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What attracts men and women to one another?

Friday 20 Feb 2009 7:14 p.m.

A Wellington man is studying women's breast sizes, among other things, in order to discover what people find attractive in each other.

It is serious research - in fact, some of the doctorate student's work has gained international recognition in academic circles.

He has found some surprising truths about men and women.

So why do we fancy someone? Why does someone fancy you?

Men and women have always watched each other and admired good looks, but on Wellington's streets at least, they insist they are attracted by deeper things. Victoria University doctorate student Barnaby Dixson does not believe them. He says it is not personality first, and he is doing the research which he thinks will show that.

Human nature and sexual attraction is Mr Dixson's thing, specifically women's body shapes and men's body hair.

Like Charles Darwin, he insists our drive to reproduce determines who we chose to mate with.

Mr Dixson measures how fast men scan the bodies and where they look. They are also asked to rate the women's attractiveness to find out whether they will go for Darwin's ideal of a healthy child-bearing body with a low hip-to-waist ratio.

So what do women want in a man? Mr Dixson is looking at Darwin's theory on beards, played out by league side the Warriors recently when they decided to grow them. 

Barnaby photographed men being angry with beards and without.

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