WOMEN ARE MORE PICKY
A study in 2004 found that both sexes make a decision within three seconds of seeing their potential partner, based almost entirely on looks. As might be expected, females are looking for tall, fit-looking men who can make them laugh and project a degree of material success. Males look for ideal waist-hip ratios, wide eyes, youthful, feminine faces, and clear, healthy skin. The difference is that most women hold out for something approaching their ideal, whereas men happily throw out their wishlist and make offers anyway by a factor of 10.
WOMEN PREFER TALL MASCULINE MEN
Studies show that across every society, women prefer men who are taller than the average (or just taller than they are). On the other hand, smaller women are more attractive to men. Whether this preference is cultural or genetic is unclear. But ideals of male beauty are in many ways the precise opposite of the female kind. Lots of surveys indicate that a prominent brow, a strong jaw and a strong chin are all seen as highly desirable by women, although more “feminine” looks (indicating lower testosterone levels) are preferred by those seeking a long-term partner rather than a short sexual fling.
WOMEN PREFER GLOOMY MEN
Women prefer men who glower rather than smile, according to Canadian scientists. They showed about 1,000 men and women several hundred pictures of both sexes in various states of cheerfulness, and asked them to rate them in terms of their “gut feelings” of lust and desire. “Men who smile,” says Professor Jessica Tracy, “were considered fairly unattractive by women.” Psychologists believe that what attracts women is not so much gloominess but pride – a puffed-out chest, a jutting chin, a look of steely determination and mild aggression.
IT'S GOOD TO TALK
In 2004, John Gottman, a clinical psychologist at the University of Washington, caused a stir when he unveiled a mathematical formula said to predict with 94 per cent accuracy whether a couple would be together four years later. According to Gottman, one important factor – more important than being madly in love, or your genetic profile – is how you have arguments (rather than how often). If strongly negative comments, sarcasm and contempt emerge more than sparingly, the relationship is almost certainly doomed.