How To Impress Me: Lake Bell

The Man Up actress on chat-up lines, narcissism and dating nightmares

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Lake Bell has more strings to her bow than you'd expect.

With multiple credits as actress, writer, director, model and automotive columnist (yes, really) under her belt, there's no knowing what else the Million Dollar Arm star has up her sleeve.

In light of new film Man Up – in which she stars as Nancy, a single woman who's mistaken for a stranger's blind date – Bell sat down with Esquire to divulge exactly what impresses her. 

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I’m low maintenance in the dating department – high maintenance in others. I like simpler, random acts of romance. I’ve always liked guys creating little artefacts not because it’s a special occasion but because it’s Tuesday. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just funny and thoughtful.

Honour, loyalty and honesty are the most important qualities a man can have. It’s kind of clichéd because it’s true – those are the classics.

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Narcissism is a deal-breaker. In a way it’s important for a man to have a dose of selfishness because there has to be self-loving in some capacity, but not narcissism.

I like men to have a look of effortlessness. My husband [tattoo artist Scott Campbell] doesn’t do anything – he needs a comb and water. That's it. He’s covered in tattoos so that's allowed.

I’ve never had a type but laughter is important. I like it when someone looks scary but then you realise they’re actually really funny. I have a pitbull just like that.

If you want to go to the gym, go to the gym. Do what you want to do – I’m not going to control your life.

I tune out chat-up lines. They don’t work. Nobody really does them anymore, surely?

I like a man's man. Someone like Sam Shepard in The Right Stuff  [1983; he plays Chuck Yeager]. How does he even get his hair like that? He must use a pot of 'I don't give a fuck', or something.

The worst date i've ever been on was in my 20s. This guy was drinking a lot; I didn't realise the level. He came over after and was in the bathroom for a really long time. I heard the shower followed by this retching. When I opened the door, he's naked on the ground and there's water and vomit everywhere. I found out shortly after that he's a legitimate alcoholic.

I like to be cooked anything Italian. In my head, I think I’m an Italian contessa so being cooked an Italian dish plays to my fantasy.

Man Up is released in cinemas on 29 May

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