Looks aren't everything but love, it would seem, is far from blind. Across cultures and sexes, some features hold greater appeal. And while striking faces may sometimes be drop-dead gorgeous, studies have shown we are generally drawn to Mr or Ms Average, whatever our culture. According to scientists including Professor Randy Completely honest first date from the University of New Mexico, average features could be a sign of genetic diversity and good health.
But is there such a thing as a "type"? Women with feminine features, such as a smaller chin and fuller lips, tend to be deemed more appealing by both sexes, Saxton tells me, but preferences for male features are far from clear-cut.
So a disaster date might genuinely be a case of right person, wrong time. But it is possible to disrupt the trend. It seems the suggestion of heroics could also fuel a romance. A study conducted by researchers at Liverpool and Stirling Universities recruited women and 64 men, asking one group to assess images of the opposite sex with digitally added facial scars while another group viewed blemish-free mug shots.
The upshot was that women rated slight scarring in a man's face marginally more attractive when considering a short-term fling — men viewed scarring in women with indifference. The researchers say that scarring may be read by women as a sign of masculinity, courage and strength. But whether or Completely honest first date you are looking for Indiana Jones, good health is a key quality and once again there may be subtle, chemical Completely honest first date.
In researchers at St Andrews University asked 54 people to digitally tweak the hue of a selection of male and female Caucasian faces to make them look "healthy", finding that a light yellow tint and pink flush is perceived to be indicative of the hale and hearty. Follow-up collaborative studies supported the view that yellow colouring is deemed more attractive across cultures, and suggested that an increase in the intake of carotenoid pigments, such as those found in fruit and veg, may increase this yellow tint, although other influences can't be ruled out.
But, hot or not, your date has only just begun and it's time to make that opening gambit. It turns out, that it is not just what you say, but the way that you say it that flags up a successful date.
One such indicator appears to be the use of function words such as personal pronouns, articles and conjunctions. Ireland and her colleagues studied how such words are used by heterosexual men and women by examining 40 speed dates, using special computer programs to analyse the speakers' language. The study found that speed dating couples were more likely to mutually wish to see each other again if their language style matched better.
So if your date is speaking in a detached fashion, using "the", "it" and "that" often but you are throwing in plenty of "I" and "we", then chances are there is no Completely honest first date swapping numbers.
And while talking a lot may point to a good date, Ireland says their study showed it wasn't the strongest factor. According to Ireland it isn't an easy effect to fake — not only is it difficult to consciously Completely honest first date up on function words but it is also tricky to deliberately manipulate them. Speed-dating also threw up some interesting observations for researchers at Stanford University who studied more than heterosexual dates to work out what makes people click.
After analysing voice-recordings from the dates, they found that for couples who reported "clicking", both the men and the women seemed Completely honest first date. The men varied their volume and laughed more; while women changed both their loudness and pitch.