Study of People Who Apparently Don’t Ride the Subway at Rush Hour Finds Manspreading Is Sexy

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Is this man hot?
Is this man hot?Photo: Richard Yeh/WNYC

A new paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that people who adopt spread-out poses both in speed dating and in their online photos are considered more attractive than those who don’t.

Like that one co-worker, manspreading is selfish and annoying, but also … kind of sexy? Both male and female participants in the speed-dating exercise, for example, were more likely to mark a person attractive if they spread out than if they were laughing or smiling. Those that comfortably took up space were more than twice as likely to be asked on a second date.

But manspreading isn’t as sexy to men as it is to women. Eighty-seven percent of yeses that men received on their online dating profiles were in response to a photo where they comfortably sprawled, compared with just 53 percent of women.

The study’s findings mean that though men romantically benefit more from manspreading, women actually benefit as well — a possible indication that traditional notions of femininity are on the way out. The findings do not mean, however, that you can guiltlessly occupy three seats on the downtown 2/3 train at 5:30 p.m.