Q: How can I increase the perception that I’m a good long-term mate?
A: Many women are only interested in men who want to commit. They are looking for providers and nurturers. One way to increase your attractiveness to these women is to get a dog!
This study was published in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology in 2013. It examines how dog ownership increases “long term” attractiveness in men.
Previous research shows that men have two broad strategies to attract women that researchers call the “Cad” and “Dad” strategies.
- These men are more competitive and socially dominant, and take more risks.
- These men are more interested in long-term courtship and parenting.
- These men show their attractiveness through compassion, kindness, being romantic, showing industriousness, and investing in relationships.
- Cads are more interested in dating, mating, and moving on.
- Dads are (unsurprisingly) interested in finding the “right” woman and settling down.
One might think that women are only interested in “Dads” but this isn’t true.
Women ideally prefer a mate who blends the positive attributes of both strategies.
However, genetically and biologically, men can’t be the perfect blend of both. There are trade-offs for each trait. Every individual man is going to be slightly more or less of each trait.
- How does this relate to dog ownership?
- Dog ownership may be a signal of Dad traits.
It shows that a man is responsible, nurturing, and willing to commit to taking care of a dog over many years.
Thus, we could predict that dog ownership may signal attractiveness for women seeking long-term relationships.
This means that dog ownership might also make Cads more attractive, because it makes them seem like a more balanced blend of traits.
- The experiment involved 100 mostly childless and unmarried women.
- Each woman read two vignettes randomly selected from the following list:
- A story about a Cad with a dog AND a Dad without a dog
- A story about a Cad without a dog AND a Dad with a dog
- The vignettes were stories about either a typical Dad going about his life activities, or a typical Cad. The man either had a dog in the story or didn’t.
- The women then rated the attractiveness of the character and what his dating style is probably like.
- Attractiveness was rated in two broad ways:
- Short-term attractiveness was rated on whether the woman would “have an affair with” the character.
- Long-term attractiveness was rated on whether the woman would “marry” the character.
- Dating style and “Mating Effort” were also measured by the study. “Mating effort” is better defined as the degree to which a man is willing to invest in a relationship. Questions in these areas indicated whether the man did things like:
- Cheats on his partners
- Gets into fights
- Takes good care of his kids
- Works hard at a job (even if he doesn’t like it)
- Thus, “dating style” separated the characters into those who are perceived as Dads vs. Cads.
- The researchers analyzed the data by seeing how women rated the men in the vignettes.
- The Dads were seen as having more “long-term attractiveness” (women said they’re more likely to “marry” him).
- Having a dog didn’t really do anything for Dads’ short- or long-term attractiveness.
- The Cads were seen as having more “short-term attractiveness” (women said they’re more likely to have an “affair” with him).
- Dog ownership made a stronger difference for Cads then Dads.
- In other words, having a dog made the Cads seem to have more long-term attractiveness.
- Notably, Cads got more “long-term attractiveness” because it increased their perceived mating effort.
In other words, women who read about a Cad with a dog were more likely to say that the man is willing to invest in the relationship, and that increased his attractiveness.
What can we learn from this survey?
If traits like kindness, gentleness, compassion come easily to you, you probably already have long-term attractiveness to women who are looking for that. Getting a dog isn’t going to help.
But if you struggle with portraying these traits, one way to increase them is to get a dog! It indicates that you’re willing to invest in a relationship, and will show you to be a more attractive, balanced mate.
Tifferet, S., Kruger, D. J., Bar-Lev, O., & Zeller, S. (2013). Dog ownership increases attractiveness and attenuates perceptions of short-term mating strategy in cad-like men. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 11(3), 121-129. Link: https://www.researchgate.net