Self, Sex

When It Comes To Dating, Are We Shallower Than We Admit?

liam hemsworth

Come on, just admit to it: You want to date that guy who all the girls gawk at when he walks into a room; the guy who's so painfully gorgeous that every time you look at him, you think to yourself: "I totally scored on this one." You do, you do — even if you don't realize it.

While a lot of us say that we'd like to date someone smart, or funny, or some other adjective that isn't as straightforward as "hot" or "smoking," the fact of the matter is that we all want to date someone sexy. Granted, what's considered "sexy" differs from person to person, but that aside, both men and women want to land the hot one in the bunch.

Recent research has found that when undergraduate students were asked to take a computer-based word-association test to determine the correlation between physical attractiveness and what we imagine to be the ideal partner, the two were very much linked. When specific words came up on the screen, the students were asked to choose those they associated with positive feelings. The experiment discovered that students were more likely to "like" and consider words to be positive that are connected to sexiness.

The proof that most, if not all, people feel this way became clear when the students were asked direct questions regarding the importance of looks in a partner. Even the group that stood by their assertion that looks aren't everything was still proven wrong when they went tête-à-tête with the computer. Obviously, technology knows us better than we know ourselves. It's scary.

Explains Paul Eastwick of Texas A&M University, who conducted the study: "If a person tells me, for example, that she doesn't care about how attractive a guy is, our research suggests that her claim isn't worth all that much." Well then.

These results are further proof that online dating websites aren't all that, because although you may be perfectly matched with someone, your physical attractiveness to that person can't really be determined.

"If you are browsing a bunch of profiles you are assuming you can glean information from those profiles that is actually relevant to how attracted you will be to that person when you meet face to face," study researcher Eli Finkel told LiveScience. "People really don't have that level of accurate insight."

If only video-chat could be an option in the early stages of online dating, the possibility of a second date might be higher. 

"We are optimistic that something along those lines would do a better job of approximating face-to-face interaction and would be a more effective means of online dating," Eastwick told LiveScience. "But we haven't done any research on that."

The bottom line is, you can try to convince yourself you're not shallow when it comes to finding love, but at the end of the day, we all are. Sure, your idea and my idea of what's sexy may be completely different (I always thought Crispin Glover was sexy in an ugly way), but we both want to score someone who embodies what we, individually, consider totally hot.  

How important is dating someone hot to you?