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Are Men Who Flaunt Flashy Cars Not the 'Marrying Kind'?

SATURDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Men who drive Porsches or flaunt other flashy possessions are usually not the "marrying kind," a new study suggests.

Researchers from Rice University, the University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) and the University of Minnesota found that conspicuous spending by men is often driven by the desire to have uncommitted romantic flings. They also pointed out that although flashy spending may get a woman's attention, she won't be picking out china patterns any time soon.

"This research suggests that conspicuous products, such as Porsches, can serve the same function for some men that large and brilliant feathers serve for peacocks," study author Jill Sundie, an assistant professor of marketing at UTSA, said in a news release from Rice University.

Just as peacocks flaunt their brightly colored tails to attract potential mates, certain men show off flashy products, like brightly colored sports cars, to draw the attention of women, the study found. The researchers also indicated that the men who pursued this strategy were only interested in short-term sexual relationships with women.

In analyzing more than 1,000 men, researchers revealed that being in possession of a Porsche or another flashy luxury product did make a man more desirable to women than owning a non-luxury item, such as a Honda Civic. The attraction however, ended there.

While women who did find a man who drove a Porsche more attractive as a date, she did not find him more desirable as a marriage partner for a long-term committed relationship, the study authors explained.

In fact, researchers found that women inferred from men's flashy spending that they were only interested in uncommitted sex.

"When women considered him for a long-term relationship, owning the sports car held no advantage relative to owning an economy car," study co-author Daniel Beal, an assistant professor of psychology at Rice University, said in the news release. "People may feel that owning flashy things makes them more attractive as a relationship partner, but in truth, many men might be sending women the wrong message."

The study authors suggested that when it comes to attracting potential dates, women do not share men's conspicuous spending habits.

"Obviously, women also spend plenty of money on expensive things," added Sundie. "But the anticipation of romance doesn't trigger flashy spending as it does with some men."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on healthy vs. unhealthy relationships.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Rice University, news release, June 16, 2011

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