Nerd Alert

Photo Courtesy of VectorPortal.com

Photo Courtesy of VectorPortal.com

What do women want?” The answer, as with most of life’s burning questions, is “It depends.” Fortunately, scientific researchers are now able to narrow down what the “it” depends on. What women find attractive in a man depends on the Gini Coefficient.

You might ask, “Who is Gini? Some two-bit tramp with a bad dye job?”

The Gini Coefficient is a measure of income inequality in a society. “Zero” means everything is hunky dory, no beggars cheek to jowl with billionaires. “One” means sheiks on one side of the tracks, shanties on the other. Turns out, the higher a country’s Gini, the more likely women with opt for “manly men”. Those with strong lantern jaws and Cro-Magnon eyebrows. Grrrrr

On the other hand, in societies where wealth is more equitably distributed women are more likely to pick guys with softer features or those whose faces lack symmetry.It seems that shacking up with a nerdy looking guy is a bit of a luxury from an evolutionary point of view. It’s reserved for those times and places in history when there is a relatively low level of economic inequalityalong with its bedmates, such as rates of disease and violence. (More unequal societies have higher rates of both.)

The reasoning goes: when times are tough, women would rather have offspring with the guy who has the healthiest DNA and is the most aggressive when it comes to fending for the family. The inherent risk is that he’s the very same dude who’s more likely to behave aggressively toward his family. It appears that in difficult times and places that’s a chance women are willing to take in return for healthier offspring and a better protector.

On the other hand, in an egalitarian society where the majority is assured a reasonable standard of living and a respite from chronic violence, teaming up with a weak-chinned, cerebral man is the better choice. He’s more likely to stick around and become a constructive member of the family unit, rather than a problem child of the adult variety.

Back to Gini. Canada’s Gini is 0.32. That’s certainly not the worst in the world but it ain’t the best either. The worrisome trend is, after dropping in the 1980s, it’s been steadily going up. In other words, Canada is becoming less egalitarian. The rich are getting richer. The poor… well, you know.

So where does that leave men?

If you’re a high-T guy (T for testosterone, the “male” hormone), there’s good news! Women of child-bearing age, especially in provinces with high poverty rates, like the Atlantic ones, will find your rugged good looks especially fetching. If you’re a low-T guy, your best betdating-wiseis to stick to provinces with less income variability like Quebec or PEI.

However, as Canada, along with United States, experiences greater extremes of wealth, things are going to get tougher for men with gentler features. The more proactive among them might consider a variety of options. Plastic surgery in the form of chin or jaw implants may spark up a moribund dating life. While those of a more political bent might consider taking up arms in the cause of income redistribution, thus increasing their chances of finding a mate.

So while it may be true that one day the “meek shall inherit the earth,” the meek have a lot more work to do before the earth is theirs.

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