The Law of Attractiveness

Don’t judge a book by its cover, beauty is only skin deep, blah, blah, blah. No matter how much we hear that looks don’t matter, they do. But maybe not in exactly the way that you might think. A number of new studies have looked at some of the factors that make us more—or less—attractive to potential mates, as well as some advantages and disadvantages of being a hottie.

  • Being good looking may get you in to exclusive club and may help you attract women, but when it comes to landing a job, being a hunk could hurt you. According to Marko Pitesa, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, if the interviewer expects to be working with you on a team, your good looks will give you a leg up. But if the interviewer expects to be competing against you, he or she may be intimidated and would be more likely to hire someone a little homlier. That bias for or against beautiful people held whether the candidate was being interviewed by a woman or a man.
  • Being good looking might protect you from getting a speeding ticket, but it won’t keep you from getting sick. Symmetrical faces tend to be perceived as more attractive than less-symmetrical ones, in part because symmetry has long been considered a sign of good health. Dr Nicholas Pound and his colleagues at Brunel University decided to test those old wives’ tales. He used 3D face scans of 15-year-olds and tracked their health as they aged. Pound found that those with traditionally attractive features were just as likely as less attractive kids to come down with 16 common illnesses, flu, glandular fever, measles, mumps, and tonsillitis.
  • Height is another factor that tends to be associated with attractiveness. A recent study of more than 200,000 people found that the shorter you are, the higher your risk of developing heart disease. Compared to the person standing next to you, every 2.5 inches shorter you are increases your risk by 13.5 percent. Professor Sir Nilesh Samani and his colleagues at the University of Leicester in the UK have a theory as to why that’s true. According to Samani, the genes that are responsible for limiting height may also be responsible for increasing how much cholesterol and fat get into your bloodstream.

In case you’re wondering, there are a few things you can do to make yourself more attractive to women.

  • Start training. Men who run long distances often find it easier to attract women than those who run less, according to Danny Longma of Cambridge University’s biological anthropology department. “The observation that endurance running ability is connected to reproductive potential in men,” says Longma, “suggests that women in our hunter-gatherer past were able to observe running as a signal for a good breeding partner.” He adds that, “the ability to get meat would signal underlying traits of athletic endurance, as well as intelligence – to track and outwit prey – and generosity – to contribute to tribal society. All traits you want passed on to your children.”
  • Put her on the pill. Taking oral contraceptives may make men seem more attractive to women—but only if the men in question are less attractive than average, according to a team of psychologists from Florida State University in Tallahassee and Southern Methodist University in Dallas. They reached these conclusions by following 118 brides to be who were on the pill before and after their wedding. Michelle Russell, the FSU researcher who led the study, women who were on the pill when they started dating their future husbands and stayed on it during their marriage were more sexually satisfied on average than those said they used the pill when they started dating their husbands, but quit after their honeymoon. She added that,  women who were on hormonal birth control at the start of the relationship became less satisfied with their marriage after stopping the treatment only if they had unattractive spouses.
  • Stop shaving. Body hair is good for your health and may even make you more attractive, says Des Tobin, a cell biologist at the University of Bradford in the UK. According to Tobin, hair follicles are full of stem cells and help promote healing of the skin. “If you compared a wound on the outside of a man’s arm, where the hair follicles are larger and more numerous, with a wound on the inside of the arm,” he said in an interview with the UK’s Daily Mail. “The one on the outside would heal better, because of the increased stem cells and blood supply amongst other factors.” Hair may also serve another purpose: to spread mate-attracting odors. “In other mammals, body hair is very important for dispersing odors, such as pheromones — chemicals that attract mates, “said Tobin, “Whether humans have them too is a controversial area, but shaving your underarm hair could mean odors are not dispersed into the air so quickly.”

Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.
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