wedding ringA recently released study by researchers from the Universities of St. Andrews, Durham and Exeter found that women consider men to be more attractive if they are desired by other women. This is particularly true if the men are already in relationships. Whether “This is because he is perceived to be more kind, faithful and a better father” came from the women in the study, the researchers or Sarah J. Young, the author reporting on the study, is unclear.

A previous study conducted by Oklahoma State University found what some call “The Wedding Ring Effect,” that by being in a relationship a man has already proven he has at least some desirable characteristics. In that study, 90 per cent of single women were interested in men they believed were taken, while only 59 per cent thought these same men were attractive if they were thought to be unattached. Hmmmm.

So this is news? I observed this phenomenon in the late 1960s when I was finally in a relationship. Girls had never considered me particularly attractive. But when they saw me with Zelda, some flirted with me and asked me to dance with them. Since this behavior was in stark contrast to how they treated me pre-Zelda, I couldn’t help but notice the difference. Sadly, I didn’t capitalize on this change and continued seeing Zelda. But that is an entirely different story.

The lesson in this for men is to latch onto a girlfriend of some sort, even if you’re not wild about her. Being able to tolerate her long enough to find someone you consider more desirable is enough. Depending on how attractive other women consider your stepping-stone girlfriend, you may need to repeat this process a time or three to find your Miss Right.