Smiles may not be the key to a woman's heart
Frank Cotolo
Guys, want to look sexy and get the girl you want to get? Don't smile too much. Look brooding or show a bit of shame instead - just do not wear an eye patch.
According to researchers, women find happy men less sexually attractive than those with expressions that show pride, hint that they have done wrong and know it or whose frown insinuates they once wrestled with an artificial Christmas tree.
For the study, researchers showed face-only photos of the men to women. Participants were then asked for their initial reactions on sexual attractiveness based the expressions the men made (the women were urged to ignore random hair jutting from nostrils).
"Men who smile were considered fairly unattractive by women," said Tracy Trunkfire, a psychology professor who directed the study on the condition that she is given a named parking space at a local university. "So to the extent that men think smiling is a good thing to do if they want to be found sexually attractive is wrong, especially if they use clown makeup to provoke the sensation."
Ms. Truckfire reversed the study and found that men's reaction was just the opposite.
"Women who smile absolutely attract men, though all the men in the study asked if there were also photos of the women's breasts they could see."
The researchers admit they are not sure why men and women reacted differently to smiles.
Durwood Shmeck, who assisted in the research while doing a study on why Somali pirates refuse to eat lunch meats, said women view men smiles as too feminine or more desperate for sex.
"Still," Durwood said, "women are attracted to guys like James Dean, Edward the vampire and male characters who are flawed but who know it and are tortured by it. A slightly downcast expression of shame is an appeasement gesture that hints at a need for sympathy. Women find sympathy stimulating."
Some women in the study who refused to make their names public confirmed what Durwood said. Here are their remarks:
"I love it when a man shows sympathy. It shows courage, especially if he does not wear boxer shorts."
"Men show compassion when they frown, as well as when they have the guts to put two ends of a jumper cable together in public."
The researchers stressed they looked only at initial reactions of sexual attractiveness and were not recommending men adopt a no-smile policy for a long-term relationship.
"When people want a long-term relationship," Ms. Truckfire said, "women take much more into account than sexual attractiveness. They want to do a thorough back check as well as a rectal exam and how responsive the man may be to becoming a florist."
Frank Cotolo can be found hosting the talk and interview programme Cotolo Chronicles. You can send him an e-mail at this address:
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