A new study has found that when it comes to finding a mate, men may not be looking for charm and intelligence, but rather a woman who looks dumb and sleepy enough for a one-night-stand.
In an article soon to be published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, University of Texas at Austin graduate student Cari Goetz and her team focused on the so-called sexual exploitability hypothesis, which is based on the different ways in which men and women approach reproduction.
According to the researchers, early women took a chance by getting involved with emotionally unattached men who had no clear intention of raising children with them.
Men, however, had little concern for the consequences of casual trysts, given that their bodies produce somewhere around 85 million sperm cells every day — per testicle, according to Slate.
Cari Goetz began with the assumption that the brain of modern women is still sensitive to the pregnancy-related consequences of casual sex, making them more reluctant to engage in it than men.
The goal of the study was to test out the hypothesis that a woman who appears silly or inert, or in other words more “sexually exploitable”, is a turn-on for the average straight man.
In the evolutionary psychology sense, the word “exploitable” simply indicates that a woman is willing or can be more easily pressured into having sex, even if she is a prostitute or a nymphomaniac.
A new study has found that when it comes to finding a mate, men may not be looking for charm and intelligence, but rather a woman who looks dumb and sleepy enough for a one-night-stand
The researchers began testing their model by asking a large group of undergraduate students to nominate some specific actions, body postures, attitudes and personality traits that might signal vulnerability, such as exhaustion, intoxication, or low intelligence.
In the end, the participants of the study had produced a list of 88 signs that a woman might by especially receptive to a man’s advances.
Among the chosen red flags were: lip lick/bite; over-the-shoulder look; sleepy; intoxicated; tight clothing; fat; short; unintelligent; punk; attention-seeking and touching breast.
Next, Cari Goetz and her colleagues scoured the Internet for publicly available images of women displaying each of these 88 cues.
Once they had pictures of women licking their lips, partying, wearing sexy clothing, etc., the researchers cross-checked them with a separate group of students who presumed that the photos indeed matched the cues.
The researchers then invited a fresh group of 76 male students and presented them with the images of presumably “ripe-for-the-picking” women, asking them what they thought of each woman’s overall attractiveness, how easy it would be to “exploit” her using anything from a pickup line to physical force, and her appeal to them as either a short-term or a long-term partner.
The study has revealed that the images of fat or short women had no effect. The participants of the study did not view them as either easy to bed or appealing as partners.
But when it came to reading the more psychological and contextual cues -pictures of silly or childish-looking women, or of women who looked sleepy or drunk, men rated them as being easy to ‘score’ with.
More importantly, the dumb-looking and inert women were also perceived as being more attractive than their more lucid or intelligent-looking peers, but only when it came to short-term relationships.
When the men were asked to judge the same liquored-up, silly-looking women in the photos as potential girlfriends and wives, they had entirely lost their appeal on them.
In a follow-up study, the authors tried to add some nuance to their sexual exploitability hypothesis.
Graduate student David Lewis led a project to zero in on the specific type of man who would be most aware to the sort of ‘exploitability’ cues.
David Lewis and his colleagues asked 72 straight men to evaluate the same photos as before.
But this time, the researchers also measured some key personality traits in the men themselves, as well as the extent to which they desired and pursued no-strings-attached sex.
This follow-up study has found that the more promiscuous men who happened also to have deficiencies in personal empathy and warmth were the ones most attuned to female “exploitability” cues, which seems to indicate that not all men are sleazy when it comes to pursuing sex.
Famous hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, who has died at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 84, is credited with revolutionizing hair-styling for women.
Here are five ways in which Vidal Sassoon changed the world of hair.
1. Hair for work
In the 1950s, hair was about height, curls and hairspray. Women often visited the hairdressers two or three times a week to have their hair elaborately teased and “set”. Hats added even more drama on top of dressed styles.
Vidal Sassoon’s “wash and wear” cuts of the 1960s changed all that, allowing women to spend less time on their appearance.
According to fashion commentator Caryn Franklin, Vidal Sassoon created a “visual aesthetic for modern women wanting to distance themselves from the modern housewife”.
As more and more women entered the workforce, they needed cuts that would reflect authority and efficiency in a male-dominated world.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in 1993, Vidal Sassoon explained: “Women were going back to work, they were assuming their own power. They didn’t have time to sit under the dryer anymore.”
“Clients came into his salon every day who were at the forefront of the feminist expansion into the workplace,” Caryn Franklin says. Vidal Sassoon cuts were futuristic, illustrating where “women wanted to go” rather than where they currently were.
2. Celebrity hairdressing
Hailed as one of the world’s first celebrity hairdressers, Vidal Sassoon’s client list included Twiggy, Jane Fonda and Mia Farrow. Although he opened his first London salon in 1954, his first New York branch opened its doors in 1965 and became one of a string of international salons.
Not only was he stylist to the stars, he became a celebrity himself, moving to Los Angeles in the 1970s. He paved the way for other “name” hairdressers like Trevor Sorbie, Nicky Clarke and John Frieda.
A regular face on television, he appeared in his Sassoon commercials in the 80s alongside famous supermodels. He recently judged the final of reality TV show Shear Genius and a documentary about his life was made in 2010.
