Sunday, December 31, 2006

How Important Are Looks?

How important are looks? Let me put it this way. After doing initial research for this chapter, it was a tough choice between plastic surgery or suicide. First, let's get the bad news out of the way for those of us, male or female, who are less than a 10 in the looks department. Looks count! Remember in high school when you asked about a blind date's looks and your best friend said, "Oh, she's got a great personality" or "He's a really nice guy." The kiss of death, right? Yes, looks counton first meeting, especially to men. However, looks are a perception, and we can manipulate perceptions. What God cheated us out of in the looks department, we can make up for through clever techniques that have a lot more to do with your Quarry's first impressions of you (your body language, self-image, and communications skills) than they do with makeup. What do we consider good-looking? It varies, of course, from culture to culture. In our country, thin is in. (Not so for the Sirono women from Bolivia who constantly gorge themselves to become a nice fat armful for their men.) American men prefer to kiss slightly curved Cupid's-bow lips. (Not so for Ubangis, who put saucers in their lips to stretch them out like pancakes.) Different standards of beauty prevail around the world, but one thing remains constant. Mother Nature plays a role in telling us who's hot and who's not. Even in modern-day America, women like a man with strong features who looks like he would be a good, caring provider. Men like a woman who looks like she is sexy and could bear healthy children. Studies tell us precisely what is in vogue. What Type of Looks Do Women Like? Here is what a group of researchers found that women most liked in a man's face: Women are attracted to men whose appearances elicit their nurturant feelings; who appear to possess sexual maturity and dominance characteristics; who seem sociable, approachable and of high social status . . . Individuals who display an optimal combination of neotenous (boyish) features of large eyes, the mature features of prominent cheekbones and a large chin, the expressive feature of a big smile, and high-status clothing were seen more attractive than other men. 41 What type of body do women like? American women generally prefer men of average build, but bigger above the waist than below. The studies tell us they prefer V's to pears. 42 However, taste varies depending on the class of the woman judging the male anatomy. Women on the lower end of the socioeconomic totem pole prefer muscle men. Conversely, highly paid professional women find hefty beefcake downright distasteful. They go for the dark, slim, and sensitive body types. What about height? One assumes the taller the better because our culture venerates height. In fact, practically every president elected in the United States since 1900 was the taller Page 175 of the two candidates. The Wall Street Journal reported that taller graduating college students (6'2" and over) received an average starting salary 12.4 percent higher than those who were under six feet tall. Yet, in the sexual arena, apparently taller isn't better. Women of all sizes—short, medium, and tall—rated a variety of men equal in all features except height. The medium sizers won. Gentlemen, speaking of size (yes, the size of it), the only source I can turn to is a recent article in a popular woman's magazine called "Is Big Really Better?" The article equivocated (lest readers' husbands get hold of the article and be emotionally destroyed). However, a photograph accompanying the article left the question open. Two attractive women were shown rolling on the floor in hysterics as one of their friends held up a baby finger. What Type of Looks Do Men Like? When answering researchers' questions about women's looks, men were less articulate. A typical answer was, "Uh, gee, well, you know [grunt, grunt], uh, good-looking." However, a group of resolute scientists plodded on and zeroed in on what the average male considers attractive. Yes, thin is definitely in. For women especially. In an analysis of singles' ads, researchers discovered, out of twenty-eight desirable qualities, thinness topped the list for men. 43 Again, this varied with the class and personality of the man. More extroverted and lower-class men choose large-breasted, wide-hipped women. More introverted and upper-class males choose smaller-framed women. A group of men from various classes was shown photos of large-breasted nudes in typical pinup poses along with some pictures of more fully clothed attractive women. The results were as expected when the men were asked which they would like for a roll in the hay. However, when questioned on which they would prefer as a wife, both upper- and lower-class men Page 176 chose the more clothed woman. Many of the upper-class men even preferred the clothed lady for a roll in the hay (or a tryst in the backseat of their Mercedes). Unfortunately, the studies weren't any more enlightening on the specific facial features men like. This is probably because, like in all other aspects of their lives, men don't pay as much attention to detail as women do. There was a time when our culture was obsessed with symmetry. No longer. And, in times gone by, men wanted women in the lighter ranges of their own ethnic coloring. Women preferred just the opposite. Darker-hued men got top points. However, as our melting pot boils faster, the old blond-haired, blue-eyed, angel-faced beauty standard is rapidly changing. Some of today's top beauties are very different from that stereotypical idea. Now it's the look. Fortunately, if you weren't born with the look, you can get it—with a little brains, some imagination, and a makeup bag. The only generalization we can make on looks is that both sexes prefer people with a clear complexion, a slender body, shiny hair, straight white teeth, and clear eyes—in other words, healthy. "How Can I Make My Quarry Think I'm Better Looking?" Beauty is not an objective entity. Like the proverbial sound in the forest which must be heard to be a sound, beauty has to be beheld by someone to be beauty. Beauty is a perception, a judgment call. Hairstyle, clothing, and makeup aside (I leave that to other books), here's how you can manipulate your Quarry's perception of your looks. While I was researching physical appearance, a friend sent me a videotape of a segment of