You don’t have to be Jon Hamm (or get plastic surgery to look like Jon Hamm) to get the job done. Instead, use these 18 scientific strategies to be more charming—and make her want you right now.
TRAVEL WITH AN ENTOURAGE
Recruit a couple buddies to be your wingmen. People were rated as better looking when they were in group photos than in solo shots, a study from the University of California at San Diego found.
Credit it to something called the “cheerleader effect,” the researchers say. People appear more attractive in groups because viewing faces together makes them look more like the group average—which can help “even out” any one person’s unattractive idiosyncrasies.
BEFRIEND A BABY
Actually, your best wingman might still be in diapers. According to research from France, men who played nice with babies were more than three times as likely to score a woman’s phone number than guys who ignored the newborns.
In fact, 40 percent of ladies gave up their digits after they saw men smiling, cooing, and talking with the tykes.
The women also rated the child-friendly fellas as more attractive. The logic: Good behavior with babies signals a willingness to invest in future kids, researchers say.
GIVE YOUR RAZOR A BREAK
Women found guys with heavy stubble—about 10 days’ worth—to be more handsome than those with a lighter shadow, a full beard, or a completely clean-shaven face, Australian research found.
The scientists believe that heavy stubble shows a good balance of masculinity. Past research has shown that partners who are highly masculine—as could be perceived by full beards—may be less likely to invest in long-term relationships.
BORROW A HOT SET OF WHEELS
See if you can take your friend’s luxury car for a spin: In a U.K. study, women dug men who sat inside a Bentley Continental way more than when the same guys were chilling inside a Ford Fiesta—even though their posture and facial expressions remained the same.
Chalk it up to status, the researchers believe. Expensive rides show that a man has lots of resources—and may be willing to “invest” in a woman’s well-being, too.
WALK YOUR DOG
Man’s Best Friend indeed: According to a French study, women were three times as likely to give out their phone numbers to a guy on the street if he approached them with a dog than if he inquired alone.
Canines can help grease social interaction, the researchers say.
Pooches boost perceptions of kindness, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity—all qualities women find appealing in guys
LEND A HELPING HAND
Giving your time can get her hot. A study from Cornell University found that women reported greater desire to date—and engage in long-term relationships with—men whose dating profiles showed selfless traits, like volunteering at a local food bank.
Altruism signals a concern for others, the researchers say. And this might also show a more solid investment in the relationship.
CRACK HER UP
Your witty one-liners might help you in the sack. Guys who have greater senses of humor—as shown by their ability to come up with chuckle-worthy cartoon captions—have more short-term, uncommitted sex than boring men, shows research from the University of New Mexico.
That’s because humor might be rooted in sexual selection, the researchers believe. It’s a hard-to-fake signal of intelligence and creativity, which makes women believe that funny guys might be better mates.
ACT LIKE A CAVEMAN
In a study at University of Alaska Anchorage, women found men more attractive if they took part in “hunter-gatherer” risks—those similar to challenges faced by our ancestors, like handling fire, climbing rocks in remote areas, and swimming across rivers.
This penchant for ancestral peril is likely rooted in natural selection, researchers say. When men take on these risks, they may be advertising their genetic prowess to women.
USE THESE BUZZWORDS
People who used positive words like “creative,” “ambitious,” or “laugh” in their online dating profiles received 33 percent more messages, according to a survey from dating site Zoosk.
Mentioning hobby-related words like “book” or “read”—or including info about running, jogging, or lifting weights—provided a significant message boost, too.
Just be careful you’re not coming on too strong. Men whose first communication with women contained words like “dinner” or “drinks” saw their response rate plummet by 35 percent.
FLASH A GRIN
Men who let their smiles spread slowly across their faces were judged as more attractive than those who put on a quick grin, research in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior found. The slow-smiling guys were also rated as more trustworthy, showing that their expressions might be perceived as more genuine.
STAY STRONG AND LEAN
A study from UCLA found that women rated “built” men as more sexually desirable than thin, non-muscled “slender” guys and heavier, more-muscled “brawny” dudes.
Muscularity is related to dominance, the researchers say. So it’s like the Goldilocks effect: Women like a little dominance, but not an excessive amount. Heavy muscles might signal too much, while no muscles at all indicate too little. The happy medium? Just the right amount of jacked.
FLAUNT YOUR BATTLE SCARS
Women rated men with mild scarring on their faces as more attractive for short-term flings than unblemished guys, a U.K. study discovered.
Females might see scars as a sign of heightened masculinity, the researchers believe. That’s especially true if the marks were a result of some kind of trauma, since that can advertise good genes or a strong immune system.
TOUCH HER HERE
Research from France found that women were more likely to accept a man’s request for a dance or her phone number if he touched her lightly on her arm while asking.
The researchers believe that touch signals dominance and high status in a man, both of which women find sexually attractive. But heed this warning: The study was done in France, where casual touch is more common than in the U.S. So it’s possible American women might not find it as charming.
STEER CLEAR OF SELFIES
Guys who posted selfies on their online dating profiles received 8 percent fewer messages, found a Zoosk.com survey.
So have a friend snap a photo of you, and head outside while you’re at it. Men with an outdoors shot collected 19 percent more messages.
CARRY A GUITAR
According to a study published in the journal Psychology of Music, women were more than three times as likely to give a guy her phone number when he asked for it while holding a guitar case than when he carried a sports bag.
Axe-men are generally considered “cool” and “fun,” the researchers say.
Plus, musical ability might also signal higher intelligence and good genes—two qualities important to women when choosing a partner.
DITCH THE CORNY PICKUP LINE
According to a study from SUNY-New Paltz, women are more likely to favor a man for a long-term relationship if he uses direct opening lines (“I saw you across the room and had to meet you. What’s your name?”) or safe ones (“Do you have the time?”) rather than cocky come-ons (“Shall we talk or continue flirting from a distance?”).
Flippant phrases also make men seem less intelligent and less trustworthy, the study found.
SIT LIKE THIS
Women rated men who sat with an open body posture—legs spread, arms stretched out—and used hand gestures as hotter than guys who sat with their legs together and arms folded, researchers from the U.K. discovered.
Open body language is considered to be a signal of dominance, the researchers say.
BUY A BOUQUET
Simply being in a room with a few vases of flowers can influence the way a woman sees you, research in the journal Social Influence suggests.
When flowers were nearby, ladies judged men in videos as sexier and more attractive than they did when the room was empty. Flowers can signal romance and enhance her mood, the researchers say, which may help her view you more favorably.