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Wearing Makeup Increases Male Advances At a Bar.

Natural male repellent: Don’t wear makeup.

Vanessa_HudgensI am currently writing a section on cosmetics for my trade book (on the links between evolutionary psychology and consumer behavior). In scouring the literature for studies that have investigated the effects of cosmetics in social interactions, I came across this cute study, which I am happy to share with you here. Most readers could have probably predicted the findings that I am about to discuss. However, I think that to the extent that no one had formally tested the central premise, I hope that you'll agree that it is worth reporting the findings here.

In a 2008 paper, Nicolas Guéguen explored the number of times that women were approached at a bar and the speed with which they were approached, as a function of whether they wore makeup or not. Using two female confederates, he had them appear at a bar on two separate days either with or without makeup. They sat together and chatted while two male observers kept track of the number of times that male patrons initiated conversations with the two confederates and the length of time it took prior to the initial advance being made.

Here are the key results. Note that the differences in means were statistically significant in both cases.

Average time elapsed prior to first contact by a man:
When wearing makeup: 17.09 minutes
When not wearing makeup: 23.08 minutes

Average number of men who made contact across the one-hour observational periods:
When wearing makeup: 2.07
When not wearing makeup: 1.57

Finally, there was a negative correlation between the latter two variables both in the makeup and no makeup conditions (-0.54 and -0.61 respectively). In other words, the more quickly the women were first approached (smaller elapsed time), the greater the number of times that they were approached over the full observational period.

Bottom line: Wearing cosmetics induces men to approach women more rapidly and more often.

Next post: Male attire of low status serves as a natural repellent of women!

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