Good looks in men versus money and power
Hi Miss Love Lab,
Before I ask my question, I just wanted to comment on how lovely you look in your picture on the Ask Love Lab page!
That being said, I was curious about your thoughts on why women who may be allured by a man’s money or power, can seem almost equally or even more so swayed merely by a man’s good looks? Especially in the case when said man has no other resources, including of course, any wealth or power. I have seen some of my closest girlfriends go nuts over a guy just because he had a gorgeous face (or even one that was merely attractive), and most of them also usually shunned men who had other highly desirable attributes, such as high intellect, worldly success, and even (gasp) status. If you can shed any light on this matter, it would be much appreciated!
Thank you so much for your compliment.
Now to answer your question, I’d like to point out that beauty is not only in the eyes of the beholder. Humans are conditioned to find certain types of traits ‘beautiful’ cross culturally. Certainly, there are geographical and decade-specific variations (TE’s example of the chubbier women) but even that can be boiled down to biological reasons for the most part (in those times chubbier women were of higher status since they could afford to lead more sedentary lifestyles and were more well fed). Nonetheless, there are enduring qualities which human beings respond to (even babies!). To name a few: bilateral symmetry (left side closely matching the right side), closeness to the .7 hip to waist ratio in women (similar in Marylin Monroe and Kate Moss despite their seemingly different body types), well developed cheekbones in both men and women, full lips in women, developed jaw bone in men, healthy skin in both men and women.
Kate Moss: wide hips, small waist
Most of these traits are determined by the amount of sex hormones we produce (specifically the ratio of the sex hormones) which lead to the development of sexually dimorphic traits during puberty. They signify fertility in women and virility in men; they also signify general fitness in both men and women (health related traits like good skin).
For both men and women, the ultimate goal is successful reproduction (that means good genes being passed on and ensuring that the young have sufficient resources to develop until independent). Men and women use different strategies to achieve this, with women having the additional need for resources since they are generally the ones who wind up rearing the young. Although both sexes strive to mate with good genes, women have developed a DUAL MATING strategy to ensure that whatever young they produce they will be able to survive into adulthood. This dual mating strategy is partly possible through the female’s ability to hide her estrus (so men generally do not know when we are ovulating). We have developed an extended sexuality, having nonconceptual sex (sex not leading to conception) throughout our menstrual cycle. One possible explanation for this is that this strategy allows us to secure material benefits from partners who stick around in hopes of impregnating us. Also, they may stick around in hopes of ensuring that other men will not copulate with us and thus confuse parenting.