UK scientists have been studying the reaction of women to different “risk categories” of potential partners. The study draws direct parallels between competitive human male behaviour and ‘lekking’ – a term from animal behaviour referring to the habit of males to gather together and compete through vigorous displays. In particular mobile phones and their use were observed to be key tools in this display behaviour, but the same trophy flaunting can presumably be applied to bikes as well. “I don’t think women are bowled over by this kind of gadgetry as such,” says lead researcher Robin Dunbar. “I assume it has more to do with flaunting it.”
In another facet of the study 60 women were asked to rate the attractiveness as potential partners of men who were described as dare-devils, as helpful or neutrally.
The researchers chose dare-devil behaviour because it’s a common type of showing-off. For example, says Dunbar: “Men are more likely to take risks crossing the road if there are women nearby.”
The women said they were more likely to get involved in both short-term and long-term relationships with men who took risks. And when men were asked to predict how the women would choose, they got it dead right. “Showing-off does work, and men know it,” says Dunbar. “It’s depressing.”
Before you all start heading for the tattoo parlour and digging dirt jumps, it’s only fair to point out that the majority of the research was carried out in a central Liverpool pub. We’re therefore not sure whether the results are also dependent on shell suit and bubble perm pouting or indicative of a more widespread and depressing cavewoman wiring at the heart of women’s mating behaviour.
The one good thing is that seeing as mountain biking seems to be referred to as a fully fledged “Xtreme Sport” we’re far less likely to spend a night in the ‘pool alone than the users of FISH or GOLFmagic!!!!!!
Thanks to Jon at OUTDOORSmagic for the tip off on this one.