Not that you should have been checking out your significant other's mom or dad, anyway...but a recent study says it might be a useless barometer to judge how attractive your guy or girl will be in old age.
The study, out of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, suggests a woman's beauty is a gift from both of her good-looking parents but a man's facial attractiveness is harder to place. It says attractive fathers do not necessarily have attractive sons and you can't look at a man's mother to find out if he'll still be eye candy in old age, either. "Masculine" fathers do have "masculine" sons, however, which may factor into attraction.
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But even though it could be interesting to find out why some people (er, not-ugly people) take a leading role in evolution by procreating, I think the "findings" of this study are a total crock.
First of all, attractiveness is so objective. (See: Justin Timberlake during the N'Sync years, Toby Keith at any time) It's hard to quantify how good-looking a person is -- though some studies suggest it can be based on how symmetrical one's face looks. But there's so many subtleties among individuals and cultures that I wonder how these researchers can even try to standardize attraction. And let's not forget the pernicious affect of beer googles, either!
Furthermore, the idea of "masculinity" is totally objective, too. Metrosexuality is the zeitgeist -- which has, on the very fringes, men who wear makeup and pantyhose. What does masculinity even mean anymore?
Besides, I think being "macho" is more of a learned behavior (gruntin', gun-slingin', moose-wrasslin') than something that can be genetically passed down. "Masculine" dads probably have "masculine" sons because they've taught their boys to behave the way men "should."
But my biggest issue with this study is that it seems to be taking seriously the old saying "if you want to see how a woman will look when she's old, take a look at her mother." It's true resemblances sometimes run in families. But it's unfair to judge a woman based on her mom, who she didn't choose to be born to -- not to mention sexist to imply an older woman may be ugly just because she has grey hair or wrinkles. It wouldn't be fair for women to judge men and their fathers by the same criteria, either.
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I'm sure this study will grab a lot of headlines, but it seems to rely on some pretty shaky premises to me. Call me crazy, but I believe inner beauty trumps all in attraction, anyway.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below.