Men, take note: Your chances of scoring a woman increase when she sees you with an instrument.
Puns aside, this seems to be the conclusion reached by a team of French researchers whose study was published in the Psychology of Music journal last week.
According to the study's abstract, they enlisted a young man to flirt with 300 women under three different scenarios: holding a guitar case, carrying a gym bag and appearing empty-handed.
Ultimately, the women were much more willing to give him their phone number when they saw the guitar case, "thus suggesting that musical practice is associated with sexual selection."
The Psychology of Music would obviously have reason to be pleased with these findings.
But then this isn't the only study on sexual selection to make the news this week.
Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia have discovered an interesting twist on last year's findings that men with beards are less desirable than those who are clean-shaven.
What they neglected to take into account was the stubble factor. And so now, in their latest study, they have determined that "an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring."
You, intelligent reader, must surely be seeing the larger takeaway here: Women will invariably fall for bearded musicians!
But does this tell us anything we didn't already know, at least anecdotally?
The type of guy who plays music and leaves his facial hair a bit unkempt (but not too unkempt) projects an image of someone who is creative and sensitive, even if a bit absent-minded.
Of course, both studies only shed insight on superficial cues of seduction – nothing that is likely to endear a woman to a man for a prolonged period of time. They are also heteronormative, which results in a certain myopic perspective.
Still, as a way to identify the traits we desire in others, these experiments can prove good fun. Just read this self-proclaimed beard enthusiast's excitement upon discovering the stubble study.
But until the researchers tell us something we don't already know, here's an idea: How about investigating whether those who study sexual selection make better choices than those who operate based on feelings?