Unattractive things you do that could actually get you a date

We all do it. Every now and then, when we think no one is watching, we'll do some outrageously gross, completely unattractive thing like hock a massive loogie into the bath, or let out a silent-yet-deadly fart in a crowded elevator, or anything else that would make our grandmas collectively disown us. Worse, we then keep this unpalatable behavior to ourselves, letting the rest of the world take the rap for our bath boogers and elevator fumes.

But what if we're going about this the wrong way? What if instead of hiding your grossness, you actively embraced it and then it actually improved your life? What if it could even get you date? Science suggests you could be just one unappealing act away from landing the partner of your dreams.

Manspreading

Manspreading is nature's way of telling the world that you value space and air for your sweaty treasure trove more than you value protecting other people from your pungent odor. Manspreading takes up space. It forces others to deal with the unedifying spectacle of your seat-dominating existence. And it might just be the key to netting your dream date.

The Guardian has the full, unlikely story. Evolutionary scientists have long known that open postures, where your arms and legs are apart, imply both openness and dominance. On the flip side, closed postures with crossed legs and arms imply you're either closed off or collapsing into an internal black hole. Researchers at Berkeley decided to see if adopting an open posture would translate into dating success by creating fake Tinder-style profiles of three men and three women in both open and closed postures. They uploaded them on different weekends and waited to see what got the most interest.

Surprisingly, the images of men sitting splay-legged got far, far more people hoping to hook up. The open women also got a bit more interest than their closed counterparts, but nothing compared to the guys displaying their spectacular spreads like they were hoping to be visible from space. A separate study at a live speed-dating event got similar results. No word on whether mansplaining these findings to potential dates has a similar effect.

Blushing

Compared to, say, hurling your own poop out the window mid-date, blushing is pretty low on the list of behaviors most people would consider unattractive. But that's not to say it's something you wanna show off while trying to woo a potential partner. Especially if you're a fully grown adult who doesn't want to look like you're still in grade school.

Yet blushing and being flustered and just generally acting like you've committed a massive faux pas might be a bonus for those looking for love. According to the BBC, blushing is one of the few bodily reactions we can't fake. As a result, those who blush easily are often rated highly in tests for honesty, integrity, and altruism. So if the guy or gal of your dreams is looking for a long-term partner, they might just find themselves more drawn to your awkward, flame-red cheeks than to your best friend's cool-as-a-cucumber smile.

The theory goes that blushers are less likely to cheat, either regarding finances or emotions, or in the old-fashioned, caught-in-the-arms-of-the-pantry-boy/scullery-maid sense (or, hey, maybe both at once). For those looking to get off the dating scene and into some sort of stable relationship, that can be a godsend. On the other hand, it could be cold comfort if all you're after is some quick horizontal hugging.

Forgetting to shave

The greatest contribution hipsters made to male grooming was the option of chucking away the razor and declaring that your unkempt look meant you were either a roving, available lumberjack, or possibly a wizard. Yet this cultural craving for sporting Gandalf-like facial hair hasn't improved men's chances of getting a date. According to a 2013 study, women think men with full beards look like excellent dads, but less-excellent one-night stands. The optimum level of hairiness for attracting females? The sort of stubble associated mainly with forgetting to shave.   

A University of New South Wales study asked men and women to rate pictures of men with varying degrees of facial hair according to healthiness, attractiveness, manliness, and how awesome they'd be as dads (not the technical term). While both men and women correctly identified the hairy men as they manliest of all, they were divided on attractiveness. Men said the beardy guys were hottest, while women went for the guys with heavy stubble. Those who were either clean-shaven or had light stubble ranked badly on just about everything. The lesson is clear, men of the world: Embrace your inner shaving slob.

Eating raw garlic

If there's one unattractive thing guaranteed to make you feel like you've accidentally gone on a date with Grandpa Simpson, it's having your potential partner turn up with breath reeking of raw garlic. At least, that's what you — and most sane people — probably think. Science seems to think differently. Far from reacting to the stench of garlic like Nosferatu reacting to, well, the stench of garlic, one 2016 study suggests you'd act more like someone falling head over heels for their smelly date.

