How curvy a man prefers his date to be may depend on his situation at any given moment, find researchers Martin Tovee and Viren Swami. In one study, the duo stopped men at a campus dining hall and asked them to rate the body shapes of several dozen women. While all guys preferred figures that represented a normal weight, hungry men were more attracted to women on the heavier side
of the range (with a body mass index ~23 vs. 21) than were those who had already eaten. The same thing happened in a follow-up study when guys were in a stressful situation: Compared to their mellow peers, they chose curvier, more rotund (actually, overweight) figures
as their womanly ideal. The upshot: If a man feels hungry, threatened or uncertain, he tends to prefer more robust-looking female figures—which may subconsciously remind him of strength, control, nurture and independence.