Explaining the "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder" Myth

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mensimageconsultant, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. tiecollector

    tiecollector Senior member

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    http://laddertheory.com/ and of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, most just behold some features more favorably.
     
  2. chobochobo

    chobochobo Rubber Chicken Dubiously Honored Moderator

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    Very amusing website.
     
  3. The False Prophet

    The False Prophet Senior member

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    I don't think it's a confusion of emotions and aesthetics if one finds someone more attractive due to affection. Often this will encompass the little mannerisms and curiosities that make someone human, rather than a picture on a magazine page. It's for this reason that I'm typically not attracted to models, movie stars, etc. To the extent that I am attracted to the latter, it will be at least in part influenced by their performance in a particular role.

    Context is everything. A gorgeous pair of shoes with a rubbish suit won't look as good as a wearing both in the middle of the range. And great cheekbones and perfect skin with a terrible personality will look icy and alien; someone far less sculpted but charming will seem warm and inviting.

    Finally, I'm not sure that taste in women (or men) derives from an inbuild set of preferences. Certainly mine has changed a lot over time. In particular, after a bad breakup, for example, I'll be put off girls of similar appearance. I met a really cute girl at a party who clearly liked me not so far back, but she had exactly the same haircut as my ex, and was about the same height and build. It just freaked me out.

    I saw her more recently, totally different haircut, much much better!
     
  4. willie

    willie Member

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    This reminds me of the famous Woody Allen quote. When asked how his success was changing his life, he said that he was striking out with a higher class woman.

    I once had a girlfriend who had been a greeter for a singles organization. She said that she could usually predict which people would end up connecting with someone and which would leave alone on the basis of their looks. She also said that women usually understand where they place on the crude 1-10 scale, but men often did not. She told me that she almost never saw a woman who was a 4 hitting on a man who was a 9 or 10, but she frequently saw attractive women rejecting men who were 3s or 4s. In other words, the women were much more realistic while the men complained about women being unwilling to accept them as they are.

    She also said that if there were 100 men and 100 women at an event, that all 100 men would pursue about 20 women, and all 100 women would be interested in about 20 men. She said that the women complained that there were not enough men at the same time that men were complaining about the lack of women. It was as if all but the 20 most attractive men and women were invisible to the opposite sex.

    At the end of the night about 25 men and 25 women would be paired off and the rest would leave alone. The moral of the story is that when a very attractive woman says that she cares mostly about personality, she really means looks and personality.

    Of course there is a long tradition of women trading their good looks for status and financial security. This is one reason why we see very attractive young women with older, much less attractive men. Some men are now finding much younger, more attractive women by importing mai order brides; often from the Philipines, Thailand or the former Soviet Union.

    Fortunately this does not apply to everyone. I know a woman who is extremely obese. She tells me that some attractive men are very attracted to huge women. Needless to say these men are in great demand!
     
  5. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Senior member

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    This reminds me of the famous Woody Allen quote. When asked how his success was changing his life, he said that he was striking out with a higher class woman.

    I once had a girlfriend who had been a greeter for a singles organization. She said that she could usually predict which people would end up connecting with someone and which would leave alone on the basis of their looks. She also said that women usually understand where they place on the crude 1-10 scale, but men often did not. She told me that she almost never saw a woman who was a 4 hitting on a man who was a 9 or 10, but she frequently saw attractive women rejecting men who were 3s or 4s. In other words, the women were much more realistic while the men complained about women being unwilling to accept them as they are.

    She also said that if there were 100 men and 100 women at an event, that all 100 men would pursue about 20 women, and all 100 women would be interested in about 20 men. She said that the women complained that there were not enough men at the same time that men were complaining about the lack of women. It was as if all but the 20 most attractive men and women were invisible to the opposite sex.


    Some might want to dismiss that observation as purely anecdotal, but research about behavior in online dating supports it. Of course, both settings might attract a more superficial kind of person.
     
  6. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Senior member

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    I don't think it's a confusion of emotions and aesthetics if one finds someone more attractive due to affection. Often this will encompass the little mannerisms and curiosities that make someone human, rather than a picture on a magazine page. It's for this reason that I'm typically not attracted to models, movie stars, etc. To the extent that I am attracted to the latter, it will be at least in part influenced by their performance in a particular role.

    Context is everything. A gorgeous pair of shoes with a rubbish suit won't look as good as a wearing both in the middle of the range. And great cheekbones and perfect skin with a terrible personality will look icy and alien; someone far less sculpted but charming will seem warm and inviting.

