(Photo: daniellehelm/Flickr.)
Men believe overeating impresses women but feel less attracted to women who do the same. Why? (Photo: daniellehelm/Flickr.)

All men can relate to resorting to somewhat over-the-top measures while on the dating circuit. Let’s brainstorm a few simple ways to show off just within the bar and restaurant space, for example: seating your date yourself, somehow securing the “impossible” reservation, springing for that next-level bottle of vino. But how about overeating in front of your date? Wouldn’t that go against common wisdom? Apparently not, according to a new study.

The editors at Fast Co Exist recently referenced a study from Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab that concluded that men may eat more in social situations just to make themselves look good. The first portion of the study yielded extreme, albeit fairly predictable, results: Men ate four times as many chicken wings in an eating competition when cheered on by an audience versus eating without a crowd.

It’s the references to previous similar studies, along with the second part of the study, that we found a bit surprising. The article mentions a study that found men at an all-you-can-eat-pizza buffet ate twice as much with females present than they did in all-male situations. The second part of the Cornell study also determined that men were impressed by male overeating, while women do not appear to be favorably impressed by overeating. Male participants also rated female overeaters as less attractive and less romantic, while women admitted to eating less in front of men. So just why exactly do men — as shown by science — consciously eat more in such situations, even though they think their female counterparts are “less attractive” when doing the same?

The study hypothesizes about potential motivation, speculating on a perceived correlation between overeating and athleticism, and that women may really find show-off eating attractive but don’t display it consciously in their answers. Really? We’re kind of perplexed as to why men ever thought stuffing their faces with junk food in front of a romantic interest was a wise idea, or why this would ever impress said interest.