The appeal of the hot one

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.

6 thoughts on “The appeal of the hot one”

  1. Thank you for your honesty and matter of fact perspective. Women don’t value good looks as much as they value intelligence and charm. In a survey, most women preferred plain-looking men who had intelligence and charm over men who were good-looking with “limited education”. They even like guys who try– guys in “learning-mode”. Even guys who read self-help books tend to be more attractive than a guy who’s just hot.

  2. I’ve got to agree with WGK: I’ve been around enough gorgeous DNA to know that the book-to-cover-ratio is pretty telling.

    As much as I salivate after HOT Ed Burns/Ben Bratt look-a-likes — I prefer the more quirky, geeky and hilarious options out there. I’ve tried to convince some of my closer guy friends that I’m not full of shit when I tell them I’m certain less-attractive guys are the BETTER pick (lovers, companions, etc.), since they TRY so much HARDER.

  3. Ah ladies, I didn’t say that everyone values looks, just that it has a very high value for both men and women. That value dissipates as we get older. Younger men and women place higher value on looks than older men and women, who tend to look more at the overall package.

    You cannot argue, however, that we first notice someone’s looks. Unless you’re blind, that’s typically what gets your attention first.

    And sAs, I’m eternally grateful for girls like you who like the geeky/funny guys. We do try harder, and I’m glad you enjoy it.

  4. Great blog, it’s honest and pretty much dead-on. Appreciate it that you had the guts to tackle this reality.

    This is why you see the fat, bald older guy with the 20-something hot chick. You want to hate him, but the first thing you actually think is, man, he must have tons of money or be a great lover or be famous. Social validation. I admit it, when I see beautiful, stunning ex-girlfriends of guys I date, I am inclined to think wow, if he can get women like that, he must be incredible! And it’s true, I’m now in the gym 5x/week to get back my former “hot body”, and there’s no way I would say it’s simply for me. It’s for men. So I am absolutely guilty of buying into this concept (and sorry ladies, have to point out that even the geeky and ugly guys are guilty of hyper-focusing on the “allure of the hot one”).

    However, over time I have come to feel sorry for men who need this social validation more than – literally – the a woman that is multidimensional, extraordinary, a true match, but maybe just “cute” instead of gorgeous. The men who date such women are usually ridiculously insecure (no matter how good looking they are themselves) and are endlessly searching for the woman who is BOTH things – drop dead gorgeous and the perfect match emotionally, spiritually, etc. Because of that, they are often still bachelors into their mid 40’s, and as time goes by, the quest for the perfect one becomes even more fine-tuned and unrealistic. The guys in the early or mid-30’s start to get it, but by then they have left behind one or more incredible women who just weren’t quite hot enough, and they start to (like the 40+ bachelors) become even more picky because of what they’ve already passed up OR they start “settling” on factors around true compatibility. It’s just sad. I want to say pathetic, but it’s not quite that simple. I truly believe men have lost a lot of their “automatic” authority/leadership/rock of the family status as women sought equality in society. A little lost, they cling to the one standard that all MEN can at least agree on – the hot chick. They still have that, and no one can take that away, at least not in the Boys Club. I get it. I even have empathy.

    But…for those men, let me be as equally honest:

    Women talk about this as well. We snicker at you, and mock you behind your back. We know you are insecure and that’s why you put up with that (hostile/stupid/rude/uneducated/boring/stuck-up) woman you call your girlfriend. We hyper-focus on your lack of beauty where we might not have noticed, for the simple fact that you, darling, are not in her league looks-wise. We know, without a shadow of a doubt, you will leave her like a little boy if her looks change. We also know, because of this need for social validation and approval by other men, no matter how beautiful she is, you are 100x more likely to cheat on her. We talk too. It’s not nice what we say. You can tell yourself and your buddies it’s just jealousy. It’s not, we know you need this to feel better about yourself. Though not always true, we assume it’s because you can’t stand alone on your own merits, that you need that trophy girlfriend or wife to point out to the world you are a success! We know it’s not just about attraction, we know it’s also about the need for validation from your buddies.

    So if you walk into the room with “the hot one” on your arm, make sure you’re as equally hot. Or that woman better be as beautiful inside as she is out (good luck). If not, know that while your buddies give you the high fives, and the “oooh, nice catch!” comments, their girlfriends and wives (after the initial pause thinking hmm, is he rich or famous or great in bed?)are focusing on your most unattractive feature – insecurity.

  5. I love how true this blog is. So, so true. I’m interested in someone right now who’s extremely intelligent, sweet, funny all the wonderful things, but sometimes I catch myself thinking, “could I be with someone cuter, hotter, more attractive?” and then I realize I wouldn’t want to trade his good attributes for a prettier face. Funny how different men and women are…

  6. I agree with what have Serendipity said that when you a hot person is clinging on to your arms make sure you are equally hot too. As you all know that society tend to think that if you are with a hot one and you yourself isn’t hot as your partner is then they will start to think that what could have you done to that person for him or her to hang out with you and vice versa. But for me being hot is nothing when you have a trashy attitude better to date someone who has endearing qualities.

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