May 1, 2011
A friend recently sent an email out taking an informal survey regarding whether women could determine if someone is attractive simply by looking at them. I’ve heard time and again (and may have said this myself) that women can’t determine whether a man is attractive just by looking. That we need to know them a bit first. This is not totally true. See , I think women can clearly look at a picture of a Flava Flav and say, hmm, not for me. Or a picture of a Laz Alonso or a Bradley Cooper and say- that there is a hot man. What we can’t say (well not all of us) is “I want to get with that man”.
For most women we need to get a sense of their personality (even if fictional) or see them in action to get an idea of whether we are attracted to them. This is why so many “okay” looking musicians, comedians, athletes and politicians get a lot more attention from women than their physical attributes would predict. Women place looks in contexts. Hardly anybody was saying Robert Pattison was hot when he was in Harry Potter but all of sudden he’s hot because of Twilight? I’m not into him at all but I thought he looked more attractive in the Potter movie and even his new movie Water for Elephants (and he wasn’t pale and sparkly, seriously a sparkly man is hot?) The thing is, vampires are apparently hot and therefore, Robert Pattison as a vampire is hot.
Context, get it?
Teen girls hang pictures of the Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber on their walls because the boys are allegedly cute celebrities whom they have seen in action (say in an MTV music video). Teen boys might hang a picture of a video vixen or play mate they just saw in a male magazine simply on the hotness factor alone. Not to say it’s impossible for a girl to put up a picture of a hot unknown guy on their bedroom wall but if she’s daydreaming about a guy, it’s someone she knows or has seen in action (acting, singing, playing a sport) not Mr. February in last month’s issue of Cosmo magazine.
I suspect that a man can look at a woman and say “I’m attracted to her, I want to get with that” and not know a darn thing about her (it’s the basis of how many movies?). This is why I've heard guys say women who are stuck up or mean can get a lot of guys to put up with their drama even at the early stages of dating if they are hot enough. Whereas a woman won’t put up with that crap even if he’s hot (but she might if she was desperate for a man or wanted his status/money).
Now I know many a guy just wants us to admit that looks matter to us just like it does to men and it does, but not to the same degree. Our make-up isn’t programmed like that and it makes sense. Historically, men wanted a pretty face to help take their minds off the world’s troubles and women wanted a provider to make them comfortable so that they had time to keep themselves looking good to help said men take their minds off the world’s troubles. Now as the gender roles are changing, I think looks are becoming more of a focus with women but still not as much as men think because the desire for marriage and love overpowers the pettiness of wanting a man with a chiseled body. But the key remains that women still want someone they are physically attracted to. I just think women have different standards of what’s attractive based on other influences than what the eye sees alone.