Sexual attraction is neither art nor science; it’s somewhere in between. Better yet (at least for some of you), it doesn’t always rely on being an oil painting, either.
Thanks, then, to scientists for taking time out from serious investigations to look into what we all really want to know – how can we be a bit more attractive?
Trust us, by the end of this you’ll be a (dog) walking, talking, pulling machine.
Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number
Wincing at the idea of turning 40? Don’t stress (you’ll only add to the grey hairs), a number of studies have suggested that women, in fact, prefer older men.
Psychologists and researchers, like those at The University of Dundee, call it the ‘George Clooney Effect’, whereby older men are seen as powerful and therefore more attractive. So put down the anti-wrinkle cream, it pays to age.
Facial Hair Recognition
It’s official: science has proved peak beard is a load of bull. A study by the University of New South Wales found that men and women rate 10-day stubble as the most attractive beard length.
“Facial hair correlates not only with maturity and masculinity but also with dominance and aggression,” say authors Barnaby J. Dixson and Robert C. Brooks.
Time for some mental arithmetic to see if you can get to that length by your next date.
Bulk Up (A Bit)
Most guides to pulling tell you to hit the gym, but it’s not that cut and dry. Results from a study by the University of California showed that women are more likely to want short-term flings with stacked guys (no prizes for guessing why). However, when looking for husband material, women consistently seek out less muscular men.
So bear in mind what you’re looking for next time you’re pumping iron (or not).
Be Kind, Rewind
The halo effect is a psychological phenomenon that essentially means when someone looks good on the outside, we assume they’re good on the inside. As if handsome guys didn’t have it easy enough.
If you don’t possess the genes of a Skarsgard brother, all is not lost. A study by Huazhong University concluded that when men and women thought of someone as kind, they were also more likely to find them attractive. Time to start double-tipping bartenders.
The little red dress may work wonders on a Friday night for the fairer sex, but the very reason you’re attracted to them works both ways.
A study by the University of Rochester found that across nationalities (including China, England, Germany and the US), women are most attracted to men wearing – or standing in front of something – red. Bear this in mind for your Tinder picture.
It’s time to swap your wingman for a four-legged pulling partner, if research by The University of South Brittany is anything to go by.
Findings showed that women are 43 per cent more likely to give their number to a man with a dog. Something to think about next time your mum asks you to look after her Yorkshire Terrier while she’s on holiday.
We’ve all had a crush stolen by a bloke strumming Wonderwall on his acoustic. No? Just us.
A study in the Journal of Psychology found that – much like when walking a dog – men’s chances of pulling were greater when carrying a guitar case. So walk Toto, play Toto.
Don’t Punch Too High (Or Low)
It might sound like a broad range to aim between Margot Robbie and Mrs Brown, but looking for people roughly equal to you in attractiveness is the key to attracting (and keeping) a mate.
A study by the University of California studied male and female daters. While the majority opted for the most attractive people, they were more likely to get a response from someone on their level, which in turn made them feel more attractive. Which is almost as good as being more attractive, right?
It’s time to brush up on your joke, because women find funny men more attractive. One French study found that a man who told a joke to his friends nearby before chatting up a woman was three times more likely to get the woman’s number, and came across more attractive and intelligent.
It might not come highly recommended as an aphrodisiac, but garlic bread might just be your new best friend on a first date. In three separate studies, researchers at Charles University, the National Institute of Mental Health in the Czech Republic and the University of Stirling asked a group of men to eat either raw garlic or take garlic capsules, and then tested the effects on women.
They found that consuming garlic made men significantly more pleasant, attractive and less intense to women. They reasoned that this could be because of its health effects.
Take It To The Extreme
It’s time to take on an extreme sport if you’re really dedicated to this. A study in 2014 found that women are attracted to men who take “hunter-gatherer” risks, which bear some resemblance to the risks cavemen would have once taken. You know, just without all the bears and tigers and fire.
The study states, “Much like a peacock’s plumage displays fitness both to prospective mates and rivals, modern males can display their fitness as ancestral humans did by going outside in storms, encountering dangerous animals, swimming in moving waters, jumping over fires and from risky heights, racing down steep slopes, and interacting with people from other groups.”
Activities that scored highly with the women surveyed included mountain biking, deep-sea scuba diving and extreme rollerblading. However, modern-day neglect, like driving without a seatbelt, were considered a turn off.
Keep Those Pearly Whites Pearly White
It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that a prospective partner would probably prefer to kiss a mouth lined with clean, white, dazzling teeth as opposed to one containing a load of wonky, cigarette-stained Sugar Puffs, but there is actually some science to back it up too.
Researchers from the universities of Leeds and Central Lancashire found that stained and widely spaced teeth were deemed as unattractive, while people surveyed consistently ranked straight, white teeth as the most appealing.
On a primal, level this is because a potential mate’s teeth can be an indicator of health, diet and even childhood illnesses. So, maybe it’s time to stop putting that visit to the dentist off.
Lower Your Voice
Research from the UK has found that women consistently rate deep voices on men as more attractive than higher pitched voices.
This is because high-pitched voices are perceived as coming from a people who tend to be small in stature. From an evolutionary perspective, women are more inclined to seek out a man who is larger in size, something which is usually signalled by a low-pitched voice.
In addition, the study found that while women did go for a deep voice, they also favoured a soft tone because it removed the aggression associated with a larger body size.