Last time, we pointed out that people with wide cheekbones tend to be less trustworthy. That sounds like some unfair stereotype, but it's just a matter of body chemistry -- more testosterone equals a bigger face. And how much testosterone you have goes a long way toward determining your personality type.
"I'd trade these sick guns for free will any day of the week."
Likewise, the classic image of a beer-guzzling, wedgie-giving jock is pretty much carved in stone: a big, wide-faced dude with a toothy grin and rugged features. Faces like that are familiar from a thousand movies and a million school grounds. They are the guys with the varsity jackets, beer bongs, and stupid bro lingo, banging every chick in school while making you feel like the loser you'd have to wait for years to realize you never actually were. But in certain circumstances, that bully-faced guy is actually guaranteed to be nicer than everyone else ... as long as he perceives he's on your team.
"I WOULD DIE FOR YOU!"
How It Works
Those guys don't do what they do because they're mindlessly cruel; they do it because they're competitive.
To study this, researchers made male volunteers play a game in groups. Some of the groups were told that their scores would be compared to a rival school, while other groups were just playing for the hell of it. Surprisingly enough, men with classic bully faces were a lot more likely to risk their personal assets for the benefit of their group's overall results ... but only when they were told they were up against a rival school. They were willing to be altruistic as long as they thought it would help them win.
"I think I can stab two of 'em. They'll arrest me, but we'll still wind up ahead."
Other studies seem to support this. As long as there's a competitive situation of any kind going on, Jock Face Guy has a tendency to be more productive, driven, co-operative, and -- above all -- willing to sacrifice his own well-being for the benefit of the group he views as his own. This applies in even the highest walks of life, by the way -- from CEOs to presidential candidates, that stupid, rugged, wide jock face gives away these men's drive for achievement, and the time and dedication they pour into their close groups of friends and colleagues. All because of how much testosterone they were exposed to in the womb.
"I take estrogen pills, because I refuse to sit through any Little League games."
If it depresses you to think that so much of people's personal destinies are written before their birth, well, we have more bad news ...
As science is fond of reminding us, symmetrical faces are to heads what sculpted abs and perfect boobs are to torsos. They're the ultimate in beauty, leaving us asymmetrical slobs (meaning pretty much everyone) to tread yellow water at the ugly end of the pool.
And of course it gets even worse: Not content with just looking better than the vast, asymmetrical majority, you now know that the next time you see a Symmetrical (screw it, we're just going to call them that from now on), they're also probably richer than you.
"I could buy and sell your puny town a hundred times over!"
On the other hand, the weird-looking dude you run into is the one you want leading you into war -- his leadership skills tend to be better.
How It Works
While a good gene pool certainly helps, throwing boxcars in the genetic crapshoot is only the beginning of the road to facial symmetry. The really important part comes in the form of your conditions of development. When everything -- including tobacco smoke, childhood nutrition, socioeconomic status, and illnesses -- can shape the way your face looks for the worse, your best bet for a mug that doesn't break mirrors is plain and simple: wealthy parents.
"Here you go, kid -- easy mode!"
Don't blame us, we've got the research to back it up: People with symmetrical faces generally have privileged childhoods, and therefore stand a greater chance of being wealthy themselves. Yes, even without going under the knife, the easiest road to beauty remains a well-endowed bank account.
But let's say they grew up underprivileged and end up with one of those plain, ordinary asymmetrical mugs. They have neither trust funds nor a perfect smile to rely on -- it's their guts and personality that matter now. What's more, just because they're not as pretty as those Symmetrical dicks, people expect them to do worse in life.
That, incidentally, is what makes them the most effective leaders there are.
"I've seen some shit. And now I mean to run it."
Yep, the never-ending stream of tiny struggles that a symmetrically featured person will never face thanks to his angelic looks and padded wallet is custom made to turn a person's asymmetrical melon into a bona fide, super-effective leader, scientifically giving him an easy 20 percent edge as opposed to groups under Symmetrical leadership. Of course, having an asymmetrical face doesn't mean that somebody is automatically a Winston Churchill. It just means that they have the tools to become one. So the dude at the bar with the burns down one side of his face -- don't immediately put him in charge of your multinational corporation.
XJ and his asymmetrical face talk about writing on his blog, and you can follow him on Twitter and ask about that time at band camp.
For more help in understanding humans, check out 5 Douchebag Behaviors Explained by Science and 6 Misleading Assumptions You Make About Quiet People.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 4 People Who Blew Their One Moment in the Spotlight.
And stop by LinkSTORM to discover why you shouldn't wear that studded belt.
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