Last, when men pursue short-term relationships, they want to avoid commitment and investment (Buss & Schmitt, 1993).
They resolve this problem by deceiving their potential partners (see below).
And they have to, since the best strategy for men to win the heart of women for short-term relations is by displaying immediate investment.
Women want to acquire resources from men, in the context of short-term relations, so that men cannot omit a form of investment.
Other signals they display, to best show off their qualities as good short-term mates, are their dominance and physical attractiveness (Schmitt & Buss, 1996). 3.1.2 Men and long-term relations: problems they face Although short-term strategies are most adaptive for men, this does not imply that they do not benefit from and engage in long-term relationships.
When looking for a long-term partner the problems men face mainly concern the reproductive value of a potential mate, and her fidelity (Buss, 1994).
Let me discuss both traits in a little more detail. 188.8.131.52 Women’s disguised reproductive value: the importance of youth and beauty As I already said above, cues to detect the reproductive value of women are youth and beauty: “Our ancestors had access to two types of observable evidence of a woman’s health and youth: features of physical appearance, such as full lips, clear skin, smooth skin, clear eyes, lustrous hair, and a good muscle tone, and features of behavior, such as a bouncy, youthful gait, an animated facial expression, and a high energy level.
These physical cues to youth and health, and hence to reproductive capacity, constitute the ingredients of male standards of female beauty.” (Buss, 1994: 53). Youth Research on what men and women display and ask for in personal advertisements, has shown that men prefer a younger partner, and explicitly ask for this in their personal ads (Butler-Smith, e.a., 1998; Greenless & McGrew, 1994; Hayes, 1995; Matthews, 1999; Rajecki, e.a., 1991; Rasmussen e.a., 1998; Sprecher, e.a., 1994; Wiederman, 1993; Willis & Carlson, 1993).
The cross-cultural studies from Buss (1989) and Kenrick and Keefe (1992) gave similar results.
Pawlowski and Dunbar (1999) also noticed that women less than men mentioned their age in personal advertisements.
They disguised their age.
After analyzing their profiles, these authors concluded that it is mostly women older than 35 who decline to mention their age. However, men will not always prefer younger women; it depends on which stage of their life history they are in.
If it is true that men have preferences for fertile women, then teenaged boys should prefer slightly older girls to younger ones.
Kenrick, Keefe, Gabrielidis and Cornelius (1996) questioned teenagers about their sexual desires and found that teenage boys prefer partners to be slightly older, which proves this prediction. Beauty What men regard as ‘attractive’ or beautiful in potential partners relies on some facial and bodily features.
Related to the youth-aspect, neoteny of the face plays an important role in attractiveness.
Neotenous features are, for instance, large eyes, high cheek bones, small nose and chin, full lips, etc. (Buss, 1994).
To test this, Johnson and Franklin (1993) manipulated faces, using a computer program.
Their results show that faces with these younger features are rated as more attractive than ‘older’ looking faces. Next, concerning the face, the skin is very important, says Etcoff (1999), who wrote a book on beauty and evolutionary psychology.
The skin, Etcoff argues, signals health, at least when she appears flawless and bright.
A last facial feature that is rated attractive in women is facial symmetry.
Again, it has been suggested that facial symmetry signals health (Shackelford & Larsen, 1999).
Women with more symmetrical facial features are rated more attractive than women with less facial symmetry (Gangestad & Thornhill, 1997; Grammer & Thornhill, 1994). When focusing on bodily features, two important cues are waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and body-mass-index (BMI).
Singh (1993, 1995) reported that men, in general, prefer slim women (low BMI) to overweight women (high BMI), and a WHR of 0.70.
For women the WHR ranges from 0.67 to .080.
Furnham, McLelland, and Omer (2003) tested Singh’s hypothesis, using drawings of either light or heavy women, with high or low WHR.
British and Kenyan women both rated a WHR of 0.70 as most attractive, and preferred light women over heavier ones.
Later studies using more realistic computer images (eg Streeter & McBurney, 2003) also confirm Singh’s hypotheses. In a study, using front-view and profile pictures of women, Torte and Cornelissen (2001) noted that BMI and WHR are both important cues in attractiveness ratings.
Both their male and female raters preferred the depicted (real) women with lower BMI, and lower WHR.
In their conclusion, BMI was put forward as the most important predictor.
This importance of BMI is what defines attractiveness for men and women.
Low BMI seems to be more important for women than for men to be rated as attractive.
This falls in line with the research of Maisey, Vale, Cornelissen, and Tovee (1999).
They compared attractiveness ratings of pictures of men and women, and concluded that size (BMI) is most important for women, while shape is most important for men.
For men, it is not the waist-to-hip ratio that determines their attractiveness, but rather waist-to-chest ratio (WTC).
Maisey et al (1999) noted that men with higher BMI, but smaller WTC (indicating big chest) were still rated attractive, while for women BMI was the main criterion to rate attractiveness.
Women with higher BMI are rated less attractive, even if they have the ideal WHR.
The reason for this, these authors say:
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