Friday, 1 August 2014

Looks And Dating: Is It Fair On The Ugly?

I just want to briefly run through a train of thought I have had on many occasions. What has proximally triggered this train of thought was a blog piece I have just read by Ally Fogg (and very good it is too ) and a YouTube/Twitter discussion on whether Jaclynn Glenn's popularity is down to her looks.

So what really is the issue with people choosing their partners based primarily on looks (physical attractiveness)?

It seems that many people have a real issue with this and one of underlying reasoning seems to be that it is because it creates a situation of winners and losers. That, by way of a popular example, regarding excessive quantities of adipose tissue as unattractive is somehow unfair on the fatties of the world and we ought to somehow try and promote viewing all body shapes as of equal attractiveness. In this way perhaps we can make the world a fairer place where everyone will get a better chance in the dating game and life's losers (in this regard) will cease to be so (and my advancing forehead will be more than just a snipers wet dream!).

Aside from the obvious futility of trying to mandate to people what is attractive and away from the sociological narratives that assume our desires are entirely driven by the images we are shown (no regard given to whether those images themselves were driven by our pre-existing preferences ofc because that does not fit the usual socio-political agenda), there is an elephant in the room.

So here is that elephant. However you dice the whole thing up there are winners and losers. Remove physical attractiveness from the equation (or create different criteria for what constitutes beauty) and all you do is create a different set of winners and a different set of losers. Judge people on their personalities and what of the poor individuals who barely have one? The characterless; the humourless; the downright boring; the socially awkward; no more have a say in these characteristics than any of us have in our looks. Sure, downgrading the importance of the physical is a boost to the butt ugly life and soul of the party but it becomes one hell of a raw deal to the chisel-jawed adonis or pneumatic-titted stunner who would just love to be as witty and engaging (I'd really love to append with "as me" here!) but always falls well short of the mark.

The fact remains that, however you slice it, we end up judging potential partners on one thing or another and it is hard to see how rating by one set of characteristics* is ultimately any more edifying, or any fairer, than judging by any other.


* other than perhaps kindness but imagine the saccharin sweet bullshit we would have to deal with if we went by that alone!


  1. Date a fat girl

    Date a bald guy

    Do it out of sympathy and compassion

    And see how pathetic that person feels to know that you would have preferred to date someone thinner or with more hair. Only the truly pathetic could be happy that they got the date at all

  2. You're right. Changing the terms of the competition wouldn't eliminate the fact that some would end at the top, and some at the bottom.

    What I find interesting about those opposed to "lookism" is how they often choose to ignore the reasons behind our favoring a particular appearance over another. Is it shallow to favor what are, pretty much, external markers of biological/genetic fitness? (Sure, some of these "markers" can be faked, but that's besides the point. These fabrications, whether those donning/creating them know it or not, would be trying to mimic manifestations of fitness.)

    That's all I have.

  3. People need to learn to be happy by themselves and then everyone wins. If you meet someone compatible then good, but it shouldn't be a requirement for your happiness otherwise you are just setting yourself up for misery.

  4. Yes, Jaclynn Glenn is demonstrably attractive, but she hasn't got a magic bullet for me. She just doesn't make my heart pound the way some women, like my wife, do. There is more to "attractive" than clear skin and nice hair. There's something else, something chemical.

    Also, I believe that people who consider themselves unattractive are caught in a downward spiral. They don't smile as much as they should, they don't dress for success, they aren't able to keep their bodies as healthy as they should. If they, and by "they" I mean anyone who wants to feel more attractive, could break out of that cycle, they might believe themselves to be more attractive, which is what really matters.