It's a venal world.
People scrambling over each other to reach that muddy dollar lying on the sidewalk. And uncontrolled competition to secure a lover who will make others envious of our powers of seduction.
Researchers at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff wanted to believe differently. Or, at least, I want to believe they wanted to believe differently.
They showed women pictures of the same man in two different cars: a silver Bentley Continental and a Ford Fiesta (think small, dinged, possibly driven by an academic). Women aged 21-40 expressed a vast preference for the gentry in the Bentley.
I wanted to weep when I read this. Every profile I have ever read on Match.com tells me that women want a sense of humor, not a sense of Beemer. But no. It seems that a purring motor is the way to make a female turn feline.
Your faith in humanity may well be restored when you discover the researchers tried the same ruse with men--with very different results. The men couldn't give a broken sprocket if the woman was driving a stolen Lada. All they were interested in was...oh, go on, just guess. You know the answer.
This information drove the researchers to some brutal and depressing conclusions. The Institute's Dr. Michael Dunn told the "Telegraph": "Females focus on questions of wealth and status because if the male possesses those, that male would be in a better condition to rear healthy offspring."
You may consider a little purple pill when you hear that even when women make more money and have extremely attractive, um, cars, they still seek out men with even greater status (and, presumably, Mercedes) than their own.
Dr. Dunn, clearly a brave and happy man, even ventured to declare that women are the shallower sex. "Let's face it--there's evidence to support it," he said.
Well, I am facing it. And I will raise your research, Dr. Dunn, with that from the fine journal "Archives of Sexual Behavior."
Men are, according to this Dutch journal's findings, so bathed in depth that they fall in love in 8.2 seconds. That's possibly 0-43 mph for the Ford Fiesta.
If a man doesn't find a woman attractive, even if she's driving a Bentley, he will give her 4.5 seconds of his gaze. However, in the 8.2 seconds he will drool over a face he finds appealing, the man will lose his heart, body, soul, and perhaps some years later, his wheels.
I am a little skeptical of the Journal's explanation for the differing ocular behavior of the sexes. Men, according to the researchers, need to stare a lot to be sure their target female is "fit and fertile," while women don't stare too long because of a fear of unwanted pregnancy and single parenthood.
They smoke somewhat wacko tobacco in Holland, so I am prepared to forgive the researchers these somewhat fanciful assertions.
My own conclusion is that everyone is shallow and we need all the help we can get. Where's the nearest Bentley dealership?