Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Single Women Eat Salad

I read an interesting story in a blog about women and food. Researchers have set out to prove the anecdote about women and salads. According to the research study, young women use food choices to send signals to potential suitors. So just like their clothing and jewelry, they tend to pick meals to enhance their desirability to the opposite sex. According to a story in The Guardian: "The salad leaves are meant to say, 'I'm pretty; I'm attractive; I take care of myself',"

I can't speak for all guys, but when I was young and single, messages from attractive women had better been sent with a bullhorn. If they had big breasts, then signals needed to be prefaced with a ball peen hammer. I wasn't exactly what most researchers would call subtle!

One really interesting aspect of this study was that the pressure increased with the number of potential partners around. Conversely, the men didn't watch at all what they were throwing down their gullets. Fist pump and belly smash!

Science Direct

In a naturalistic study, we investigated the influence of gender, group size and gender composition of groups of eaters on food selected for lunch and dinner (converted to total calories per meal) of 469 individuals (198 groups) in three large university cafeterias. In dyads, women observed eating with a male companion chose foods of significantly lower caloric value than those observed eating with another woman. Overall, group size was not a significant predictor of calories, but women's calories were negatively predicted by numbers of men in the group,while the numbers of women in the group had a marginally significant positive impact on calorie estimates. Men's calorie totals were not affected by total numbers of men or women. This study supports previous investigations, but is unique in making naturalistic observations.

I have two little kids, both girls (ages 9 and 11). So this is fascinating reading for me. At this point they have no interest whatsoever in impressing boys. They generally wear thier meals about their faces and think a good burp followed by a fart is hilarious entertainment. What this study says is that at some time in the future this will change for them (and for my wife and I).

I guess I am not surprised given the weird relationship Americans in general have with food. Women are trying to impress potential mates by limiting their food intake, a display of restraint, or control. This is a woman who cares about her appearance, who is not a greedy pig.....

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