MALES andfemales tend to bemutually attractedfor excellent reasonshaving to dowith survival of thespecies, so we haveno particular reasonto ask why. But thequestion of “how”is something else.As far as humansare concerned, thepopular notion thatmales can improvetheir chances by becoming tall, rich, handsome,daring, generous and/or highly attentiveis clearly fallacious, as may be seen inany singles bar, where these qualities are ata discount.In fact, specialists in cross-gender bondingtell me that beyond bathing occasionallyand using a good brand of after-shavethere’s not much a male can do to beat thecompetition, since females are not requiredto have reasons for their decisions. Forwomen, on the other hand, the task is simpler:outstanding beauty, a shape somewhatslimmer than the Venus de Milo and a carefullysuppressed intellect are all that is necessaryto attract every male in town. Theability to cook like mom and to earn herown living are secondary characteristics tobe disclosed after the fish is hooked andlanded.While investigating the influence ofshape, I took to standing just inside theentrance of establishments where the sexesmingled and watched the eye movements ofmales as they came in and surveyed thecrowd. Invariably, they first distinguishedfemales from males by determining whethera hemline was present or not (this was in thedays when such a distinction was possible).From the hemline, wherever that might bein the contemporary fashion cycle, the gazedescended to the ankle, then slowly rose tothe pectoral region with occasional stops onthe way and only finally scanned the mostbrightly colored region above the neck.THIS finding was so clearly contradictoryto the claims of the cosmetics industrythat employed me that I hired a genuineresearcher to impart scientific legitimacy tothe inquiry. In my laboratory, he set up aspecial chair in which he placed a successionof male college students. A thin pencilof light directed at one eyeball was reflectedonto a screen so as to show preciselywhere the eye was focused. He then projectedonto the screen a series of life-sizedimages of models, alternately draped andundraped, and filmed the progression of thelight spot. The results completely confirmedmy original observations.No one could explain why legs provedmore attractive to males than other points ofinterest so cunningly emphasized by thefashion industry, but my research becamewidely known when I published the resultsin the Journal of Comparative Anatomy.Since then, hemlines have risen inexorablyand females seeking a mate have taken topaying such good attention to their pins thatthe ugliest girl now has a set that any modelmight envy.UNDERSTANDABLY, I didn’t get tokeep my job, so my only compensation forthis momentous discovery has been the joyit brings to those males in their decliningyears who are now allowed only to look butnot touch.