First of all, what do you think defines attractive? It’s interesting because a guy friend of mine said his girlfriend would be what he would call pretty even though he didn’t think she fit the mold of what society called pretty. Does that mean there can be an openness to different types? I’ve wondered. Exactly what makes someone pretty? I know this is a sensitive question so no pressure in answering.
Second, for whatever it is, can guys learn to compromise on looks or be open to different types? I’ve wondered because I thought about something for me that was similar. I will it admit in high school I only went after the charming popular guys. The high school jocks. I could have said well I can’t help what I like right? Then I realized I was being superficial and should instead go after less superficial things. So I now have a crush on a guy (that’s another story) who is less of the charming type but very likable. I realized I should see what’s important. It seems your dating advice encourages women (chemistry vs compatibility something like that right?) to focus on those things over things that people value in a more superficial sense.
Lastly I’ve wondered how much of the obsession with finding a hot girl is really about attraction. It seems like it would be an of course, guys want the pretty girl because she is pretty right? Then I thought of my old high school crushes. I realized some of them I liked not really because of them, but actually because I enjoyed the praise I felt of having won the attention over of someone so impressive. It made me feel important. Really though, frankly I think it’s actually using someone. I’ve wondered if that’s something our society could work on.
Let me know what you think! Deep questions I know. No pressure in answering.
Three different questions. Three different answers.
- What do you think defines attractive? Can there be an openness to different types? Exactly what makes someone pretty?
The reason this one is tricky is because the answer is both objective AND subjective.
Objectively, there are traits that are almost universally considered attractive. Per Wikipedia:
Men, on average, tend to be attracted to women who have a youthful appearance and exhibit features such as a symmetrical face, full breasts, full lips, and a low waist-hip ratio. Women, on average, tend to be attracted to men who are both taller than they are as well as taller than other men, display a high degree of facial symmetry, masculine facial dimorphism, and who have broad shoulders, a relatively narrow waist, and a V-shaped torso.
Sounds about right. Look at the cover of most beauty and fashion magazines and you’ll see a lot of stereotypically attractive people staring back at you.
At the same time, everybody has personal tastes and preferences. Some men like women who are curvy. Some men like women who have no body fat whatsoever. Some guys are turned on by fake boobs. Some guys are turned off by them. Some prefer tattoos and piercings. Some wouldn’t look twice. Some gentlemen prefer blondes. Some prefer ethnic. Go to Pornhub and take a look at what men look at. Top searches include: lesbian, hentai, MILF and step mom. There was almost equal representation of men looking up “mom” and “teen.” So when you ask “what’s attractive?” I would only point out that there are broad generalizations on what women and men find appealing — and there are lots of exceptions to those generalizations as well.
- Can guys learn to compromise on looks or be open to different types?
Yes, but it’s important we get our definitions straight. I don’t believe you can talk yourself into finding someone attractive. Attraction is not a choice; it’s a feeling. When any client of mine goes out with a guy where the chemistry is less than a 6, I tell her to move along. However, as burgeoning couples get closer and more intimate, there are many (if not most) of my clients who discover that their 6 can develop into an 8 or a 9.
To your original question, a man generally won’t compromise on looks in terms of going out with someone he doesn’t find physically appealing. But are guys open to different women who aren’t their “type?” Absolutely. When I was in high school, I was into skinny model-types from all the magazines and TV shows I consumed. Then I dated someone my senior year who was short and curvy and discovered I loved that, too. To this day, my favorite physical type is short, curvy, dark-skinned brunettes. Salma Hayek, Kim Kardashian, etc. I have NEVER had a girlfriend who looked like that. To me, dating around is like fine dining: the more you are open to trying different things, the more developed your palate gets, the more you can eat in any restaurant and find something you like. But still, you’re going to have your favorite dishes — just don’t think you have to marry one of them to be happy.
- I’ve wondered how much of the obsession with finding a hot girl is really about attraction or about having won the attention over of someone so impressive?
I think it’s impossible for most people to separate their motives from their desires. How many women stop to think about WHY they like “bad boys” even though we all know objectively that they make for terrible long-term partners? They don’t. They feel something, go with the feeling, get burned, and go back for more of the feeling. The brain chemistry that is associated with attraction is very much like cocaine or meth — powerful highs that make people — men and women alike — do otherwise irrational things.
The brain chemistry that is associated with attraction is very much like cocaine or meth — powerful highs that make people — men and women alike — do otherwise irrational things.
My take as a 46-year-old former slut in a 10+ year marriage is this: I think the obsession with “hot” is largely a maturity thing.
When I was a kid, I was attracted to EVERY girl who fit the description in the Wikipedia entry. Essentially, if she was physically appealing, I would have a crush on her, regardless of what her personality was like. Now, I STILL find plenty of women physically appealing, and in an alternate universe where I was single, would gladly have NSA sex with 25% of the female population. But after all my experience, I know better than to think that strong attraction + good sex = happiness.
Which is why I can be attracted to so many people and be the world’s safest husband. It doesn’t occur to me for one second that I’d be happier with anyone other than my wife. That’s what I mean by maturity.
Men who are still driven by the need to get the hot girl literally only see women for their looks. They don’t see women as having value beyond that, so they place a disproportionately high premium on it. Witness the rich men/trophy wife phenomenon. But, as someone crude and wise once said to me, “See that hot woman over there? Some guy is getting sick of fucking her right now.” Which is precisely my point. Since most of life and marriage is not about sex and attraction, it seems short-sighted to place the highest value on sex and attraction. If a random guy asked me for blanket dating advice, I’d tell him to look for two qualities first: happy and sane. Brilliant is a bonus. Hot is a bonus. Because if you are with someone who is unhappy and unreasonable when dealing with conflict, you’re never going to have a great marriage — no matter how rich and attractive the both of you are.
Thanks for the thought-provoking question. If you liked my answer, please share it with a friend, and issue your comments below.