HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Party Tips from Evolutionary Psychologists

Just in time for the holiday party season, an evolutionary psychologist provides helpful tips on how to meet a romantic partner at a party.  The LA Times reports the tips and states,

Mistletoe Wondering what to wear at the holiday party to lure a new love for '09? That expensive, sequiny dress? A handsome new holly-green vest and some knock-'em-dead after-shave? Too bad fashion writers don't read science journals. Instead of just lecturing on clothing, perfume and makeup, they could draw on research from human mating for their tips on boosting one's attractiveness at holiday parties -- ones that don't involve buying a thing.

Details such as the color of the walls, who you stand next to, whether the crab cakes at the buffet run out early -- strange to say -- may change how others perceive us in small (yet potentially useful) ways. "People are differentially attractive under different circumstances," says David M. Buss, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin and author of "The Evolution of Desire."

So we trawled the scientific journals to find holiday party mating strategies that draw upon this fact. Here are the fruits: arcane tips for maximizing your irresistibility at parties this month, no expensive bling required. (Apologies to some up front: Most of the experiments we found focus on the attractiveness of heterosexual women.) . . .

I do not want to be a downer here but most of these tips seem rather offensive to me and focus only on appearance.   While first impressions are important, I am not sure that finding your partner should focus so exclusively on some of the factors mentioned.  I honestly do not believe that I could tell you what my husband was eating, where he was standing or whether he had shaved recently when we first met.

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