How to Stop Being Single and Get Ready to Mingle: The shallow reality of attraction

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So don’t dive into despair just because you don’t have a date yet. Take this next week to make yourself feel more attractive and the people around you might just notice. (Johnny Lai/Flickr Creative Commons)

If you want a date for Valentine’s Day, then it may be time to realize people are shallow. Studies have shown that people are more likely to pursue a person they find physically attractive. So what qualifies as attractive and how can you make yourself more attractive to others before Valentine’s?

Most of the psychology behind attraction stems from instincts related to reproduction. For instance, (straight) men prefer a woman with a small waist and large hips because that implies they are fertile. This is the same reason men tend to prefer young women as opposed to older women who have already gone through menopause, while (straight) women either don’t have a preference, or prefer older men. Both men and women prefer partners who are healthier, which is why people tend to go for fitter dates with less excessive fat, and with symmetrical faces. This also affects the pickiness of both sexes. Women tend to be more selective with the men they go out with because subconsciously they would prefer a better looking male who is more likely to stick around and help them rear their children. Men, on the other hand, are evolutionarily predisposed to take on multiple partners and expand their genetic pool, thus they have lower standards.

Additionally, both men and infertile women prefer partners with baby faces, while fertile women prefer more masculine faces with a more defined jaw and cheekbones, since that indicates high testosterone levels. Height isn’t related to reproduction instincts, and is rather a trope of recent Western culture, which is why there can be tall women with short men, despite popular preference. Oddly enough, unique looking people aren’t as attractive as you’d think. This isn’t due to potential fertility, but is actually because of the universal desire for the familiar. Men and women alike tend to be attracted to partners that look a little like people they’ve known. For instance, a woman may be more eager to go out with a tall blonde woman than a petite woman with purple hair, because she has seen and befriended tall blonde women in the past rather than anyone like the unique-looking girl. This doesn’t only mean physical appearance necessarily, and can just as easily refer to political orientation or personal beliefs and opinions.

These facts of attraction aren’t the end-all be-all for finding a date, so don’t worry, there are plenty of ways around them. Barney from “How I Met Your Mother” had a fairly offensive, but actually psychologically grounded theory, which he dubbed the “Mermaid Theory.” This theory was the idea that if you come in contact with an initially unattractive person enough times, eventually they’ll appear attractive to you. The concept of scientific idea of “proximity liking” actually reflects this, which proves that if you sit next to someone everyday in class, they are more likely to be friendly to you and even find you attractive.

While the “Mermaid Theory”/“proximity liking” can take more time then the week you have before Valentine’s, there are other speedier methods. If you use a daily eye serum such as the “MenScience Androceuticals Eye Rescue Formula,” then the wrinkles and puffiness under your eyes will be gone in a matter of days. If you focus more on your oral hygiene, as in taking the time to brush and floss regularly, then your teeth will look whiter and your breath will smell less terrible. If you try using a lip exfoliant one or two times a week, then your lips will appear more kissable. If you sleep well, drink more water and reduce sugar intake, then your skin should clear up and your sex drive will increase. And if you dress in a way that highlights your body shape, then you’ll appear much more put together. All of these steps will make you look healthier, and thus more attractive in accordance to the facts of attraction listed above.

So don’t dive into despair just because you don’t have a date yet. Take this next week to make yourself feel more attractive and the people around you might just notice.

If you have any questions or need any dating advice, feel free to contact me at rebecca.l.maher@uconn.edu. I’m positive other people are facing the same romantic problems as you, and would love to hear an answer.


Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rebecca.l.maher@uconn.edu.

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