This was a question posed to me by a journalist on the Daily Telegraph. The answer is of course no, but I’ll get onto that later. First this is quite an interesting example of how stories like this originate. Here is the full text of the e-mail I was sent. Continue reading
Perfume is supposed to make you smell nice. That is sort of what it says on the tin. But newly published research indicates that it also makes you look better too. The scientists showed photos of women’s faces to a panel. The panel was mixed, but with more women than men. They were then asked to assess the attractiveness of the faces. While they were doing this they were exposed to either cooked fish oil or a delicate rose odour created by the top fragrance house Givaudan. Continue reading
Not every blog post I do is an instant hit. The one I did yesterday about 5 a day for example was met with widespread indifference. Oh well. But it did remind me that there is another reason to eat fresh fruit and vegetables apart from simply being more healthy. They can also make you more attractive. Continue reading
We don’t pay a lot of attention to vellus hair. This is the fine downy hair that covers a lot of our body, with the exception of the palms of our hands and for some reason, the backs of our ears. It isn’t very visible so the beauty world doesn’t take a lot of notice of it, though to my mind it is quite attractive. But you need to get pretty close to someone to be able to even see it, so it isn’t something you are really aware of except on family members are very close friends. Continue reading
Fresh insight into just what it is that makes men tick can be gleaned from a couple of recent papers looking at the effect of a beautiful face on the male brain. Continue reading
I am a slightly gawky individual. I am bit more interested in my computer than my personal appearance and I am not good at relating to other human beings. I am also well aware that the profile of my face does not conform to the ideals of Classical Greek beauty.
Despite all this, I have been reasonably successful in passing my genes on to the next generation. I have the good luck to be relatively tall, and I think that this positive has overcome all my other negatives. I am in the upper quartile for height, very nearly in the upper decile. I am taller than about 80% of other men in other words. In more ordinary language, I am tall but not outstandingly so.
One of the best established facts in the study of the science behind beauty is that men find a waist to hip ratio in women of about 0.7 the most attractive. Its a brave group that will challenge this view, but an Australian group has done so in a recently published study. They showed men pictures of average women, Playboy centrefolds, photos from escort ads and curvaceous models from the twenties and nineties. (“Yeah, of course this is science, mate”.)
Most of us are dissatisfied to some extent or another with our body shape. A lot of people are a lot heavier than they would like to be, and there have been endless ideas put forward about how to get to the weight you want to be. One of the things we all know is that if we eat too much we put on weight, and that we can lose weight by eating less. I get some surprised looks sometimes when I suggest that excercising isn’t very helpful for getting slim. My logic is that what matters is how much you eat relative to how much energy your body burns. If you exercise you deplete your blood sugar, and this makes you hungry. Your problem now is one of willpower. But if you have the willpower to overcome your hunger, you could do that just as easily without exercise. In fact the act of burning up your energy quickly has probably made it harder not easier to resist your cravings.
This week’s cover story on the New Scientist magazine is about sexual strategies – the different approaches men and women have to sex. At the time of writing you can still read the original article here, but New Scientist tends to take stories down after a while so the link may not work when you come to try it. But it is a long article in any case so here is my summary, and what it means to your own dating strategy.
Lynda Boothroyd of the University of Durham investigated what affected whether men and woman were more likely to be monogamous or promiscuous. This was a scientific study, so there were no moral judgements involved. The most interesting finding was that people were able to very accurately predict just from their photos whether people were more likely to be monogamous than promiscuous. The more attractive a face was, the more likely people were to rate them as promiscuous. And this was indeed the case.
This isn’t all that surprising on one level of course – the more attractive a person is the more opportunities they are likely to have. As is usually the case when it comes to sex, blokes are more straight forward. The better looking guys are more likely to stray. That is about all there is to it, and I guess it is easy enough to interpret. For a man, biologically speaking, there is a lot to be gained from sleeping with as many females as possible. Good looking guys have the wherewithall to attract the partners and it isn’t surprising to see them taking advantage of it.
Women are more likely to shop around when they are ovulating, even when in a stable relationship. It isn’t perhaps as obviously a good strategy for women to pursue lots of sexual partners, especially when they already have a partner who they could cheese off. Maybe this is why this strategy is limited to times when women are fertile. The risk is more worth it.
I usually try and see what advice can be given from research. It is a bit trickier this time. For men, if you are planning on dating a married woman you will do better to look for attractive ones. For women, beware of men on internet dating sites. There is a good chance that they are married and looking for a fling. (I know, I know, you already knew that….)
The original reference is Evolution and Human Behavior, vol 29, p 211, and don’t forget that evolution is the key to attractiveness.
I have already posted about the features of an attractive female face. But what lies behind these observations? Could it be that your hormones make you beautiful?
A few years ago scientists at the University of St Andrews took photos of 59 women aged between 18 and 25 every week for six weeks. They also took urine samples and measured their oestrogen levels. By taking readings over the whole menstrual cycle they were able to come up with meaningful estimates of how much oestrogen the women had in their blood streams. Continue reading