Common opinion dictates that beautiful women want to date men who make it obvious that they make a lot of money. Why else would guys buy expensive Italian shoes, luxury watches, and supercars, if not to woo the supermodel of their dreams?
This perception has its roots in evolutionary science, which maintains that men seek out women for their looks, in order to choose the most optimal bearer for their future offspring, and women choose men for their strength and resources, so that someone can provide for them and protect them from the wildebeest. But we don’t live in the Neolithic era anymore. Nowadays, women have plenty of their own resources (just look at Kylie Jenner).
So it makes sense that, today, women might be less likely to see a wealthy man fixated on material goods as an attractive long-term mate, or so says a new study published in Springer’s journal Evolutionary Psychological Science.
For the study, Daniel Kruger of the University of Michigan and Jessica Kruger at the University at Buffalo asked two groups of undergraduate students to rate the attractiveness and relationship potential of two men purchasing cars. One man chose a modest, practical, new car. The other opted for a used car and spent the rest of his money on flashy items such as big wheels, a paint job, and an awesome sound system.
Both male and female participants rated the flashy man as being suitable for a brief sexual fling but not a long-term committed relationship. The one who made the practical choice, however, scored much higher as a potential life partner.
The conclusions that researchers drew was that this was how people generally perceived flashy versus frugal men in the dating world.
“Participants demonstrated an intuitive understanding that men investing in the display of goods featuring exaggerated sensory properties have reproductive strategies with higher mating effort and greater interest in short-term sexual relationships, as well as lower paternal investment and interest in long-term committed romantic relationships than men investing in practical considerations,” Daniel Kruger said.
“This contrasts with the notion that men’s conspicuous resource displays are attractive to women because they reliably signal expected future resource investment in partners and especially in offspring,”Jessica Kruger added.
The research corroborates with another interesting recent study which found that women are more likely to choose a man with “masculine” features, such as a strong jawline, for short sexual encounters, but opt for someone with a more feminine face for long-term commitment.
This decision has some basis in research on human biology, since men with masculine features tend to be more testosterone-heavy, and therefore more likely to cheat and less likely to commit.
It may very well be that women have always intuited that flashy, attractive men were more suitable for a romp in the hay than a serious relationship, and that men with more feminine features and practical decision-making skills were more trustworthy and reliable. But, until fairly recently, society didn’t give them the option of dividing men up into those you want to emotionally invest in and those you just want to have a fun one-night stand with.
Now, all of that’s changing. And for more great relationship facts, here is The Age When Men Are Most Likely to Cheat.