Business as casual

Moody men ‘more attractive’ than happy men

Happy men don’t get the girl because women find moody looking men far more attractive, according to scientific research. A man walks into a bar, catches a girl’s eye, and immediately looks gloomy, moody and averts his eyes. The woman is overcome with sexual attraction. Not your usual love story but maybe a more realistic one. Turns out, a winning smile isn’t the way to a woman’s heart; men who swagger and look gloomy are more likely to set pulses raising.

That’s according to Jessica Tracy at the University of British Columbia, Canada, who asked more than 1000 adults to rate the sexual attractiveness of hundreds of photos of the opposite sex. Her images showed men and women in various displays of happiness, with big smiles and puffed out chests or shameful glances, lowered heads and averted eyes. In an interview with UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph, co-author Alec Beall, also at British Columbia said: “We did not ask participants if they thought these targets would make a good boyfriend or wife – we wanted their gut reactions on carnal, sexual attraction.”

The study found that women were not attracted to smiling, happy men, preferring those who looked proud and powerful or moody and ashamed. In an interview with Reuters, Tracy said: “To the extent that men think that smiling is a good thing to do if they want to be found sexually attractive our findings suggest that’s not the case.” The researchers say that smiling has been linked with a lack of dominance. Tracey reckons moody guys show that they are flawed, but “know it and are tortured by it”.

Displays of shame, Tracy says, have been associated with an awareness of social norms and appeasement behaviours, which elicits trust in others. On the other hand, men’s reaction to women was just the opposite – they absolutely love a smile, says Tracey: “Women who smile are very attractive. That was by far the most attractive expression women showed.” She emphasises that the study explored first impression, and the team are not recommending men adopt a no-smile policy for a long-term relationship. “We’re not saying don’t be a nice guy,” she says. But don’t worry if you haven’t quite perfected “broody” – there are plenty of other ways to attract the girls. Making out that you’ve got a partner could help. Apparently us girls are a sucker for the married man. And make sure you choose the perfect chat-up line too. And if all else fails, you could always just change your name.┬áIt’s all about the grumpiness in you.

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