Talking today with an acquaintance of mine, we got to commenting on a couple we both knew and how they’d recently gotten together. The girl is a prim, proper girl who is more concerned with clothes and makeup than anything else, and the guy is a little bit of a rough-and-tumble cat from a poorer part of the world – but he’s pretty cocky and self-assured. My acquaintance was surprised the two of them ended up a pair; I wasn’t. “The bad girl got the bad boy,” I said, and he laughed and said that was a good way of putting it.
Maybe my mind was already working that way because of an article I read earlier today on Slate Magazine, called “Freaks, Geeks, and Economists: A study confirms every suspicion you ever had about high-school dating.” The article discusses a study in which, among other things, the term assertive mating is mentioned. Slate defines assortative mating as the tendency of individuals to select for mates similar to themselves; I did a quick look-up on Wikipedia to confirm. The tendency of individuals to select similar mates is known as positive assortative mating; individuals who select for dissimilar traits are referred to as practicing negative assortative mating.