to men, possibly due to the rejuvenating effects of the citrus itself. Dab perfume or essential oils on the inside of your wrists, behind your ear and on your throat before your next date.
Schedule a late-afternoon date
If you’re having a “fat day,” suggest a pre-dinner date. Research conducted by Newcastle University in England found that when men are hungry, they find a heavier-set woman more attractive than when they’re full. “Evolutionarily speaking, in times of famine, men are instinctively drawn to bigger women, because a healthy weight may signify wealth and high social standing,” says the study’s author, Dr. Martin J. Tovee.
Elise Nersesian has written for Redbook, Stuff and other national magazines.