Happy Guys Finish Last in the Dating Game

Researchers also discover what traits men find sexy in women

Here’s some news sure to send men and women scrabbling to change their online dating profiles The emotions you display in your photo may determine just how sexy others find you.

Turns out, it’s not just nice guys who finish last. When it comes to first impressions, happy guys come in at the back of the line, too. The research, published in the American Psychological Association journal Emotion, found that women are more sexually attracted to brooding, serious types than men who put on a happy face.

And, while women might be tempted to post pictures of themselves pouting seductively, they’ll have better luck attracting a man using a snapshot of themselves with a big a smile. Unlike women's preference for bad boys, the study found that men are more captivated by grinning, happy-go-lucky women.

When the researchers asked 1,000 men and women to rate the sex appeal of hundreds of images of the opposite sex, they found that women were least attracted to the smiling men -- preferring guys who looked melancholy or confident. The type of women liked least by men: the proud and powerful ones. So much for the theory that men find self-confidence sexy.

According to the researchers, the study is a better indicator of raw sexual attraction and less a sign of who we think will make a good long-term partner. The reason we’re hot for sullen or proud men, they say, is because it shows off their most masculine features, like a strong jaw or big chest. Smiling, on the other hand, indicates submissiveness -- which was not such a good survival trait in our ancestors. That’s the same reason why we prefer tall men; we feel better protected by men who can fight back. Women, on the other hand, needed to tend and befriend their clan, so the happiest females may have had the most support.

I admit that I am a sucker for bad boys. There are few things that turn my head like a well-defined jaw line (see Johnny Depp). Unfortunately, it’s a feature that pretty much disappears when a guy is grinning ear to ear. To really showcase it, a guy has to be clenching his jaw -- which means I’m destined to fall for men who are chronically angry or uptight. That’s probably why I have a horrible track record of swooning over the worst offenders on The Bachelorette. My first impression roses routinely go to those who belong in the liars and cheaters hall of shame. So as much as I wish I could refute this study, I am simply more proof that women find strong, sullen men sexier.

As for my own Facebook profile picture, I am happy to report that I am smiling in it. But since I have yet to see any studies on the sex appeal of looking cross-eyed at the camera, I can’t really say for sure just how hot the opposite sex is likely to find me.

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