I’m gonna win that Golden Arrow, and then I’m goin’ to present meself to Maid Marian.

The frequently repeated view that men are attracted to women with low waist–hip ratios (WHRs) and low body mass indices (BMI) (in well-nourished populations) because these traits indicate health and fertility does not appear to be well supported. Indeed, a low WHR and BMI are most likely to occur in young women in their late teens who have never been pregnant (nulligravidas), women who have demonstrably lower fertility and greater liability to infection than women in their 20s. […]

A nubile woman is a nulligravida who has recently completed physical growth, puberty, and sexual development. This is usually accomplished 3–4 years after menarche in the mid to late teens when female reproductive value is maximal. As noted, women in the nubile age group have the lowest WHRs and, in well-nourished populations, have lower BMIs than women in their 20s, traits strongly associated with attractiveness. […]

Using data for 1.7 million first births from 1990 U.S. natality and mortality records, we compared outcomes for women with first births (primiparas) aged 16–20 years (when first births typically occur in forager and subsistence groups) with those aged 21–25 years. The younger primiparas had a much lower risk of potentially life-threatening complications of labor and delivery and, when evolutionarily novel risk factors were controlled, fetuses which were significantly more likely to survive despite lower birth weights.

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