Sex and Love 100

Musings on the most basic life skill . . .

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Who do we pick: Attractiveness

      Why is attractiveness important?
     Love can be sometimes, logical.  Science has been able to give us some trends that may predict who we pick. Of course all our behavior is influenced by our lens of culture, family values, religion and social backdrop but the following truths have emerged. 
     Both men and women pick attractiveness as the number one criteria.  Numerous studies point to a social perception we might have when looking at attractive face.  It’s most likely built into us, honed by thousands of years of evolution.  Think about it this way, when you meet someone you have no clue about them.  Our ancestors relied on physical cues.  If he had a face full of sores and was emaciated you might think that this person was sick, unhealthy.  Do you want to sit next to the guy sneezing and coughing on the train?  No.  We avoid people who do not look fit or healthy. The sale of acne medications relies on this very assumption...
 
     We also like symmetry- both sides of the body in equal proportion.  That is we like when things match up according to what our brains tell us they should look like.  Many bird species exhibit this behavior during mating. The males will fluff and puff and the female will look at their arrangement of feathers eliminating the ones that are not ideal or symmetrical.  Imagine a face where one side is different than the other.  Hundreds of college students in experiments have done just that.  They reject them.  I’ll save you from the review of the evidence but symmetry seems to be related to defective genes.  Scientists think we have a screening device that allows us to rule out partners who may have defects so our DNA has an edge in survival. 
     We have a built in bias towards attractive others.  Attractive people are viewed as more healthy, poised, intelligent, sexually warm, and sociable.  We call it the ‘halo effect.’  Our brain scans all the qualities we might associate with health and good looks and we give attractive people a sort of edge.  I’ve often called it the ‘Ted Bundy effect’- He was a charming and handsome man who lured women to his den and sadistically murdered them.  Many anti-social personalities rely on keeping up their looks which they know can mask who they really are!
      With regard to faces men like childlike qualities- large eyes and pouty lips.  Women like a strong jaw and strong cheek bones. So much do we rely on this factor that we are willing to undergo surgeries to prefect our outer qualities.  Attractiveness is not only a facial cue but can be related to our physical structure.  There’s a reason we diet, wear control top pantyhose and work out in gyms.  For men it’s the hip to waist ratio which appear to be universal.  There should be a large difference- in other words they want a waist. Few have delved into this universal bias but I believe it when all three line up it signals something to a male; you are either obese or pregnant.  There are plenty of men who like their full figured gals so I opt for pregnancy- our ancestral fathers wanted mates who were not already pregnant.  Another fact about attractiveness needs to be discussed.  Each sex overestimates how important those qualities actually are.  For example if I gave men a series of pictures of various men and asked them which man a typical woman might desire he would pick the muscle bound weightlifter.  Wrong!  The same effect occurs when women are asked what men prefer.  No, the Barbie doll is not their ideal.  Nevertheless many of us on a quest to improve ourselves based on a false assumption.
     There is another difference between men and women.  Women are able to moderate attractiveness by cues of status or what we might call ‘wealth’ indicators.  That’s why we don’t flinch when we see some young sexy babe on the arm of a guy old enough to be her father. We immediately know that he’s rich. The more pressure on a woman to provide the more apt she might pick wealth over good looks.  She can trade her physical assets for his money.  Crass as it sounds, science backs it up. 
     Finally there is a curious gender difference that no one has ever explained, at least not fully.  Both As attractive as we want our partners to be we tend to match up, that tis we find mates who are just about as attractive as we are.  Here is the hitch; when asking women who they would choose for casual sex partners women choose upwards; they will chose the most handsome man.  Men will be a lot less choosey.  Remember the old classic tune Don’t the Girls get prettier at Closing Time.  Well it was not only a song but a research study done decades ago. 
      Now comes the strangest part of the equation.  Men do desire the most attractive women for casual sex.  There is no market for ugly strippers.  I know of no web site featuring fifty year old women in the nude (please don’t tell me if you know of one because I couldn’t bare it- pun intended).  BUT- and it’s a big BUT – when choosing marriage partners men will NEVER (normal everyday men, not the Donald Trumps) pick an overly attractive female.  Men simply do not look for wives at the strip club.  And that my friends is another story, perhaps the most interesting one of all….

43 comments:

  1. I know I'm too young for marriage, but I agree with this blog. The only thing is, just because someone is overly attractive, doesn't mean they work in a strip club, you gotta weave those ones out!

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  3. A lot of people like to say that it is shallow to look at how physically attractive someone is, but really it is ingrained in all of us. Whether we realize it or not, we are instinctively looking for a mate that will yield the healthiest offspring. However, sometimes personality can win out once you get to know somebody that you previously found unattractive.

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  4. I agree with this blog for the most part. I believe atractiveness and beauty comes from the inside out however. You can have a very plain average male or female and the more you get to know the person (as long as they are a very sincere nice person)Then they actually look better in your eyes. There sweetness, sincerity, and all those other wonderful qualities bring out the beauty on the outside.

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  6. I believe in most relationships, people base it on looks and attractiveness because, if someone else is attractive and they hear it a lot it boost up their self-esteem and makes that person confident in themselves and that's another good trait to look for in another person. I had a friend who was a female that had a boyfriend that treated her so badly. He would call her the c word, call her stupid, ugly and anything in the book, but she would never leave him because she would always say "He is the best looking guy I will ever get" so she dealt with that and is still dealing with that for over three years now. Which makes me agreed that, attractiveness is a huge impact on society and in relationships.

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  7. I dont think that "when choosing marriage partners men will NEVER (normal everyday men, not the Donald Trumps) pick an overly attractive female" applies for all men. Real beautiful women typically know that they are beautiful and have swagg to go with it. An "everyday man" should have enough confidence to deal with a women like that because if you are doing what you supposed to do she is not going anywhere.

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  8. I believe exterior looks may be what attracts us to an individual in the first place, but ultimately it is whats on the inside that counts. I have a friend who, at one point, only dated super hot girls, and was miserable the entire time he was with them. It is my theory that he felt inferior to them.

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  9. I like this blog a lot because it's so true. Men and woman both equally search for attractiveness when looking for a partner. I always will love your line "Men simply do not look for wives at the strip club." It makes me laugh every time you say it because I don't know what men or woman see in it other than sex.

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  10. It isn't just attractiveness though but what men and women find attractive. A certain amount of symmetry, healthy skin, and signs of physical fitness are obviously attractive to both men and women as indicators of overall health and genetic fitness. Men, who are able to reproduce almost infinitely limited only by availability of willing partners, invariably prefer women who appear youthful and healthy- capable bearing and raising multiple young. Young women of prime childbearing age, it is cliche to point out, like the guys with the fancy clothes and expensive cars or other signs of status. True women like a good looking guy, but many would trade looks or youth for money or other forms of security. Of course the Tom Bradys and Orlando Blooms, young men who are both attractive and highly successful, are afforded the most attractive women. You might say it is a natural selection.

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  11. I don't see how people say we aren't supposed to pick a mate based on looks. Attractiveness is the first thing you notice and think of normally when you see someone. I personally love seeing attractive females and love even more surrounding myself with them. So i say, why not pick a mate based on attractiveness? As long as you appreciate all of your maates other qualities

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  12. Couldn't agree more with the points made in this blog. Whether people want to admit it or not, physical appearance is what draws us to the opposite sex. A lot of times we never truly know the internal beauty someone may possess because we dismiss them instantly if they don't meet our certain criteria for physical features. When looking for casual partners i think we always want the best out there in order to fulfill romanticized fantasies we have going through our mind and also as a terms of bragging rights and to place on our mantle as an achievement. Now for marriage i think jealousy and reality set in and we want a secure relationship where we feel good about our partner but don't want someone we feel is out of our league and constantly worry about them wanting more and inevitably cheating on us. Yes personality should trump physical attractiveness especially since beauty doesn't last forever but thats just not how our minds, especially nowadays.

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  13. as much as people might not want to admit it we do tend to pick people who are more attractive at first, but i dont think people will stay with a person just because the like the way they look even though its great to be with someone who you think is really good looking you stay with them because you like the person that they are not how they look

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  14. Attractiveness is something that everyone should look for or their relationship will fail. You need to be with someone you are attracted to. However you should not base it all on looks. Your not always going to be intimate and you need to find someone who also connects with your personality. Attractiveness isnt always something that you can see. I see things in girls that attract me to them that i couldnt even try to explain

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  15. Couldn't agree more, fact of the matter is appearance matters. Especially for someone my age, a girl being ugly isnt going to make me want to get to know her better by any means. If she's attractive ill at least give her a shot.

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  16. I can agree with this blog. Many people do judge by looks, but there are a some who judge by the personality.

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  17. I like this one, but at the same time it kind of made me feel a little weird. When in comes to any guy I've ever liked all of my friends tell me that I'm crazy for finding them attractive. They also tell me I could do better (even the ones who can at times be a bit too brutally honest). Finding people who are equally as attractive makes perfect sense to me, and I always found whatever guy I liked to be attractive, but according to a lot of people they weren't. This blog just made me laugh at that a little bit because I know that it's true.

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  18. In a perfect world physical attractiveness wouldn’t matter, however, it does. While in a relationship you want to feel like you’re getting as much out of it as you are putting in. If your partner is less attractive then you are, you may feel that you are being ripped off, and want to find someone more fitting. Also, a person who is attractive is not likely to pursue someone who is much less attractive. Considering attractiveness matters so much, this process works well, for it prevents relationships from starting that ultimately would just end up failing.

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  19. Its very good point that physical attractiveness ranks high on everyone's list when looking for a mate. The truth is, that looks ranks very high on my priority list and after discussion with my roommate, Bone, we've decided that we actually could find a wife in a strip club... though its obviously just one of the many places we could find our future ex-wives.
    I think that it definitely takes a certain type of man to be able to handle being in a relationship with someone whose profession is centered on sexual industriousness, but strippers don't have to be the evil beings that they are often stereotyped as.
    There are some aspects of a strippers job that I find admirable. Women who can sell themselves without actually giving anything up can be viewed as shrewd, but they are also masters of the art of seduction. For a man to be able to capture the heart of a stripper, they have to appeal to one of their most basic desires. For many attractive women, the manly qualities of physical strength and hunting prowess have been replaced by money and power. For a successful stripper, money and power are something they've earned themselves, they are however, prone to have interest in men that can offer them something they can't always give themselves-physical protection. Seeing as how my life allows me to have a good amount of all of these qualities, I'm not intimidated by the prospect of dating a stripper, because being sexually enlightened doesn't mean you have to be promiscuous.

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  20. I agree with this blog but i do not think that all strippers can be considered attractive. i am also wondering, can guys think that a certain girl is overly attractive even if other people do not think so? for example, i have been out with some friends and one of them always thinks a certain female is attractive and none of else do, why is that?

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  21. I think for a relationship to work, you have to be physically and emotionally attracted to someone. Attractiveness isn't the sole reason but it is a good portion. I am suprised to learn that guys don't want to marry a very attractive person, I thought that all guys looked for was how pretty a girl was. I also am suprised to learn that we match up with people that are similarily attractive. I was told by many people that I was more attractive than my ex-boyfriend, maybe that's why we aren't together anymore!

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  22. This post was very interesting. I enjoy reading about what people look for in partners. I think your partner needs to be attractive to you, you will be staring at them for quite a long time and you should enjoy what you're looking at.

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  23. Whether your a guy or girl, its common that an attractive person will always catch your eye, rather than someone less attractive. It seems shallow, but its how we all are unfortuanately. My theory on why men dont go for someone more attractive than they are is because its a man thing. Men dont want to be outshined or overlooked or feel inferior to their partner. As for women, im not really sure why they go for status over looks at times, maybe for some sort of sense of security??

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  24. This article speaks very true to our species as a whole. Most of us claim that we don't choose we like based on physical appearance, but to some extent we all do. Now I, like many people, believe that true beauty comes from within, but it is hard for anyone to fight against the urge to search for a mate by attractiveness.

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  25. It is like meeting anyone for the first time, you see what they look like and how they act, since you dont know anything about them you base their personality off of how they look, so why should picking someone to be with to date or just have casual sex with be any different. Couldn't agree more with this blog.

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  26. This is true, it is very common for a girl or guy will always pick phyisical attractiveness first. But the thing that should be looked at the most is the personalities of an individual. Looks can play a huge role, but if someone is really beautiful on the inside looks should have no play in having a great relationship with someone amazing.

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  27. I think when people are just dating they judge the opposite sex first based on looks and then look at there personality basically like judging a book by its cover, but when it comes to marriage/ long term relationships the personality matters more plus as a guy I don't think i would want the hottest looking girl because that means other guys would be checking her out...

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  28. I agree< when men look at women, they are looking for attractiveness, (or in other words), evaluating if they would be be able to be out in public with them, its natural

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  29. I do agree that when it comes to first meeting someone you are automatically either attracted to them, or not, it's really that simple. Sure, people can do whatever they want to themselves to make their outer appearance more " beautiful " or different but i think that when you first meet someone, that's when you truly see how they really look, and also get to know them, so them changing themselves to either try to satisfy their partners or themselves, is just a little fake and irrational to me. Men don't want women that look like they belong in strip clubs, they also don't want beauty queens, i think mean just really want an honest, trusting, naturally beautiful woman who is comfortable in her own skin, and doesn't feel so insecure that she feels the need to go out and change every little thing about herself through either surgery or pounds of makeup or fake hair. Its obviously natural for a man to want to be attracted to a woman, and if he simply isn't attracted to her, then he just isn't, i think it goes pretty much the same way for women as well, women don't want body builders, in fact i know a lot of women who say they would prefer either a slim or more healthy looking man than some over tanned steroid driven muscular man who looks like he lives breathes and eats the gym.

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  30. I agree that someone will judge a member of the oppsite sex as soon as they meet them wether or not their attracted to them. but for a relationship you have to get along with them so its what on the inside that counts in the end.

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  31. Some of my friends and family memberes call me weird when it comes to this topic. I have honestly never been attracted to any man initially. Depending on their personality/character they start to become attractive or unattractive the better I get to know who they really are. If I had to pick one physical trait it would be the eyes. Not the color, or shape etc. but what I see within their eyes that either atrracts me or not.
    E.L.

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  32. When you see some one you've never met the first thing you notice about them is obviously their looks. I believe it's true that everybody has their own taste but what's unattractive is noticeable to all. Obesity, acne, bad smell, bad breathe, and bad hygiene are all things that everybody finds unattractive. I personally like women with dark hair, dark features, tan skin. May be Italian or Hispanic but never the less, it is quite obvious that people's first impressions are based off looks. But also believe it is important to get to know some one beyond their looks.

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  33. I do agree with this blog on almost everything in it. The "Don’t the Girls get prettier at Closing Time" part is mostly true. I know plenty of guys who will hang out with any girl if they have a chance of getting some. To me personally however attractiveness plays a huge roll. Even if i have a feeling the girl is into me but, if I'm not attracted to her i won't pursue her.

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  34. I have to agree with this blog. I see attractiveness playing a huge roll with girls at my work and school they'll say "did you see that guy who just walked in?" Just because he was attractive. At school I see so many girls that do their hair and makeup to an extreme just to go to school and get noticed for one class and I sit with my friends and think why did you dress like your going to the club to come to school? But even though wee all look for someone attractive it is important to get to know someone beyond their looks because when it comes down to it you want to be able to connect on an emotional level and not just be able too look like the ideal couple.

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  35. i agree with the blog. attractiveness is important when getting to know someone. some veiw attractive people more higher than others. they believe attractive people is more social, friendly ,smart, outgoing. ths is not true at all. most will not know this because if you not attracted to the person, you not going to take the time to know them.

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  36. I agree mostly with this blog. I think that we are in search of the best overall person to have a family with. But I think there needs to be more depth to it. With attractiveness we also have a time for observation. We may think someone is good looking and that catches our eye, but before we approach or even go further with our encounters with the person we observe ones actions and character.
    I also have heard through psychology that who we find attractive is based off of our own features, which is why so many couples tend to look like brother and sister. The features we are most familiar with if we like the way we look we will find someone with similarities and if we don't than we won't.
    I wouldn't agree fully with this statement,"attractive people are viewed as more healthy, poised, intelligent, sexually warm, and sociable." There are many people who don't find themselves attractive but really are who represent these qualities well and there are people who aren't/or maybe attractive and think others who only falsely assign themselves these qualities. With that statement we have neglected to consider those who are labeled "nerds". A lot of my lady friends desire the "bad boy" image because it's more attractive to be hanging on his right arm, can't say I actually didn't desire it myself in the past. However, when reality sets in a "nerd" is more attractive for more than just for his looks.
    I actually respect those who take some pride in their looks, that's some pride and not cockiness. They realize that their appearance makes an impact on others and themselves. I know I don't feel well on my dress-down days than when I am fully put together. The way we look at ourselves in the mirror and build confidence will show through our stance in public and others will pick up on that through attractiveness and observation.

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  37. I've read that attractiveness and health are related. Things like muscle and clear skin, seem to make people more attractive, and at the same time, are signs of good health.

    I thought it was interesting that you said "Women are able to moderate attractiveness..." Do you think that's possible for all women? I have some feminist friends who would disagree with that idea. Desperation educed infatuation doesn't seem very genuine to me. There's a lot to attractiveness that's unexplainable though.

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  38. I have heard some people, men especially, say that it's not the looks that matter, it's their personality. I think that is a load of bull. Sorry, but in my opinion, I think what a person looks like is the first thing we see, OBVIOUSLY! So, when we get to know people, we first see how attractive they are, and this attractiveness is usually what grabs us to learn more about someone. If someone doesn't care about how they look and let themselves go, others are probably going to notice this and how we present ourselves, I think, says a lot about our personalities and other aspects of our lives and our habits as well.

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  39. When I first met my wife, I knew there was something about her that clicked and I knew she would be the one for me soon enough. Twelve years later, and 8 years of marriage it continues to be interesting. She is pretty and unique, but, we each have our things we do and own ideas that sometimes don't mesh well. It works though, so who's to argue.
    In reading this passage it was interesting as attractiveness was part of it but certainly not the thing that meant the most to me. The post was interesting as someone who has studied the sciences and has a pretty good understanding of psychology I tend to overanalyze everything I do and consider multiple variables in everything. It is amazing the work that our unconscious mind plays that we have no idea what it may be doing to drive us in thinking or the process of choosing a mate. The most amusing thing in the article was the description of the “Halo Effect” or the “Ted Bundy Effect” it always interest me those that have the ability to show off this ideal person and underneath can be a true monster or a conman of sorts.

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  41. Has anyone ever not known what they are into? Dark hair, blonde, skinny, athletic, dark or light skin?

    I didnt at first. I have pretty much dated everything with a curiosity. I have dated Turkish, Thai, German, Jamaican, etc al. I just didn't know what my attractive tick was! I believe that everyone is different and some people may infact find symmetry, different weights, heights, skin color attractive right from the get-go!

    I believe there are a multitude of different reasons why someone would find another attractive; ever hear of that old saying women love their father type figure? A man who resembles her father...

    I dont think attractiveness is quantified, rather studied and published.

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  42. Each person finds certain people attractive that others may not view as attractive. It has a lot to do with what your “type” is. Not every person goes for the supermodel, although most do. I do agree with the fact that non-visual factors make people attractive. Not only if someone is rich or successful, but if they have a great personality. I am attracted to girls that I can actually have a conversation with, not someone that just talks about themselves.
    Another interesting point is the fact that men chose different women when thinking about casual sex or marriage. We do this because the girl we choose to be our wife has to be worthy of marriage. This may sound wrong but women do it too. Both people must have a mutual feeling of love and respect before settling down.

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  43. I think its so weird and interesting that people tend to have different "tastes" for different people. Its weird that some people prefer long hair, some short, some people like african americans, others prefer caucasion. Its so weird that we have differently qualities that we favor over others.

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