For a hairdresser to become a Hollywood sensation in Vidal Sassoon’s time “was a mega-mega achievement”, says celebrity hairdresser Errol Douglas.
Until then, hairdressers were not typically viewed as stylists, but Vidal Sassoon brought a designer image to the industry. At the same time he appealed to ordinary people.
For Guardian columnist Sali Hughes, Vidal Sassoon’s mass popularity stemmed from the fact that he was a “working class boy who started out as a barber and lived and breathed hair from when he was a child”.
Today Sassoon-esque short hair on women is a standard look
3. Short hair for women
Vidal Sassoon once explained to the Los Angeles Times that he viewed hair like fabric which needed to be shaped.
“My idea was to cut shape into the hair, to use it like fabric and take away everything that was superfluous.”
Vidal Sassoon didn’t invent the idea of short hair for women, but he brought a range of short styles into the mainstream.
He is perhaps best remembered for his “Mary Quant” cut, a geometric five-point bob worn by the fashion designer which contrasted sharply with the romantic, curly looks of the 1950s. Sassoon cuts “swept away classic femininity and added design into hair”, says Caryn Franklin.
Another look, the “Greek Goddess”, a short tousled perm, was inspired by the women of Harlem in New York.
And his looks got even shorter, such as the “pixie crop” worn by Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby. This was shocking to some in an era where androgynous style was only beginning to take off.
Today Sassoon-esque short hair on women is a standard look.
“He made short hair sexy,” says hair stylist Lee Stafford.
4. Hair products
As the years passed, the hairdresser devoted more and more time to developing the growing Sassoon brand. Although he steered hair styling away from lacquered beehives, he was one of the first stylists to create a popular line of products under his name.
Vidal Sassoon products catered for both the mass and high-end market, with luxurious product lines stocking salons while affordable hair-care items lined supermarket shelves.
Fashion historian Laura Kitty says that people ended up having “more of a connection” with the Sasoon brand because his products became so widespread, something other hairstylists didn’t have.
“He really managed to tap into the idea of aspiration mass market products for hair. It was like you were buying a haircut in his salon.”
Vidal Sassoon also branched into a range of hairdryers and styling tools for women to attempt to “create a Sassoon look” at home.
His two-in-one combined shampoo and conditioner Wash and Go “was the biggest selling hair product of the 80s”, says Sali Hughes.
5. Hair academies
Vidal Sassoon was the hairdresser’s hairdresser, notes Sali Hughes, pointing out that his geometric cuts needed cutting every six weeks, keeping stylists in business.
His training academies taught would-be hairdressers to create haircuts based on a client’s bone structure, a practice known as “precision cutting”.
And they produced alumni notable in the world of hairdressing, such as Lee Stafford, who says that hairdressers all over the world still come to London to train.
According to Laura Kitty, a large number of up-and-coming stylists in the 80s and 90s had trained at one of his academies.
And although Vidal Sassoon began as an apprentice barber and learned the “old methods”, he devised new techniques to teach to younger stylists as his career progressed.
“His ideas have been disseminated at a much larger scale than any other stylist in modern memory.”
But while his methods may have changed over the years, Lee Stafford says the essence of Vidal Sassoon styling remained the same.
“He never ever changed his philosophy, it was all about beautiful hair cutting.”
According to researchers, it appears the days of women setting their sights on marrying “above themselves” are over, as they become better educated and better paid.
Indeed modern women could hardly be further from the likes of Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet and her scheming to net Mr. Darcy – not just the man she loved but, crucially, a wealthy aristocrat.
Analyzing how female aspirations have changed over the past 50 years the researchers found women in their late twenties and early thirties are increasingly marrying “beneath themselves” by opting for men of lower social classes.
The study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in UK adds weight to the idea that today’s economically independent women are freer to marry for love rather than to further themselves.
The think-tank says the proportion of those “marrying down” – such as the Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter Zara Phillips who is now wed to former England rugby player Mike Tindall – has exceeded those “marrying up” for the first time.
The study found 28% of women born between 1976 and 1981 married men who were less educated and worse paid than them. In 1958, the figure was 23%.
British Princess Anne’s daughter Zara Phillips married England rugby star Mike Tindall
Of the women born between 1976 and 1981, only 16% married up and more than half (56%) married someone of the same class, defined by the IPPR as someone in a similar occupation.
In 1958, 39% married someone of the same class and 38% married up.
The research also showed that while attitudes towards marrying across social class have changed, those towards age have become more entrenched.
Most women marry men who are older than them and are more likely to do so than those of previous generations.
Richard Darlington of the IPPR said: “In the 60s, women working in highly segregated offices in junior clerical roles fell in love with men in senior positions and <<married the boss>>.
“By the 70s and 80s, women had moved into more senior positions themselves and were marrying men in similar professional categories. By the 90s, the toy boy phenomenon was at its height and by the noughties age was no longer a social taboo.
“Women are still marrying older men from the same social class as themselves, but for the first time, the proportion marrying down is higher than the proportion marrying up, and one in five women are now marrying men who are seven or more years older than them.”
Official figures last week showed 52% of women aged 17-30 went into higher education compared with 42% of men.