Ever wonder why so many girls in the front row of a concert, gaze up mesmerized at the guitarist of some band as he undulates and jams out riffs to 'whatever song' about love/lust/all-of-the-above happens to be his hit at the moment?
Why do so many girls feel the over-whelming urge to tear his clothes off — despite the fact that his teeth are all wonky, his chest is concave and he smells like Fritos, beer and sweat?
Don’t worry, ladies, it’s not all your fault — call up your mom and blame science when she rails at you for running away with the guitar dude in the band. It’s all your body’s doing. Yup, women are basically genetically wired to be into guitar guys, regardless of what they look like.
Neuroscientist Paul J. Zak breaks down what attracts women to men in bands into three points: Men in bands are; clever, they’re passionate and they’re dripping with testosterone. There’s a line for your Tinder profiles, guitar-slingers.
Let’s dig into #1 first.
“It’s really hard to be successful — in music it’s particularly hard — so if some guy has figured out how to do that, he’s probably pretty clever,” Zak told MTV News. From an evolutionary perspective, Zak points out, women are constantly looking for a mate that can provide for potential children, so they gravitate toward dudes who seems to have it together.
Mind you, this is, as he said, an ingrained evolutionary thing and in no way rationally explains why girls will date a guitarist who didn’t pay his taxes, drove a clunker van and kept his life saving, (all $47 bucks of it) in a shoebox.
“Number two is, if they’re musicians they’re very likely quite passionate people and I think women in general think men are a little bit dry and not that passionate, so when you find a passionate guy I think that’s somehow attractive,”
Finally, as usual, it’s all about the hormones. “In any profession where you’re the center of attention — if you’re on stage and people are cheering for you, your brain thinks you are the alpha male above all alpha males,” Zak said. And, as a result of all the cheering and peacocking and dancing-in-public, a man’s testosterone levels go up. Which I guess is a good thing?
“We’ve done experiments where we give extra testosterone to men and they become more selfish, more entitled, more it’s-all-about-me — that can be very attractive to women,” Zak added. He also notes that women tend to like higher levels of testosterone when they’re ovulating, less so when they’re not. So, um, if you don’t want to run away with a rocker — or Kanye — maybe sync your show-going to your cycle?
But what about the looks thing? Sure, it makes sense that women like smart, confident guys — but why is it that a man a woman might pass without a look on the street becomes irresistible to her on a stage?
“For women, looks, generally, are a little further down the list — for men they’re usually at the top of the list, because looks correlate with health,” Zak told us.
“Your rock star coming to your town is an alpha male, he’s successful, and if he hasn’t killed himself with drugs or whatever, yeah, he might have some pretty good genes and seem much more attractive,” he added.
Swoon? I guess?