Between the change of seasons keeping us indoors more and the various holiday feasts and parties we gorge at, this time of year it’s even easier than usual to put on a few extra pounds around the old equator. But according to Richard G. Bribiescas, Professor of Anthropology, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Yale and author of How Men Age: What Evolution Reveals about Male Health and Mortality, that’s a good thing.
Shouldn’t we want to get ripped? Maybe not. Professor Bribiescas says that women are actually more attracted to the so-called “Dad Bod,” marked by lower testosterone levels, less muscle mass, and more fat.
He also writes that pudgy middle-aged guys tend to live longer. In fact, his research claims guys in this slightly huskier category are less likely to suffer from heart attacks and prostate cancer.
That’s not to say you should let yourself go. But from an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense. We don’t have to kill mammoths or fight for caves anymore. Survival of the species is more about being faithful husbands and better fathers who stick around.
But is it true?
The Truth About the “Study”
Many of the articles referencing this tidbit of information infer that there was a study done. I, and others, however, have not been able to track down this study. His book, which is largely his own personal opinions and references, is where these claims are based from. Check out this quote:
“We spent longer than we should have unsuccessfully trying to track down any basis for the assertion that women, as a group, are especially attracted to middle-aged, overweight men, as a group, or at what point Bribiescas seemed to support it. (Along the way, we’ve come across a great deal of indirect evidence that middle-aged, overweight men find this idea appealing.)
“The entire edifice, as far as we can tell, is based (1) largely on wishful thinking and (2) to a single paragraph in Bribiescas’s book where he writes that, supposing a woman was attracted to older men as a category, (” … it might be that an older male has demonstrated the ability to outlive many of his competitors, perhaps indicating good genes that a female might want to pass on to her offspring.”) she might look for signs of age, such as grey hair. Love handles don’t come into it.”
Could he be right? Potentially. Do I think he’s right? Not really. I do think it’s more of a wish fulfillment driving this claim.
Obviously there’s a whole bunch of people out there wanting to prove that their dad bod is hot or that their husband is actually a huge hunk. But do you really need a faux study to tell you that you married a hunk?
I’m not trying to be a party pooper, I do love a fun headline to tag my guy in as much as the next person. I love them even more when they’re true.
So it might be little early to be ripping up your gym membership card, but go ahead and tag your guy with one of those winky faces. I’m sure he’ll enjoy the compliment.