Ask the librarian anything: I probably don’t know the answer … but I know how to find it.

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Enrico asks: I just started university and I’d like to have a girlfriend but I don’t have a sweet clue how to get one. What does the research say about dating and about how to get a girlfriend? Can you find some good pick-up lines for me to use?

The Librarian: There are a number of good books at the library about dating and relationships. Since you’re a university student you might want to start with Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus (2008) by Kathleen A. Bogle. Then there’s How to Woo, When, and to Whom. The title sounds really good but it is a bit dated (it was published in 1855). It contains advice such as: “Before acceptance, the young lady should be addressed as ‘Dear Madam;’ after acceptance, the [first] name may be used,” and “Love-letters are often very absurd things when made public.” It’s important to keep that last point in mind when using Facebook and Twitter.

The library also has a lot of good journal articles that give dating advice. In fact, “An Evolutionary Perspective on Effective vs. Ineffective Pick-up Lines,” by Senko and Fyffe in the Journal of Social Psychology (2010, vol. 150, no. 6) offers some good advice about using pick-up lines. For example, it reports that “flippant pick-up lines, so often used by men to impress women, often backfire” (651) and that “flippant lines evidently convey low intelligence.”

The research shows that so-called “innocuous lines,” such as, “What do you think of the band?” are much more effective, especially when trying to attract a woman who is looking for a long-term relationship. The research also shows that women seeking short-term relationships are more likely to be receptive if the line-user “is attractive and non-receptive if he is unattractive, no matter what line he uses” (652). So if you’re thinking of using a line like “It’s a good thing I brought my library card because I’m checking you out,” then you’d better be very good looking.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.