Personality and Individual Differences (Article in Press)
Too good to be ‘true’? The handicap of high socio-economic status in attractive males
Simon Chu et al.
Empirical evidence concerning human mate-choice preferences suggests that females should select partners on the basis of cues to genetic quality and/or ability to contribute resources to childcare. Paradoxically, while high levels of both factors should be an attractive combination to females, they might also dissuade females from entering into a relationship with such males since, by definition, they are likely to be highly attractive to other females, and therefore might increase the likelihood that such a male may cheat or desert the relationship. If so, females should be wary of entering into long-term relationships with physically attractive, high status males as compared with males of lower physical attractiveness or status. We asked females to rate a number of different males in terms of attractiveness as a long-term partner. Females were presented with attractive, average and unattractive male faces paired with lonely-hearts advertisements implying high, medium or low socio-economic status. Highest ratings were consistently given to attractive males of medium status rather than high status. We suggest that females see physically attractive, high status males as being more likely to pursue a mating strategy rather than parenting strategy. Under particular circumstances, high socio-economic status in males can be subtly counter-productive in terms of attractiveness as a long-term partner.