the television show 20/20 aired some time ago on physical attractiveness. In one sequence, a strikingly beautiful blonde (an actress hired by ABC) stood on the side of the highway by her supposedly stranded car. Passing cars and trucks came screeching to a halt. Men risked life and limb galloping across four lanes to help the lovely damsel in distress. Several men fought over which lucky man was going to go get her gas for her. In the next segment, another actress stood by the side of the highway. Same clothes. Same stranded car. However, this woman was less attractive, or so judged the program's producers. Did cars come to a screeching halt to help her? Did men gallop across four lanes to help her? No. The autos went whizzing by. One or two slowed down but, after the drivers checked her out, they sped away. One car stopped, but the male driver simply pointed to where she could go get some gas herself. Afterward, the program's hosts interviewed the two actresses seated side by side. I pushed the pause button on my VCR to get a closer look at the two women. I scrutinized one, then the other, then the first again. I thought, "There's not that much difference in their looks!" But, being female, I presumed that perhaps I'm no judge, so I decided to get a male opinion. I showed the frozen frame to a male friend. He agreed, "Not so much difference." What was it? I played the entire sequence for my friend. "Oh, sure," he announced. Now he could see it. "Yes, the first actress is definitely prettier." It took a third viewing for me to unravel the mystery. The first actress smiled at passing cars. She cocked her head, threw her shoulders back, and pushed her breasts out. She looked happy, fun-loving, sure of herself—therefore beautiful. The second actress just leaned against her car with a dejected expression on her face. She made no eye contact with passing traffic. She looked miserable and crossed her arms in front of her chest, hiding two of her very good assets. She looked unhappy, grumpy, unsure of herself—refore homely. Beautiful women move differently than their plainer sisters do. This leads us to a technique to change your Quarry's perception of your looks. Develop confident and beautiful body language. You will actually appear more beautiful when you move with grace and enthusiasm. Beauty is as beauty moves.
TECHNIQUE #47 (FOR HUNTRESSES): MOVE LIKE A 10 Can you fool Mother Nature? No. But you can fool a man. Convince yourself that you are the most beautiful creature that ever graced the planet. Then move accordingly. Men, does a similar technique work for you? Yes. Your physical movements definitely affect how alluring you are to women. Recently, after one of my seminars, a man asked me for some advice on approaching women. He was a good-looking fellow, but he stood slumped in front of me, his arms dangling like he had no further use for them. His eyes periodically darted away from mine in shyness. He asked me what opening lines work with a woman. I wanted to shake him and say, "Hey, forget what comes out of your mouth! First shape up your body language." Women are attracted to men who move in a strong, self-assured, and masculine fashion. TECHNIQUE #48 (FOR HUNTERS): MOVE LIKE A HUNK Men, make strong, smooth, bold movements. Walk strong. Look like you know where you're going and why. Take the woman's arm when crossing the street, help her in and out of cars, and make other manly gestures that women find so seductive. Countless studies conducted on how your physical appearance affects your success in love lead us to the following unusual technique. It will definitely increase your chances of finding your special someone. How to Beef Up Your Odds on Making the Kill If I told you that, by heeding the results of the studies, you could more than double your chance of success the next time you try to pick up a PLP , would you believe it? Believe it! In singles' clubs everywhere, Hunters are getting shot down when they try to pick up a lady. Every night Huntresses go home alone feeling like white rabbits glancing at their biological clocks. Marriage-minded men and women all over America are griping that they'll always be supporting cast at the wedding rather than the stars. Why is this happening? Most singles are barking up the wrong trees, howling after impossible prey. These lone wolves might as well be baying at the moon. How can you better your odds? First, go after more equal targets in the physical appearance department. Men, it's rough for you to keep your eyeballs off the best-looking women on the premises. You want the most attractive date possible, but aren't you tired of getting your ego bruised every time you say hello? Women, it's easier for you to go after men within your own attractiveness range because women usually are more appreciative of inner qualities. Start by taking a good look at yourself in the mirror. (Go ahead, you can cheat. Get all gussied up first.) Eyeball yourself objectively. Rate yourself on the 10 scale. (If you need some help, ask your closest friend.) Are you a four, a six, an eight, better? Now, with that number in mind, look at the Quarry you are trying to score with. Rate him or her on the same scale. If your Quarry is one or two points within your range, go for it. If not, forget it. The studies show you're wasting your time. Do you enjoy kisses and cuddles? The psychologists also predicted that couples similar in attractiveness would be more affectionate. They observed couples at parties and singles' gathering spots. And they guessed right. Whether the couple was two ''beauties'' or two "uglies," they seemed happier and played footsie a lot more if they were of similar attractiveness. A full 6o percent of the similar couples nuzzled each other, 46 percent of the moderately similar couples caressed, and only 22 percent of the less similar couples ever touched each other. It seems that birds of a feather flock together—at least when it comes to plumage. TECHNIQUE #49: MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL To dramatically increase your chances of success with new Quarry, only pursue prey within one or two points' difference on the attractiveness scale. This technique also ups the odds on lifetime happiness with your partner. Now it's time to move on to the next two commodities on the equity scale: possessions (or money) and status (or prestige).

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