Changing the Dating Game

When women approach men instead of vice versa, the gender difference in selectivity disappears

What’s more, by asking the participants to rate their self-confidence, the researchers provided further insight into what specifically about the speed-dating setup led both men and women to be more selective when they were seated. The investigators had wondered whether the act of sitting and being approached by a long string of members of the opposite sex made people feel especially desirable and, therefore, justifiably choosier. But they found that those who rotated showed more self-confidence than those who sat, nixing the idea that the sitters’ perception of being in greatdemand was driving their relative choosiness. Instead simply standing and being on the move boosted both genders’ sense of confidence, which in turn boosted their romantic attraction to the people they approached.

We don’t speed-date our way through real life, of course, but there are all kinds of social conventions based on gender, and these presumably shape romantic feelings and actions. Having men behave more like women and women more like men appears to narrow at least this one gap between the sexes.

(Further Reading)

  • (Close) Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Improving Implicit Racial Attitudes and Interracial Interactions through Approach Behaviors. K. Kawakami, C. E. Phills, J. R. Steele and J. F. Dovidio in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 92, No. 6, pages 957–971; June 2007.
  • Arbitrary Social Norms Influence Sex Differences in Romantic Selectivity. Eli J. Finkel and Paul W. Eastwick in Psychological Science, Vol. 20, No. 10, pages 1290–1295; October 2009.

This article was originally published with the title "We're Only Human: Changing the Dating Game."

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