When you’re single and dating, odds are you spend a fair amount of time worrying about your looks. Even someone who isn’t especially prone to narcissism will find him or herself staring at a reflective surface before a date, contemplating their own pulchritude. “Am I good looking?” “Am I better looking than his last date?” “Will she find me attractive?”
It’s a troubling worry, because, you know, we were all sort of born with either Angelina Jolie genes, or … without.
Luckily, science, for once, has some good news. Really good news.
So, there are things you can change about yourself (hairstyle, clothing, physical fitness) and things you can’t (face shape, eye color, height).
Psychology Today’s Dr. Jeremy Nicholson recently rediscovered a 1997 study which sought to discover which physical features would be most attractive to the opposite sex. After surveying a number of men and women, the researchers were surprised to discover that the highest marks went to changeable qualities.
“Their shocking finding was that, by far, the most attractive features fell under the category of ‘self care’. These features were changeable aspects like good grooming, neat hair, nice fitting and quality clothing, good posture, and healthy weight. Essentially, the most attractive features about a person (male or female) is that they put forth some effort to shower, groom, select some nice clothes, stand up straight, and manage their diet a bit. No plastic surgery, major gym time, or extensive overhauling required.”
Really good to hear, right? Sure, a male model is probably going to have a pretty easy time getting dates. But just because you don’t look like a supermodel does not mean you’re unattractive to the opposite sex, as long as you sort of take care of yourself. When it comes to dating, looking neat is more important than looking hot.
So, now that you can stop stressing about that bump in your nose or the fact that your hair is thinning, what should you worry about? Dr. Nicholson has some spot on advice.
Dr. Nicholson says that grooming is the most important variable when it comes to attractiveness, and can really make or break your chances with someone. Brush your teeth. Comb your hair. Shower. Keep your fingernails neat.
Again, no matter what your personal clothing style is, neatness is of the utmost importance.
“The research says that three aspects of clothing are required to be attractive – neat, well fitting, and more formal. Put plainly, your clothes need to be clean, pressed, and well maintained.”
Additionally, when it comes to attracting someone, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
The easiest, cheapest, and best thing you’ll ever do for your dating life is to simply stand up a little straighter. As Dr. Nicholson says, good posture is sexy.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to run out and get a personal trainer for a total body overhaul. You just have to, again, take relatively good care of yourself, which can be achieved with moderate exercise three times a week.
One of the most surprising finds of the study was that “pleasantness” rated pretty highly among both sexes. This means being happy, positive, and friendly in attitude. In the immortal words of the little orphan Annie: “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” (But seriously: just being nice shows way more self-confidence and ease than being shy or sarcastic does — and it’s really attractive.)
So, see? You’re already way hotter than you probably give yourself credit for. It’s easy to maximize your physical attractiveness through small changes.
And as for the things you can’t change? They really don’t matter.