Life

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Why Mr Nice Guy has no chance on that vital first date

Sarah Knapton

Published 26/07/2014 | 02:30

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IF a man truly wants to arouse the interest of a woman on a first date then he needs to stop trying so hard, research has said.

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A man who is too attentive raises suspicions, being seen as manipulative, vulnerable, or even desperate. However, if a woman is friendly and open on a first date it will make her appear more feminine and therefore more desirable.

The research, which involved only heterosexual couples, tested the frequent assertion that people seek a partner who is "responsive to their needs" and that such a person would arouse their sexual interest.

However, it was found that in the early stages of dating, women are attracted by unresponsive men.

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in a scene from When Harry Met Sally
Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in a scene from When Harry Met Sally

Prof Gurit Birnbaum, of the Interdisciplinary Centre in Israel, which conducted two out of three experiments in the study, said women may perceive "a responsive stranger" as "inappropriately nice and manipulative, in that trying to obtain sexual favours, or eager to please, perhaps even as desperate and therefore less appealing.

"Alternatively, women may perceive a responsive man as vulnerable and less dominant. Regardless of the reasons, perhaps men should slow down if their goal is to instill sexual desire," he said. Yet the advice for women is to be nice if they want to attract a male and not appear aloof.

Attractive

In the first experiment, 112 single undergraduates aged between 20 and 33 were paired with a member of the opposite sex on a 30-minute date. It was found that women who were judged to be friendly and responsive were seen to be more sexually attractive. Men, on the other hand, who were too eager to please, were viewed as manipulative or looking for a "quick fling".

The second test, which asked 80 men to communicate with women over Instant Messenger, also found they were more likely to find women sexually attractive if they were open, friendly and agreeable.

The third test, conducted by the University of Rochester, in the United States, asked participants to discuss a problem with on invisible online date, who was either sympathetic or unsympathetic.

Men who interacted with an agreeable and attentive virtual female perceived her as more sexually attractive. However, women were more cautious when interpreting a stranger's friendship.

Prof Birnbaum said some women may feel uncomfortable about a new acquaintance who seems to want to be close.

"Such feelings may impair sexual attraction to this responsive stranger. Other women may perceive a responsive stranger as warm and caring and therefore as a desirable long-term partner."

 

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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