Since the dawn of time, mothers have been desperately trying to get their daughters to settle down with a nice boy. At best, these setups end with an awkward kiss on the cheek and an irritated text warning your mom to never again set you up with anyone who still has acne. At worst, you abandon ship to hook up with the hot waiter in the bathroom. (Oops?) It’s the natural order of things, but it doesn’t have to be this way—even science agrees your mom needs to stop setting you up with guys.
According to a study in Evolutionary Psychological Science, mothers just aren’t as picky as their daughters, which makes zero sense. Don’t our moms want beautiful grandchildren? Like, my mom doesn’t need to know any of the details of my sex life, but surely she has to know that “respectability” is the kind of thing only Jane Austen heroines care about. I want a hot husband, dammit. Sue me.
In the study, researchers asked 80 women and their mothers to rate three men, each a different level of hotness, based on whether they would date them (the women) or set them up with their daughter (the mothers). Each photo was accompanied by a “pleasing,” “respectful,” or “friendly” profile description. Essentially, someone took the premise behind Parental Control and turned it into a scientific experiment. So if you’ll just excuse me, I’m going to write up a grant proposal that will examine the effect of strangers’ impressions of your bedroom on your overall attractiveness and desirability.
When psychologists analyzed the information, they found something kind of hilarious: Despite everyone claiming that personality was more important than attractiveness, the cold, hard data says attractiveness was one of the strongest influences. So you can stop pretending your type is “funny guys,” because the jig is up. The attractive and moderately attractive men in the study were rated way higher than the unattractive ones (which is how it typically goes), but it happened even when the ugly dudes had more desirable personality traits. And before your mom can call you shallow, that effect was found in both daughters and mothers. What can I say? Nobody wants a betch to date down.
That being said, the results showed a deep ideological divide between mothers and daughters. The young women said they wouldn’t even consider dating the uggos, but their moms were open to them as potential son-in-law prospects. So while the unattractive dudes weren’t rated well, mothers didn’t see them as totally out of the running. In other words, you’re not being picky—your mom is fucking you over and knowingly setting you up with guys from her synagogue that she knows are busted. Next time she tries to pull that shit, kindly remind her what your grandchildren will look like if your husband closely resembles Shrek. That should nip that behavior in the bud.
In the end, researchers concluded that mothers and daughters have a “minimum level” of hotness when deciding who to date, but that you have way higher standards than your mom. Just something to keep in mind the next time she asks why you’re not dating anyone.