Monday, February 28, 2011

Monkey Business

Photo by Arthur Princehorn, Oberlin College Archives
I found this article pretty damn interesting.  Researchers have known for a while that women in committed relationships tend to downplay the attractiveness of people who aren't their mates.   If the potato chips aren't all that tasty, the logic goes, then you're not missing out by not opening the bag.   I've caught myself doing this any number of times, and, in general, I'm in favor of it.  Who wants to spend her life pining for all the, um, potato chips she can't have?  Or constantly upending stable relationships in pursuit of the latest salty snack?

No, far better to seize on that split infinitive, that whiff of dysfunction, that misplaced modifier.  (SIDE NOTE: Do not misplace your modifiers.  Ever.  I mean it.  Stop.) 

But here's what I didn't expect: Men do it, too.  At least according a recent FSU study, in which men sitting in a waiting room were asked to rate the attractiveness of an ovulating female accomplice.  Past research has suggested that men rate women in the middle of their menstrual cycles as more attractive than women in other phases -demonstrating, as if I needed more proof, that humans are overgrown baboons.  Single men in the FSU study hewed to this pattern, but men in relationships fell over themselves trying to downgrade the woman's attractiveness.   If they couldn't have her, she clearly wasn't all that hot.

Score one for the good guys? 

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