It’s a tough decision, deciding what to eat. It’s an even tougher decision deciding what to eat for the rest of your life. Like, suddenly making the decision that you’re never going to eat a steak ever again - that’s hard, that. Wow, no more chorizo. Respect to anyone that can do it.
But what about being in a relationship with someone that’s a vegetarian? Vegetarians, so full of resolve, kindness, strength of will - they must be really attractive to a potential partner, right? Well, maybe not, according to a recent study. The research paper, called “Eating Meat Makes You Sexy: Conformity to Dietary Gender Norms and Practices,” was published in the recent issue of Psychology of Men and Masculinity and points to a surprising conclusion: vegetarians are… not sexy.
University of Padova researchers Susanna Timeo and Caterina Suitner carried out a number of experiments (sounds scary) on 228 men and women under the age of 50. This included, in one case, giving 50 women a bunch of fictional descriptions of potential men, and asked them to rate each one with descriptors such as “attractive,” “ideal partner,” “sexy,” and “I would date him.”
Here’s an example “man”:
“Alessandro is a 29-year-old guy… He works as a personal trainer and lives in an apartment with a friend. His hobbies are playing tennis and playing bass guitar… His favorite dishes are polenta, salami and mushrooms, and strudel.”
Loves the salami, does Alessandro, but other men loved berries, or broccoli - you see what they’re doing here. Once the data was collected, the researchers found that in all circumstances, the women preferred the meat-eaters over the veggies, even if the woman was a vegetarian herself.
Timeo and Sutiner said:
“We have found that, in the Italian context, females seem to prefer omnivorous over vegetarian males as possible mates, and that this discrimination is stronger among women holding negative attitudes toward vegetarians.
“Because women tend to reward mates who adhere to the gender stereotypic role, the detachment from [eating meat] may become more difficult for men.
“It is however true that new models of masculinity are emerging and that the hegemonic model might be overcome.”
This is all very interesting, but we must recognise that the study took place in Italy, where vegetarians seem to be rarer than in the UK, and a fair amount of their national dishes involve various forms of cured meat. There could be some cultural bias at play here. The same research in London may wield slightly different results, as veganism is far more popular over here - you’re probably sitting next to one!
Anyway, eat what you want, because it’s not that that makes you attractive. It’s your face and award winning personality.
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