In its unrelenting mission to prove how all of our romantic entanglements are reducible to base, superficial instincts leftover from a time when we were all upright monkeys roaming the African wilderness in search of scarce food, scientists have determined that women prefer men with a healthy, golden tint to their skin.
Researchers with the unnervingly specific Face Perception Group at the University of Nottingham showed photos taken under controlled conditions of 34 Caucasian men's face and 41 black African men's faces to women tasked with determining the most attractive men. Surprisingly, men with traditionally masculine features, i.e. strong jaw, ample brow, battle scars, and probably a carpet of healthy stubble on their cheeks, lost out to men with a noticeable "golden glow" to their skin. That glow, according to the grand poobah of the study, the lyrically named Dr. Ian Stephen, is the byproduct of good health, "especially [of] the amount of colorful antioxidant carotenoid pigments we get from fruit and vegetables in our diet." And why, Dr. Ian Stephen Bo-Bephen- Banana-Bama-Fo-Fephen, would not looking like a sallow, pockmarked zombie make men attractive to members of the opposite sex?
Well, it's because when we're determining the attractiveness of a potential mate, it's really our pre-internet brains evaluating that person's fertility, and healthy, golden-hued people are more likely to produce similarly healthy offspring. "Our study," says Stephen, "shows that being healthy may be the best way for men to look attractive. We know that you can achieve a more healthy looking skin color by eating more fruit and vegetables, so that would be a good start."
As with a lot of scientific studies about things that more or less go without saying, there's a hitch to the iron-clad logic behind healthy skin color equaling sexy times — women can only detect this golden aura of health in men of the same race, which means that, in this modern era of interracial marriages, women are in grave danger of being duped into unions with unhealthy men whose diets consists strictly of frozen mozzarella sticks and beer. Fast forward twenty years and we have a Children of Men scenario, something that I'd be all for because children scream a lot and their natural intuitiveness makes me think that they are constantly judging me.
In guys, women pick healthy over manly [Futurity]
Image via ftelkov/Shutterstock.