Thursday, August 03, 2006

Those Brazilian beach volleyball girls won’t know what’s hit 'em

The Newswatch feed reports on a transparently self-serving 'survey' by Borders bookstore:

Forget Bikinis, Books Are Best Beach Attraction

Forget a sexy bikini or well-toned body, the key to looking great on the beach is a best-selling book, according to new research.

Paperbacks help you pull, as a third of Brits would consider flirting or striking up a conversation with bookworms who are reading a title they like, a survey found.…..

Seeing someone reading a book they liked led to 30 per cent of respondents flirting or striking up a conversation with them.

But amorous readers would be well advised to make their choice of reading material before they get to the airport bookshop, with Mills & Boon and John Grisham rated a turn-off, the poll of more than 2,200 adults discovered.

The representative survey of adults, conducted by YouGov, found it was tales of old-fashioned romance and hardship that were the most arousing with classics by authors such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens offering Great Expectations of love.

Dr Angela Rowe, an expert in love and relationships at the University of Bristol said: "I think it's quite a good idea to choose a partner based on what they are reading. "Initial attraction between two people only lasts a certain amount of time before similarities and common interests between two people dictate the success of a relationship, so reading seems a very good gauge of somebody's character."….

Ironically anyone looking to score should avoid steamy erotic novels, rated as the books most likely to act as a turn-off. And despite featuring prominently in airport bookshops, 'Chick-Lit' is also a big no-no.

Those who read horror books are obviously too creepy, with respondents also saying it was a turn-off. People reading self-help books and work manuals were also unlikely to attract attention from the opposite sex. ….

Alistair Spalding, marketing executive at Borders UK that commissioned the survey, said: "It's clear from our study that your choice of book can be a passport to summer romance, with your beach read directly influencing your desirability. "Of course we've always promoted interesting books, but if reading them makes you sexier on the beach - even better!"

I’m not sure how Himpeldorpher’s Minerals--Problem or Opportunity? rates on the sexiness scale, but I’ll wager it’s pretty darn high.


Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Hmmm. Business opportunity. Wrappers for your Grisham that purport to be a book about "Tax Strategies for the Ultra-high Income Person."

In like vein, NPR reported this morning on a study -- sponsor not identified -- that found women like gadgets more than romantic gifts, a plasma TV over a diamond bracelet, for example.

August 03, 2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger M Ali said...

Oh dear. Why couldn't have I read this before I took Marketing-Based Management away as holiday reading?

In regards to Peter B's original side-splitting post, I'm a little depressed he didn't see fit to satirise me. But I suppose that's what you get for being the constant voice of reason.

August 03, 2006 11:29 AM  
Blogger Bret said...

This reading thing must be a British phenomenon. Americans despise intellectuals and those who read. (Except, of course, those who read blogs).

Girls, don't throw away your bikins!!!!!

August 03, 2006 11:48 AM  
Blogger Brit said...


Your posts do tend towards the concise. Like this.

August 03, 2006 11:49 AM  
Blogger Brit said...


Since all we British men are pasty-white, effete, pigeon-chested weaklings with dreadful teeth, our chicks have to latch onto something else.

That's why we're so beastly to American tourists - we're just worried you'll steal our wimmin. One glimpse of a crotch-displaying, mullet-sporting gun-owner and our gals swoon like Pre-Raphaelites.

August 03, 2006 12:00 PM  
Blogger Bret said...


The article seemed to concentrate on the other direction - that men were more likely to talk to women reading a book. Even here in America, I could be convinced that women might be more attracted to men who read books. But the other way around? No way!!!

August 03, 2006 2:13 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Hmmm. Successive posts warn us that reading books will make us sick, yet reading books is the best way to lure chicks.

What to do, what to do . . .

August 03, 2006 4:12 PM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

You don't have to read the book, just have it laying on your beach blanket or towel.

It's an ice-breaker, little else...

Actually, I guess that you should read the first chapter and skim some of the rest, in case she's read the book.

August 03, 2006 9:54 PM  
Blogger Brit said...


You could be right.

I assumed it was about what men were reading, since a survey about what women read seems pointless: we've already established that they're all engrossed in the latest rape fantasy...

August 04, 2006 12:54 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

I remember long ago seeing a TV episode of 'The Saint' (starring, I think, the guy who later played Bond?), in which we open on a train and our hero is reading a book. And just a plain, blue-bound anonymous book.

And I thought then, there is no clearer demonstration of the gulf between England and America than that.

Not only would no Hollywood 'tec be caught dead riding a train, but name me any Hollywood movie in which any character reads a book. In Hollywood, people with time on their hands drink.

August 04, 2006 10:27 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

You shouldn't overestimate the quality of English reading - our shops shift plenty of Da Vinci Code units.

Perhaps it's a gulf between America and the English middle class, since we have a 'chav' (translation 'white trash') underclass that is as resolutely anti-intellectual as anything the States can offer.

Or maybe it's just in the heroes, though that can itself be revealing. Rumpole versus Columbo. Stephen Fry versus Adam Sandler (ok that's unfair). I think James Bond would read books - Arnie or Bruce Willis definitely wouldn't. Brits don't generally have that fetish for comic books either (M Ali being an honourable exception).

One thing is for sure - Britons would never, ever have elected someone as blatantly anti-intellectual as GWB, regardless of his politics. We just cannot abide a linguistic idiot.

August 04, 2006 11:22 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

I more or less incessantly read books.

Women relentlessly fail to ask me about them.

Leading to an obvious, but distasteful, conclusion.

August 05, 2006 9:31 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

British political eloquence, sent to The Times:

'From the Chancellor of the Exchequer


'It may be of interest to record that, in walking through St. James's Park today, I noticed a grey wagtail running about on the now temporarily dry bed of the lake, near the dam below the bridge, and occasionally picking small insects out of the cracks in the dam.

'Probably the occurrence of this bird in the heart of London has been recorded before, but I have not myself previously noted it in the Park.

'I am your obedient servant
'Neville Chamberlain

'P.S. For the purpose of removing doubts, as we say in the House of Commons, I should perhaps add that I mean a grey wagtail and not a pied.'

'Small insects' is a flaw of style but otherwise, several cuts above Bush.

Felix Pryor, the editor of the book where I found this, 'The Faber Book of Letters,' comments that 'six days after the date of this letter, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.'

August 05, 2006 11:20 AM  
Blogger David said...

M: The consistently reasonable niche has been filled. Look elsewhere. I believe there is an opening in world weary but optimistic.

B: I've used that Bikini line as well, but in different circumstances.

I believe that when the first Harry Potter book came out in England -- well before it came out in the states -- they had to publish a somber-covered version for the adults who wanted to read it but didn't want to be seen reading it.

August 05, 2006 6:12 PM  
Blogger David said...

Harry: Any American politician who sent such a letter to an editor would be immediately and rightfully impeached.

August 05, 2006 6:13 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Well, England has a different system from ours.

There are no national elections there. So the prime minister does not have to appeal to a vast continent but only to a tiny constituency about one-fourth the size of an American congressional district.

Bush talks like his people, or at least like 49% of them.

August 06, 2006 10:27 AM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

I simply can't shake the suspicion that Orrin and Harry both acquired their extensive libraries by squaring off against each other on opposite ends of the same beach. I don't ever recall thinking that the debte over faith vs. secularism might be resolved on the basis of which one attracts more babes, but who knows?

August 07, 2006 4:40 AM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

According to Orrin, it's not how many babes your worldview draws, it's how many babies they'll have with you.

He's not entirely correct, but it's a good starting place.

August 07, 2006 5:29 AM  

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