Okay, so we all know that looks matter: if a really hot girl walks into a bar, or a really cute guy walks into a restaurant, everyone takes notice. But let’s just imagine, for argument’s sake, that you are not the most gorgeous person in the room at any given moment. (I mean, of course, in real life, you are. But lets just pretend.) How much of a hinderance is this in terms of your dating life?
A couple of studies have blissfully reassuring answers for us.
A 2010 study, for instance, asked male participants to rate the attractiveness of photographs of women, whose appearance and body shape ranged greatly. Some participants received positive personality information about the women in pictures, some received negative personality information, and others received none at all.
All groups agreed on which body shape was the most attractive; after all, there’s no denying that a beautiful woman is a beautiful woman, right?
But the men who received positive personality information found a much wider range of women to be attractive, while the men given negative personality information found a very narrow range of women attractive.
Bottom line: a good personality really can make you more attractive.
A 2007 study paired up yearbook pictures of both men and women with either good or bad personality traits. The pictures with good personality traits were rated consistently higher than the pictures with bad personality traits–and this is true of both “attractive” and “unattractive” people.
Basically, your personality can drastically influence your perceived attractiveness. If you are the most gorgeous person in the room, you can quickly get knocked off your pedestal in favor of someone plainer if you turn into someone awful the moment you open your mouth.
Finally, OkCupid’s study earlier this year on the “mathematics of beauty” showed that frequently, men and women with “unusual” faces, features, or traits were approached more frequently than the ones who were rated as universally attractive. Lots of people are very pretty–but no one else is you, and uniqueness is apparently a major turnon.
“We now have mathematical evidence that minimizing your ‘flaws’ is the opposite of what you should do. If you’re a little chubby, play it up. If you have a big nose, play it up. If you have a weird snaggletooth, play it up: statistically, the guys who don’t like it can only help you, and the ones who do like it will be all the more excited.”
So in conclusion, how much do looks matter? A lot, for like, the first three seconds. But in the long run, no where near as much as personality and character.
That’s good to know, right?