Society tries to minimize the important place looks have in helping us form attachments. We've all heard platitudes about beauty being only skin deep and we know that we're supposed to place more emphasis on moral goodness and intelligence, but the fact is that looks count. Think about it—have you ever had a friend offer to fix you up? What's the first question you asked?
Um, No Thanks
Chances are you asked about his looks, and your friend tried to evade your question by stating something along the lines of, "He's a wonderful human being."
And you thought to yourself, 'Uh huh. Thanks, but no thanks,' because somehow, wonderful human being always translates to, "He kind of resembles Attila the Hun."
But what does it mean to be good-looking? Well, Americans of both sexes like there partners thin, but men in Bolivia like their women hefty, leading to some mighty bulimic behavior from those Sirono women. And while American men like their women thin, they want her lips to be bee-stung, and in the shape of a curvy Cupid's bow, which isn't quite on the same level as what is expected of the Ubangi women, who place saucers inside their lips to make them stretch way out of normal proportions.
Sexy but Demure
And of course, the biological imperative plays a role in telling us what's hot and what's not. Women are looking for a man with strong features that suggest he will be of good character and provide well for her and her children. Men are looking for a woman who looks sexy enough to be fertile and healthy enough to give him healthy children, but also demure enough to be a proper mother and wife.
So, like it or not, there is a standard, and though this varies a bit from culture to culture, it remains, more or less the same. Here's a breakdown of the type of male looks that attract women:
*Big above the waist and slim below
*V-shaped rather than pear-shaped
*Women from the lower end of socioeconomic status prefer muscular men
*White collar women drawing large salaries prefer their men slim, dark, and sensitive
Here's a similar breakdown of the type of feminine looks that attract men:
*Upper class, introverted men prefer small-framed women
*Lower class, extroverted men prefer their women large-breasted and wide-hipped
*Blonde, fair-haired women with blue eyes win out over brunettes