Conceptual speed dating
That’s the logic of the sex difference prediction as we see it, and most scholars draw from evolutionary perspectives to generate the same prediction (e.g., work by Meltzer and Li described below).
But agreement on this point is not universal: Some scholars do not believe that attributes like attractiveness should exhibit sex differentiated effects on romantic evaluations (see here and here for our back and forth with David Schmitt on this issue).
For the pattern metric, the answer is “yes, if people are evaluating a current romantic partner.” That is, to the extent that a current partner matches my pattern of ideals (regardless of level) across a variety of traits, I report more positive romantic evaluations about him/her.
If people instead evaluate partners they aren’t currently dating, then the answer is again “no.” (The clearest demonstration of these effects is in Study 3 here as well as Study 4 here.) Importantly, new evidence suggests that the pattern metric has some statistical shortcomings (see Statistical Critique #2 below), so take these findings with a grain of salt.
Have one person start in Montreal and one person start in Pittsburgh. When you get there, take in the view and worry that this whole plan was way too romantic for a first date. Allow the visitors to approach you one at a time and attempt to engage in small talk about work while you subtly hint that you're on a date and want to be left alone. Go on a date with the other person's impersonator. You are allowed to do absolutely anything inside this bag, but you choose to talk about how many siblings you both have. Realize two weeks later that it's actually a dried fig. At intermission, inform the actors that , in fact, are the ones on a date. After you both stand there for five minutes without catching the bartender's attention, start waving around a ten-dollar bill while miming drinking.
Try to force your date to leave by talking only about One Direction. Laugh at the impersonators' jokes, even though you can't actually hear what they're saying over the noise of the crowded bar. Fabricate a man-size figure out of trash that you find on the sidewalk.
If you have ever seen a speed-date (a real one, not this one), you will probably have seen two people discussing some pretty ordinary details about their lives (e.g., where they are from, what they do for a living and/or study).
This is a fascinating question; note that it is essentially the same as the level metric test, but with sex “standing in” as a measure of ideals.
Go to one of those Indian restaurants with a million Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling. On the wall next to the plaque, mount a label that identifies the work as "DATE" (2016).
Interrogate every couple there about whether they are in love. Conduct the entire date in the museum lobby, as the visitors watch. Display "DATE" in a gallery, as if it were a work of art, because, in a sense, isn't it? The crux of this piece is in anticipating whom the bartender will decide to serve first.
Typically, researchers operationalize ideals with respect to traits, such as attractiveness or warmth or extraversion.
I might say that I want a partner who is especially extraverted, whereas you might say you want a partner who is not especially extraverted.