You’d be surprised what the world of science has figured out when it comes to romance. One minute, science is launching Neil Armstrong across the void to walk on the moon. The next, it’s telling you exactly how to land your fantasy date. Contrary to popular belief, love and attraction is less like a romance novel, and a whole lot more like a psychology journal. Here’s what science says is working behind the scenes when Cupid’s arrow strikes.
It’s all lip service
Forget about flaunting your curves for a minute. Results from a study at Manchester University found that lips are a woman’s most attractive physical attribute. When you think about how much ladies like Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson are lusted after, it’s tough to argue against it. For extra credit, pink and red lipstick were found to hold a man’s attention even longer. When in doubt, go red—it’s a classic and it works.
Strong eye contact
Forget that saying about the eyes being the window to the soul, because they’re also the door to keeping a lover’s attention. Turns out your pupils dilate a little more when you’re attracted to someone. The kicker? People are apparently super attracted to dilated pupils. Lesson learned: never miss an opportunity to fixate your eyes at your intended bae.
Research suggests that straight, white teeth are more attractive, and it’s safe to assume that most folks don’t prefer yellow, rotting teeth. We shouldn’t even have to tell you this, but brush, floss, and visit your dentist regularly. You’d be surprised how many people don’t maintain dental hygiene. It’s one of those subconscious signals of health and fertility that evolution so craftily tucked into our DNA to help us survive. Thanks, evolution — now pay for our Invisalign!
Smiling like an emoji
When we say smiling like an emoji, we’re talking about the happy-face kind, not the inappropriate-but-well-timed eggplant. One study suggests that men are significantly more attracted to women who smile. It’s not like you’ll be reeling them in with a grimace.
A higher-pitched voice
High-pitched voices are apparently sexier. Researchers suggest it’s because higher voices suggest a smaller body size, which our society deems more attractive. We all know the truth: helium fetish. While we’re on the topic, keep in mind that cigarettes won’t help your cause as they have a tendency to deepen your voice (and yellow your teeth. And, you know, cause cancer).
The hips don’t lie
To make things more confusing, even though men appear to be attracted to smaller body types in the previous slide’s study, apparently both Shakira and Sir Mix-a-Lot were also right. Researchers found that men preferred larger hip-to-waist ratios than smaller ones. Call us crazy, but we’ve chosen to conclude that this means all body types are beautiful and attractive.
Make them see red
This study of color stereotypes included two photos of the exact same woman. She wore blue in one picture and red in the other, posing the same way in both. According to the results, the photo of the woman in red was rated as more attractive and sexually desirable. Furthermore, the men of the study indicated they would be more willing to date the scarlet-clad woman and even spend more money on her. Blue never stood a chance.
The body language of attraction
If you’re sitting at a bar, turn a little towards a guy you’re interested in. Leaning in, tilting your head, and pointing your feet toward a person all subconsciously communicate interest and engagement. Blushing signals attraction and is the body’s way of gaining the attention of the opposite sex. So if you’re going out and planning to mingle, don’t forget to put on a little blush before you go.
What might be the most important feature, according to researchers, is something we can do very little about: facial symmetry. This is when the left side of your face looks exactly like the right side of your face and vice versa, with things matching up perfectly from one side to another. Most celebrities and models have strong, symmetrical faces. You can’t really change your facial symmetry unless you go under the knife, and we don’t suggest trying it. If you happen to be blessed with facial symmetry, thank your genes for the leg up. But if you don’t, believe us, there are far more important things you can do to attract someone (see the next slide re: confidence).
Confidence is key
Being confident can vastly increase your sex appeal. Confident people are more apt to send off signals of interest. Send more signals out, and you’ll get more signals back in return — just don’t make it desperate. Even if you’re not the hottest person in the room, having the mindset that you are happy with who you are can help make a better impression than a model with with low self-esteem.