THE BLOG

What Makes Someone Sexy?

05/06/2015 03:05 pm ET | Updated May 06, 2016
Shutterstock / Mayer George

According to The Telegraph, scientists in Geneva have discovered that determining whether we are attracted to someone is one of the most complex tasks that the brain undertakes, possibly second to trying to get out of a speeding ticket.

So, what are the traits that determine if you are considered sexy?

Facial Symmetry

Any child who has played with Mr Potato head would agree that it is helpful to have a face that has two sides. It's even better if the sides are relatively matched. As Sarah Knapton points out in The Telegraph , "Facial symmetry is also linked to agreeableness, extroversion and conscientiousness, so good-looking people generally find it easier to make friends and hold down jobs."

Fossilized evidence shows that bilateral symmetry had already taken hold in animals as early as 500 million years ago, well before mirrors were invented. Animals, unable to see themselves, had to ask their friends if their tail feathers were matched, before they hit the singles scene.

Finger Length

Life in the Boomer Lane knows, without seeing or hearing her readers, that, having read the title of this section, most of you are now allowing the extremely limited amount of grey matter you devote to reading this blog to letting your imaginations run wild. You are, in fact, rapidly sinking to an embarrassing junior high school level of humor, as well as mentally forming clever comments you can leave for LBL's enjoyment.

But, let's get serious, here. Again, according to UK Telegraph: "In recent years scientists have discovered that there is an intriguing link between finger length and the levels of testosterone that a man was exposed to while still in the womb. The longer the ring finger is in comparison with the index finger, the more testosterone was present."

For those of you who are now running into your husband's or boyfriend's study with a ruler in hand, The Telegraph warns, "but... bear in mind that Oxford University discovered that they are likely to be more promiscuous. In contrast those whose fingers are a similar length are more likely to seek long-term relationships and stay faithful."

So, here is the rub (You didn't think LBL wouldn't stoop to some low-level humor herself, did you?): Long fingers mean that your partner will most likely be way more fun in bed, but that bed might not always have you in it.

Blonde Hair

It's no secret that, while 2% of women are natural blonds, well over 100% of them sport blond hair. The penchant for women to become blonde has actually stumped scientists. The Telegraph notes that even Darwin was unable to find the answer to this, even after many decades of trying.

According to Peter Frost of St Andrews University, quoted in The Daily Mail:

The usual pattern of too many males and too few females was reversed among ancestral Europeans. Men were exposed to a higher risk of hunting mortality while limiting their ability to provide for more than one wife. With fewer men, women had to compete for a limited supply of potential husbands. It may be that bright colors stimulate sexual attraction in the brain. When an individual is faced with potential mates of equal value, it will tend to select the one that stands out from the crowd.

But the most compelling reason for the preference of blondes over brunettes was put forth by Dr V.S. Ramachandran, head of the Center for Brain and Cognition and a whole bunch of other impressive credentials: "I suggest that gentlemen prefer blondes in order to enable them to detect the early signs of parasitic infestation [disease] and aging -- both of which indirectly reduce fertility and offspring viability."

(Note to any virile young men who came to this post by mistake, thinking they would read an in-depth analysis of the upcoming NFL draft: The next time you are in a bar, eyeing the hot blond seated near you, turn your thoughts toward parasitic infection, and go for it.)

Body Shape

In addition to possession of a face, it is advisable for most humans to have some kind of body shape. Body shapes can be viewed as geometric entities (round, square, triangular, and diamond ) or as fruit (pear, inverted pear, apple, banana). Neither parallelograms nor erdbarchen are generally viewed as advantageous body shapes.

Just as there is an ideal ratio for finger length, it seems that humans are programmed to quickly sum up the bodily measurements of a future lover. Men prefer a waist-to-hips ratio of 7:10. Hip width and breast size are important factors in fertility, childbirth, and rearing, so there's definitely an evolutionary connection there.

According to The Telegraph, a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 20.85 has been determined as the most attractive weight for a woman. The perfect man should also have body fat of around 12 per cent. Perfect BMI for the average post-menopausal woman is whatever the hell she wants it to be.

Pheromones

Pheromones are chemical secretions believed to be used mostly by ants and by singles as a way to find each other. In humans, pheromones are secreted by sweat and body fluids, generally released in a singles bar setting. Ants, on the other hand, mostly confine themselves to pantries and to Miracle the Cat's food bowl.

Pheromone dating now exists to help people find their genetic match. Pheromone parties are held, in which singles can sniff pieces of clothing, in order to find a perfect match. This differs from ordinary clothing sniffing, in that it sounds more socially acceptable.

Etc.

The aforementioned list is by no means exhaustive. Many other factors may contribute to "sexy," including personality, reputation, size of wallet (men) and size of butt (women). Personally, LBL has noted that when she is at the tail-end of bronchitis, she has a several-day window of opportunity in which to make tech support folks swoon at the sound of her voice.

In sum, while "sexy" can be measured, it is often elusive. And, if anyone has a remedy for ants, please let LBL know ASAP.