Sometimes the dating game can be a bit of a minefield. According to popular belief, to attract women you need to earn a lot of money, have a torso that ripples like an oversized sheet of corrugated iron and spend half your salary in the men's department of any well-known but overpriced department store. The remaining half should go on getting that buff six-pack at an expensive gym, naturally.
Well, that's not the best way to see things. We're all about making the most of what you've got and the good news is there are easy (in some cases, so easy they're actually accidental) ways to attract women. And it's not us that says that, it's science. Here's a few that will bring hope to any man's heart.
Have a think about all the women you fancy. Do you happen to look like any of their dads?
If you do, you might just be in luck. Strangely enough, psychologists at Durham University have discovered that women who had good relationships with their fathers were more attracted to men who resembled them.
Now that sounds a bit weird and Freudian, but it kind of makes sense. Ultimately, women seem to be looking for men who will make good fathers, and if they're on good terms with their own dads, that's the best model they have.
But if you don't look like any of your female friends' fathers, don't despair. Instead, try to find someone who looks just a little bit like you.
That doesn't mean you should imitate your female friends' appearance. But research by the University of St Andrews found that women are most attracted to masculine versions of themselves. Nobody's quite sure why that should be, but previous studies have shown that, while women can go for masculine faces, they're also a bit suspicious of them. Masculine men might be seen as overly aggressive or likely to play the field and therefore unwelcome.
The researchers theorised that a masculine face that is also a bit familiar cancels out the suspicion. So all you need to know is that, if there are three female friends standing at the bar, start talking to the one who's got your mouth or eyes. She won't know it, but she may well be drawn to someone who resembles her you.
So you don't look like her dad and you don't look like her. Darn. But hang on a sec, you could still be in with a chance that's if you look completely and utterly average.
We're not joking (much). In 1990, a pair of so-called 'boffins' called Langlois and Roggman came up with what they called the "averageness hypothesis", and more recent studies seem to confirm that people like symmetrical, regular and rather average faces.
Of course, women like good-looking men, too. But when images of faces are digitally manipulated to make every feature (nose size, the distance between eyes, the heights of foreheads etc) equal to the human average, viewers tend to prefer the 'averaged' face to the original.
Apparently, that's because subconsciously we like to see things we are used to seeing, and we've all seen thousands of faces so we take an average as an ideal. So if you're not Brad Pitt, don't despair. A pleasant and average face is perfectly good enough.
Sniff and select
A good way to attract women is to whiff a bit. Let's be clear you probably shouldn't actually smell, but don't entirely conceal your natural, manly aroma.
Because what science is increasingly finding is that women have an acute sense of smell, and they use it to help pick out a suitable mate. You might think that after a couple of days in the same shirt you smell just like any other pongy guy. But subconsciously, women are using your smell to gather all sorts of interesting information about your genetic inheritance and the strength of your immune system.
When researchers have asked women to smell men's worn shirts and rate the attractiveness of the aroma, they tend to go for men with a particular genetic code (one that is involved in our immune systems) different from their own. Choosing a mate with a different immune system makes sense, because the offspring are likely to be protected from a greater range of illnesses.
Of course, your immune system won't be attractive to everyone. But by going easy on the underarm deodorant and aftershave, you're at least giving suitable partners a chance to sniff you out.
The right moment
We don't mean the exact moment her friend has nipped to the bar. No, we're talking about the mystery of the female cycle. If you're lucky, you may well coincide with the 12 to 24 hours every month when she might be feeling a little more outgoing and more receptive to conversation with you.
Because whether she consciously wants one or not, the body of an ovulating woman is attuned to wanting a baby. Why's that important? Well, because studies have shown that surprisingly, women have more sex when they're ovulating and they're also more likely to cheat.
In a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers found that ovulation makes women more likely to wear revealing clothes.
And there's more. As well as more skin on display, ovulation makes her pupils dilate, her voice increase in pitch and her breasts swell. In other words, it makes her yearn for a man. Which is exactly where you come in...
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