Home
Warning: This blog is written for a rational audience that likes to have fun wrestling with unique or controversial points of view. It is written in a style that can easily be confused as advocacy for one sort of unpleasantness or another. It is not intended to change anyone's beliefs or actions. If you quote from this post or link to it, which you are welcome to do, please take responsibility for whatever happens if you mismatch the audience and the content.

---------------

Research shows that men are more attracted to women who smile.

That's no surprise to men. Ask any married man and he'll tell you that the corny old saying "Happy wife, happy life" rings true. The happier a woman is, the more beautiful she appears to men. It makes sense that men would want to make the women in their life more beautiful, for entirely selfish reasons, and so you would expect men to go out of their way to induce happiness in their female mates. That's a gross generalization, obviously, but it roughly matches my observations; most husbands seem to want their wives to be happy. The men might not be succeeding, for any variety of reasons, but they certainly want it.

The more interesting aspect of the same research is that women did NOT prefer men who smiled. In fact, younger women were more attracted to men who had a look of shame. The look that women liked the least in men was happiness.

Anyone see a problem with that?

If the science is right, we'd expect to see marriages in which men are trying to please their wives, thus making the wives more smiley and attractive, whereas women would be trying to squeeze the happiness out of the men in their lives and replace it with shame, thus making the men more attractive.

I won't go so far as to say that matches my observation, but the science points in that direction. So I put the question to you. According to your lifetime of observations, and very generally speaking, do you see a pattern in which men want to please women but women want to keep men in a frame of mind that is closer to shame than happiness?

To put this in more concrete terms, do you see a pattern in which husbands try to please wives and wives respond to their attempts with criticism? That would look like this:

Man: "I repainted the living room while you were gone, just like you wanted."

Woman: "Looks like the wrong color."

I hope the science is wrong. I'd hate to live in that world.

 
Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +110
  • Print
  • Share
  • Share:

Comments

Sort By:
Sep 16, 2013
Here's a direct quote from the study which is slightly different from the summary you provided.

The study says: "Shame displays were relatively attractive in both genders, and, among younger adult women viewers, male shame was more attractive than male happiness, and not substantially less than male pride".

Your interpretation: "In fact, younger women were more attracted to men who had a look of shame. The look that women liked the least in men was happiness"

As is your MO, you deliberately left out information to make a more "interesting" post. (Please stop doing that or at least stop acting surprised when it bites you in the a-s-s. )

Anyway, my theory is that a lot of smiling men look weak and needy to women. And in the reverse, a lot of prideful women look like a word that rhymes with witches, which is definitely not attractive to men.

Also, I think any discussion of wives should be kept out of this. I mean, she was attracted enough to some guy to marry him... :)
 
 
Sep 16, 2013
Men love women and their smiles. There is a section of reddit where women go to get approval for their bodies. The women always get complimented if they give a nice smile.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 15, 2013
This makes complete sense to me. Women are attracted to power. Powerful men don't smile, because they don't have to please anyone - they're powerful.

Men are attracted to women who find THEM attractive. Women demonstrate their receptivity by smiling at men. My friends and I always joke that when we smile at a man, he immediately thinks "she wants me!". Heh.

Any attempt to apply this study to the way married people behave is a real stretch, since it was conducted with people looking at photos of total strangers. Not a valid comparison.
 
 
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 15, 2013
shame means a man cares about her opinion - and that makes her happy =)
 
 
Sep 15, 2013
when a caveman brings home an animal kill, its great for survival, therefore women like to see pride of victory in men.

when a cavewoman is happy, it means she will stay where she is and take care of the cave and kids, and thats great for survival too. if she's unhappy, she will leave the cave.

did you see the other study where it says nature selects for skeptical women (who get pregnant less easily) and men who try to hit it off with women?

ok so the cavewoman is skeptical - when the man is happy, is he happy with her, or did he just sleep around? or is he about to leave her? or perhaps too contented to work anymore?

lotsa meanings, you get the idea..
 
 
Sep 13, 2013
Men do this, women do that.
All generalisations, based usually on one person - their partner (or their ex).
Never their fault.

What an attribution bias.

Are people taught to blame everything on gender?
 
 
Sep 13, 2013
To everyone who accused Scott of misinterpretting the data: he didn't.

If you look at his blog you see that what hes on about is that the research showed women prefer shame over happiness, not that women like shame best of all.

See the difference?
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 13, 2013
Oh-oh! You got me (and the rest of the gullible husbands who didn't bother to check immediately the link you provided. Clever.

The research says the women liked the look of pride the best, not shame. OK, it is true that laughing and happy faces got the least votes, so you just exaggerated the truth a bit.

But still in my case - it is true. My wife would never admit that if asked directly, but she really treats me better when I'm under stress, angry or felling down. Some will say it's the "mother's instinct" and that she likes when I show vulnerability, but I think she just loves when I'm down and not the happy, careless, not-a-worry-in-the-world bastard I usually am).

As far as I gathered, nothing gives her greater pleasure than to put me down a bit (except maybe sex), so I let her.

Right now my business is sour, money is tight and it looks like it's going to get worse that better in the foreseeable future, so I'm feeling pretty down (not yet depressed, but close) and she still likes to put me down (with sentences like: "So, still living off of my back this month, ha?"), although she's a bit more careful because I can bark back when I'm in such lousy mood.

In such cases, I always remember 3 saying about male-female relationships, as well as your advice (which I applied pretty often in the past):

1) Woman marries a man hoping she'll change him, but he doesn't change. A man marries a woman hoping she won't change, but she does."

