Thursday, November 19, 2009

What a Fun Study

Okay, so four female scientists walk into a bar. Later, they applied for a grant to find out why no one would buy them a drink...

Well, I don't know that it happened that way, but there are signs in this article in the Telegraph that the female scientists need to interview some males.

It turns out that combining 40% bareness, tight clothing and provocative dancing gets the most guys to approach you. Less clothes than that gets less attention from the guys.

The female scientists jumped to the conclusion that more than 40% bare is a signal for "general availability and future infidelity". I have to snicker at that, because it assumes that men approaching women at a dance club are looking for permanent monogamous relationships rather than "general availability" or - ahem - a dance? Not what I would call a "scientific assumption", given what I remember about club-hopping guys from my younger days.

I would put forward two other hypotheses to be tested - first, that women who cover 60% of their bodies with tight clothes are more selective about presenting their assets than those who let half or more hang out. Second, that the most powerfully attractive thing about a woman is often the part that the man imagines.

Racquel Welch was a sex star for decades without uncovering more than that 40% number. Okay, there were a few swimsuit scenes, but more often she was wearing full scuba gear and the guy only lowered her zipper four inches. She'll always have a perfect body to all her male audience.

This post also relates to writing... Ansen Dibell, in his excellent book Plot (in the Elements of Fiction Writing Series) noted that "[t]he monster you imagine, as a reader, is much more frightening than the monster you see."

Be sure to cover up that 60% or more and let the reader imagine the scariness of the monster, the sexiness of the hottie, the honor of the hero. Of course, make sure you understand and meet your audience's needs and expectations. If you're writing for midgrade, you need to spell things out a little more than for an adult audience.

If you're writing erotica, you spell out other things.

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