“She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man, who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was a union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved, and from his judgement, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance”– Jane Austen
This is what I read and know of falling in love. But what about initial moment you meet them? Sparks fly. You can feel your eye lashes batting away, you’re running your fingers through your hair and your shoulders are back and breasts out. How did that happen? You stroke his arm while tilting your head and your voice goes almost to the pitch level that only dogs can hear. And you think, “Why did I just do that? Goodness sake, play it cool, I look ridiculous and needy. It’s soooooo obvious.” Do you know what else just happened? Your pupils dilated and your lips pouted. Why? Well ladies, we have literally evolved to behave like that to attract males. The falling in love bit comes later on but that’s not what we are going to talk about today, today is about the initial attraction.
I have just completed a night class at the University called ‘The Science of Attraction’ taught by an evolutionary psychologist. Dr Macleod actually started her career observing monkeys in Africa. Yip, then on to humans. Throwing aside all the harlequin romances and Jane Austen novels, we aint nothin’ but mammals. Scientists have wondered why attractiveness is so important, the findings we discussed in the class provide some answers as to why we automatically flick our hair and giggle away.
So, according to the scientists: what is attractive? Well, to start, symmetry is found attractive in both guy and girl faces-just like mammals. For example, in the animal kingdom, male swallows with more symmetrical tales feathers get to mate earlier in the season and therefore get to mate with more chicks and therefore produce more babies.
What’s so attractive about symmetry anyway?
- Asymetrics reflect dispition to the development plan, before or after birth. Basically-not being symmetrical can be caused by disease. Toxins or stress while in the womb.
- Symmetry reflects lower parasite load. Please note; ugly people have parasites.
- A high level of symmetry therefore signals health and good genes= the ability to withstand such disruption. Please note; hot people are healthy. We really do “have a good side” of the face.
Mind Blowing. This is science people.
Apparently men with symmetrical faces and bodies have the following qualities:
- Higher IQ
- Run faster
- Dance better
- Sing better
- Smell sexier
- Sound sexier
- Healthier skin
- Faster swimming sperm
- And finally, their sexual partners have more orgasms.
Please tell me where to find the superhuman symmetrical men!
If you would like to read more about the scientific points of why symmetry is hit then go here: http://faceresearch.org/students/notes/symmetry.pdf
What else is attractive? Averageness. Why?
- Less chance of deleterious recessive genes
- Optimal design
- Development stability
And here’s an interesting fact: statistically both men and women prefer a feminine face. Apparently, women go for men with feminine faces as they appear more loyal. But if a woman isn’t looking for commitment then she will go for a more masculine face: perhaps with a beard. I’m obviously not looking for commitment then. Men like more feminine faces as feminine face= high oestrogen= high fertility=gonna have lots of babies. High oestrogen women are healthier which demonstrates high biological quality.
Even though having babies may not be the fore front of our mind, we have evolved to be attracted to a partner that will give us babies. Our brain tells us to go for the best option for our future generations.
Why we like rough, bearded, tattoo, whiskey drinking men:
- Masculinity linked with testosterone
- Testosterone acts as an immunosuppressant so if a guy can withstand high levels he is demonstrating high biological quality (good genes)
- Links between high testosterone to facial attractiveness to good immune function
Why we like blonde, clean shaven, pretty boys:
- Masculine faces judged as more cold and dishonest
- Lots of data linking high testosterone levels to marital discord (divorce)
- Men who have high levels of testosterone which continue to peak after marriage are more likely to be unfaithful
A man’s testosterone level can actually go down after he gets married! This probably reassures some of them ladies out there, and terrifies guys…and some women (like me. I love testosterone. I’d be gutted if my man lost his)
- It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a horny man likes the hour glass figure. Why do men love it? The low waist to hip ratio and large breasts are linked to high oestrogen levels and high fertility. Fat stored in the bum and thighs contains omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids which are crucial for the brain development of the foetuses… So a big booty gives you a smart baba! However, tummy fat is no good. The fat round the tummy is saturated fat which is linked with diabetes, obesity and increased risk of heart disease. So ladies, squats and ab crunches really are the way to go.
- It’s a truth universally acknowledge that women like a tall man. (As in tall enough for her to wear her heels but he is still taller) Why do we like tall men? We evolved to like them as it is likely that tall guys would have had a one up in competition against a shorter opponent and therefore going to be the one to bring home the bacon. A tall, strong, strapping partner will protect the female and her offspring. And even in our modern world, tall guys have an advantage as they tend to do better in their careers, have a higher status and more money.
(Personally, I am a big fan of tall men, especially since I am more likely to be in heels than flats. And if I’m in heels and taller than him, I instantly don’t fancy him. I’m 5 ft 6 and a bit and usually in 3-4 inch heels. So I won’t accept anyone below 6ft. Keep your head, heels and standards high…)
It’s fair to say that attractiveness is important to both sexes. In life, we don’t really know how attractive we are so we tend to go for the 10/10 and work our way down. (A little sad…) So how do we work out our own value and what level of attractiveness we should go for? Reactions from others? How many likes your Instagram selfie gets? Growing up we learn our value and what we can go for. We’ve all heard the term ‘couples look like each other’. Well yeah, it’s a science thing. But it’s not just on level of attractiveness, it’s also age, education, personality traits and social attitude. Equalization. We have psychological mechanisms for equalization. Those less attractive tend to go for charisma and personality. And how many times have you not fancied someone at first and once you get to know them and fall for the charm do you find them utterly irresistible?!
That initial attraction, the reason a guy approaches you in a bar or looks back as you leave Topshop through the Topman door is all down to evolution. Charles Darwin, natural selection and the need for superior genes to survive and reproduce. No Romance here readers…maybe the next time.