Self

Why Nice Guys Actually Don't Finish Last, According To Study

Photo: Den Rozhnovsky / Shutterstock
guy looking at a letter

Good news for nice guys: you don't have to be a bad boy or a jerk to find love and a long-term relationship. All that stuff you hear about how if a boy is mean to a girl, it means he likes her? Yeah well, girls don't actually like that. Girls actually want a sweet, and sensitive guy who plays with them at recess, not one who pushes them off the swings.

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A study conducted by the University of Worcester, which was published in the journal Evolutionary Biology, found that women actually consider certain kinds of niceness more attractive than just good looks when it comes right down to it. Of course, they do, you have to have a kind personality behind such a pretty face.

Researchers asked 202 women to look at dozens of photographs of men's faces — some were conventionally good-looking, and some were not. The participants then read various hypothetical scenarios about the men in the photos.

According to this study, nice guys don't finish last.

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One example included an unattractive man giving a sandwich to a homeless man, versus a good-looking man avoiding any contact with the homeless man.

Another scenario was the handsome man being the person to give the sandwich to the homeless guy. After reading the scenarios, the participants were asked to rate how attractive they found each man, both for a hook-up and for something more lasting.

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The study found that women preferred unselfish, charitable men, especially in long-term relationships, and that this interacted with physical attractiveness in such a way that is both attractive and benevolent making a man even more desirable than just the combination of the two desirable parts. This is a message to all pretty men, you need to start being kinder, it will get you more dates. 

Also, being generous and thoughtful made men who weren't especially attractive more desirable, but only for long-term relationships.

Finally, men who were big-hearted and kind were rated more desirable than men who were only attractive, especially for committed relationships. Even though it seems that nicer men are more desirable, a lot of men aren't actually nice guys. The men in these fake scenarios are generous and charitable, whereas guys who label themselves as nice guys are actually only kind so women will sleep with them, not just because they should be.

If women are going to have a serious and committed relationship, maybe even with marriage and kids on the horizon someday, then they need to fall in love with someone who is kind and generous.

Nice guys for the win! Yay to no longer pushing girls down at recess!

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer, performer, and astrology lover. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, and Woman's Day. 

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