The world is riddled with misinformation in the form of anecdotal evidence with respect to interpersonal relationships. Here, a formal study investigating one particular interpersonal dynamic is analyzed. Why does it seems that women are attracted to assholes. (“Assholes” here means unresponsive people — both male and female). What investigators found was not all that surprising, but explaining it in terms of prevailing psychosocial theories is challenging.
First, let’s look at facts gleaned from the data. Men perceived women who were honest about their feelings for them more attractive than women who weren’t. Women perceived men who were honest about romantic feelings for them marginally less attractive and men who were less upfront with their romantic feelings significantly more attractive. Most adults would find this dynamic no surprise.
How researchers interpreted these results is, perhaps, more interesting. They reasoned the more feminine a woman, the more attractive she is likely to be for men. They also reasoned the more masculine a man, the more attractive he is likely to be for women. Furthermore, they reasoned emotional expression is more closely associated with women and, therefore, perceived as more feminine by both genders.
Their reasoning continued as such. The more expressive a man, the less masculine he may seem to women and, thus, less attractive. The opposite seemed true with respect to this particular dynamic as applied in the other direction. The more expressive a woman, the more feminine she may seem to men, and, thus, more attractive.
The explanation for this dynamic was drawn mainly from the discipline of evolutionary psychology. The less focused upon emotion an adult male in a hunter-gatherer society, the more focus he could bring to the hunt or defense. So, those less emotively expressive are preferred breeding for adult females. Nevertheless, writers did not explain why a more emotionally expression might seem like a survival trait in females as males perceived them.
Here, we interject our own thinking. To the male, a woman who is emotionally communicative clears away ambiguity in the way of mate selection. Male adult humans (if so wired to focus on the hunt and defense) do not possess the cognitive resources necessary to effectively interpret ambiguous emotional cues. All other attributes being equal, the woman most clearly communicative of her interest wins the day. Just as more hunt-defense focused adult male humans are more attractive to women, more directly communicative females are more attractive to males because as primary caregivers in hunter-gatherer settings, the more responsible females may be for children in the early years of life where they teach them how to communicate.