Men who are not tall, dark and handsome may want to brush up on their storytelling skills.
A new study has revealed males who can spin a good yarn are seen as more attractive to women.
Females also perceive strong storytellers as being more important and of higher status in society.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University at Buffalo (SUNY) asked 388 students, 55 per cent of whom were women, to rate the attractiveness of a potential partner based on a written description – much as they might on an online dating site.
The participants were given a photo and short biography of a potential love match, which included subtle information about their ability to tell stories, Research Digest reported.
Some of the profiles said the person ‘often tells really good stories…he makes the characters and settings come alive,’ while others rated their ability as average or simply didn’t mention the person’s ability to tell a tale.
The study, published in the journal Personal Relationships, found men were not bothered by whether women can tell stories and stronger storytellers didn’t tempt men.
While women weren’t interested in a man’s ability to spin a yarn if they were looking for a quick tryst, they were attracted to the talent when looking for a long-term partner.
In the second part of the experiment, participants were asked whether the person described in the profile would make a good husband or wife. They were also asked to rank their status.
Both men and women rated those who said they were good storytellers as being of higher status than non-storytellers.
Women found men with this quality more attractive than those who didn’t mention the ability to tell stories, but it made no difference to the romantic perceptions of men.
This suggests females have evolved to seek out men with this skill – one of many practical resources that may have meant the difference between life and death in ancient times.
Storytelling is the oldest form of narrative communication known to humans in every culture and storytellers tended to play an important role in society by imparting knowledge and experience, or simply being the centre of attention.
It is possible women are drawn to storytellers because they may show leadership qualities and in ancient times, leaders would possibly have been more likely to protect them and their children.
The ability to tell a story may also hint at a person’s intelligence and charisma, although this was not tested in the study.
The researchers wrote: ‘Storytelling ability appears to increase perceived status and thus helps men attract long-term partners,’ so expect the trait to start popping up in Tinder profiles soon.
THE SCIENCE OF DATING FROM PROXIMITY TO LOOKS
Psychologist Viren Swami said there are no ‘laws of attraction’ or guarantees of success in dating.
However, she said half of romantic relationships are formed between people who live relatively near each other and the greater the geographical distance between two people, the less likely they are to get together.
Proximity matters because it increases the chances people will interact and come to feel part of the same ‘social unit’.
Second, appearance does matter. People perceived to be physically attractive get asked out on dates more often and receive more messages on online dating sites.
They even have sex more often and, apparently, have more orgasms during sex.
But physical attractiveness matters most in the absence of social interaction.
Once social interaction takes place, other traits come into their own. It turns out that both women and men value traits such as, warmth, a good sense of humour, and understanding in a potential partner – in other words, we prefer people we perceive as nice.
Being nice can even make a person seem more physically attractive.
She said that opposites very rarely attract.
In fact, decades of research has shown that attraction is most likely to be sparked when two people perceive themselves as being very similar to each other.