Followup – Seeing Red

So, as promised, I’m following up on a hypothesis I decided to test out this weekend: whether wearing red would be more effective for gathering signatures for a political cause. (See: “Seeing Red: To Gather More Signatures for a Good Cause”; Also “Competence: An Informal Makeup Experiment”)

I must say I was quite pleased with the results. While I can’t verify anything I’m about to conjecture with hard numbers, I think this hypothesis holds promise.

So I chose a long-sleeved red shirt covered by a feminine-cut red hoodie with a simple, red girlie flower detail on the front to wear with some bell-bottomed jeans. What I noticed was that my charm was more effective with men for sure, in fact women walking by with male partners or pairs of two women tended to give me the competitive stink eye as a primal reaction before barely listening to what I was saying–not universally, some women did stop and talk with me–but I had better luck with men in pairs, and black men with or without a woman next to them (black men tend to find me more irresistible in general for some reason). The crowd heading to the concert in Stern Grove this weekend was more heavily black so this worked to my extra advantage.

All I had to do was say hello, and once a man (white or black) realized that a woman wearing red was saying hello to them, I could see something go off in their eyes for a split second that was drawing them to me, like I was reeling them in, and I had about 10 seconds to say something that would entice them to sign our postcards. I was getting at LEAST as many signatures as the other 3 in our group, and some people I connected with did stop at the last guy to sign his petition after connecting with me. We kind of operated as a unit because we were so close together.

The scenario was that people were walking down a hill quickly past us to get to the concert, so we had very little time to engage them. I was the only volunteer wearing a red shirt. There were two women, and two men; they were mostly in blue, green, or brown. One older, and one younger in each pair. Obviously we had to use the right words along with the right outfit to really snag our audience. I found a direct and personal approach worked best. Ask them right away to “Sign the postcard” use a couple key words “expose SUPER-PAC funding” of “political ads” and that we had “3 weeks left” to get the bill passed. Avoid the word “help” us. I noticed that that created confusion that we couldn’t fix in 3 seconds. “Do they want money? What kind of help? I don’t have time to help,” they seemed to be thinking. They did seem to notice I was there, which gave them a slight pause too. The red stood out against the trees in the background and at least made people wonder what we were doing.

Further evidence of the red appeal: Later when I was going to catch the train home, I made a mad-dash for a train I saw just sitting at the station. I was 3/4 the way up the ramp, thinking I’d get lucky, when the train took off. I saw the conductor’s blank face in the rear-view mirror and I jokingly pointed at him and mouthed the words “I know you saw me!” and he ACTUALLY stopped the train full of people and motioned for me to jump off the platform and run up to catch him and get on the train. I have to think my red top pulled at his heartstrings a little bit ;-) I then proceeded to sit next to and have a lovely conversation with a guy who had stayed up all night and was having a rough day “until he saw me.”

A couple days prior, I wore a red shirt out in downtown SF just for more data and was actually somewhat alarmed at the attention I was getting. I passed at least five men within five minutes who I felt looked me deeply in the eyes with an “I want to f*** you” message being strongly communicated. This level of attention was certainly above what I would consider to be normal, even for a decent-looking chick like me. So that was pretty strong confirmation of the red data I’ve seen on the internet as well.

I would definitely wear red again to collect signatures, I think this was a clear win this weekend.

What kind of fun have you been having with red?