Case in point, this beauty from EurekAlert!: "The research, which publishes today in the scholarly journal PLoS ONE, confirms what scrawny thugs have long known: Brandishing a weapon makes a man appear bigger and stronger than he would otherwise." (Yes, scrawny thugs.)
However, there is legitimate science backing why we perceive men to be bigger and stronger when they're holding a weapon.
"Possession of a weapon makes someone seem larger and more muscular in the mind's eye because that possession makes them a more dangerous opponent," says Daniel Fessler, lead study author and an associate professor of anthropology at UCLA.
But what's so special about looking stronger? Well, for starters, it can land you the girl. Additional research out of UCLA found that not only are women more attracted to muscular guys, but also fit men have twice as many partners as your average Joe.
We don't recommend carrying around a gun to look stronger-that is unless you're paintballing with Ellen Hollman: The Ultimate Guy's Girl. So instead, check out these other simple ways you can appear instantly manlier.
Bust Out the Black
Researchers from Cornell University asked 25 individuals to rate all of the uniforms in the NFL and NHL. They found that the teams with predominantly black uniforms were perceived to be more aggressive than teams wearing lighter colors. Why? Black is typically viewed as the color of evil in numerous cultures.
Embrace Your Sense of Humor
Researchers from Villanova University asked 50 female participants to rate men's written online profiles (sans a photo) on how attractive they seemed for a date, sex, and a long-term committed relationship. The results: Women said that profiles that showed hints of humor were rated the most appealing because they appeared more masculine. Why? It all boils down to how you handle situations. Being able to crack self-depreciating jokes every once in a while shows her that you can handle challenges-and laugh about it. Find more ways to hit her hot spots by learning What Women Really Want. (Hint: It depends on where she is in life.)
Ditch the Razor
Beards make you appear more intimidating to rivals, according to researchers from Northumbria University. Researchers recruited 10 men who had gone au natural for 6 weeks, then photographed them with neutral, smiling, and angry expressions-first with the beard, then post-shave. The main finding: Bearded men with angry faces were rated as older, more audacious, and more assertive. Full beards come across as the least maintenance and most natural.
Related: The Best Grooming Products for Your Budget