There’s Someone for Everyone: The Science!
By Heath Shive
“Men are all ….”
“Women are just …”
These sentences never end well.
When genders start going to war with each other, both men and women have a tendency to reduce each other to stereotypes.
But here's the good news! Both men and women are (mostly) wrong!
To the science!
What Women Think About Men
In 2009, psychologist Glenn Geher performed a study on “the ability to assess the mating desires of the opposite sex.”
A successful romantic strategy requires that you read the thoughts and feelings of potential mates.
So Geher designed a fairly large study – nearly 500 young men and women – to get some data.
In the study, women were asked to predict who men would choose for a short-term relationship from a list of 3 theoretical females.
This list (abbreviated) is as follows:
A. “Who said chivalry was dead? Open doors for me…I will make your favorite sandwich when you wake up hungry in the night.”
B. “I am looking for a fling of epic proportions…Human beings are not meant to be paired for life, like lobsters.”
C. “I know all the words to Grease…I am looking for someone who can make my heart sing.”
The majority (53%) of the study's women predicted men would choose option B – i.e., the “fling” lady.
But as it turns out, the majority of the study’s men (54%) chose the “chivalry” lady from option A!
Only 24% of men chose the fling in option B.
And surprisingly enough, 22% of the men wanted the "musical" lady option C!
Women had a tendency to oversexualize men’s choices.
What Men Think About Women
In the study, men were asked to predict who women would choose for a short-term relationship from a list of 3 theoretical males.
The list is as follows:
A. “I’m pretty busy working all week, but that doesn’t stop me from having fun, usually out and about a couple nights during the week…”
B. “I’ve been described as a very energetic individual…I’m a man in a uniform looking for some fun.”
C. "I’m spontaneous and I like to try new things. I enjoy diversity, cultures, art…good food and intelligent conversation.”
Almost half of the study's men (49%) predicted that women would choose option B – the man in uniform.
But instead, almost half of the women (48%) chose option C – the diversity and arts man!
Only 29% of the women chose the very masculine man in uniform (B). And surprisingly enough, 23% of the women chose the fairly ordinary guy in option A!
Men had a tendency to oversexualize women’s choices.
So both men and women had a tendency to reduce the opposite gender's decisions to stereotypes.
But look at the numbers again.
Even though the musical lady was the least picked option, still at least 1 in 5 men wanted to date her!
Even though the “ordinary” guy was the least picked option, still about 1 in 5 women wanted to date him!
You do not have to be the most popular option to be chosen!
Given the billions of men and women in the world – and the myriad varieties of desires in that mad tumble – you can afford to be optimistic.
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Geher, Glenn, and Kaufman, Scott Barry. Mating Intelligence Unleashed: The Role of the Mind in Sex, Dating, and Love. Oxford University Press, 2013.
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Hello! My name is Heath Shive, content manager at ScholarFox. I'll be the author of most of the blog posts. I'm a former geologist and currently a freelance writer. The world is complex and seemingly crazy. Good! Because when you love to learn, you'll never be bored.