Sarah Knapton at The Telegraph–that’s not her above, I’m pretty sure–tells us something interesting, and it must be true, because it’s science!
Men value intelligence in women far above large breasts and long legs, a Cambridge evolutionary biologist has claimed.
Although having a large bust and never-ending pins are deemed by western culture as the epitome of femininity, when choosing a mother for their children, men look for brains first, Professor David Bainbridge, of the University of Cambridge said that intelligence is by far the most attractive quality for men looking for a long term partner because it demonstrates that his chosen partner is likely to be a responsible parent.
It also suggests she was brought by intelligent parents and so was likely to be well fed and looked after in childhood, and so healthier. It may explain why a man like George Clooney ended up marrying human rights barrister Amal Alamuddin.
Nah. It probably explains primarily that Clooney finally grew up and became something resembling an adult. We spend much of our lives doing anything to avoid being lonely. Ultimately, that requires a devoted, interesting, loving spouse.
Prof Bainbridge said men actually do not care how large breasts are as long as they are symmetrical while for legs, it only matters that they are straight, as bent, uneven legs suggest a developmental illness, like rickets.
‘Breast size doesn’t matter,’ he told the Hay Festival. ‘Actually large breasts are more likely to be asymmetric and men are more attracted to symmetry. And they look older more quickly, and men value youth.
And men are not looking for long legs. Straight legs are a sign of genetic health so that is something that is more attractive, but surveys have shown most men prefer regular length.’
“Regular length?” Abraham Lincoln, when asked how long a man’s legs should be, is said to have replied: “long enough to reach the ground.” Is that “regular length?” Is “regular length” a scientific term?
What are we to make of common terms like “breast men” or “leg men?” As a fully qualified male, I can certify that men do indeed have preferences for such things. I, for example, have always been attracted to dark brown eyes and thick, brown hair, which obviously explains why I married a woman with beautiful blue eyes and fine blonde hair. I have always been appreciative of muscular legs, which I suspect is a preference from my runner’s background, and Mrs. Manor is certainly well endowed there.
Breasts? I’ve loved a number of women with breasts of all sizes and shapes, and loved them too, not for their size, but because they were part of the women I loved.
The main thing that men are looking for is intelligence. Surveys have shown time and time again that this is the first thing that men look for. It shows that she will be able to look after his children and that her parents were probably intelligent as well, suggesting that she was raised well.
Men also look for symmetry in facial and bodily features, which suggests ‘stable’ genes and youthful partners. Studies have shown that men who are four to five years older than their partners are more successful. However men do like women to be curvaceous with voluptuous thighs and bottoms, and a waist that is much slimmer than their hips.
So. An intelligent woman with a stereotypically Playboy-like figure, but breasts really don’t matter as long as they’re balanced? I think I want to see the good Professor’s methodology and data sets.
Actually, this is a topic I tackled back in October of 2013 (somebody had to do it!) when a then-new study suggested that people–and this includes women-kind of people–tend to focus more on a woman’s breasts and figure than her face when analyzing her figure.
The research was done at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which might account for some of the cultural differences we’re seeing here. The British, always class-conscious, tend to care about one’s upbringing, while Americans tend to focus on other issues. Way back then, I wrote:
I knew it! Those sexist…sputter…wheeze…women!?
Full disclosure: I am male, and as such, I appreciate breasts. I really like them. In fact, you might even say I have been on a first name basis with many over the years–usually twins. It just seems to work that way for me.
But I have a double, double whammy. Because of all my years in police work, I scan everyone I meet, male or female, paying particular attention to the hands, waist, and the chest. The hands, because they conceal and hold weapons, and the waist and chest because weapons are commonly concealed in those areas and are most quickly put into play from those areas. Even though I haven’t carried a badge for many years, the habits developed do not fade, and it’s smart to keep them in any case.
But OK, I’ll admit it: I do look at–not ogle, drool over, walk into fixed objects when looking at, step on my tongue around, spill hot coffee into my lap when in the proximity of–breasts. I find their shape, the way they move, their simple femininity, endlessly fascinating. I appreciate them as I appreciate beauty–of any kind–in general. And so, I have no fixation over breasts of a particular shape or size, and ultimately, they mean nothing to me when assessing the character of women. In fact, my female friends who happen to be well endowed have, to a woman, told me I’m the only man they know that looks them in the eye when talking with them.
That’s always been surprising–that everyone wouldn’t do that–look a woman in the eye, I mean. Breasts aren’t particularly good at giving non-verbal clues–well, not those kinds of clues, anyway…I think I just stepped on my tongue…I guess Steve Martin was right: breasts do make men stupid.
I suppose that’s the point. We are more than the sum of our parts. Anyone who doesn’t know that deserves to spend their nights on their parent’s couch in their basement bedroom.
What’s really going on here is probably nothing more than aging and maturation. As a youngster, I had very specific preferences in female body parts, many pretty finely tuned, based not only on the heavily air brushed girls of Playboy–remember: no Internet back in the 1400s–but on my own observations of real girlfriends, as delightful now in memory as they were then in reality.
I always sought smart, talented, happy, outgoing girls, and eventually came to realize that breast size and other physical attributes were far less important to me than character and reliability. It’s perhaps mildly remarkable that this realization coincided with my growing older and wiser. When, exactly, did this take place? Hard to say, but I’ve been married 37 years and ridiculously happy with my blonde, blue-eyed wife, who I often introduce–to her slightly exasperated delight–as my “trophy wife.”
What’s that you say? What about breasts? C’mon; I’m a guy!