New York, NY - "Affectionate and sensitive" and "a good sense of humor" are the characteristics both men and women around the world desire the most in the opposite sex, according to a new 10-country survey by Ipsos, the global marketing research firm. Of relatively less significance are "a good income" and "good looks." The only surveyed regions where caring and humor do not hold the top two spots are urban China and urban Russia. Middle-aged and less wealthy North American women are somewhat more likely to emphasize a good income than are other North American women. For North American and Western European men, the younger one is, the more likely one is to prioritize looks when assessing the opposite sex. Wealthier men are half as likely as men less well-off to value physical attractiveness the most in a woman. "Still, in most countries, external attributes emerged as much less important to women and men when assessing someone of the opposite sex than core personality traits did," said Kiley Turner, the study's director. "As much as people might get initially attracted by looks or money, when contemplating a real relationship, they're looking for nice, caring, and funny--more enduring or sustainable characteristics that can be counted on", said Turner. "This is less true in developing societies and poorer subgroups, where looks and money matter more--a higher literal value is likely placed on them in the context of more unstable economic conditions." Other survey highlights:
- Humor ties with kindness for American men (44% "humor" vs. 44% "affectionate/sensitive"). It almost ties with it for Canadian men (44% vs. 46%, respectively).
- American women are above average, compared to the whole female surveyed population, in their appreciation of humor in a man (38% as well). But in each of these cases, the quality of caring is rated higher than humor is.
- A man's sense of humor is tops for British women (55% vs. 40% for "affectionate and sensitive"). And it's as important as a sweet disposition is for Canadian women (45% for "good sense of humor" vs. 46% for "affectionate and sensitive").
- British men (38% of whom chose "humor") are more interested in a funny woman than the average surveyed man is.
- In North America and Western Europe, women tend to rate humor a tiny bit more as they get older and wealthier. This is not the case with men in these regions. In North America, men tend to look more intently at a woman's kindness as they get older and wealthier.