I never was, and never will be, a Don Juan.
Growing up, I was always nervous around girls. I just blamed it on my looks and/or my awkwardness. As a result, I did my best to avoid them, and they seemed quite happy with my decision.
However, on those rare occasions when a girl would talk to me, I always made sure to talk clearly so that I wouldn’t have to repeat myself, which would have extended the conversation.
I can thank the nuns I had for teachers during my first eight years of schooling. They drilled into me the importance of speaking clearly.
Now as it turns out, it may not have been my looks or my awkwardness that turned off the girls, it was my near-perfect diction.
Scientists with the American Institute of Physics say males who speak less clearly (or mumble) tend to be more attractive to the opposite sex because women see it as a sign of masculinity. Conversely, men find precise pronunciation alluring because it signifies femininity.
Researchers say the findings, published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, back evolutionary theories.
“From a sexual selection standpoint, males with traits that are slightly more masculine than average are typically preferred, which in this context would make males with less clear speech more attractive,” says study co-author Dr. Daniel Stehr from the University of California-Irvine in a media release.
Hollywood heartthrob Marlon Brando had the nickname “Mr. Mumbles” bestowed on him by his “Guys and Dolls” co-star Frank Sinatra. The Oscar-winning legend famously put cotton wool in his mouth while playing Don Corleone in “The Godfather” to make himself even less intelligible.
So I am going to blame my non-Don Juan status on the nuns. But perhaps they knew this all along, and purposely taught all the boys how to speak clearly so there wouldn’t be any shenanigans between the boys and the girls.
I just think back to high school and what I could have done with this information. I would be going around the hallways mumbling to every girl I met. Although it could backfire if they still found me unattractive. At that point, I would have to face the cold hard facts that I was not, and never would be, a ladies’ man and that the issue really was my looks.
So next time a guy speaks up in one of my classes, but he just mumbles an answer, I won’t ask him what he just said. I’ll just nod knowingly and move on to the next person.
- my painful childhood recollections
P.S. I will have to disagree with one part of the study’s findings. Despite the nuns’ perfect enunciation, I never found myself attracted to them…
*image from Pinterest