Allow us to clear up one of the male-female relationship mysteries of all time, right here, right now. Apparently, men like boobs. And butts. A lot. To the detriment of, say, faces. Unless they’re looking to get hitched! According to a recent study from the University of Texas at Austin, if men are on the hunt for a “short-term partner,” they’ll base their choice on the woman’s body. But if they’re looking for an honest-to-gosh wife, they’ll take into consideration the woman’s actual above-the-neck area.
For this study, the scientists asked 375 men and women to look at a picture of a member the opposite sex whose face or body had been obscured, and then asked them to choose whether they’d pick the pretty face or the curvy body.
Intriguingly (or not), men tended to pick the curvy body for a date, but the pretty face for a long-term relationship.
In nerd lingo:
Results revealed men removed the body box more frequently in the short-term mating condition than in the long-term mating condition, suggesting men have a condition-dependent tendency to prioritise facial cues in long-term mating contexts, but shift their priorities to bodily cues in short-term mating contexts.
This goes against some theories that men would always choose the curvy lady since, biologically speaking, curves (perhaps erroneously) signify greater fertility. Faces, on the other hand, signify “reproductive value,” which is nothing compared to a great rack, apparently.
In any case, “The results support the hypothesis that men are attracted to women’s bodies in short-term mating contexts, such as a pub, bar, or nightclub.”
A revelation! (In fairness, this study takes men out of the nightclub and makes them look at photos in a lab, so there are bound to be some exceptions in real life.)
But if we are to believe another study, from February, women with curvy hips and smaller waists are a drug to men, “as beer is to an alcoholic,” according to Steven Platek of Georgia Gwinnett College. And what’s personality to an alcoholic? A entire fetid glass of O’Doul’s.
Meanwhile, women, it seems, are more open-minded/less creepy boozehound when choosing a partner, or perhaps the scientists didn’t look for the right thing, since most women don’t start with boobs and butts at the top of their lists in the first place but go for faces or, maybe, wallets or Lamborghinis (not us!).
On a happy note, if this means that Christina Hendricks wins out over prissy old January Jones, we’ll take it.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 15, 2010