Science of Love, Sex, and Babies

Did Darwin prefer brunettes?

Posted in news by jenapincott on October 8, 2008

The question of whether men prefer blondes or brunettes seems trivial — and even I ask it in a light-hearted manner in the book — but one person apparently took it seriously: Charles Darwin. It has been brought to my attention that Darwin once studied how hair color affects a woman’s ability to find a marriage partner. In Darwin’s view, the population of Victorian England was becoming increasingly dark-haired because brunettes were more likely to settle down and have children, while blondes were more often unattached and childless. Despite an earnest investigation, the matter remained unresolved. According to an article in The Telegraph, the great naturalist eventually concluded that the trend toward brunette wives was due to the “darkening of hair with age.” In an era before L’Oreal, a man might date a young blonde and marry a brunette — and never have courted more than one gal.

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