carEver wonder why so many guys drive around in super-expensive cars, splash out on pricey brand-name clothes, snap up the latest version of the hottest must-have gadget and spend wildly on other items they can show off?

A key reason is your egg–it likes flashy things! I know, sounds odd, but hear me out….

In a 2012 study in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology (full study), researchers assembled two groups of women–those with natural menstrual cycles and those using hormone birth control. They then tested the two groups on how much they paid attention to items that indicated a higher social status (including a Breitling watch, Porsche and Aston Martin sports cars, exclusive mansion, Mont Blanc pen and home cinema) and items that were more practical (such as bucket, towel and bicycle).

What the researchers found: Natural-hormoned women who were in the fertile phase of their monthly cycle paid significantly more attention to the flashy items that indicated higher social status than naturally-hormoned women in other phases of their cycle and women using hormone birth control.

Based on the results of this study and past research, the researchers conclude that high estrogen during ovulation makes women gravitate toward potential mates who display status symbols that indicate they’re better than others.

Why? In the early days, it may have been one way for women to figure out which men had the most robust genes since that would be good for mating: If those males were the ones with the best cave rocks and spears, clearly they must have been strong and healthy enough to earn them.

The authors of this study helpfully point out, however, that nowadays with the easy availability of credit and renting, status symbols are easy to obtain by just about anyone regardless of their genetic robustness, making this now an unreliable sign in a potential mate.

But, since evolution moves slowly, we gals are still wired to perk up at the sign of a brand or product that denotes a higher status in potential suitors during our fertile days. And, men intuitively pick up on this desire for flashy adornments during this cycle phase (which, not too coincidentally, is when you’re most open to physical intimacy), so they buy, rent or charge all sorts of pricey items that indicate their higher status with which to adorn themselves.

So, the next time a salesperson sells a gull-wing Mercedes-Benz 300SL or Apple Watch Edition to a guy, he or she may want to thank your egg for the commission.

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Gabrielle Lichterman is a longtime women’s health and lifestyle journalist whose articles have appeared in dozens of major magazines and newspapers around the globe including Cosmopolitan, CosmoGIRL, Glamour, Marie Claire, The New York Daily News and Woman’s World. Gabrielle began developing Hormonology and the Hormone Horoscope in 1999 and has been sharing menstrual cycle-related research and tips through her apps, blog, book, newsletter and magazine articles ever since.

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[Photo: Ben]