By Elijah Akoji
Considering the characteristics that are often considered desirable in a mate—a sense of humor, intelligence, kindness, understanding, a family orientation, good looks. Which would you rank as most important in a romantic partner? Which is least important to you? Research consistently shows that we rank most or all of these traits as more important than good looks.
However, consciously ranking traits as more or less important may not reflect the way we make our real-life dating and mating decisions.
sometime ago I sat down with my woman Prisca, she scanned through an online dating profiles. She told me that looks were not that important to her, but that a good sense of humor was a must. While she certainly values all of the characteristics I listed above, not once did we say, “This guy seems like he has a great sense of humor,” or, “This man has very kind features.” We only stopped to further investigate the profiles of men who seemed physically attractive.
Physical attractiveness may serve as a gatekeeper directing us toward partners who are healthy, age appropriate, and able to reproduce, and when we make real-life dating and mating decisions, research indicates, physical appearance dominates: We choose to pursue relationships with those who are attractive to us.
Men (both gay and straight) seem to consciously recognize the importance of physical attractiveness more than women. However, experimental research, as well as evidence from online dating and speed dating, shows that physical attractiveness is equally important to men and women. Further, attractiveness tends to be a more important factor in our dating decisions than traits like personality, education, and intelligence.
Physical attractiveness may be so important to us because we associate other positive qualities with a pleasing appearance. For example, attractive individuals are expected to be happier and to have more rewarding life experiences than unattractive individuals, This tendency to associate attractiveness with positive qualities occurs cross-culturally
Is Physical Attractiveness Less Important?
One reason we may not consciously realize the importance of physical attractiveness is that we don’t necessarily want partners who are extremely attractive—we just want partner who are attractive enough, both attractive and moderately attractive individuals are viewed more positively than less attractive counterparts.
A lack of attractiveness was associated with negative qualities, but only a moderate level of attractiveness was necessary to make one’s associations positive. To interest us, then, potential mates do not need to be exceptionally attractive, only moderately so.
The distinction between necessities and luxuries, can help us understand the importance of a moderate level of physical attractiveness. “a necessity is something that is initially extremely desirable…but as more of it is acquired, it diminishes in value. A luxury, in contrast, is not important when necessities are lacking, but becomes more desirable once basic needs have been met”
A research once suggests that most of us, consciously or not, view a moderate level of physical attractiveness as a “necessity,” while a higher level of may be a “luxury.” When we say that physical attractiveness is not important to us, we are likely referring to the luxury of exceptional attractiveness and not the necessity of a minimum level of attractiveness.
But how attractive is “moderately” attractive? We don’t need to be supermodels to find a mate, but whom we consider to be “moderately attractive” varies from person to person. More attractive people tend to perceive fewer others as physically attractive while less attractive individuals may consider a broader range of others appealing and looking for someone who shares a similar level of physical attractiveness to your own can enhance your long-term relationship success.
But no matter our personal level of attractiveness, or our partner’s, as we get to know, like, and respect each other more, our attraction naturally grows and deepens .The longer we know each other, the less important physical attractiveness becomes to beginning and maintaining a long-term relationship .
Beauty attracts our emotion while character retains it.