Happy Guys Finish Last

The title says it all -- or does it? Yesterday, a host of publications picked up the University of British Columbia report, "Happy Guys Finish Last: The Impact of Emotion on Sexual Attraction."


The study examined the relative sexual attractiveness of individuals showing emotional expressions of happiness, pride, and shame when compared with a neutral look.

The article examines what emotions attract the opposite sex. You can download the complete report by clicking here, but for now let me give you a brief summary:

  • Women are most attractive by displaying happiness and least attractive by displaying pride.
  • Men are made most attractive by displaying pride and least attractive by displaying happiness.
  • Shame expressions increase the attractiveness of both men and women, compared to neutral, and, at least among younger women viewers, male shame tends to be more attractive than male happiness.[1]

This information led The Chronicle of Higher Education to use the headline, "Hey, Lonely Guy: Wipe That Goofy Smile Off Your Face." I thought that was rather clever -- and funny. But not so fast! When Samuel was searching for a king, God reminded his prophet that what's on the inside still trumps what's on the outside:

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him." But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."  1 Samuel 16:6-7 ESV

There is no denying the external, but first impressions are still just first impressions. Lord, help me see with your eyes!


[1] Jessica L. Tracy and Alec T. Beall, "Happy Guys Finish Last: The Impact of Emotion Expressions on Sexual Attraction." University of British Colombia. Page 7.