Does a flash motor act as a fanny magnet or not?

What girls really think about boys, cars and money

The long-debated question of whether women find a man more attractive if he drives a flash car (or in other ways spends cash conspicuously) has been further muddied by an alliance of trick-cyclists and biz profs in the States.

Carrying out a survey among 1,000 American subjects, the soft-studies profs sought to find out what effects a man's chosen ride had on the women's likelihood of coming across. They also evaluated the effects on their subjects' opinion of the man as a marriage prospect.

The results are announced in a statement from Rice uni, which begins thus:

Men’s conspicuous spending is driven by the desire to have uncommitted romantic flings. And, gentlemen, women can see right through it.

Which sounds bad for the fanny-magnet-driving Lothario. But no, in fact it seems that while women believe that the man with the big wad and flash motor is only after one thing, they're actually quite up for that - in his case.

Women found a man who chose to purchase a flashy luxury product (such as a Porsche) more desirable than the same man who purchased a non-luxury item (such as a Honda Civic).

Bad news, then, for those unable to afford a Porsche (though the study doesn't reveal whether it was the poor-man's Porsche or a proper full-fat one). And good news for the chap in the more prestigious wagon. Or is it? "There's a catch," report the profs:

Although women found the flashy guys more desirable for a date, the man with the Porsche was not preferred as a marriage partner. Women inferred from a man's flashy spending that he was interested in uncommitted sex.

Or in other words the Porsche driver is doomed to having loads of sex with a string of ladies, and will never know the homely joys of changing a nappy, repeated and questionably-necessary redecorating etc. A ghastly fate: although in fact, even in the trick-cyclists study our Porsche-driver suffers no actual disadvantage in snaring a wife compared to the man in the Civic. And in the real world, the idea that being richer is of no help in acquiring wives looks more than a little unrealistic.

The profs' twaddle can be read online here. ®

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