How A Guy’s Smile Instantly Affects His Perceived Dateability

Photographed by Anna Alexa Basile.
Here's a study we can get behind: Not only does it have maybe our favorite study title ever, it also brings up something very interesting about first impressions. Published last summer in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, the study, Cool Guys and Warm Husbands: The Effect of Smiling on Male Facial Attractiveness for Short- and Long-Term Relationships (nothing like wordplay in science, right?), found that women consider men who smile both warmer and more desirable for a long-term relationship than men with neutral expressions. Related: 4 Ways To Use Eye Contact To Your Advantage
Researchers showed 71 heterosexual female participants photos of both men with neutral expressions and smiling men, and asked them to judge the men on their facial expressions alone. Those who were smiling came off as more trustworthy and much happier, leading the participants to deem them better candidates for long-term relationships and marriage. Meanwhile, men with neutral expressions were rated as more masculine and more desirable as short-term partners or casual hookups — probably since "neutral" can easily slip into "brooding." (That's right: You can accidentally come off as tall, dark, and handsome if you're not careful, fellas.)
Related: Does Who You Date Change Who You Are? Overall, the women in the study explained that approachability and warmth in a significant other were major priorities — hence their clear preferences for the smiling men as potential partners. Let's make one thing clear, though: There's a smile, and then there's a smile. Click through to Shape for more in-depth dating tips. (Shape) Related: What I Learned From 10 Years Of One-Night Stands

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