Thus, finding men who are agreeable, smart, and gainfully employed are signs that they will make good providers. In sum, evolutionary theory predicts that women look for men who can provide security and protection, who can invest in their child resources in a long-term relationship or who can pass on good genes in a short-term fling. Female waist-to-hip and male waist-to-shoulder ratios as determinants of romantic desirability. The evolution of human intrasexual competition: Tactics of mate attraction. Variable preferences for sexual dimorphism in stature (SDS): Further evidence for an adjustment in relation to own height. Also as you might expect, height and physical traits are not enough to explain what women want, especially when looking for long-term romantic relationships.
Even beyond biology, this study showed that women had a stronger preference for taller men when they were looking for a short-term relationship.
In other words, height and physical attraction may be most important when looking for a fling or a casual sexual relationship.
Researchers suggest this happens to optimize our potential dating pool (Salska, et al., 2008).
If we all only dated men who were 6’4” or taller, there would be so many people who were dateless, and competition for these tall men would be tough.
What’s interesting is how women use height in gauging their attraction for men.
It turns out that height, like many other factors, depends on the individual – their own physical characteristics and what they’re looking for in a mate. Let’s first start with the tendency for women to prefer taller men since this idea is a common expectation.
For dating, women look for men with agreeable personalities – men who show kindness, empathy, and intimacy, and factors like these can play a part in what women find most attractive in a man.
According to evolutionary theory, women looking for long-term relationships would want men who would stick by their side and help them provide for and take care of their infants.
On the other hand, this also suggests that women at the shorter end of the spectrum and men at the taller end can afford to be more selective in who they wish to date, since they have a wider available dating pool from which to choose.