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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Men, Are You a Red-Hot Romantic?

Romance. What is romance? Many of us men are baffled about what makes a woman go gaga with romantic interest. Of course, we understand a woman's desire for physically attractive features. They  like tall, wide-shouldered, muscular men with a symmetrical body and face. Men also understand the advantages of having a good personality. We know that women appreciate kindness, intelligence, and humor.

And, all too well, we understand the practices of dating protocol such as gifting and showering attention upon women. Most men also believe money and security rank high on most women's list of needs. But, quite frankly, the female erotic fascination with things like the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy and vampires really throws many males a curve. Still the question remains: "How does a man attain the quality of being romantic?" And remember, ladies, teaching romance to most of us must involve using with very elementary understandings.

Gentlemen, take heart. Thanks to research, scientists have found the key to being more romantically attractive to women. The answer is so simple, inexpensive, and readily available. It is deeply rooted in nature and in history.

Listen up carefully, fellows. In many nonhuman species of vertebrates, females are attracted to red on male conspecifics (organisms of the same species). Red is also a signal of male status in many species, and females show a mating preference for the color red. This is found in crustaceans, fish, birds, and nonhuman primates.

To mandrills and gelada baboons, red is an indicator of male dominance and is expressed most intensely in alpha males. Females of these species mate more often with alpha males, who in turn provide protection and resources.

So, how about human females and the color red? The present research finds that viewing red leads women to perceive men as more attractive and more sexually desirable. Furthermore, this red effect occurs because ladies see a “gentleman in red” as higher in status. (Elliot, A.J. Kayer, D.N. Greitemeyer, T. Lichtenfeld, S. Gramzow, R. Maier, M.A. Liu, H. "Red, Rank, and Romance in Women Viewing Men." Journal of Experimental Psychology. Vol. 139. No. 3. 2010)

"When women see red it triggers something deep and probably biologically ingrained," explains  lead author Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester."We say in our culture that men act like animals in the sexual realm. It looks like women may be acting like animals as well in the same sort of way." Just think, men, women are sexual beasts, evidently aroused like mad bulls, when they see red.

These red–attraction and red–status links have been found even when red is displayed on males artificially. In a series of seven experiments scientists found that women perceive men to be more attractive and sexually desirable when seen on a red background and in red clothing, and they additionally show that status perceptions are responsible for this red effect.

Scientific Conclusion:

The influence of red appears to be specific
to women’s romantic attraction to men.

According to the research, red did not influence men’s perceptions of other men, nor did it influence women’s perceptions of men’s overall likability, agreeableness, or extraversion (seeking out social stimulation and opportunities). Participants showed no awareness that the research focused on the influence of color.

These findings indicate that color not only has aesthetic value but can carry meaning and impact psychological functioning in subtle, important, and provocative ways. And, this surely smells of romance and all of that stuff men have trouble conceiving in the idyllic arts.

The study suggests that women’s thoughts and feelings toward men are, at least in part, primitive.
The effect was consistent across cultures: undergraduates in the United States, England, Germany, and China all found men more attractive when wearing or bordered by red.

Red has a long history of human association. In human societies across the globe, red traditionally has been part of the regalia of the rich and powerful. Ancient China, Japan and sub-Saharan Africa all used the vibrant tint to convey prosperity and elevated status, and Ancient Rome's most powerful citizens were literally called "the ones who wear red." Even today, the authors note, businessmen wear a red tie to indicate confidence, and celebrities and dignitaries are feted by "rolling out the red carpet." (Susan Hagan, "Women Attracted to Men in Red, Research Shows," University of Rochester, August 2 2010)

How about passion associated with red? Red rose is the symbol of love and fidelity. According to the Greek legend red roses arose from blood of Adonis who was killed by a wild boar on a hunt. In Greek mythology red rose was a symbol for the cycle of growth and decay, but also for love and affinity. Red rose is dedicated to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and daughter of Zeus and also to Roman goddess Venus.

Venus and Adonis - Rubens

Glory Hallelujah -- Romance!

The puzzling question “What do women want?” in regard to sexual attraction and desire (traits associated with romance) has been answered, at least in part."Red" research, coupled with work on menstrual cycle effects and symmetry effects, suggests that the answer may be less elusive but perhaps more provocative, than anticipated.

Color is typically thought of in terms of aesthetics alone, but it appears that color can also carry meaning and impact individuals’ psychological functioning. And, the color that gets into the head of women is red.

If we modern men would have only known that romance was this easy, we would have been reddening ourselves long ago to maximize our potential to attract babes. Red clothes, red cars, red wine, red bachelor pads -- turning up the heat with burgandy, crimson, and rose seems to be pretty simple and something a man could actually remember and practice.

So, guys, live and learn from the professors. Display your red hot desire on your sleeve because she is dying to display her animal attraction. You may even want to use the color psych for a token of love: "Give her two red roses, each with a note. The first note says 'For the woman I love' and the second, 'For my best friend.'"

One caution -- don't go overboard with ruby regalia. See, the red effect depends on the context. Elliot and others have also shown that seeing red in competitive situations, such as IQ tests or sporting events, leads to worse performance. It may be better to just stay rosy in the romantic sense.


The post today may finally help me better understand a William Carols Williams poem that has bugged me over the years. I always wondered about the red wheelbarrow. No wonder "so much depends" upon that red, wheeled vehicle. It's red. And evidently it's crucial for picking up the white chicks. Cock-a-doodle-do!

"The Red Wheelbarrow"

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

-William Carlos Williams

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