Do looks matter? The short answer is ‘yes, of course they do’ – the only people for whom looks don’t matter are the visually impaired. As for the degree to which looks matter, and the way in which looks matter, well, this is where things start to get contentious.
If you’ve read the OKTrends blog, you will see that a site-wide looks obsession is supposedly borne out by the data. Attractive women receive nearly five times as many messages as plainer ones, and to a lesser extent the same applies to men.
So are we all disgustingly superficial? Well, quite possibly, but not on the basis of this data. ‘Attractiveness’ here is defined as obtaining a high score on Quickmatch, and there’s nothing to say that Quickmatch scores are entirely dependent on looks.
I don’t use Quickmatch very often – in fact, I’m not keen on rating people full stop, since I associate it with eighteen-year-old boys posting on truelad.com and boasting about how they ‘banged some butterface 7″ in the back of her dad’s old Corsa. But on the odd occasion when I do succumb, there are all sorts of factors to weigh up. Looks for sure, but also sense of humour, and how interesting he appears to be, and (crucially) whether he has a deft command of English. If you write like Nabokov, you get special dispensation to look like roadkill.
Looks are an instinctual, split-second way to sort people into tribes. Is this an arty guy? A sporty guy? A preppy guy? A World of Warcraft gaming guy? Has this guy moved on from his MySpace days in which pointing a camera down at his face, pouting moodily, and desaturating the colour balance until you can’t tell he’s ginger was the epitome of cool? There are certain guys I’ll warm to just because we seem to share traits and allegiances; others whose pony-tail, deal-breakingly, spells out MMORPG.
Would I date someone I deemed ugly? Nope. Everybody should be with someone who finds them attractive. But I would far be with rather someone decent-looking and interesting than a hottie with the charisma of a droid.
On the other hand, I’m 99% sure it’s different for men. Damn you all for looking at the photos first…