A piece of sillinessSep 8th, 2008 | By Ian Poulton | Category: Personal Columns
Browsing through Auntie Beeb’s web pages, it was hard to resist a link that said “Declaring love boosts sex appeal“. Clergy must rate highly, all those declarations of love and forgiveness every Sunday.
Sadly, the boost to sex appeal seemed only possible as a consequence of unclerical language.
Telling someone you fancy ‘I really like you’ could make him or her find you more attractive, research suggests.
Not really the sort of stuff that one says when sharing the Peace at the morning service.
Seminary training emphasized making eye contact and smiling at people as ways of effective communication. It was alarming to read that this could be construed in completely the wrong way.
Making eye contact and smiling have a similar effect, says Aberdeen University psychologist Dr Ben Jones.
Coffee after church must be taken with one’s eyes fixed firmly on one’s shoes, otherwise all sorts of strange assumptions might be made.
His study, involving 230 men and women, found such social cues – which signal how much others fancy you – play a crucial role in attraction.
The work will appear in Psychological Science and will be presented at the BA Festival of Science in Liverpool.
Dr Jones said singletons could use his findings to help prevent wasting time chatting up people who were clearly not interested.
Is there a proposal that a ‘chatting up’ manual be compiled to assist lovelorn individuals in their interactions? If someone is so at sea that they can’t read ‘get lost’ signals, it’s hard to imagine research is going to be of much assistance.
“Combining information about others’ physical beauty with information about how attracted they appear to be to you allows you to allocate your social effort efficiently,” he said.
What a sensible approach. Forget flirting and concentrate on the efficient allocation of social effort.
In other words, avoid wasting time on attractive individuals who appear unlikely to reciprocate.
Speed dating could be reduced to two second encounters!
Dr Lynda Boothroyd, a psychologist at the University of Durham, said: “We like it when attractive people seem to be behaving positively towards us.
“And we seem to end up with people who are on our level in terms of attractiveness.
Of course we do, of course we do.