The Science of Physical Attraction & Why the Internet Won't Cut It

But do her hips sway when she walks?
But do her hips sway when she walks?

I'm on an online dating site. Doesn't matter which one. (HINT: It might be AshleyMadison.com.)

These sites are great for a lot of reasons and horrible for a lot of others. They certainly attract a lot of weirdos, but heck so do chill L.A. bars with stellar soundtracks like Lola's and The Darkroom and I still go there with 5 percent optimism.

This morning a dude with a less-lame-than-usual username hit me up and told me it was his last day in L.A.

"You up for something spontaneous and crazy?"

Upcoming Events

Oh. He wants to fuck real quick before he heads to LAX.

Initial thought: Damn I wish I had President's Day off.

But then I found myself channeling Cher Horowitz (as if) despite this gentleman's strong jaw, piercing blue eyes and the electric guitar prominent in every profile photo.

I don't find any appeal in finding a quick lay using my laptop. And that confused me -- at first. Aside from the obvious reasons (ex. it's dangerous, he could be an ugly mo-fo, might have crabs) why not try that shoe on for size?

Regardless of how much of the ocean I can see in his eyes, how casually he holds his guitar, or how many times he mentions his double-jointed tongue, this guy's sexual appeal and how attractive I found him just couldn't get me over the initial speed bump.

But why?

Louis G. Tassinary, a Texas A&M professor, and Kerri Johnson, a colleague from NYU, collaborated a few years ago to study the science of physical attraction, and though the findings could be considered elderly in Internet years, they stand strong.

Johnson found that body MOVEMENT plays as significant a role in attractiveness as body shape/symmetry.

"When encountering another human, the first judgment an individual makes concerns the other individual's gender," Johnson said. "The body's shape, specifically the waist-to-hip ratio, has been related to gender identification and to perceived attractiveness, but part of the way we make such judgments is by determining whether the observed individual is behaving in ways consistent with our culture's definitions of beauty and of masculinity/femininity. And part of those cultural definitions involves movement."

Maybe if you look real close you can catch some of his swagger.
Maybe if you look real close you can catch some of his swagger.

Makes total sense. The Plumber (my no-strings sex friend who "checks on the pipes" as often as possible) takes great photos. But his mug and four-day-old Sicilian scruff aren't my main turn-ons.

When he walks into the room he stands tall with broad square shoulders and a wide stance, and each time he reaches for my, uh...plunger his bicep flexes a little. And then it's on.

Johnson's and Tassinary's study involved more than 700 people who took part in five studies measuring levels of attraction. Three of the five included depictions of people walking, and that's where the ratings starting rising.

Women shown walking with a "hip sway" -- an innately feminine trait -- were considered 50 percent hotter to the participants, while the perceived attractiveness of men shown strutting with "swagger" -- a stereotypically masculine move -- more than doubled.

"The current findings bolster our understanding of how and why the body is perceived attractive," Johnson continued. "Body cues bring about the basic social perception of sex and gender, and the compatibility of those basic precepts affects perceived attractiveness."

Though there was enough about my Internet un-fling's 2-dimensional photos and witty "About Me" paragraph to make him worth my time online, I wasn't attracted to him enough to want to meet him with the intention of putting his cock in my mouth.

I needed to see him walk, watch his eyes follow me, and determine if his shoulders were strong enough lift me off the bed. Had he greeted me with a limp hug and matching posture (the opposite of what attracts me to man meat) I'd have had to follow in Romy & Michelle's footsteps (fast-forward to the 3:30 mark) and booked it.

You can tell a lot from a handshake and a half smile and until these dating sites feature video content à la dating service VHS tapes*, the odds of me looking for a one-nighter online are slim.

*Yeah, even then I think I'll stick to fucking my handymen. They've got swagger AND big dicks.


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