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The Real Color of Attraction

When it comes to attraction, there’s only one color you need to remember. Dr. Smartass explains the science behind the palette of love.

By (@doctorsmartass)

March 29, 2010

Got a question for Dr. Smartass? E-mail doc [at] esarcasm.com.

Dr. SmartassScience, my darling readers, is a fascinating subject: It can explain everything from the hidden meaning of your passwords to the hidden meaning of a woman’s breasts.

Today, we turn our attention to the hidden meaning of color, and how a single hue can make all the difference in the world.

From my inbox:

Dear Dr. Smartass,

What’s the best thing for a girl to wear on a first date?


Jamie, your dear virtual doc could spend days discussing the benefits of tight tanktops and short shorts. But that’d be too easy. Instead, let’s take a look at the real color of attraction.

Red, it turns out, plays mind tricks on men. Scientists from the University of Rochester conducted a series of experiments on color and attraction. They found that red consistently made guys more interested in women — and the fellas were completely unaware of the color’s effect.

Hot Girl in Red

Dr. Smartass recommends red.

In the studies, the psychologists had men look at photographs of women wearing different outfits. The men consistently ranked the ladies in red as being more attractive and sexually desirable. The guys even said they’d be more likely to take the red-clad women out on expensive dates. (Dr. Smartass considers a walk in the park to be an expensive date, but that’s mainly just because the goofballs who run this site keep “forgetting” to send my paychecks.)

So what’s the story here? The scientists think red’s amorous effect on men is embedded in biology: Even primates, they point out, are attracted to the color red; in baboons and chimps, for examples, the females’ fun zones turn a reddish hue when they’re nearing ovulation. It may sound crazy, but by putting on a red outfit, you could be activating that same primitive drive in your date.

“Our findings confirm what many women have long suspected and claimed: that men act like animals in the sexual realm,” the scientists say. “As much as men might like to think that they respond to women in a thoughtful, sophisticated manner, it appears that at least to some degree, their preferences and predilections are, in a word, primitive.”

Color of AttractionOur constant scratching, however, is actually quite sophisticated.


  When a gentleman’s gaze is what you desire,
  The magic trick is red in your attire.
  If the color alone doesn’t complete your quest
  The solution’s simple: Just show some breast.

Until next time,

Dr. Smartass

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