Things Nice Guys Have to Do to Be Found Attractive

New research says women like brooding or pompous types instead

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Researchers, like everyone else, belittle nice guys. Today we learned from a new study that women "really DO" (as the caps-happy Daily Mail puts it) find brooding or pompous men to be sexier than just averagely happy guys. That seemed just a tad unfair, so--based on other studies--we've noted for nice guys some things to do that might possibly increase attractiveness to the opposite sex.

First things first, the current study: British Columbia researchers had 1000 adult participants look at images like this one below of neutrally-dressed assistants. When forced to make a "gut" reaction on "carnal" attraction about who was sexiest in drab beige shirts, women decided that they liked the pictured guy best when he pumped his fists while flexing ("pride") and while he did Charlie Brown sad slump impression ("shame"). Women didn't care for his smiling, yearbook portrait version ("happiness").

As researchers typically like to do, they read into their results, speculating in their study's discussion section (PDF) that the findings implied a link between men's moody posturing and attractiveness to women:

Smiles tend to be socially appropriate across many situations, but there are contexts in which the appearance of sexual attractiveness is valued over social correctness. The present results suggest that men may need to choose between these competing social goals, but women do not.

Nice guys, in other words, face a dilemma between over-enthusiasm and slumping moodiness. If niether of those postures seem particularly appealing, here's what else other peer-reviewed studies have suggested that women find attractive:

So, you might want to try moodily slumping, wildly flailing your arms and sporting head-to-toe red attire while casually pointing out your deftly-placed scar on your chiseled, macho face. If not, well, consider one last bit of research:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.