There are a whole slew of evolutionary theories as to why we view certain physical characteristics, e.g., facial symmetry, clear skin and lustrous hair, as beautiful. According to these theories, these features are actually signs of health and fertility. Another well-known fact is that when women are at their most fertile they appear and smell more attractive to others. Of course, that would make sense evolutionarily as well.
But, a new piece of research reported in the NY Times(“Threatening Scent of Fertile Women”) added an interesting, even seemingly counter-intuitive, dimension. Men in relationships actually judged ovulating as less attractive!
What’s going on here? Scientists tested the “attentional adhesion” of those males in relationship versus those unattached, and observed that the former reject those women deemed attractive by the latter due to a sub-conscious “fidelity mechanism” to avoid being tempted. In other words, hitched men have different views of what makes a woman attractive!
Of course this makes sense evolutionarily too. As anyone with kids knows, it takes at least two parents to raise them. If men were to be attracted to every women he meets, especially a highly fertile one, co-parenting would totally fall apart.
Clearly smooth skin and even teeth alone don’t determine beauty. Science proves it goes deeper.