Who's Choosier: Men Or Women?

women eyeing man
Love, Self

New research shows it may not be a question of gender. It may come down to this one tiny detail.

The answer as to who, in the romance equation, is pickier when it comes to selecting a mate may come down to a question of who's doing the approaching and who's being approached, regardless of gender, finds a new study from researchers at Northwestern University.

The long-held belief is that women are more selective than men when it comes to mate selection. Why?  Because females  are programmed to consider the reproductive cost of choosing a partner, in other words, what bearing and raising children with the potential partner would be like.

A new study challenges this view. Typically at speed-dating events, men make the rounds while women remain seated. But when researchers at Northwestern University invited 350 undergrads to a round of four-minute speed-dates, they had women remain seated while men rotated for eight of the events and they had men remain seated while women rotated for the remaining seven events.

They found that the rotating students, regardless of gender, experienced more romantic desire and confidence (as indicated by their responses) after each date. What's more, after the rounds of speed-dating ended and it was time for the students to go to a website to decide if they wanted to see their speed-date match-ups again, the students who were actively approaching rather than waiting to be approached were more keen on seeing their potential mates again.Dating Red Flags: Do You Ignore Them?

The study is aligned with embodiment research which aims to show how physical actions can alter perceptions and how physical activity may intersect with psychological processes without our being aware. Study results will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science.

"Given that men generally are expected—and sometimes required—to approach a potential love interest, the implications are intriguing," said co-investigator Eli Finkel, PhD, associate professor of social psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern, in a press release. "The mere act of physically approaching a potential partner, versus being approached, seemed to increase desire for that partner."

So the likelihood of a man, or a woman, finding a potential mate on any given outing may come down to who's most willing to make the first move.

Readers, are you more likely to approach or wait to be approached? Would you be willing to switch it up if doing so meant you'd be more likely to meet a potential match?