Nicolas Gueguen of the Université de Bretagne-Sud and his colleagues recently did a study which tested the attractant power of young musicians, as compared to sports-inclined fellows. How much drawing power does a guy have if he is carrying a guitar case, as opposed to a sports bag?
In doing this, they had a very attractive young man (so determined by the ratings by a panel of young women) approach at random 300 unfamiliar young women aged between 18 and 22 years, without regard to appearance, and proposition them thusly:
"Hello. My name’s Antoine. I just want to say that I think you’re really pretty. I have to go to work this afternoon, and I was wondering if you would give me your phone number. I’ll phone you later and we can have a drink together someplace."
In general, the French girls gave him their number 14% of the time if he was holding nothing. If he was holding the sports bag, though, gave him their number just 9% of the time. It looks like presenting yourself as an athlete might be a handicap.
If he was holding the guitar case, he was significantly more likely to get their number: 31% of the time. Not bad at all considering he was approaching random strangers in the street. There is strong evidence that the mystical, romantic image of the musician had a pretty powerful effect.
The researchers gave no mention of whether the young man did with all the telephone numbers. I hope he was a gentleman enough to follow through on the 54 ladies who gave him their numbers. I know that, if I had given my cell number to someone, I would feel deeply wounded if he did not call.
In my opinion, the requirements of an experiment do not trump the norms of politeness and decency in courtship behavior. If the ladies expected a possible pleasant session with an attractive guy, or romance, or tryst, they were misled.
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