The beauty of science is that it offers a no-holds-barred look at the world. While a man may seek to be seen in a certain light (good father, husband, and worker), science suggests what we see may not always be what we get. When a nervous politician gets up in front of a room full of media professionals, their appearance may be confident, sure, and optimistic, but what lies under that cool exterior could be fear, nervousness, and deep concern.
A man searching for a wife can be kind of like a politician. First, you have the confident and well-spoken psychologists celebrating a man’s ability to seek the qualities he most desires in a mate. Then you have the lab-coat research findings that suggest man is but a mere puppet to his loins. But let’s face it, a good relationship takes a mixture of communication, intimacy (verbal, spiritual, and physical), generosity, like-mindedness, compatibility, and analogous intelligence, but this is not necessarily what a man is initially seeking.
A good portion of scientists believe men are driven by their prehistoric urge to find a healthy woman to foster healthy babies. Unfortunately for him, this initial thinning of the herd becomes crucial, as it ultimately decides the types of women he will choose from once the first round of cuts are made. So, who is the real winner of the mating game?
Beauty Vs. Substance
It doesn’t take a study to convince women that men are focused on attractiveness when it comes to choosing a mate, but what these studies also suggest is that most men don’t know they are doing this. Indiana University researchers asked a group of men what they were looking for in a mate, collecting an assortment of answers, such as nurturing, intelligence, and personality traits similar to their own. However, when confronted with a group of women, their so-called requirements flew right out the window, and beauty became their principal “herd-thinning” factor.
Does this mean that men are particularly choosy in the appearance of a mate? Hardly. According to these studies, most men do not appear to be picky at all. In fact, one out of every two girls became a candidate for a second meeting. The women, on the other hand, were decidedly choosier, agreeing to meet with only one-third of the guys a second time. This study suggests men may not always know what’s good for them, but rest assured, the majority of women do (or at least like to think they do).
A woman’s requirements for a man are based on leveraging her looks against how much man she can have without risking the possibility of losing him to a challenging female. In other words, she won’t strive for anyone higher or lower than her own rating. In a sense, a woman’s confidence in her own appearance appears to be the real deciding factor in whom a man will ultimately end up with. Men, more or less, take what they can get, all the way from the top to the bottom of the barrel. They do not limit themselves by their own level of attractiveness.
Face Vs. Body
Studies show men looking for long-term relationships pay particular attention to a woman’s facial features (suggesting personality), but when looking for a short-term fling, her body becomes the focal point. This is nothing most women didn’t already know, but what it also suggests is that guys contemplating marriage do consider personality at least as much as the subtle cues her face can offer (happy, sad, laid back, hyper, etc).
Brunette Vs. Blonde
While certainly not the gospel, the results of a 3,000-participant study in Britain suggests the majority of men prefer brunettes over blondes when wedding bells are ringing. The study was conducted by a popular beauty salon, and not surprisingly, the majority of men pinpointed blondes as more fun and outgoing, but all other hair colors were more sensible and dependable (thus better long-term mates). It would thus appear that society and media have had a fair amount of influence over how men see the type of women they should marry.
But before you pop open that tube of brown hair dye, consider that science has yet to understand what a soulmate is, even though there is evidence (via brain research) that such a love does exist. Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but true love is found in the depths of the human spirit.