I’ve been doing a lot of serious thinking lately about why babies are cute. It all started with this poor excuse for a stock image that I found randomly the other day.
Yea. I don’t know what happened here. I think maybe the cute baby had a cold so they had to use the unphotogenic stand-in baby or something. Or maybe the photographer was his Dad or something, you know, in that ‘I really don’t understand how Tori Spelling is an actress oh wait her Dad is famous’ kinda way. And this photo ignited my synapses into an explosion of activity, leading to the creation of a manifesto of sorts.
The Science of Cuteness: Baby Edition, Copyright May 2010, Samantha McCormick. All Rights Reserved.
Puppies, kittens, blind little inchworms patting their heads around on your skin to find who knows what. Fuckin cute, right? But when it comes to babies, it’s not so simple. Take that baby in Trainspotting. Drug-induced hallucination of a swivel-headed dead baby crawling on the ceiling aside, that baby was just plain ugly. Personally, I think it would have been more effective in the creepy department if it was a cute baby such as either Zach or Cody pre- The Suite Life. Anyway. There is a science behind the reason we find certain babies cute, and certain babies, shall we say,’Walmart catalog material.’ Behold, the laws of cuteness.
ONE. Everything is disproportionately small on a baby. (I totally just made you think of his weewee.) Take his little feet, for example. Small enough to fit in that shiny little Christening shoe, or that miniature white Nike, if your child is of the ghetto nature. Then consider his head. HUGE. If you take the size of his little foot and compare it to the size of his head, that’s like a ratio of 1 to 10. Now consider the size of YOUR foot, in relation to YOUR head. Unless you’re kind of ugly or have awkwardly small feet, that’s probably a ratio of 1 to 4. So disproportionately small equals cute (in regards to a baby, nothing else..) Because if babies didn’t have disproportionately small features, they’d be shrunken versions of adults, like this:
Which is definitely NOT CUTE.
TWO. Button noses. At the baby stage, I guess genetics aren’t even factored into the equation yet because I’ve never seen a baby with a huge nose. Not once. Barbra Streisand, Tori Spelling, and Ashlee Simpson were all cute babies, and that’s a fact.
THREE. Baby babble. Cute little nonsense sounds strung together with drool and that little spit bubble that she’ll later amuse herself with during Times Tables drills. Imagine for a moment that babies could speak perfect English. Childbirth is over, the nurse hands you your little bundle of joy, and — “Hey Mom.” Yes, for some reason it’s easy to wrap our minds around the fact that five minutes ago that little thing in blankets was chillin inside a uterus full of amniotic fluid, because it’s like he really doesn’t know any better since his brain is basically mush, evident by the fact that he can’t talk yet. So when you imagine a baby carrying on a full adult conversation, things get a little tricky.
FOUR. The downy little hairs on his head that you just can’t resist petting. Only acceptable on a baby’s head, and only acceptable to pet when on a baby’s head. Because that would be weird if you went around trying to pet girls’ heads, I mean you’d probably exist somewhere as a registered sex offender and would one day turn into a serial killer which the Boston Herald would ‘cleverly’ refer to you as “The Head Petter,” or something else completely unoriginal. Mom’s just gotta make sure the ‘do doesn’t get too out of control (see Photo 1).
FIVE. Uncontrollable limbs. Babies are automatically forgiven for kicking and fist-pumping at us when we’re changing their diaper because they’re just having a ball trying to figure out what the hell to do with themselves. Like a drunk girl putting on lip gloss, it’s kind of funny to watch a baby reach for something that they want. Reach, miss. Reach, miss. Roll a bit. Get stuck. Haha.
SIX. Poor etiquette. Watching a baby eat is fun.
There’s more where that came from. Stay tuned for the next installment of The Science of Cuteness: Baby Edition. Read my freshly-posted The Science of Cuteness: Part Two. Because this blog post is getting frighteningly long and it’s an hour and a half past my bedtime. Still to come: The Science of Ugly: Celebrity Edition.