The science of attractiveness can be obnoxious when misrepresented, but it's also fascinating. A new book contains some surprising information about sexy tigers, the cosmetic power of veggies — and how to talk about beauty without being an asshole.
David Perrett's In Your Face is all about our perceptions of human facial attractiveness, but it's largely free of the repellent statements that characterize many pop-science treatments of beauty and sexuality. Perrett's not interested in "proving" that fat people are gross or that men simply have to have much younger partners. His book may not be perfect — he uncritically reports research on monkeys' gendered play habits that Cordelia Fine questioned in her also-fascinating Delusions of Gender, and most of the studies he cites focus on heterosexual attraction (a limitation he acknowledges). Nonetheless, In Your Face is packed with interesting stuff. A sampling: