“Looks don’t matter,” is an oft cited platitude typically uttered by someone already coupled off with a partner they find attractive. But when addressing a single person? Well looks shouldn’t matter, you shallow little love beggar. If you have your hands out hoping someone takes pity on you, be grateful for the cathedral gnome ringing the church bells. He thinks you’re cute. Take him or die alone. “Beauty is on the inside,” they’ll say. “Once you get to know him, he’ll become attractive.” “A person is more than just the surface, don’t be so shallow,” they’ll lecture with patronizing pomposity.
Based on the sardonic tone of my typed words, it’s obvious I think the platitudes surrounding attraction are complete crap. Mostly because they are complete crap. Not the useful crap, with which you fertilize your blooming spiritual inner garden of peace. Namaste. No, no, the kind of shit you pick up delicately with a thick bag, tie off while your face contorts from the stench, then chuck into the nearest bin. Holy hell.
Before I bust the myth, allow me a disclaimer paragraph for the haughty nincompoops lingering around this post like resilient fruit flies.
We’re talking about dating with the hopes of marriage here. Do looks matter in friendship? No. Do they matter in the professional world? Unless you’re spending a great deal of time in front of a camera in exchange for currency, no. Do looks matter in order for you to be loved? Only if you think that love should include sexual intercourse. Otherwise no. Looks don’t matter. Got that?
Meaning if you’re the inbred first cousin of a bridge troll, someone will still love you. Unless you’re serial killer of dreams, who feeds on the souls of hamsters while you knit blankets made from the chin hair of baby seals. Then maybe you don’t deserve love. But if your inner worth shines through your hideousness, someone will undoubtedly shower you with platonic cuddles.
We good? Are you peace-loving hippies satisfied with my libation offered to your high-minded senses of morality? If not, you’re not going to like the rest of this post. Nor anything else I write for that matter. There should be an “X” in a box either in the top left or right of this browser window. Feel free to click it if ever you feel irreconcilable displeasure. Love you.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get down to it.
Looks matter whenever the eventual aim of the relationship is sexual intercourse. For me that’s marriage. Because if I don’t find a man attractive, I’m never going to want to see him naked and share my body with him. For the rest of my life. And no, I don’t care if his soul is filled with the softest down plucked from the wings of baby angels. Sex is a physical act, it’s not about how you always remember your mother’s birthday. Or if you volunteer at a soup kitchen five nights a week. Such a nice guy. Making love to “Your Beautiful Soul” might sound swell to a teenage girl reading Twilight, but it’s not reality. And please read something other than Twilight.
Again, if we’re just friends? Looks matter not at all. Because you and I are never going to dance the hanky-panky, either for fun or to create one of those pink little cherubs known as a “baby.” If, however, your aim is to fill my dance card from here until death parts us? How you appear matters. And how I appear to you matters.
It’s called sexual attraction, and it’s a key ingredient in romantic love. The kind of love people who marry experience. This should be a giant duh moment. I rather feel like Legolas in the Lord of the Rings films, pontificating on the on obvious plot points for the slower audience members. I just lack the white gold locks and outfits of earth tone suede.
I’ve noticed the “looks don’t matter” malarkey is often doled out by people-pleasing softies hoping to sound morally superior. Or they’re liars. Whichever, I applaud you. Sincerely. May you swim long and far in your deep waters of care. Now go marry the bridge troll.
Sexual attraction or “physical attraction,” however you want to word it, matters in romantic love. It’s the spark that starts the fire. For most people attraction, the spark, the little oh feeling which pleasantly bubbles inside us? Necessary. Take my hand and follow me down the progression trail. If I do not find a man attractive I’ll never have the desire to kiss him. If I don’t want to kiss him, I won’t want to de-clothe in front of him. Or have him drop trow in front of me. Nightmare city. The desire for us to “become one flesh” will never be there. Even if he coaches track and field for the special olympics. No amount of time with him, getting to know his “beautiful soul” (I just threw up a little) will ever change that. I might like him better as a person, but my desire for him physically will never present. What I find physically attractive is out of my control. Sorry.
I realize I’m repeating myself with different words. That’s because, due to my long history with the internet, I must repeat a key point for some bottom-dwelling post feeders who refuse to absorb points they dislike. For sure these brainless twits will keep repeating cliches, but now I can point out all the times I phrased, rephrased, and re-re-rephrased the “looks don’t matter” myth is fecal matter for their slow-learning skull mush.
Here’s the silver lining the magnanimous people-pleasing saints never understand: attraction is entirely subjective. What one person finds appealing, someone else does not. I’ve met women who like men with “dad bod.” I have a friend who likes skinny guys who shave their legs. You read that right. I have a female friend who likes skinny men. Skinny men who shave their legs. A different friend of mine prefers men with long hair tied up in man buns. My official matchmaker didn’t find Henry Cavill that fetching. Henry Cavill. He didn’t do it for her. I know, right? She’s weeeeeeiiiiiiiddddd.
I could go on, but why? We all like different things in each other. Our types are not just limited to character, but physical attributes.
When I say “looks matter,” what I mean is physical attraction matters. But what I find attractive other women do not. The same goes for men, of course. Some men will find me attractive, plenty won’t.
So it doesn’t matter how often someone tries selling the “looks don’t matter” package to me. I shall never be convinced. I’ve experienced physical attraction in dating, and I’ve dated men who I’ve found unattractive. Having believed the morally superior charlatans who sold the “just get to know him, he’ll become attractive to you” snake oil. I want my money back.
There’s an enormous difference when it comes to the actual manifestation of feelings. Without attraction, feelings of love? They’ll never come. At least not for me, and I’m guessing millions of others. Possibly billions. I maintain attraction matters to all of us… save those holdouts who want to sound superior. Hope they don’t drown in their deep pools of care.
I also believe everyone is attractive to someone. Even the bridge troll stands a chance of finding a dark-dwelling enchantress who wins his heart. Not everyone who falls in love have adonis-like countenances or the chiseled bodies of Greek gods, after all. Cupid strikes me as an indiscriminating archer, shooting whomever he darn well pleases. The old, the young. The beautiful, the ugly. Skinny, fat, or fit, all types and shapes of people fall in love, find each other attractive, and pair off.
So saying “looks matter” doesn’t make me a shallow, petty, superficial jerk. It makes me human. A human with hopes of a full romantic experience with a person I have deep attraction and love. That’s the order of operations. Attraction then love… Eventually leading to the hanky-panky. Post wedding church bells, of course.
Another absolutely correct and funny post! I’m nearly 30, educated, not unfortunate-looking, and perpetually single — I can relate to so many of the dating issues you write about, particularly the nightmare of online dating, the scarcity of real men, and the condescending, unhelpful advice from friends/family. And Henry Cavill, holy crap.
I wish your post about online dating was still available on your blog, by the way. Your descriptions were hilariously perfect!
It’s still up, I just changed how links are generated, and things got screwy. http://www.courtneykirchoff.com/online-dating-makes-me-want-to-die-alone/
When I was 21 I spent a year talking to a lady almost daily on the phone for work reasons. We hit it off, got along really well, and as I left the job to go back to full time education we arranged to meet in person finally. She was beautiful. We spent the night together, but for me the sex wasn’t special, and we regretfully parted. Very soon after I met a lady with a cleft palate. We lived together for 5 years until work separated us and she found someone else. Soon after I met the lady who has now been my wife for 25 years. We’re 60’ish, no-one would find us physically attractive any more (although we both still compete in triathlons & are physically fit & active – I’m just being realistic). We still have regular, energetic, fulfilling sex. When the lights go off it doesn’t matter if you’re with ‘an inbred troll’ or ‘an adonis’ – it’s how you fit together that matters. And a lot of that is down to how well you get on outside the sack. Please, sleep with a few adonis’s & a few trolls – don’t go to your marriage bed expecting that just because you fancy them upright you’ll fancy them when you’re horizontal. Maybe this is what your more experienced friends are trying to tell you. I wish you all the best in finding love, the chase is worth the prize. Hoppo
So that explains why very attractive women get swamped with lots of messages online dating, they have the wow you make me hard factor, I now understand thank you, Jokes aside it boils down to never try to punch above your weight, eg I am short, overweight. old & unattractive, therefore I should not expect the majority of women to find me attractive, conversely my radar needs to be calibrated to click with that other woman who thinks I am in her weight class. Do we need to get back to physical attractiveness pair bonding in times passed ?? like hey I am no oil painting so I should not expect Mona Lisa to find me attractive.
I tried and could not imagine a more banal defence of romantic love.