So what are the ingredients of a sexy name? For boys, a good name will contain vowel sounds made at the front of the mouth, such as 'e' or 'i' sounds; names with fuller, rounder vowel sounds such as 'u' tend to score lower. So pat yourself on the back if you're called Ben... but if your name is Paul you might have to work harder to snare a date.They discovered this advantageous phenomenon by posting 24 pictures on hotornot.com, an online meat market where users can rate people's attractiveness on a scale from 1 to 10. When the photos were accompanied with names like Ben or Mike they scored higher than with names like Paul or Ralph. The conclusions of this breakthrough scientific work sound good to me. It's the researcher's explanation that makes me a bit uneasy:
The finding that men with 'small-sounding' names are attractive might seem counterintuitive, Perfors admits. "Front-mouth vowels imply smallness," she says. "But when girls are looking for mates, they don't necessarily want a super testosterone-charged guy. They want someone who will hang around and be a provider."Small-sounding?! Provider? What happened to my raw sex appeal? I want women to jump into bed when I growl my singular syllable of sexiness, not size me up for future child rearing! I was thinking more along the lines of "Who's your daddy?" than Daddy Dearest. Guess you can't have it all. At least I'm not a Paul.
For more cool science, don't miss the Annals of Improbable Research's Ig Nobel Awards. One of last year's ground breaking winners was "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces." As my friend Brad says: Science!