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SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - A recent study by Texas researchers proves what single men have known for a long time: Chicks dig hot cars.
Men who wear expensive clothes and drive flashy cars are more successful at having flings and staying single than their financially conservative counterparts, researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio said.
And while it's not exactly groundbreaking information that some women are more likely to go from the bar with a guy in a Porsche rather than a Geo, the project found the phenomenon is less about gold-digging and more about "signals," University of Texas at San Antonio marketing professor Dr. Jill Sundie told Reuters on Monday.
By engaging in splashy personal spending, men are sending a signal to women that they want a "short term relationship," much like peacocks trying to woo a mating partner using "wasteful, elaborate displays," Sundie said.
"Basically, they're just trying to convince a female that, 'Hey, if all you're looking for is genes, I have the best genes, so you should choose me,'" she said.
Women, pick up on that signal and respond to it -- positively if she's into that kind of thing, or negatively if she is looking for marriage material.
"Women seem to understand that when they see a man who has chosen to spend money conspicuously, they think he would be more interesting as a date," Sundie said.
That is, if all they want is a one-nighter or something temporary. When it comes to the long term, Sundie said, flashing the cash becomes a turn-off for women.
"If you ask them to think of these men instead as a long term partner, how good is this guy as a marriage partner, the flashy spending doesn't help him at all," she said.
The same is not true for women, the study shows.
Researchers surveyed nearly 1,000 men and women in four separate studies to determine the signals sent by conspicuous consumption and how it is viewed by the opposite sex. Their findings were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Sundie stressed that not all men who spend conspicuously do so in hopes of having a fling, and women who date these types of men are not all interested simply in flings.
But the signals are clear, even if the intentions are not.
"It appears to be a behavior that is much more likely to occur if the guy is seeking short-term relationships, and he is thinking about a situation where he might be able to get one of those short-term relationships," she said. "When they think about women, they spend lots of money."
Editing by Karen Brooks and Greg McCune