Red Attraction



It’s Friday night and I walk into the club with my dance shoes on, the beat of the music luring me in. As I make my way towards the bar, I take in the crowd with an exploratory eye and find myself noticing two guys—one wearing a red shirt and the other dressed in green. For some reason, I find myself drawn in immediately to the guy in red. I could say that it’s just something about his smile…

Attraction is in the eyes of the beholder…literally, or so University of Rochester professor Andrew Elliot says. It turns out that men in dressed in red are more likely to succeed with women.

You could say it was coincidence that the more attractive guy just chose to wear red that night, but that’s not what biology dictates.

Animal Instinct

Ever tune in to Animal Planet and find yourself watching a special on baboons? You know, the male baboons with the red behinds? As I’m sure you know, this is a mating tactic and quite a successful tactic at that.

In the baboon mind, red is an indicator of dominance, showing an alpha male who would be more likely to provide better protection for offspring.

As it turns out, we may not be such distant cousins from baboons when the colour red comes into play. Human women may also draw that feeling of dominance from a man in red.

In fact, whether it is on a conscious or subconscious level, ladies find themselves thinking of red as a symbol of strength. It may be the idea that women like to have security in a partner. Elliot says that the colour red is synonymous with power: ladies view gents in red as men having a status boost, making her think that her beau in red is more likely to climb the social ladder and be successful in his career.

Red is attention grabbing, guys. Stop signs are red for a reason, as are traffic lights, fire engines, and certain baboon bottoms. It’s completely natural that women will take more notice of it.

Emotion Meets Biology

With all these red symbols implying dominance, there may be an emotional trigger that sets off these feelings. Some psychologists say there is most definitely a trigger; the colour red is an emotionally intense colour, which stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. With such a biological reaction, it’s not so hard to believe that women would feel a tad taken in by a man in red (or men taken in by women in red for that matter; the song Lady in Red was popular in its time for a reason).

What is the most common time for you to have a faster heartbeat and breathing? It’s when you’re very attracted to someone. Red is a very popular symbol of passion, and so women see men in red as more sexually desirable.

A Downside?

With power, attraction, and sexual desire on the guy in red’s side, what could really go wrong for him?

Elliot’s study showed on the flipside that the colour red for women has no bearing on a man being likeable, sociable, or kind. I suppose guys could wear other colours to show their sensitive sides, like blue, which studies say has a calming effect.

Unfortunately, if Beta Blue Boy isn’t in red, he may wind up in the friend zone instead of somewhere much…closer.


Reignbeau at 23 Aug 2011

IMHO you've got the right awsenr!

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