At some point, we’ve all seen that other person that makes us stop and say, “wow.” Their sheer physical beauty is beyond what we could imagine and causes an immediate slip into a fantasy world where clothing is optional and you’re together. Men are most often accused of this because, quite frankly, we make it really obvious. A beautiful face or a nice body is about all it takes to make us completely stop what we’re doing and turn around. If you’re a guy, chances are that you’ve been caught checking out (and perhaps drooling over) a hot twenty-something walking by. The truth is, of course, that women do the same thing – they’re just much more tactful about it.
But what is it that makes us pay attention to the hot one? Some would argue that it’s evolution: these physical attributes are recongized in our DNA as an indicator fertility. While there may be some truth to that, I believe that there’s more of a social dynamic at work. Society places value on beauty, and beauty is shoved into our faces at every turn. Magazines. Commercials. Movies. The homely/normal actors are relegated to supporting roles while the dashingly handsome hero and the ridiculously hot villainess do battle. Due to this, we’ve been programmed to place a very high value on beauty. And so we seek it for ourselves.
World famous pickup artist Mystery, author of The Mystery Method and star of VH1’s The Pickup Artist, bases his entire pickup theory around the concept of value. He maintains that what attracts women to men is the man’s perceived value. This, he asserts, is the reason why attractive women often end up with less-attractive men. Somehow, the less-attractive man has created either real or perceived value that the woman responds to. Value can be based on any number of things; it just so happens that physical beauty is a common occurance on that list.
If you really think about it, the desire to be with someone who’s beautiful seems silly. What is the ultimate goal? Once you’re in a relationship with a hot guy or girl, what does that give you? There’s no correlation between hotness and sexual prowess, so it can’t be the search for better sex. Nor can you say that a more attractive partner will treat you better. So what is it? What drives us to chase after the hot one?
The truth is that we do get something very important by being with a beautiful person, we get social validation. The attainment of the beautiful partner tells society that we have value. Yes, just by virtue of having an attractive partner, your value in society immediately goes up. Once again, men are the most obvious about this. Dating a hot girl means that other hot girls will see you as desirable, or so guys say. This is because a hot girl will only be with someone of value, so if a hot girl is on your arm, clearly you have high value. Guys talk about this stuff all the time (no joke, ladies).
So the pursuit of the hot one really comes down to one thing: ego. We want to date an attractive person because it makes us feel like we have value. You get validation from others (i.e., “wow, she’s cute,” or “hey, he’s hot!”) and that makes you feel better about yourself. The pursuit of the hot one is purely selfish, the ultimate self-indulgent act to validate ourselves and our lives. And yet even knowing that, it won’t stop a single one of us from pursuing. We can’t help it.