The trend towards the use of animals as fashion accessories is nothing new. From wearing live decorative beetles on tiny chains like living brooches to jewel-toned lizards falling victim to similar fates, women have always flirted with the notion of animals as adornment. Of course, to enhance their attractiveness, wealthy women traditionally adorned themselves with showy feathers plucked from exotic birds and draped themselves with the furs of dead animals—rather than with living pets.
Thankfully, these days we understand the plight of the animals unfortunate enough to be caught in the horrific fur trade. And those who choose to wear fur are likely to become a social pariah. Fluffy live animals, however, are not uncommon on the streets of major metropolitan cities - the ‘Chihuahua in a Gucci Handbag’ look favored by Paris Hilton is one such example.
It’s all a little bizarre and arguably inappropriate, but it probably comes as no surprise to Kinsey Institute researcher, Peter B. Gray. Gray and colleagues looked into the roles pets play in human courtship and dating and concluded that pet ownership is often used as a sort of attractiveness barometer by potential mates. Generally, women are more attuned to this aspect of a person’s character than men. Dog ownership, more often than cat ownership, is viewed by singles as enhancing sexual attractiveness.
Women, especially, appear to view single men who care for dogs as better potential mates. Most likely, caring for a dog is regarded as a sign that a potential mate would make a competent, nurturing caregiver. In a survey conducted by Gray and colleagues of more than 1,200 single men and women, about one-third of women said they had considered someone more attractive because they owned a pet.
About one-quarter of the men surveyed echoed that sentiment. "The direction of these patterns in results was toward cats being exploited less often than dogs as "social tools" in the dating world,” said Gray. Dogs are inherently more social and tend to require more care than cats, of course. This was offered as an explanation for the finding that dogs—but not cats—are likely to make you appear sexier. Of course, walking a dog presents an opportunity to get out and interact with other humans. A cute pooch can serve as an ice-breaker or a conversation starter if nothing else.
The takeaway message for a single man hoping to enhance his dating prospects is this: The ladies are more likely to find you attractive if you own and properly care for a dog. Note that women indicated they respond to men who own pets. But the survey also appears to reveal that using a dog as a mere prop won’t cut it. What’s really attractive is a guy’s demonstrated ability to accept responsibility, care for, and interact affectionately with his pooch. Dogs are a single guy’s best bet then. Skip the pet snake or bearded dragon. To each his own, but feeding live rodents—or squirming insect larvae—to reptiles is apparently just not sexy. Unless you happen to be into that.
Until next time whatever you are in to! Be well and have a great week.