David Givens, an anthropologist and head of the Center for Non-verbal Studies in Washington, has been in and out of bars and pubs to watch people flirting for over two decades now, trying to answer one basic question about the survival of our species: “How do two bodies get close enough together to procreate?”
It seems that beneath love’s mysteries, there are some basic principles of biology and genetics. Flirting, for example, has rules that cross cultures and countries, based on gestures that seem instinctive, but that follow codes of attraction and beauty that may be millions of years old. Those codes have developed because they lead us to the healthiest men and women. Why? Because attraction to a healthy person gives us our best chance to have babies and pass our genes to the next generation.
Men, for instance, have been attracted to certain sizes of hips and waists for more than 20,000 years. A certain waist and hip size is linked to having babies. Studies indicated that women seem to be attracted to tall men, who become fathers to more babies than shorter men. Another clue to the genes is symmetry: a good match between both sides of the face as well as arms and hands. Several studies have found that both sexes think symmetry is stimulating. Researchers say that symmetry is a sign of a strong physical condition.
So, although true love is so complex that we cannot explain it, that first feeling of desire, it seems, depends on the need to reproduce.
1. Write a summary of the text in English, including the most important points, using your own words whenever possible (maximum 50 words).
David Givens investigates about the biological and genetic code of attraction between men and women. He has found that tall men, women with a certain hip and waist size, and more symmetrical people, attract the opposite sex more, because they are both healthier themselves and will have healthier children.
2. Explain in English the meaning of the following expressions as used in the text.
a) the next generation means the children of the future / the children of the people who are adults now.
b) symmetry is a sign of a strong physical condition means symmetrical faces and bodies show that people are usually strong physically.
3. Complete the second sentence of each pair so that it has the same meaning as the first one:
a) David Givens asked “How do two bodies get close enough together to procreate?”
- David Givens asked how two bodies get / got close enough together to procreate.b) True love is so complex that we cannot explain it.
- True love is too complex for us to explain.c) Men have been attracted to certain sizes of hips and waists for more than 20,000 years.d) Codes of attraction and beauty may be millions of years old.
- It is possible that codes of attraction and beauty are millions of years old.
4. Answer the following questions in your own words:
a) Why does David Givens go to many bars and pubs?
b) Why do certain physical features attract members of the opposite sex?
5. Do you worry about your physical appearance? Why / why not? (Approximately 100 words)
I sometimes worry about my appearance, because I am not like the tall men in the text. I am quite short, so girls may not like me very much at the beginning. Therefore, I do plenty of exercise in order to be healthy. On the other hand, I think there are other more important things, like being handsome, being happy, and making other people happy. Girls also like men who are talented in art, medicine or music. So, in conclusion, it is more important to be a happy guitarist or doctor than to be tall, because then you will have a beautiful wife.