4 Reasons You Can’t Stop Thinking About That Guy You Just Met

It turns out there’s a science to attraction.
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Monica Gabriel Marshall
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It turns out there’s a science to attraction.

I think that, for most men, one of the most mysterious things about women is what we find attractive about the opposite sex. Guys think about this a lot, and they get pretty close for the most part, like the connection between height and attraction....but then sometimes they are way off, like the importance of shoe size.

Women, of course, have a little bit more insight into what draws them to men. When you talk to a girlfriend about what it was about her boyfriend that first captured her attention, she will likely say his smile, something about the way he carried himself, how he made her feel at ease. Women don't have a difficult time pinning down what it is that was initially attractive—but most of us also don't really understand why he is so dang charming.

Luckily, forty years of scientifically proven research by marriage researchers Dr. John Gottman and his wife Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, et al, in their book The Man’s Guide to Women, offers an explanation. The book is, admittedly, for men, but I found the science behind why women pick out certain men from across the room to be fascinating.

Here are four things men do (typically without knowing it) to make themselves irresistible to women.

He exudes confidence.

It's no secret that women are attracted to confident men, but research shows we are typically interested in men the indicate that they are protectors and providers—even if we are perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves, thank you very much. Observant men can often read these signals wrong and determine that it's wealth or even arrogance that we want. But this far from the truth.

What women are really looking for is a man who is self-possessed and confident in his abilities whatever they may be. As the Gottmans put it, "Women are attracted to men who are the CEO and President...of themselves." Arrogance on the other hand, they remind us, is the opposite of secure—it actually conveys insecurity. 

In conversation a woman can sniff out genuine confidence pretty quickly, but from across the room we look for body language and gestures that give us cues. So yeah, wealth and confidence often go hand-in-hand—especially if that's what men feel they should be proud of—but it's not really the money that we are jonesing for. 

He manspreads . . . sort of.

OK, some women hate manspreading, and with good reason, but science indicates that this behavior is just a misguided way of attracting any potential mates. 

According to research, men who are successful in attracting women are "space maximizers." What space maximizing does is assert social dominance in a room, and this is typically what first grabs a woman's attention. Not only that, research shows that men who are effective space maximizers are less likely to get turned down by women when they approach. The way men typically take up more space is by, stretching out their legs, throwing an arm around a chair, and limiting "closed body movements" like crossing their arms. 

This explains our "something about the way he carries himself . . ." reason for being attracted.

He is chummy with his guy friends.

Another way a guy shows social dominance is by something called "intragender touching." That's right, we are talking about man hugs, back slapping, throwing an arm around one another's shoulders etc. 

Honestly, this one surprised me the most. When I think about it, it does make sense, but that cue is a little bit more undercover. Think about it though, social dominance aside, few women want to beckon over some gloomy, anti-social man to come talk to her, that's a no brainer! It's not that we are being unkind to men who don't have anyone to talk to, it's just that we want to feel safe and comfortable with a guy. 

He is calm.

Did you know that, according to research, women find low-stress men more attractive than high-stress men (which is indicated by cortisol levels)? It's certainly understandable—, life is stressful enough and it's nice to be around someone who can keep a level head. Furthermore, a person who seems at ease naturally makes the person they are talking to at ease, which it totally attractive. 

Research indicates that, here too, we look to body language to tip us off before we try and get a man's attention. Things like fidgeting, crossed arms, and random nervous gestures with your hand can indicate that a man is too tense.

So, ladies, there you have it. All those little things he does that drive you crazy—in a good way—aren’t just coincidental, and by picking up on these triggers, you might just find a real winner.

Photo Credit: Madeline Joy