    Finally, I'm not sure that taste in women (or men) derives from an inbuild set of preferences. Certainly mine has changed a lot over time. In particular, after a bad breakup, for example, I'll be put off girls of similar appearance. I met a really cute girl at a party who clearly liked me not so far back, but she had exactly the same haircut as my ex, and was about the same height and build. It just freaked me out.

    I saw her more recently, totally different haircut, much much better!


    Interesting. One measure researchers sometimes rate as a component of attractiveness is facial expressiveness. "Great cheekbones and perfect skin" without a smile can often be low in expressiveness ("icy"). Strictly speaking, it probably doesn't affect sexual attraction much, but it can strongly affect how people relate to each other. Hence, the popularity of teeth whitening, especially among the sex that is more likely to take the passive role in approaches. Hairstyle and clothing (especially color) also can make someone look more inviting, but close up facial expression matters more, obviously.
     
  7. designprofessor

    designprofessor Senior member

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    If you want some interesting and very readable data on how the sexes size -up and relate to one another.
    check out David Buss - evolutionary psychology from Univ. Texas.

    I'll reccomend: The Dangerous Passion, Why Jealousy is as
    Necessary as Love and Sex.

    There's a significant amount of data on these ideas. I attended one of Buss' lectures. Very interesting.

    On the ideal template of beauty: - We know patterns emerge. But, I also think quantifying beauty is solving a puzzle that we really don't want solved. Too much information at the wrong time destroys the magic. Love /beauty in my opinion is a mystery that is better off left intact.
     
  8. Thurston

    Thurston Senior member

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    So you're saying that if I generally prefer women with large derrieres, like Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez, and you prefer skinnier, straighter figures, like Kelly Ripa, while finding the former ladies totally unattractive; that's not a real and true example of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"?
     
  9. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Senior member

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    Research would point to the ethnicity and body dimensions of the perceiver, resulting in, fittingly, assortative mating. This site doesn't discuss that subject, but it has some excellent material about "Objective correlates of beauty" in women. Be warned - the website also has some very politically incorrect opinions and pictures that it rightly states aren't work-safe.
     
  10. Quirk

    Quirk Senior member

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    What's meant by "physical attractiveness" anyway? Raw genetic endowment only? What about grooming? Dress? Posture/body language? Language/communication skills?

    A person with "average" looks genetically speaking can often swing anywhere from a '3' to a '7' on the overall physical attractiveness scale depending on the impact of these other factors. Look how easy it is for a 'beautiful' actress to 'deglamorize' herself into homeliness in pursuit of an Academy Award: all she has to do is roll out of bed with no makeup and refuse to comb her hair. There's only a very, very small percentage of women (the Kidmans and Bellucci's of the world) who possess such a high level of absolute, objective beauty (as reflected in things like bone structure, complexion, height, BMI, muscle tone), that they literally cannot look unattractive. [​IMG]
     
  11. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Senior member

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    Good question. For the purposes of this discussion, "physical attractiveness" can be described as sum attractiveness of physical features that could be natural, although they might be cosmetically enhanced. (Theoretically could be natural, if you want to rate Michael Jackson.) Clothing is not part of it, although of course it can (and will) influence judgments in most settings and although judgments of it will be influenced by some innate criteria used for judging "physical attractiveness."

    Also, it's easier for a woman to self-enhance on a temporary basis (say, from waking up to getting made up) than it is for a man to do so.
     
  12. Quirk

    Quirk Senior member

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    Also, it's easier for a woman to self-enhance on a temporary basis (say, from waking up to getting made up) than it is for a man to do so.

    Yes, but women are also far more open-minded than men in terms of what they consider 'attractive'. Any average looking guy in decent shape with straight teeth, reasonably good skin, a good haircut, and a decent wardrobe can be considered attractive by very attractive women. Men have it relatively easy in that regard -- we should just enjoy it. [​IMG]
     
  13. chobochobo

    chobochobo Rubber Chicken Dubiously Honored Moderator

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    Any average looking guy in decent shape with straight teeth, reasonably good skin, a good haircut, and a decent wardrobe can be considered attractive by very attractive women.

    Excellent. That's the answer. [​IMG]
     
  14. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Senior member

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    If you replace "very attractive" with "attractive" or add "good face" to the list, then perhaps it's realistic. Without the good face or external factors (chemistry, drunkenness, etc.), style that communicates confidence, creativity, success, etc. might make it possible to appeal to a "very attractive" type.
     
  15. Mute

    Mute Senior member

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    Like most of the others I do believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but ugly is ugly. Anyone who can look at Janet Reno and claim any form of attractiveness clearly lives in a different plane of existance.
     

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