The study, published in the journal Appetite, fed three sets of male subjects either a small amount of raw garlic, a large amount of raw garlic, or garlic powder capsules. The garlic-eating men were then required to wear pads collecting their odor (read: horrible man sweat) for 12 hours. Afterward, 82 oh-so-lucky women got to sniff those pads and rate each one for stuff like masculinity, pleasantness, and attractiveness. We presume the scientists were completely shocked when the women revealed that they found the heavy garlic eaters to be the most attractive of all.

Interestingly, while there was no difference in perceived attractiveness of raw garlic and powdered garlic eaters except that those who ate raw garlic were ranked as also having a pleasant odor. Presumably any subsequent attempts at kissing quickly dispelled these impressions.

Belching

They're great if you wanna entertain a roomful of fourth graders, less great if you wanna charm your way into the pants of those fourth graders' smokin' hot moms or dads. Belches are one of those bodily functions you never want to break out on a date. But for a certain subset of the population, there's nothing hotter than you burping right in their faces. Yep, it turns out that burping fixations are an actual thing, and there are people out there totally in thrall to the idea of experiencing these otherwise unattractive things in a romantic setting.

Perhaps the only scientific account of this phenomenon comes from Dr. Mark Griffiths, a British psychology professor who blogs about extreme and obsessive behavior. Griffiths spent time hanging around in online belch forums, collecting anecdotes and comments from people who have this kink. While many were embarrassed by it, they all seemed to agree on one thing: Hearing a boy or girl burp loudly at unexpected moments was the most arousing thing imaginable. A few even suggested the gender of their potential partners would be a secondary preference to how loudly they could belch.

Griffiths links the desire to other psychological literature that suggests certain types of noises heard while making the beast with two backs (that's a Shakespeare reference, kids!) increases enjoyment. Probably better to ask first, though, before trying to use your mouth wind to move things to the next level.

Wearing smelly old clothes

On a list of things most people look for in a potential date, "dressing like a hobo" probably comes somewhere very near the bottom. Which just goes to show that most people are mostly wrong about most things. Several studies have shown that women wearing old, sweaty shirts appear more attractive to men, and vice versa.

In most cases, the studies were designed in a way that sounds fundamentally gross. Women and men were asked to wear their clothes for longer than usual. After a couple of days of walking around and allowing their, err, natural perfume to percolate the fabric, they then handed their stuffy garments to members of the opposite sex. After a great deal of sniffing, they were declared attractive. Ahh, the magic of young love!

Both sweat-attraction revelations come with a caveat. If you're female, guys are only going to find your natural musk attractive if you're off the pill and ovulating, according to this study in the Journal of Behavioral Ecology. If you're male, gals are only going to go nuts over your armpit fumes if you've been eating the right kind of food (via NPR). Sadly for meat eaters and pasta lovers, that "right kind of food" is fruit and vegetables with no refined carbohydrates. The study didn't discuss whether the subject's seductive sweat gland aroma mitigated the horrendous farts their body must simultaneously have been creating.

Being an obnoxious male narcissist or a female psychopath

It was Woody Allen (perhaps fittingly) who once said, "There are two types of people in this world, good and bad. The good sleep better, but the bad seem to enjoy the waking hours much more." Amusing as that is, it's also true — at least where dating is concerned. According to a 2016 study published in the European Journal of Personality (reported here via Business Insider), both men and women exhibiting the Dark Triad of personality traits are considered more desirable for short-term flings and one night stands than their mentally balanced counterparts.

The Dark Triad are personality traits that every villain from Dick Dastardly to that kid who stole your lunch money in fourth grade all exhibit to some degree. Narcissism is one, psychopathy is another, and Machiavellianism, or being a manipulative jerk, is the last. In their study, the researchers put 90 heterosexual men and women together in a speed-dating environment and asked them to rate one another as potential romantic partners, friends, or one-night stands. Surprise, surprise, the Dick Dastardlys of the group ranked highest of all.

The findings weren't uniform across the genders. Male narcissists were ranked as highly attractive to women for canoodling or romance, but not for friendship. Male manipulators gained no advantage, nor did males who were more psychopathic. Females who were more psychopathic, on the other hand, ranked well for one-night stands, while their narcissistic brethren also gained points for nookie or romance. How depressing.

