Who Finds What Attractive?

January 30, 2006 at 6:00 am

If you had to choose, would you rather your lover be good looking or funny? Where does honesty fall on your list? Do you expect a mate to have money? Canadian romance publisher Harlequin Enterprises recently conducted a survey asking people on six continents (in 16 countries) about traits they liked or disliked and how they went about trying to meet “the one.”

Venus and Mars
It’s probably not a surprise to learn that when it comes to romance, women prefer someone who makes them laugh while men opt for those who catch their eye. But as much as men and women are different, the study revealed how residents of different countries varied in the way they tried to impress the opposite sex.

Bad boys and girls
Australians and British men frequently admitted drinking too much, while about half of German and Italian men said they had lied about their finances, according to Reuters. The men of Spain were the most likely to use sex to catch a paramour’s attentions. Eighty percent of Brazilian and Mexican men said they had lied about their marital or relationship status, as did 70 percent of German women. But no matter the country of residence, the majority of people preferred to meet someone via introductions by mutual friends.

Online romance
Aside from Portugal (where about half of men and women say they go online for love), the Internet was not a popular method of dating. Thirty percent of Spanish men, but no Spanish women, admitted trying Internet dating. And in France, 40 percent of men but only 10 percent of women attended parties, bars and clubs to meet someone. But despite this gender gap, both French men and French women rated looks as more important than their counterparts in other countries.

Brains or looks
Almost all men placed higher importance on looks over brains in a first meeting, while once again, women put a sense of humor at the top of their list. Physical attraction was the top priority for men in France, Brazil, Greece, Japan and Britain, according to the report. But while 40 percent of Portuguese men rated intelligence over looks in a first encounter, no Australian men did the same.

The two exceptions: Surprise, surprise! In the United States and Canada, humor was considered the most important trait by both men and women, getting 63 and 73 percent of the vote respectively.

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