When you hear the word “romance” you think … what? Wine, candlelight and probably flowers. I’ve often said you can’t go wrong with flowers, that wonderfully old-fashioned gesture that can say “I love you,” or “I hope you still love me,” or “I was just in 7-11 and I saw these so it was an impulse buy but it was a sweet impulse cuz I thought of you.”
But do flowers actually make for more romance? One study from the University of Brittany in France says yes and you don’t actually even have to give them. They just have to be present to infuse the scene with warmer, more romantic feelings.
Five young men were recruited by the school, men who were (I love this) “previously judged as being attractive by a group of women,” writes James Hall of the Telegraph and had them randomly approach women between ages 18-25 on the street in front of either a florist, bakery or shoe shop, tell them they were very pretty and ask for their phone numbers. The 600 women who were approached outside the flower shop were more likely to give their phone numbers – a quarter of them responded positively as opposed to one in ten outside the shoe shop and one in seven outside the bakery.
It’s hard to figure out why those places would rank in that order – with the shoes coming in last and the bakery in the middle. Personally if I’m looking at shoes it means I’m thinking along the lines of appearance and attractiveness and think I’d be more likely to respond positively in that situation, not to mention that the scent coming out of a bakery would (you’d think) be the equal or better of flowers. But the point is what’s going on under the radar of our reason and maybe that is as simple as flowers = romance in a way that shoes and cookies don’t.
The Telegraph quotes Dr. Tom Buchanan of the University of Westminster who said the sight of something can trigger our emotions without realizing it and we can respond based on that trigger:
“These findings are consistent with the phenomenon known as automatic or behavioural priming. That is where ‘cues’ – or triggers – in your environment can lead you to behave in ways that are consistent with that environment.
“So the presence of the flower shop, which is associated with romance, could have primed people to behave in a way that is more receptive to the researcher’s advances.”
So if you’re trying to get a little romance in the air, getting or giving flowers or just having them around could help create that atmosphere.
Nothing so nice as subliminal advertising you can pluck off a bush for free.