2) Anyone who marries the second time did not deserve to get divorced the first time.

3) “Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.” - George Carlin

And here's your advice (in my own words): when you're in a relationship and want to avoid constant fights, this is the rule: whoever cares more about the issue is right. Of course, that means 90-95% percent of the time the woman will care more, but if you're a healthy male, 5 to 10% of getting your way should be more than enough...

I think that's not all there is to say about men and women relationships, but it covers a lot of ground...
 
 
Sep 13, 2013
A friend told me that women are not happy when husband is happy and they are not the reason. I agree with it.
 
 
+29 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 13, 2013
Your blog post reminds me of an old (but truly excellent) joke, which has the added benefit of being almost completely irrelevant to the subject matter. Perhaps the protagonist has been the recipient of the scenario you're suggesting:

A group of men are changing in locker room at a golf club. Suddenly a cell phone on the bench starts to ring, and a man puts it on speaker phone as he continues getting dressed. He says "Hello?", the woman on the other line says "Honey, it's me. Are you still at the golf club?"
"Yeah, what's going on?"
"I'm out shopping and found this great new leather coat, and it's only $500 dollars, can I get it?"
"Sure, if you like it."
"Thank you! I was also at the dealership earlier and saw the new Mercedes models, and there is one that's absolutely gorgeous, and I really want it!"
"How much is it?"
"About $80,000..."
"Alright, but for that price I want all the extra options included."
"Great! One other thing. The house we wanted last year is back on the market, but they're asking for 1,500,000."
"Well, go ahead and make them an offer, but don't go above 1,250,000."
"Really? Okay! I love you, see you later!"
"Love you too."

The rest of the men in the club stare at him wide-eyed. As he hangs up the phone he looks at the men and asks, "Anyone know whose phone this is?"
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 13, 2013
My personal take on the pictures of the shamed men, is that they look vulnerable, rather than ashamed as such - perhaps it would make the girls want to mother them.

Perhaps a woman feels that if she can see the vulnerability in a man, then he has let her see through his 'mask' - so it sort of creates a feeling of intimacy

I recall a story I once read of an old Navy trick to attract girls:- hold your breath until you get red in the face - they think you're tongue-tied and blushing, and that is attractive to them
(never tried it myself, but it does seem to ring true)

I personally think that if a woman is overly critical, it is probably a sign of some natural feeling or action, that's 'gone bad'. I don't know if most women are like that (as a lot of the readers claim); I know through experience that some are, but I also know that my wife is not, and I feel sorry for the people who are caught in (or got themselves into) situations where they can't see any hope for improvement.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 12, 2013
Way to brazenly misrepresented the results of that study for the sake of your commentary, Scott.

The results showed that PRIDE was the most attractive expression in men (among all female groups). And that, oddly enough, is what you see in the real world. Men who like to see their women happy, and women who want a confident man who they can look up to.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the women who prefer shame are the ones who can't get a confident man. Women would rather have a cow-towing schmuck than a happy-go-lucky schmuck.

WATYF
 
 
Sep 12, 2013
Is this sneaky way for Scott to poll how many of his male readers are unhappy with their marriages?
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 12, 2013
Oh so true. Like another commenter said...women are fixers, find satisfaction in taking something that has potential, but is imperfect, and then molding it into a women's idea of perfect. Once done, no need to keep the perfect guy around.
 
 
+16 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 12, 2013
I've found that my wife hates things that I like (star trek, fantasy football, football in general, my podcast), but I think the reason is that she feels those things take away from time I could be spending making her happy. It seems like she has a nagging feeling that when I'm doing things that only make me happy, I'm neglecting her in some way. I think it boils down to women having a complex idea of what should make a relationship work while men have a more simple view of happiness.
 
 
Sep 12, 2013
A different interpretation is that the best way to cheer up an unhappy man is to offer him sex, whereas offering sex to an unhappy woman is a waste of time -- you have to find some other way to cheer her up first, THEN ask for sex.
 
 
Sep 12, 2013
Man: "I repainted the living room while you were gone, just like you wanted."

Woman: "Looks like the wrong color."

you've met my ex then...................
 
 
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 12, 2013
Not smiling sends a signal to women that the guy needs their help to attain happiness. Women are fixers which is the same reason they are suckers for a sob story. Women are wildly attracted to the challenge of molding what they perceive as an imperfect man into their perfect ideal, but once that's accomplished they no longer feel needed and will dump him and move on. That's why we scratch our heads and wonder why women stay with jerks while the nice guys that worked so hard to please them get cast aside. Want to keep the home fires burning? Keep reigniting the challenge by telling your woman you're sorry you are such a dick sometimes but you're sure lucky to have her around. Then be a dick sometimes...
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 12, 2013
[I hope the science is wrong. I'd hate to live in that world. - Scott]

Unfortunately, it is true to the very last word. At least in general - a few good men could find themselves fortunate not to experience this, but not many.

I didn't believe it when I first heard a few men complain about this and counted myself lucky - but as time passes I came up with the same conclusion. So, to spell it again for those with LRC syndrome - it is

T. R. U. E.

As for not wanting to live in that kind of world, that's your spiritual side coming through, like all those Christians who "would hate to live in a world where there is no God".
 
 
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 12, 2013
uhmdown just pointed me towards where we can give this thing a positive spin:

Women are attacted to unhappy men (who don't get laid), so that they can MAKE THEM HAPPY.

Yes!
 
 
 
Get the new Dilbert app!
Old Dilbert Blog