Crushes at primary school are so cute, aren’t they? Rolling 50 deep to the school picnic, attended by a crew of giggling cuties on every class outing and fending them off right and left in the playground… girls want them and other boys want to be them. The harsh reality is that often more than half the girls in the class are in love with the same kid – but why? What makes the “cool boy” so popular?

Japanese website Goo News has recently investigated this phenomenon, uncovering the most striking characteristics of these popular boys. Take a look at their results, ranked by the top five attractive “characteristics”, below:

1. Can run fast
Sports days, co-ed P.E. — primary school life is full of chances for budding Usain Bolts to show off their need for speed. It’s the guy sprinting first across the finish line to victory in the class relay who’s going to be the class hero. Back in the mists of time, I remember falling for a boy called David who was the fastest sprinter at my school. Sadly, I could never run fast enough to keep up and my best efforts in heated games of Kiss Catch were doomed to failure. Sigh.

Running is a basic motor skill, as opposed to a ball game, where technique really divides the men from the boys. However, slo-mos may be able to improve their running skills by learning more about the art of running. Apparently there is a knack to it.

2. Has a handsome face
A popular Japanese TV show found that even babies prefer people who are more good-looking, so this may be a basic human instinct. Not much boys can do about this one. Except not make ugly faces all the time — after all, they might freeze that way.

3. Is kind and friendly to everyone
No one likes a rude boy who’s mean to people. Except maybe Rihanna. Number three is not just about caring, but leadership in the class.

4. Interesting conversation
Many primary school girls like a boy who can entertain with amusing anecdotes and repartee, like telling the story of how they were able to catch Zekrom without using a master ball (pics or gtfo).

5. Good at schoolwork
Geeks, take heart. Your studious ways have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. Intelligence is a very attractive quality.

Ranked further down the list are qualities like belonging to the football or baseball clubs, being good at dodgeball, tall, a little badass, or having a “strong sense of fairness”.

At this tender age, flashy, loud charmers tend to be more popular, but later on in life the playing field levels out. At the end of the road to adulthood, men who “look after a woman”, are “generous with money”, and are “good listeners” are the stuff that popularity is made of, at least in Japan. If anything, boys who licked their wounds in primary school put more effort into attaining Casanova status and often turn the tables on friends who took it for granted in primary school.

Research method: Online questionnaire via ‘goo research’, provided by NTT Com, Online Marketing Solution (KK)
Research period: 7-8 December 2012
Number of responses: 1,059 people