I was hanging with my darling friend Jack the other night--I made a little dinner, we talked more about this book project we want to do--and as I was serving up some warm gingerbread for dessert, he paused and said, "There MUST be guys all over Brooklyn who are dying to bask in your sweetness, and just soak up your kindness and generosity."
Let me say that [a] I'm not that sweet; [b] I (platonically) love Jack so I'm especially nice to him; and [c] your friends always think you're way more awesome than you are. And I think the adorable lonely immigrant guys at my gym do soak up whatever niceness I occasionally manage to emanate. But why don't any other men (or so it seems on days like today)?
Well, apparently, according to a new study in the British Journal of Psychology, while guys do value altruism in a long-term partner, they found it slightly off-putting when they were looking for short-term relationships. "This could be because men fear that altruistic women will be too interested in other things and not enough in them," postulates Dr David Lewis, a member of the British Psychological Society and author of Loving and Loathing: the Enigma of Personal Attraction. "Men are very egotistical and see themselves as the sun in their own world." Which is to say men don't want to bask; they want to shine--and be worshipped.
My guess is that it's more that men like a challenge--and any woman who is seen as particularly kind or selfless doesn't come off as hard-to-get. But when a guy falls in love, his game-playing mentality falls away (and he can appreciate a woman who's sweet).
What do you guys think?
Women were another story:
"We found that women showed a strong preference for relationships with altruistic men in this study, even though the clues to altruistic traits were fairly subtle," says the study author, Dr Pat Barclay from University of Guelph, Canada. He offers a Darwinian explanation: "This suggests that women are attuned to generosity, and that altruism serves a purpose in mate selection. If a man is kind and generous towards others - even strangers - then there's a good chance that he'd make a good and generous parent."
(BTW, in the study, over 300 volunteers--half men, half women--were shown dating profiles, including photographs, and asked to talk about which one they'd like to have long-term or short relationships with. You can read more about it here.)
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Anyway, guys, I'm kinda mopey this week--between the failure of my novel and just feeling isolated because of the cold weather, etc. But hey, I've got Valentine's Day to look forward to, right? Oh joy!
Hope you all have very nice weekends.