A new study says women are more attracted to moody men than happy men. On your next date, wipe that smile off your face.
It's pretty common—if not scientific—knowledge that women like "bad boys." Johnny Depp's brooding stares are the stuff of Hollywood legend, and myriad pieces of anecdotal evidence say the guy on the motorcycle with the leather jacket is always going to get luckier with ladies than the guy in the khakis with the sensible car. But now there's real science to back up this theory. Look out, socs, the greasers are coming through.
According to new research on body language out of the University of British Columbia, women find happy men—in this study, men who were smiling in photos—significantly less attractive than men portraying other emotions. In a survey of 1,000 adults, women generally preferred men who looked strong and proud, arms raised into the sky, or sullen and ashamed—in that order. Happy men were rated the least attractive. Interestingly, when it came to male preferences, things were reversed: Men rated happy women the most attractive and proud, strong women least attractive.
Science Daily says past research has suggested that smiling conveys a lack of dominance and that happiness is shown to be “a particularly feminine-appearing expression.”
None of this is to say that women want to marry pissed-off jerks. “We were not asking participants if they thought these targets would make a good boyfriend or wife,” said Alec Beall, a member of the UBC research team. If they had asked that, it’s likely they wouldn't have gotten the same gut reactions. Still, it’s always fascinating to realize how subject to our most basic desires humans can be.
On a somewhat related note, I'm wearing my leather jacket right now.