Dr. Helen

Hypergamy, Cars, and Phone Numbers


I am still reading Shawn Smith’s book The Woman’s Guide to How Men Think: Love, Commitment, and the Male Mind and came across a section on status and why it is so important to men. Status is important to men because it is important to women. I frequently hear women or even men say that hypergamy, the tendency for women to find mates of higher status, is untrue or rarely true. However, a study on status in the book shows otherwise: In a carefully controlled experiment (Guéguen and Lamy 2012), researchers tested the idea of how important status is to women. They placed men in expensive cars and instructed them to approach women and ask for their phone numbers. Then they had the men do the same thing in medium- and low-status cars.

The results? The men were successful 23.3 percent of the time when women saw them in a high-status car, 12.8 percent of the time when they drove a middle-status car, and 7.8 percent of the time when they drove a low-status car. Clearly, women are monitoring our status, and we’re acutely aware of that fact.

So the next time someone asks for “proof” of hypergamy, now you can just give the statistics of the willingness of women to give out their number to the guy in the Maserati.


image courtesy shutterstock / A.KaZaK