Darwin Does Dating
" What are men and women really looking for? "What does Darwin have to do with dating, other than potentially leading to reproduction? Plenty. When you understand a bit of Darwin, you will see why some things about men and women seem hopelessly set in stone, and you will learn strategies to use these or circumvent them to your advantage.
Adaptability is all
Do you know that old saying about Darwin and evolution being all about "survival of the fittest"? They have been lying to us. What Darwin meant by fitness was adaptability. Human beings are not programmed to aspire to some vague ideal of strength or fitness. Rather, those who can adapt will advance to the next stage, in evolution as well as in dating. It makes sense: for example, we all tweak our personality and appearance when we meet attractive people. We adapt the picture we present to the world to get their attention. Darwin experts, such as Robert Wright, author of The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are, explain in fascinating detail how this plays out in our sexual lives. In effect, to date efficiently and productively, you have to date as much as you can. You have to stop being so rigid about your requirements. The more you date, the wider your pool, and the better you actually get at attracting and keeping mates for as long as you wish. It is an instinct, but one that is greatly improved with practice. If this seems a little manipulative, well, it's what we do, which is why institutionalized monogamy has such a hard time surviving intact and comes with strict religious, social, and legal regulations. Serial monogamists might be doing the right thing after all.
You don't have to be pretty, or rich, just, er, ripe
There are many studies that detail what women and men are genetically programmed to get turned on by. It seems men are subconsciously only looking for signs that a woman can bear strong progeny-that's it! Moreover, we all have those qualities, if only we knew how to use them. According to Desmond Morris in the The Naked Woman, and Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene, it is that the way we look and attract mates stems from primitive survival strategies. Now, before you get anxious that you do not look excessively womanly or manly, be rest assured. There are so many traits that make one human physically attractive to another that we all pass. Therefore, while women go for regular, symmetric male faces and broad shoulders in general, a small waist or big hands also work just fine. Ovulating women like men who look most stereotypically male - bigger, hairier and with deeper voices - but a kind face does as well. Men drool over women with that mythical 0.7 waist-hip ratio that signifies fertility, but a generous mouth, healthy hair, or the smell of cinnamon buns makes them just as weak-in-the-knees. If all else fails, there are always pheromones. It is always out of our control and always in our favor.
Take on the cliches
You may hate to think it, but do you sometimes wonder if under every sensitive New Age man there is a potential unrepentant skirt-chasing fornicator? That women over think relationship stuff and strategize way too much? There is a reason for all this, boys and girls, and that is what makes us human. Men are programmed by evolution to "spread their seed," and women to reproduce and build a comfortable nest for childcare. Now, it doesn't matter whether you are a man screaming "but I don't want just sex" or a woman who breaks out in hives at the prospect of having children. These evolutionary tenets affect many other aspects of human behavior, such as men not liking commitment, or women becoming clingy. Those are cliches, yes. However, once you acknowledge them you will see a potential partner's motivations much more clearly, and will know what to watch out for, and what to play with.