Men are attracted to the idea of dating intelligent women – but don’t actually like the reality of it.
That’s according to researchers who carried out several studies into what men find desirable in women.
The findings, to be published in the November edition of ‘Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin’, concluded that men find the propect of dating intelligent women intimidating.
The study, carried out by researchers the University of Buffalo, California Lutheran University and University of Texas, Austin, posits that men’s attraction to certain traits in women can be directly affected by how realistic a romantic prospect their potential lover is.
Broken into two parts, 105 men were first read a hypothetical scenario involving a woman who either outperformed or underperformed them in a Maths or English course and then made to imagine them as a romantic partner.
The men ranked a woman who outscored them as a more desirable partner, with the study stating that “men formed favourable impressions and showed greater interest in women who displayed more (versus less) intelligence than themselves.”
However, the second part of the study – when men were asked if they would date such a woman in real life – showed that the men got cold feet. “[Men faced in this real life scenario] distanced themselves more from her, tended to rate her as less attractive, and showed less desire to exchange contact information or plan a date with her”.
While the authors behind the study caution that more experimentation may be needed to confirm the conclusion, they do believe that “feelings of diminished masculinity accounted for men’s decreased attraction toward women who outperformed them.”
Who knew masculinity could be so fragile?