When Frankie Valli said “Walk like a man, talk like a man” he might have been hinting that men talk to women differently when they’re fertile. (Also, did anyone else very find it ironic that he was praising machismo in screaming falsetto? No? Just me then…)
Researchers in Florida studied the speech patterns of men engaged in conversation with women at different points of their menstrual cycle and found that the men were less likely to mimic women’s sentence structure when women are at their most fertile. The researchers postulate that this is an unconscious effort to demonstrate “non-conforming or creative behavior.”
Good news guys! You don’t need to use poetry to seduce a lady; you’re already showing your creative chops by varying the conversation to sound less like her!
Needless to say, one study of 123 undergrads doesn’t a definitive answer to male-female relations make but it’s an interesting theory. Men wish to set themselves apart from the crowd to women who can bear young and they do it unconsciously with language as well as by more conscious means of impressing a potential date such as taking her to a fancy restaurant or standing outside her window holding a boom box blaring Peter Gabriel songs.
That latter method is probably obsolete, huh? A lovestruck teenager today is left holding an iPad and changing his speech patterns to say “like” less than his girlfriend.
The implications of this study are really interesting because it reinforces the power of language, something any writer will be happy to hear. And it suggests that men have some intuition about women and their physical natures that we haven’t been giving them credit for. Way to go guys! And don’t pretend to be surprised next time your partner gets PMS. You should have known that was coming.
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