Feeling the need for scientific research to back up the ‘dirty old men’ myth, Gothenburg University and Oxford University scientists performed a study on 400 lonely hearts ads to see how men and women choose their partners. What they wanted was to test some theories about how men and women pick their partners in general.
By examining these ads, they found out what any man in his right mind already knows (this applies to most, not everybody). Women search for solid resources and an established social status. As a result, men often include ‘large house’ and ‘economically independent’ in their ads.
Men search for younger women, only about 1 man in 100 searching for a woman of similar or older age. However, young women search for older men. Actually, almost all women under 60 search for older partners. After they hit that magic number, they start thinking about younger partners (yeah, really).
“When it comes to physical characteristics, it turned out that men and women were the same. Both used words like, ‘athletic,’ ‘beautiful,’ ‘pretty,’ ‘tall,’ ‘handsome,’ and ‘trim’ to the same extent, and this goes both for their descriptions of themselves and for the characteristics they were looking for in a partner,” says Jörgen Johnsson at the Department of Zoology, University of Gothenburg, one of the researchers behind the study.
“This might indicate that men have learned to respond to women’s interest in looks, therefore stressing to the same extent their attractiveness in the ads. The fact that both sexes focus on looks may also be influenced by our times, with the great fixation on appearance in the media.”