I can watch the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love like a million times and not get tired of it. And not just because it stars my future husband, Ryan Gosling.
It’s because parts of this movie perfectly illustrate a funny fact about how our hormones push us toward or away from certain romantic partners depending on where we are in our cycle.
In the movie, Ryan’s character, Jacob, is a total cocky flirt who hangs out at a bar picking up woman and after woman who falls for his charm.
However, when Jacob dangles a cheesy pick-up line in front of fiery lawyer-in-training Hannah, she finds the cornball come-on off-putting and says she’s not attracted to him. And this leaves him stunned.
Luckily, all Jacob has to do is wait a couple of weeks. Because (spoiler alert!) that’s when we see Hannah rushing back to the bar seeking out Jacob, planting a big kiss on his lips and asking him to take her home to bed.
In my hormone-soaked view of the world, this perfectly encapsulates what research shows happens to many of us gals:
I think we can agree that, in general, when we think about stale pick-up lines and an over-confident, cocky attitude, most of us would say they’re total turn-offs.
However, in reality, during Week 2 of our cycle as we approach ovulation (which starts 8 days after the onset of your period), we actually become more attracted to cocksure flirts who pull out all the stops–and pick-up lines–to woo us and out-compete other rivals vying for our attention, according to numerous studies, including this one in the journal Psychological Science and this one from the UK’s University of Portsmouth.
That’s why Hannah could be so turned off by Jacob’s aggressive Lothario tactics when she first meets him. And then during a different phase of her cycle–when her high libido and assertiveness indicate she’s clearly in her Week 2–Jacob’s macho antics are a complete turn-on.
Why do we undergo this big flip-flop about flirtatiousness in our cycle? As the researchers explain it, during our Week 2, our high hormones are pushing us toward romantic partners with short-term relationship potential rather than those with long-term relationship potential. And it just so happens that confidence, playfulness and competitiveness all indicate that the person displaying these behaviors is perfect for a fling.
What’s this mean for you in the real world? Next time a super-confident, flirtatious cutie tries to reel you in, before you decide whether or not to take the bait, keep in mind where you are in your monthly cycle. You may be surprised to find your response matches up with how your hormones are influencing you based on the week you’re in.
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