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Men and women prefer partners who are weird, according to a new study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
The study’s researchers asked a group of heterosexual and bisexual people from the United States, the United Kingdom and India to select individuals from online dating websites that interested them. They were also asked to describe their ideal partners and to imagine date scenarios with a person they just met.
The researchers found that that both men and women romantically preferred those who were nonconformist in regard to their life decisions, clothing or public opinions. Although the male subjects were often predicted by the female subjects to more likely prefer conformist women, the men showed just as much interest, and in some cases more, in nonconforming partners as did the women.
Lead author and University of Queensland social psychologist Matthew Hornsey told Scientific American:
“The old-fashioned gender stereotype—that men go for conformist, submissive women—has been slow to die. I’m intrigued by the notion of the ‘girls-night-out’ and how many women feel as though they can be more unguarded without men around – more relaxed, more crass, more honest, more funny. And I keep thinking, ‘Why are you keeping this good stuff to yourselves? Men would love it!’ ”