Guys Pig Out to Show Off for Women

Man eating a whole pizza with wine.
Ladies? (Image credit: Angela Aladro mella)

It might sound like the totally wrong thing to do, but in an effort to show off in front of women, guys seem to eat a whole lot more than when they're just out with the guys.

In a small new study, 105 people were observed eating at an all-you-can eat Italian joint. Men who ate with one or more women consumed a whopping 93 percent more pizza — an extra slice and a half — and 86 percent more salad, compared with men who ate only with other men. Women ate the same amount no matter whom they were with.

The researchers say that from an evolutionary perspective, this appears to be a form of showing off. Men show off either to demonstrate dominance or to present themselves as an attractive mate, lead researcher Kevin Kniffin at Cornell University told Live Science. "The new research findings fit with the latter."

Showing off is a figurative way of saying "I have so much energy that I can afford to engage in some specific kind of risky or altruistic activity," Kniffin explained. Other studies have shown that men tend to take more risks in front of women than when with men only. [Related: Men Are Idiots]

Kniffin and his colleagues went into the study wondering if men would eat more in front of women or when with men only, but the results don't support the latter hypothesis, they found.

Kniffin notes that the study was based on a small number of people and further research would be needed to solidify the findings, which are detailed in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science.

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Robert Roy Britt

Robert is an independent health and science journalist and writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a former editor-in-chief of Live Science with over 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor. He has worked on websites such as and Tom's Guide, and is a contributor on Medium, covering how we age and how to optimize the mind and body through time. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.