Beauty and the geek: Scientifically proven ways to become more attractive to men

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By Francesca Di Meglio

Finally, scientific studies we can actually use! We scoured the medical and scientific journals to find studies that would help us in the dating world. So smile, wear red, laugh at all his jokes and check out all the other proven ways to become more attractive—tell us which ones worked for you!

Put on a red dress
Rescue that red dress from the depths of your closet—you’ll want to wear it for your next night out after you read this. A study from the University of Rochester shows that men rated women in red more sexually attractive than those who weren’t in red. But the crimson hue doesn’t work miracles. He’s unaffected by the color when it comes to rating your personality and intelligence.

No dress? Paint a red pout
Dress up your lips with a slick of fiery gloss and you’re more likely to catch a guy’s eye. Scientists from Manchester University found that men spend about half their time staring at your perfect pout—especially if you’re wearing red lipstick. Red keeps him mesmerized for an average of 7.3 seconds while a pink pucker grabs him for 6.7. The hypothesis is that red lips mimic the widening of blood vessels that occurs with sexual arousal—can’t argue with biology.

Flash him your smile
Stone-faced runway models have got it all wrong. A recent study published by the American Psychological Association shows that smiling makes you more attractive since it stimulates the part of his brain associated with sensory rewards. Put simply, you look more approachable with a gleaming grin. So next time you lock eyes over a latte, you know what to do. It’s your best accessory after all.

Reward a guy with laughter
Laughter really is the best medicine for everything… including your love life. A study by a Canadian university says that men are attracted to women who laugh at their jokes. It makes sense, we’re all narcissists at heart and like people more who like us. If he’s simply not funny (all his jokes that begin with “There once was a man from Nantucket”), then spare him the embarrassment, but if you’re charmed by his good humor, a girlish giggle won’t hurt.

Subtly mimic him
It may seem like you’re playing copycat, but one stealthy speed-dating study proves that women who subtly mimicked men earned higher evaluations at the end of the event. Blatant copying won’t score you any points, but when he scratches his face, scratch yours a few seconds later. If he says, “Do you go to many of these speed-dating events? echo his words with, “No, I don’t go to many of these speed-dating events.” Might sound funny on paper, but maybe he’ll return your call now.

Hit the high notes
Sopranos rejoice! While a sultry voice is synonymous with sexiness, researchers found that men are actually attracted to women who talk in higher pitches à la Marilyn Monroe. Remember her sexy rendition of “Happy Birthday” to JFK? (we’ll wait while you YouTube that one). Of course, her curve hugging dress didn’t hurt either.

Hips don't lie
Make the grocery aisle your runway and watch as approving and handsome heads turn. Women who walk with a swaying gait are more likely to catch a guy’s eye, say researchers at Texas A&M University. No one’s suggesting you adopt a supermodel strut, but take longer strides placing one foot in front of the other—like you’re walking a straight line—for a subtle, sexy sway. Don’t forget to ask him for help with items on the top shelf—that never hurts either.

Keep the waterworks to a minimum
Tissues and tears should never come between you and your guy. Research recently published in Science Express indicates that men are less sexually attracted to women associated with the smell of tears. Sure, it’s hard not to get choked up at the movies during emotional scenes, but if possible, save the major waterworks for movie nights with the girls, or opt for that action movie he’s dying to see.

Show off your arms
You always thought that long legs were what brought the boys to the yard, but a study out of the University of New South Wales shows that men who found tall women attractive were actually more attracted to her arms, not her legs. So next time you’re lifting in the gym squeeze in a few more reps—of course while wearing a tank top—and you just might snag Mr. Toned away from the treadmill.

Game, text, match
Communication is still the key to any long-lasting relationship—just ask the researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. They found that couples who use language in similar ways are more likely to last. In a study of online chats between couples, 80 percent of those with similar writing styles were still dating three months later, versus 54 percent of those with less similar writing styles. So if he texts “2” instead of “two,” or “c u later” instead of “see you later,” follow his lead for the most promising results.

Flaunt your curves
He really doesn’t notice those extra five pounds, and here’s proof. Researchers in Scotland observed that men prefer women with normal body weight, as opposed to women who are super skinny. So stop the magazine cover envy and wear that itty bitty bikini on your next beach vacation—and be sure to indulge in a waffle cone or two.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.