Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Laws of attraction

Are men attracted to women who look like them?

THE next time you happen to be with your spouse or your partner, take a good look at their features. Do they look a bit familiar?

And no, I don’t mean familiar just because you’ve been with that person for a while. I mean familiar in the sense that you’ve seen those same features, or at least some of them, somewhere else. Like, in the mirror every morning.

If the results of a French study are anything to go by, men are most attracted to women who look like them. That being the case, my partner must have left his glasses at home the day we met. I mean to say, his eyes are blue, while mine are brown, his eyebrows are thick, while mine are thin (too much plucking back in the 70s), his nose is slender, while mine is more rounded, and he has full lips, while mine are lacking plumpness.

I can only conclude that he is more attracted to my wit, charm and personality than some narcissistic ideal. Either that or the female versions of him were a bit thin on the ground when he was looking for a partner.

According to another study, physically attractive people generally date other physically attractive people. Leaving the not-so-attractive people to date other not-so-attractive people. It’s almost like a caste system that’s difficult to break out of.

Right about now you might be asking, “How do these researchers account for those not-so-attractive, rich men who opt for a “trophy wife”? Shouldn’t Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch and Woody Allen be seen around town with women who are more homely than the much younger, more attractive women who currently appear by their sides?”

It seems that attractive women who date someone below their level of attractiveness tend to justify their choices by saying something like, “He sure is ugly, and it’s kinda embarrassing to have to appear in public with gorilla man, but as long as I have access to his money, my life will be beautiful.”

However, such cases are the exceptions.
In a nutshell then, the so-called experts will have you believe that attractive people generally date other attractive people who look a bit like themselves; while ugly people generally date other ugly people who look a bit like themselves.

When the experts talk about people dating others who look like themselves, this concurs with yet another study that indicates that a woman often looks for a man who looks like her father, while a man often looks for a woman who looks like his mother.

Like, how creepy is all that? Fancy waking up in the morning to find someone resembling your mother or father snoring on the pillow next to you!

Researchers are quick to point out that there is nothing narcissistic about these attractions. We are attracted to people who look like ourselves (and possibly our parents as well) simply because of the comfort we get from familiarity.

I’m not disputing the results of the research, but they certainly don’t apply in my case. My father was an Irishman with light brown hair and green eyes, whereas my ex is a Chinese Malaysian. One of my sisters married a man of Italian origin, another married a Hispanic guy, and yet another married a blond-haired, blue-eyed Scottish man. None of our partners, past or present, look remotely like my father.

Of course, other researchers might tell me that my father was not a good role model and so we were all looking subconsciously for completely different men.

But who gives a toss, anyway?

All of this research into the laws of physical attraction really tells me just one thing: we are wasting a lot of money on studies that can’t be put to any practical use. Unless of course, you’re a fortune teller.

I can just imagine the scene in the fortune teller’s tent as she gazes into her crystal ball, with a young woman sitting opposite her: “Ah, I can see a man with blond hair and blue eyes in your life. He even looks a bit like you. Cross my palm with silver and I will reveal more.”

Most research costs money and is time consuming. As such, I think we ought to be more discerning about how we apply our research funds. Instead of focusing on who we might be attracted to and why, it might be better if the funding could be used to finance research on things like climate change, green energy, and how best to persuade newspaper editors that you really deserve a raise.

Perhaps I can get someone to fund a study on how much money has been wasted on useless studies.


But Then Again

By MARY SCHNEIDER 

Check out Mary on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mary.schneider.writer

Reader response can be directed to star2@thestar.com.my

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