Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jena Pincott's "Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?"

Jena Pincott has a background in biology and was a production assistant on science documentaries for PBS. She is a former senior editor at Random House, and is the author of Success: Advice for Achieving Your Goals from Remarkably Accomplished People and Healing: Advice for Recovering Your Strength and Spirit from the World's Most Famous Survivors.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?: Bodies, Behavior, and Brains--The Science Behind Sex, Love, and Attraction, and reported the following:
Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? is a question-and-answer book on the science of love and attraction, so I always welcome readers to flip to random pages or follow their prurient interests. If you happen to land on page ninety-nine you'll be splat in the middle of the answer to the question "Why do men like big breasts?"

The answer, in part:

...Full figured women are roughly three times as likely to get pregnant as women with other body types. (To qualify as big-breasted in the study, the circumference of your torso around your breasts would have to be at least 20 percent larger than it is under your breasts.)

....The symmetry of a woman's breasts also reveals something about her health. Because breasts develop so rapidly during puberty, they're especially sensitive to hormonal disruptions that could make one breast grow much larger than the other and also compromise fertility. Women with asymmetrical breasts have fewer babies on average than do women with symmetrical breasts.

The other hundred or so questions in the book cover a variety of topics: Why do some guys smell better to you than others? Does the Pill affect your taste in men? Can you tell people's sexual orientation by their smell? Why is blushing sexy? Why does creativity get men laid? How do the seasons affect your sex life?

What the big breast question on page ninety-nine has in common with all other questions in the book is one simple idea: To some extent, we all have built-in biases for certain qualities in a lover. Sometimes these preferences are conscious, such as (many) men's unabashed lust for big busts. Others are subtle and under the radar of awareness, such as attraction to a specific person's natural body odor or body language. What I attempt to do -- in a fun, playful way -- in Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? is to uncover these subtle biases and the evolutionary reasons behind them. To what extent are your genes, hormones, and instincts influencing your love life? And what should you do about it?
For a sample of the text, a complete list of questions, and blog updates, please visit Jena Pincott's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue