Why Do Gentlemen Prefer Blondes?

It's a title to a famous movie, and a widely held notion -- all things being equal, men prefer blonde haired women versus brunettes or redheads. There is zero evidence that blonde women are objectively more attractive than brunettes or redheads (e.g., via deformity rate or health), so why might this be? Science, specifically sexual selection, might provide an answer.

First, there is no way to tell a woman's age directly; it can only be deduced from their appearance.

Blonde hair, except in pure Nordic people, starts getting darker as women age (recall how common blonde hair is among children). Flip it the other way-- blonde hair would be a strong indicator that a woman is young-- meaning childbearing age. So, in societies where clothes were necessary (as in cold, northern European climates), men who preferred women with blonde hair would help increase their odds that their mate could bear children. Since these gentleman would presumably have more children than men who chose older mates (a higher proportion of which may have been darker haired), the inherited trait for preferring blonde hair, and the cultural association of blonde hair with youth and progeny-- would be solidified. Thus, "gentleman prefer blondes."

Interestingly enough, most of the indicators of great female beauty: clear skin, cherry red lips, perky breasts, narrow waists, and yes, blonde hair, physically do not persist in most women past their twenties. From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, these might be the only obvious clues that reveal age, which is such a critical factor for reproduction.

Now, is the preference for blondes just a myth? At least historically, there is little doubt that blonde was strongly associated with 'attractive.' Ancient Roman women dyed their hair blonde, and Renaissance Italians indelibly associated blonde hair with beauty; likewise in England, 'fair' and 'beautiful' meant the same thing.

In any case, beyond attempting to answer the question, 'do guys like blondes more than brunettes or redheads,' it is fascinating to see where essentially arbitrary traits might have originated. Ultimately, like many of our previously useful traits, these factors can (and are) easily be overridden by personal preference and circumstance. Truly, to each their own!

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Marilyn Monroe's marquee clip from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, singing "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend"

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Further Reading:

If you find the concept of sexual selection interesting, please read:

Matt Ridley, The Red Queen:
http://www.amazon.com/Red-Queen-Evolution-Human-Nature/dp/0060556579/
Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene:
http://www.amazon.com/Selfish-Gene-Anniversary-Introduction/dp/0199291152/

OR

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theTruth theTruth
31-35, M
18 Responses Jun 23, 2008

Another thought crossed my mind....
So Gentlemen Prefer Blondes?
What defines a Gentleman?
When was the last time one was located?
And of course would you want to be one or associate with one?
Are they in fact what the name implies?

Actually, most men I know prefer brunettes. I think it has everything to do with preference. However, I still love my natural blonde hair!

These days guys prefer blondes because they think they'll give it to them... I had a guy tell me once blondes are for fu cking and brunettes are for marriage..... I hate guys

Interesting indeed! I prefer women with really dark hair and long!

I'm not even blonde but understand girls. Your jealous. Ppl usually have blonde hair at a young age. Young=Very fertile=Hot. Get it? Plus its a rare trait, so it stands out more.

I detest being blond. I am automatically a sl*t', stupid, and useless....guys think they can fool with me, then leave me. And the dumb blond jokes......I have a 4.0 GPA and anytime something for me goes wrong it's because I am a 'dumb blonde'. :'( So all you blonde haters, please, remembr how I feel next time.

I am A brunette but I'd die to be blonde. At school loads of ppl have boyfriends and girlfriends Btw I Don't. I did have one he was blonde. He found blondes annoying. I have had 3 boyfriends. There's another guy called nathan he asked me out i said no cuz he's not my type. He siad he asked loads of girls out. Which put me off. Anyway to the point. If I were a boy i'd Defintelly choose blonde. I wish it was the brunettes like blondes.

Interestingly .. I as a woman cannot stand and am repulsed by blonde men .. they make my skin crawl.. I am deeply attracted to dark men .. dark eyes, hair, even dark skin tone..

Well I don't know what the reason is, me personally I just think blonde hair is really attractive..

Im a natural blonde and the reason why some men might prefer this over other genes is the unique and rare features that a NATURAL blonde portrays, that you woulnd't be found in other genetics. It all depends on attraction really, and since darker hair is more common and average in men AND WOMEN (opposites attract)...that would also explain this natural selection. I suppose preferences for any particular feature could be debated. Unfortunately blonde has just become the main topic of today society, Because as human beings we always want to find something to complain about!lol It's only a color and a preference people!! I know some men that prefer girls with black hair... am I going to be offended? or shrug it off and think, well gee maybe he isn't my type;) AND COLORING YOUR HAIR LADIES IS A SIGN OF INSECURITY OR OLD AGE( WITH EXCEPTION OF HIGHLIGHTS) YOU'RE ALL BEAUTIFUL THE WAY YOU ARE!SO SHUT UP;)

I would like to comment on the amout of stereotypes used in the comments on this page. for examle: " A roomful of blond headed people suggest a roomful of bleached blond conformists." "Knowing them will not enrich you." How often are you going to find a room filled entirely with blonde headed people alone? if you were to fill a room with brunettes would they ALL be intelligent? what about those who dyed their hair brunette wouldnt they be just as bad as the bleach blond. anyways people dye their hair blond for many reasons. being blonde can show creativity and ***** for the clear fact that it is bright and stands out among other hair colors its just a matter of personality type. now of course there are dumb blondes, but there are also dumb brunettes and redheads as well. what about those who dye their hair dark does that mean they are trying to conform to the stereotype that brunetts are smarter?

I think you where mistaken that men prefer blondes. I read that men prefer red heads, then brunettes and then blondes.

Only ignorant young men prefer blondes. A roomful of blond headed people suggest a roomful of bleached blond conformists. Knowing them will not enrich you.<br />
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The sole Nordic evolutionary advantage would be that if you have light skin and blond hair you have a better chance of hiding from predators in daylight in snowy conditions. More likely it might be a marker of heredity.<br />
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The last blond haired woman I worked with had naturally blond hair and a Ph. D. in her field, so most stereotypes in jokes of blond women are simply make believe.

Umm... they did a servay where the majority of wealthy men married brunetts. Also brunetts win miss universe almost everytime. so the facts speak for themselves. **** your myths.

Geez, jealous much? lol Nobodys saying brunettes are ugly he's just explaining why blondes can be considered more attractive sexually to a male. Besides, wealthy men often marry wealthy women, and that would have nothing to do with hair colour and sexual preference and everything to do with continuing wealth and status in society. Additionally, Miss Universe is a model picked by the modelling industry, it doesn't mean she's wooed by every man in the world... lmao

The highest of the high maintenance women I know all are blondes. Since that type of woman is so unappealing to you, I suppose then you must be careful when selecting your preferred blonde. Oh, wait! You're not selecting anyone because you have 15 great reasons for being single! Silly me.<br />
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Mierje

Oh yeah! They're as rare as a bottle of bleach on a shelf in a drug store! Wow that is rare!

Interesting thoughts. I think, in contrast however, that they prefer blondes simply because they are more of a rarity.

I agree. I think only 6% of the world's population is blonde (not sure about the exact stat), so I think men tend to admire this rare trait. Although I do agree with the author of this story.. He does provide us with interesting psychologica reasons as to why men might prefer blondes more. Everyones different!

Men prefer blondes<br />
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There is a reasonable possibility that blond hair is a sign of young age and is also perceive as this by men. Some time ago, though, I read and idea that blond hair and light complexion is an attempt of females to cheat men, there should be some kind of disease that displays as light complexion, this, of course, is easily to be seen on darker females. Blond females cheat in having light complexion on which men cannot see the typical signals of the disease. Well, I do not know which of the two ideas is correct or more correct, or if there might be another possible explanation, or it might be also possible that all of these possibilities gave rise to the fact that men prefer blonds. Usually, it is so that one signal, in this case blond hair and light complexion are signaling more than only one content. I use here the word content but what I mean is meme. Spite the fact that meme definition brought the memetics to its end. <br />
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You might as well want to read my other ideas in my BLOG. www.hlavni-vos.blogspot.com