Brooding men, smiling women seen as sexy?

VANCOUVER Wed May 25, 2011 12:48pm EDT

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VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Guys, want to look sexy and get the girl? Don't smile too much. Look brooding or show a bit of shame instead. Women, ignore that advice.

Women find happy men less sexually attractive than those with expressions that show pride or hint that they have done wrong and know it, according to Canadian researchers.

The study published online Tuesday in the American Psychological Association journal Emotion showed pictures of the opposite sex to both men and women. Participants were then asked for their initial reactions on sexual attractiveness based the expressions they saw.

"Men who smile were considered fairly unattractive by women," said Jessica Tracy, a University of British Columbia psychology professor who directed the study.

"So 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," Tracy said.

The men's reaction was just the opposite.

"Women who smile are absolutely very attractive. That was by far the most attractive expression women showed," Tracy said in an interview.

The researchers admit they are not sure why men and women reacted differently to smiles. In a man, a big smile may make him appear too feminine or more desperate for sex.

The study also adds fuel to the notion that women are attracted to bad boys.

"Women are attracted to guys like James Dean, Edward the vampire. The guys who are flawed, but who know it and are tortured by it," Tracy said.

A slightly downcast expression of shame is an appeasement gesture that hints at a need for sympathy.

Men also found sexual attractiveness in women whose expressions and body language hinted at shame.

The researchers stressed they looked only at initial reactions of sexual attractiveness, and were not recommending men adopt a no-smile policy for a long-term relationship.

"When people want a long-term relationship they take much more into account than sexual attractiveness. How nice a person is, is a big thing," Tracy said.

"So we're not saying, don't be a nice guy," she said.

(Reporting Allan Dowd; editing by Rob Wilson)

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Comments (5)
SummerSausage wrote:
My buddies and I have a saying that we use when asked for dating advice, and it has to do with the article above and what women are attracted to.

“There’s 3 different types of guys in this world: nice guys, good guys, and a-holes. Nice guys are nice guys who act nice around everyone. Good guys are nice guys who act like a-holes around only women. A-holes are a-holes who act like a-holes to everyone they meet.”

Two out of the three types of men get laid, while the other never does. For whatever reason, women like a-holes, so go out and practice being a-holes. Just don’t do it to other dudes, otherwise you turn from a good guy to an a-hole.

May 25, 2011 7:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ljacoby714 wrote:
For years, I confused broodiness in men with deep thinking. Wrong. Brooding men are not, by and large, brooding because they’re doing any deep thinking. If they’re thinking at all, it’s about how they suffer at having to earn a living or not being appreciated by the world at large. Feh. They’re moody, neurotic, and generally unwilling to have fun.

Give me a smiley man any time. I’m a happy woman and I like a happy guy.

May 26, 2011 1:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
WRL wrote:
Concise and sound advice from SummerSausage.

May 26, 2011 1:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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