Why Dating Superstitions Actually Work

winter couple kissing

The reason you swear that a lucky dress or mismatched socks guarantee your dating success.

When it comes to getting lucky, I can always count on one thing: the less prepared I am, the more likely it is that it'll happen. I remember reaching this conclusion one fateful night when I found myself in my bathroom, taking off my tights (control-top, natch) and grabbing a razor and shaving cream before balancing my foot on the edge of the sink, praying the glass of wine I'd just finished wouldn't topple me over. My date was in the living room, probably wondering what the hell I was doing in there.

This wasn't the first time I found myself in that position—I've even been guilty of shaving my legs in a restaurant bathroom in between dinner and dessert. And once I started noticing the pattern, without fail, every time I would fail to shave my legs before a date, I would get some action.

I asked my friends if they also have date-night beauty or fashion superstitions, and I found out I'm not the only one (OK, I was the only one who shaved her legs in the restaurant in the middle of a date—it was just once, I swear!). One girlfriend said that on a first date, "If I'm really nervous I wear my 'everyday' dress to pretend I don't care. I usually wear my best dress on the second date." Another swears by mismatched socks. "The first time I got kissed, I was wearing mismatched socks. I was freaking out beforehand... really nervous that i looked like an idiot (which is dumb; he couldn't even see them), but since then it's been a thing."

And it's not just the ladies—though my guy friends stick to more general superstitions. One swears by a lucky shirt, while another admits he avoids clothing that has not given him much luck in the past.

I couldn't help but notice that between my stubbly legs and my friend's "everyday" dress, the goal is to avoid trying too hard. After all, who likes to spend four hours picking out the perfect outfit only to have the date be a total bust? Aim low and you won't be too disappointed; you may even be pleasantly surprised. But meanwhile, my guy friends all kept it simple: get laid once wearing a certain outfit or cologne, and keep wearing it. One even continued to wear his "lucky" shirt after getting mugged in it. 3 Must-Have Sexy Little Black Dresses

So what is it about these silly superstitions, and why are we convinced mismatched socks or a certain dress is what gets us lucky—as opposed to our shining personalities? According to eHarmony, it has to do with uncertainty. "Whenever we experience something that seems uncontrollable, such as falling in love, we seek to gain control," writes psychologist Bruce Hood. And we can't help it: "Our brains are wired to seek out patterns in the world—especially at times when we are uncertain about outcomes. And what could be more unpredictable than the early whirlwind of a passionate romance?"

And you might as well give in—trying to rid yourself of superstitious behavior only makes it worse, writes Hood. "We might tell ourselves to get a grip, but deep down our emotional brain is firing on all cylinders," adding that "The irony is that if you try to stop yourself from being superstitious (which often one cannot), then you feel more anxiety, which in turn leads you to seek more control."

Tell us: do you have superstitious dating rituals?