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We inherit a lot from our a parents. And while a lot of the credit (rightfully) goes to mom, there’s a special set of personality and genetic traits that come directly from dear old dad.
Fathers can, say, teach us persistence (whether it’s hitting your fitness goals or getting through a crappy day). They’re also the reason you have a great head of hair (or not), and probably why you love certain sports teams and loathe others.
But having a crappy dad (or an absent one) can have its own set of consequences—especially for women in the dating pool.
Women who grew up without a caring father, or have bad childhood memories of their dad, are more likely to perceive sexual intent in men, according to a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
In the study, researchers ran five separate experiments in which half of the participating women were asked to recall a time when their father was absent for an important life event, while the other half were asked to remember a time when their father was present or their mother was absent. In the second phase of the experiments, all of the women were asked to rate the perceived level of sexual interest in men based on factors like their behavior (hand-holding or flirting, for example) and facial expressions.
The results? Women who were reminded of painful or disappointing experiences with their father (but not their mother) were overwhelmingly more likely to think a man was sexually interested in them.
What’s the bottom line for the average dude? The next time you’re getting one of those “signals” that a woman is interested in you, just remember it might be something besides your ripped abs or charming personality that’s drawing her in. And always, please be a gentleman. That goes a long way, too—regardless of a woman’s family background.