Being rude

A golden rule of dating is "Don't start the evening by telling your date they look like a homeless person." Well, rules were made to be broken. A 2013 University of West Georgia study concluded that, far from sending your potential mate running for the hills, throwing a few insults at them might be the best way to get them into your bed (via Psychology Today).

This isn't carte blanche to dust off your old Dr. House impressions and start waxing lyrical on the stupidity of those having dinner with you. Rather, the study suggested that insults that fell under the banner of "teasing" allowed intimacy to develop, which often led to flirting. Equally, breaking the rules of good taste seemed to give dates a boost. While most people in the study would resist sexual innuendos or inappropriate conversation topics at first, their defenses would slowly break down until they found themselves joining in and feeling closer to their dates as a result.

The two types of rudeness that seemed to work best were being rude about your date and being rude about a stranger. The second one kinda makes sense — we've been gossiping for millennia after all — but the first one? Logic would dictate it was the quickest way to get a fake number and maybe a punch to the groin. But since when was love logical?

Bullying

Nobody likes a bully. Except, apparently, members of the opposite sex. A 2015 Canadian study looked into the attractiveness of bullies and victims in a Vancouver high school. Rather than confirming that the bullies were all jerks and their victims deserving of sympathy, it revealed that other high school kids thought the bullies were the most attractive of all their classmates. As an added kick in the teeth to common decency, the study also suggested the bullies were happier and had better mental health (via the Washington Post).

If you're feeling a little cheated, that may be because this is the exact opposite of the message all those Hollywood movies shoved down your throat during your teen years. According to lead study author Jennifer Wong, bullying comes from an innate need to dominate, allowing a school's jerkbag jocks and mean girls to rise up the social scale with ease. In short, people can't change, and if you're a victimized kid you better get used to the idea that the guy beating on you isn't acting out his unhappiness so much as having the time of his life.

Before any bullied kids reading this get the idea to start bullying in turn, you should know that the study didn't just divide the kids into bullies and victims. It also included bystanders and bully/victims, who are both bullied and bullies in turn. It turned out that bully/victims were the least attractive and most miserable of all.

Doing almost anything awful, provided their parents did it first

There are some people who are just so unremittingly, blindingly awful that no one could ever see past their waving red flags long enough to date them. But what if they didn't need to hide their insurmountable flaws? Meet the familiarity principle. In a nutshell, it suggests that we're all attracted to what we find familiar, hence that old cliche of children growing up to marry people who remind them of their parents.

The trouble comes when those children had awful parents. Rather than grow up to avoid similar behavior like the plague, the familiarity principle states they'll be drawn to similar behavior in future romantic partners. In other words, there are people out there who will date jerks not just in spite of their flaws, but because of them (via Psychology Today).

For example, maybe a girl grew up with a dad who was a deadbeat alcoholic. She becomes a woman, then finds herself marrying a wino just like her dear old Pa. Or maybe a boy grows up with a mother who belittles and undermines him, only to start seeing an emotionally abusive woman when he's a man. Studies have shown we enjoy the familiar even when it hurts us, a depressing sentence that makes everything from smoking to people willingly watching The Phantom Menace suddenly make tragic sense.

Ripping it

Okay, so this one won't actually help you with getting a date. Sorry about that. But, if you've already crossed over the dating threshold and into the early days of commitment, you should know that this may be the perfect way to take things to the next level. Letting rip a pants-shredding earth-shaker in front of your significant other could wind up increasing intimacy (via Mic).

Look at it this way. It's definitely unattractive. We all do it, some of us more than others. When you get in a long-term commitment with someone, you're guaranteeing that you'll wind up doing all your least-pleasant bodily functions in front of them. They'll see you get sick and vomit. They'll probably walk into the bathroom while you're taking a leak. And they'll undoubtedly hear (and smell) your toxic emissions. Thankfully, they'll be waiting to toot in front of you, too. Which means finally busting one out can be the olfactory equivalent to the release of saying "I love you" for the first time.

Mic even quotes former clinical therapist Robert Huizenga, who says letting one fly shows you're both human, thus allowing you to move on from your dating roles and into discussing the messy details of a real-life relationship. So there you have it. Being gross can get you laid, and being even grosser can turn that one-night stand into a loving marriage.