This study reports an examination of ratings of opening lines by male and female African American and European American college students. Two hundred and seventy-five undergraduates from a large mid-western university volunteered to rate seventy-two inductively-derived opening lines. Each opening line was previously coded as being either direct innocuous or cute-flippant. Results indicated statistically significant and substantial main effects for sex ethnicity and line type. In general innocuous lines were related most favorably and cute-flippant lines were rated least favorably. African Americans rated lines more positively than European Americans and males more positively than females. Two-way and three-way interactions between gender ethnicity and type of line were also found. African American males rated direct lines much more favorably than other groups and European American females rated innocuous lines higher than European American males or African American females but rated direct and cute-flippant lines lower than other subjects. The implications of these results are discussed. © 1994, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.