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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lonely Hearts: Love and unfaithfulness …

I was interested in the following table on the BBC’s science site. Some psychologists have been analysing the key words that men and women use when advertising their wares in the shop window that is the Personal Columns. As you can see in the table below, women have a more pragmatic, economic outlook to the way they prioritise what seem to be the top five evolutionary ingredients in preserving gene stock. It goes some way to explaining the beautiful woman/ugly bloke scenario, though, here in Ghana, one might expect, given my last blog, that Resources would be closer to the top of a woman’s list.

Men’s preferences

1. Attractiveness
1. Commitment
3 Social skills
4. Resources
4 Sexiness

Women’s preferences

1. Commitment
2. Social skills
3. Resources
4. Attractiveness
5. Sexiness

There were other differences, further down the list, such as humour. The rather toe-curling acronym, WSOH, which people liberally apply to themselves, is meant differently by the genders. Men are looking for approval for their humorous offerings while women see them as a means to illuminate the psyche and resourcefulness of the male. Crudely put, men want their partners to think highly of them and, therefore, not go off with another male’s gene possibilities. Women want to know what they are getting into, though they may not be as prescriptive about their own faithfulness as previously thought.

There was some research done a few years back which suggested that more than one in ten children born were not the offspring of the male partner of the time. Midwives have plenty of anecdotal evidence to support those findings. Since everyone is aware, at some level of consciousness, of what appeals to the opposite sex, self-advertisers tend to present themselves as having a potent combination of these top traits. They manufacture appealing self-images.

It is not surprising, therefore, that lying provides fuel for the biggest complaint among those who indulge in Lonely Hearts advertising.

After all, more recent scientific studies have found that most people in the West engage in the ‘three stages of love’. Lust, attraction and then attachment. A little more physical and chemical than advice found in Eddie Cochrane’s Three Steps to Heaven. No wonder then, as male and female correspondents create and present their seductive fibs to each other, most potential relationships never even reach stage one.

If your heart is yearning and you want to do something about it, take the table at the top and study what your would-be partner is likely to be looking for – but get the traits in the right order! Then, having met your lonely heart, hope to play out the reality of the three stages of love.

Good luck!


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