As much as the "bad boy" demeanor has a reputation for wooing the ladies, there's apparently a lot more to be gained by putting on a friendly face. According to a new study, smiling can help you find love. Heterosexual women who want a long-term relationship were more attracted to men who smiled than to those who looked grumpy.
The study, conducted by the University of Oslo and Senshu University in Japan, asked 218 women to look at a series of photos — some with men smiling, others with them making neutral expressions. The women were then asked to rate the attractiveness of the men for a prospective short-term relationship (i.e. casual dating) and a prospective long-term relationship (i.e. possible marriage).
Researchers found that these women were more likely to see a smiling man as a potential long-term partner, while smiling did not affect the women's decisions about whether a man would make a good short-term lover. As with most things, evolution and biology could explain these findings."These results are in agreement with the idea that social and cooperative characteristics would be primarily important for long-term partners but not very much for short-term partners because long-term cooperation is necessary for parenting in the former but not in the latter," the researchers explained in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.
Basically, hetero women want a man who's more likely to exhibit positive character traits — like happiness and trustworthiness — while these characteristics may not matter as much to women in the short-term. It's simple logic: If you know someone is just a fling, you're less likely to care as much about their faults and flaws. But if your heart is set on a long-term love, you want to minimize the risk of losing commitment from someone.
This study is yet more proof that your face reveals a lot about you, particularly when it comes to your love life. Here are four other things that a man's face can tell you, whether he means it to or not.
1. Smiling Makes Him Trustworthy
The same study also had a second phase, in which researchers asked 71 different women to rate a man's trustworthiness based on another, similar series of photos. Unsurprisingly, men who smiled were perceived as more trustworthy, probably because it's so easy to be charmed by a winning smile (and a grumpy expression might make us think that someone is up to no good).
Another study found that men's appearances in online dating profile photos also affects perceptions of trustworthiness. Women are more likely to trust a guy with an "enhanced photo," because sketchy gym selfies are obviously not a great indicator of good intentions.
2. A Neutral Expression Is Masculine
The second phase of the aforementioned study also asked women about men's masculinity as it related to their facial expressions. The men whose photos showed a neutral expression were largely identified as more masculine than the smiling men. Though this isn't altogether shocking, it's kind of disappointing. There's nothing inherently feminine about smiling, and it's certainly not helpful to discourage men from smiling just because it might make them less "masculine."
3. Lying Is Evident In His Face
According to this handy list of signs someone is lying, a dead giveaway is if he or she stares at you without blinking (creepy, right?). The logic is that this steady gaze is a way to control and manipulate you by means of intimidation. So if someone is giving you a little too much eye contact when confronted about something, put your guard up!
On the flip side, rapid blinking could also indicate he's lying. It's like reverse psychology, he is trying a little too hard to seem like things are fine, so he lets his eyelids flutter a bit too frequently.
4. "Bedroom Eyes" Are A Real Thing
Eyes are the window to the soul ... and apparently to the penis, too. Anthropologist David B. Givens explains it to Cosmo: "When people feel a strong sexual urge, they lapse into a more restful, dreamy state, which is why this expression is commonly referred to as bedroom eyes." So if a guy's eyes have a glazed, sleepy, or droopy look, there's a chance he either A) desperately needs an espresso or B) is in the mood for some lovemaking. Or maybe both, who knows?
Want more of Bustle's Relationships coverage? Check out our video on what it's really like to be a bridesmaid for hire below: