Yes, ladies, it’s true. Looks matter.

by Aaron

Men partially base their preferences on physical attractiveness. But that’s not the whole story.

Malcolm Gladwell gives a great example in his book, blink:

John has an idea about what he wants in a woman, and that idea isn’t wrong. It’s just incomplete. The description he starts with is his conscious ideal: what he believes he wants when he sits down and thinks about it. But what he cannot be as certain about are the criteria he uses to form his preferences in that first instant of meeting someone face-to-face. That information is behind the locked door.

First point: what people say they want is part of the calculation, but not the entire calculation for making a decision.

Second point: In our society, men are discouraged from indicating that attractiveness is important. The fact is that the physical attractiveness is one of the building blocks for a strong relationship. As well, it’s always going to be the first thing you notice when you meet someone. So attractiveness is important, but no one’s going to say that on paper.

Is it any surprise that the importance of attractiveness differs between what men say and what men actually do? Nope. What’s important to note, though, is that it’s not the only factor.

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6 Responses to “Yes, ladies, it’s true. Looks matter.”

  1. Jessica on October 27th, 2007 9:42 pm

    That girl is going to find out that her pic is on your blog and be really sketched out, man. Just warning you.

  2. aaron on October 28th, 2007 10:20 am

    Pshh, it’s a stock photo :-P

  3. Angela on November 2nd, 2007 10:14 am

    I don’t know why women take offense at guys wanting to date someone attractive. First of all everyone has different tastes and secondly women do it to. There is a reason my friends are all good looking-because if they were ugly I wouldn’t want to see them. Why not have that pertain to any guy I could potentially be interested in?

  4. aaron on November 3rd, 2007 11:48 am

    Good points. I don’t remember where I read this, but I remember some article saying that we tend to be around people who are similar in terms of good looks. Now, that’s obviously not completely true because “good looks” is in the eye of the beholder, as you say… but I think there’s some truth to that statement.

  5. Laura on November 18th, 2007 11:27 pm

    I read about this story on CNN, and I have to sayI love that there was a study to make sure that this was true. It’s such a relief because ALL THIS TIME, I thought the ugly girls were holding all the cards.

  6. Aaron on November 19th, 2007 11:56 pm

    You’d be surprise about the kinds of studies psychologists do. Try this one for good measure. That story is about scientists who found that men’s intellectual scores dropped more significantly after meeting blonde women than after meeting regular women. Apparently it’s the “bimbo delusion” in full effect, according to the article.

    This is one of those moments where you cue in Seth & Amy from SNL with their “Really?” sketch. Really? Someone thought this was important enough to fund scientists to research? Really? Really.