As some girls like apples while others prefer oranges, every girl has her preference for guys and the way she likes to be flirted with. While a sleazy pick-up line might work on that blonde at the club, it might get you slapped by that young brunette at the supermarket.
You see it all the time, especially at bars: a guy makes eye contact with a girl and contemplates going over. He chickens out, but eventually moves a bit closer and lingers in her general area. She sees him and feels unnerved, so that by the time he actually approaches and says hi, his chances are long gone.
That’s just one example of messing up. But what specifically makes a guy creepy? Enter science.
A new study published in New Ideas in Psychology, appropriately titled “On the Nature of Creepiness’, analysed surveys from over 1,300 participants on what they considered creepy.
Here’s what the researchers discovered:
- Men are more likely to be labelled as “creepy” than women.
- Women are more likely to think sexual threats are creepy (well, duh).
- Acting unusually was associated with creepiness
- Some hobbies and jobs make people creepy
Jobs can make people seem creepy? Apparently so. If you’re a clown, taxidermist, sex shop owner or funeral directory, sorry – people think you’re weird. (Clown was the creepiest profession of them all.)
The results also revealed behaviours and non-verbal cues that can make someone come across as scary:
- Being extremely thin
- Not looking you in the eye
- Asking to take a picture of you
- Watching people before interacting with them
- Asking about details of your personal life when you don’t know them
- Displaying too much or too little emotion
- Being significantly older
- Steering the conversation towards sex
But the icing on the cake for this survey was the final question, which was: “Do most creepy people know they are creepy?” Nearly 60 per cent answered “no”.
We get creeped out by some people more than others due to an evolved adaptive emotional response: it allows us to be more alert when something or someone seems a bit off.
So if you’re going to wear a clown outfit on your next Tinder date, at least have the decency to look her in the eye.