Dating Science: Bikini Season Makes Men Body-Snobby

Cristen Conger

Guess what time of year men rate women's bodies most attractive? Not summertime when ladies are a-prancin' around in collarbone-bearing sundresses, thigh-flaunting short-shorts and breast-bearing bikinis. No, no, that's actually the time of year men appear to get a little "body-snobby," to coin a new term, which you're welcome to use. According to a 2008 study of 114 heterosexual men, guys attractiveness ratings for the female form --body shape and breasts to be specific -- actually dips when the mercury rises.

Rather, it's when women are bundled up in turtlenecks and jeggings that cover their happily unshaven and pale legs that men find ladybodies (another new term -- you're welcome, 21st-century vernacular!) most attractive. The researchers attribute this to the "contrast effect," a term that, alas, I didn't coin, which has a supply-and-demand-ish twist to it. Essentially, seeing less female flesh during the winter lowers men's attractiveness criteria, and vice versa during the summertime.

Which is yet another reason I wish that women's media et al would stop with its warnings about the imperative of having a rock-solid swimsuit season body. Here's some better advice: just wait around for the winter when men's "attractiveness criteria," as the researchers called it drops; talk about having your ladybody cake and eat it, too.

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