Slate Magazine featured a write-up Wednesday of two recent studies out of University of Texas-Austin that suggest the hottest thing a woman can do (in the eyes of a gentleman on the prowl for a one-night stand) is look sleepy, drunk, and/or unintelligent.
She should also be naturally hot, but that's a given.
She should pretty much just be Serena van der Woodsen.
Females are more reluctant than males to engage in uncommitted sex because of a strict "No Scrubs" policy hardwired into the brains of female ancestors, who viewed males unlikely to help raise offspring as undesirable mates. Because they have had to contend with such cockblocking logic for millennia, men looking to Get It In have evolved to view a woman with a lowered guard—that is: a woman who is "sexually exploitable"—that is: a woman too thick, tired, or otherwise impaired to see through their bullshit—as desirable.
"Sexually exploitable" in this context means that a woman is willing or could be easily coerced to have uncommitted sex. The papers defined male exploitation tactics as:
- seduction (charming a woman into bed)
- verbal or nonverbal pressure (badgering a woman into bed)
- deception ("Sure, I'll call you")
- sexual assault (using physical force to force intercourse).
Researchers asked 194 undergrads to come up with characteristics they thought might make a woman more willing to engage in uncommitted sex (e.g. "being promiscuous," "being sleepy"). Then they showed pictures they had gotten off the Internet of women who appeared to be displaying these characteristics to 76 men. The men were asked to rate both the women's attractiveness (overall and as a short- and long-term partner) and how easy it would be to exploit them sexually (either through charm, pressure, lies, or rape).
The second study, led by grad student David Lewis, attempted to determine if it was any kind of dude in particular who was getting turned on by these sleepy, slutty women. It was found that promiscuous men were much more likely than their non-promiscuous peers to identify women as exploitable and rate those exploitation-friendly qualities as attractive.
Also, these promiscuous men were found to have "deficiencies in personal empathy and warmth" – LIKE SEX ROBOTS.
1. Look immature. (Remember, the men were rating photos of women taken from the Internet, so they had no way of telling if a particular woman was actually immature. She just had to look it. Pigtails, maybe? Pointing at a butt and laughing?)
2. Look drunk.
3. Look reckless.
4. Look like you have slutty friends.
5. Look like you are at a party.
6. Look sleepy.
7. Look like you are touching your breast.
8. Look alone.
9. Look like you are at a wedding.
10. Look over your shoulder.
The ultimate catch, then, would be a woman in the process of falling asleep, alone, at a wedding, with her head faced over her shoulder and a handful of breast (either her own, or a slutty friend's).
Here are a couple of things, also from the studies, women might do if they would prefer to be viewed as desirable for a long-term relationship (i.e. "be on that wifey shit"):
1. Look intelligent. (Glasses, algebra textbook, etc.)
2. Look shy.
3. Look anxious.
4. Look like you are sucking on a straw.
5. Look sad.
6. Look distressed.
7. Look like you have raised arms.
8. Look like you are crying.
9. Look like you are standing near men.
10. Look like you are fully asleep.
See that girl in the corner with a straw in her mouth who cried herself to sleep and is surrounded by men? That's my girlfriend.
As Slate's Jesse Bering points out, the studies had some flaws. For one thing, it's likely that the images of women at parties depicted ladies who had taken some time to get their sexy on, while the woman who appeared anxious may not have been dressed to impress.
Also, hate to say it, some girls are just plain prettier than others. (You know who you are. Hands up, ladies, I love you all.) A more unbiased (though, obviously, more costly) method would have been to have the same model depict all the characteristics undergrads thought would make a woman particularly receptive (or vulnerable) to the idea of casual sex, then have men rate those photos.
In any event, the main takeaway here is that, if a man has ever told you "Hey, girl, you got a REAL dumb face," he was probably just trying to bed you.
And he might not be marriage material.
(Then again, neither are you, with that dumb face.)