Can’t Decide If He’s Mr Right?

Flustered by how fickle you can be about men you date? A study reveals the real reason women have trouble pinning down their tastes in a mate.

By S. Kirk Walsh

ey, ladies: Ever notice how one day you’re smitten with some Johnny Depp look-alike
According to a new study, women’s tastes in a mate are tied to their cycle.
who has his nose buried in a book at your local coffee shop... and the next you’re deeply drawn to Russell Crowe clone? Don’t worry, you’re not going crazy, it’s completely natural for women’s tastes in men to wax and wane — on a monthly cycle, to be exact — and ironically, that’s especially true if you're committed to one guy.

According to a new study published in the scientific journal Biology Letters, women who are in serious relationships may find that their preferences in a mate vary with the stages of their menstrual cycle. Researchers determined this by asking women to rate how attracted they were to the scent of cotton pads that had been worn by men who displayed varying degrees of dominance based on their responses to a psychological questionnaire. Those who claimed to get in a relationship and who were ovulating — the nine to fifteen-day window after their period ends (and the time when they’re most fertile) — preferred the scent of dominant men, while all single women and committed women at other stages of their cycle showed no systematic preference.

Why do women in committed relationships dig alpha-males at this time of the month? Lead researcher Jan Havlicek, an anthropologist at Charles University in Prague, explains it this way: “Women prefer men with superior genes when conception is most likely,” he says. “We suppose that dominance is one of the markers of ‘superior’ genes.”

So if you find your taste in men changing dramatically, slow things down and make sure you date a guy several times throughout a month. That way, you’ll be sure you’re giving guys a fair shake and letting your heart, not your hormones, do the talking.

Sheila Dolan writes for The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Self. Her taste in men is pretty steady; she prefers the sensitive type who nonetheless loves watching Sports Center.
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