Thursday, 9 April 2009


Last night I dropped in on old school friend and found that she has a new kitten. I’m not normally a ‘cutesy-awwww-bless’ kind of girl but do I have a soft spot for cats, so for the duration of the evening I was reduced to a simpering fool, babbling baby talk to the tiny ball of fluff that was attempting to gnaw through to my knuckle bones. At first I thought that, as a woman, I was predisposed to find small, young creatures cute, but it transpires that the men of her household are equally as captivated with the new arrival. So no oestrogen influence there then.

A great deal of research has been carried out into what exactly we classify as ‘cute’ and the most infamous study of ‘cuteness’ is Stephen Jay Gould’s "A Biological Homage to Mickey Mouse" which tracks the gradual development of Mickey Mouse into an infantile looking character and explains why humans feel affection for animals and people with juvenile features. It seems that certain identifiable personality traits and physical features elicit the ‘awww cute’ response, as Wikipedia (yes, yes I know…but it actually comes through on this one!) concisely sums up:

‘Cuteness is usually characterized by (though not limited to) some combination of infant-like physical traits, especially small body size with a disproportionately large head, large eyes, a pleasantly fair, though not necessarily small nose, dimples, and round and softer body features. Infantile personality traits, such as playfulness, fragility, helplessness, curiosity, innocence, affectionate behavior and a need to be nurtured are also generally considered cute.’

Now potentially, in light of this research, you might think (and I’m speaking to the girls here) that if you have a large head, big eyes, a small nose and possess all these characteristics then you have found the blueprint for success when it comes to attracting guys. But here’s why a woman in possession of these ‘cute’ characteristics would make for a psycho girlfriend/partner:

Playful = will flirt with other men
Fragile = will moan when breaks a nail
Helpless = too feeble to open jars or carry heavy objects
Curious = nosy
Innocent = frigid
Affectionate = stifling and needy, will demand cuddles
Needs to be nurtured = very dependant, unwilling to get a job

So, y’see, cute doesn’t carry well into the ‘human genre’. Best stick with kittens.

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