The Red-Light District

Exploring the carnal and taboo

Bigger Breasts Equal Free Rides

Female hitchhikers with bigger breasts are more likely to score free rides.

Years ago, while I was a senior in college, I was driving down the road late one Saturday night when my eyes connected with a hitchhiker. She was comely and about my age. She smiled, and I pulled over. As soon as I opened my door, she signaled her four drunk friends to pile on in with her. I had unwittingly become a cab driver (but unlike Lyft or UberX drivers I received neither payment nor penalty).

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Interestingly—and as I can attest to--research shows that eye contact combined with a larger bust size helps female hitchhikers score rides. But until recently, nobody has examined how bust size alone increases the likelihood that a hitchhiker can successfully convince a driver to pull over. In an elegant French study, Nicolos Guéguen and colleagues suggest that bigger breasts do indeed increase the chance that a female hitchhiker will get a ride from a male driver. 

In the study, researchers padded the bra of a 20-year-old woman in order to attract male drivers. The woman then pretended to hitchhike on a sunny summer day. In order to control for confounding variables, the young lady wore the same clothes and went sans makeup in every trial. Of the 774 male motorists solicited in the study, 14.92 percent stopped for the confederate in her natural state (A cups), 17.79 percent stopped when she wore B cups and 24 percent stopped when she wore C cups. Of note, in France the average breast size is a B cup. Furthermore, when they stopped participants were debriefed and thanked for their participation in the study without getting to give the young lady a ride.  (In other words, they were tricked like I was.) The results are intuitive and suggest that bigger breasts are likely to entice a male motorist into offering a ride to a female hitchhiker.

I can’t remember whether the young lady who inveigled me into giving her and her retinue a ride had large breasts. I think that instead she had a pretty face and smile and her figure was flattering—she had a lower waist-to-hip ratio which predictably is another feature that has been proven to attract men. Whatever the case may have been, I did feel slighted by the incident. I also remember that while I was driving, the coed who tricked me kept on telling me that I was “going to have a wonderful next day” for my good deed. (What good deed?! I stopped because I thought she was attractive.) Like a saturnine cabbie, I didn’t say anything and just drove to my destination.

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Naveed Saleh, M.D., M.S., attained a medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine and a master's degree in science journalism from Texas A&M.

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