Social Question

Facade's avatar

Why is it so taboo to admit that you like physically attractive people?

Asked by Facade (22907points) May 27th, 2011

I can see that a decent person would take much more than looks into consideration when choosing friends and acquaintances, but why do people consider it shallow for a person to want their potential mate to be physically attractive?

I’ve seen it a lot here. Even when the thread is particularly asking about what one likes physically in a partner, many come into the thread and say how they don’t care about something as shallow as looks, completely ignoring the actual question, opting to chastise instead.


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28 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It’s not. I suppose if all you want in a person is looks, some people might read it as shallow but I still haven’t been able to get anyone to tell me why they think they can call others so when they clearly aren’t very deep themselves. Some people don’t care for looks but they might care for things I’d consider shallow like how established a person is in society (how laughable) or how much money they want to make.

marinelife's avatar

Because basing a relationship on looks is so shallow. They do not relate to character at all. For the long run, a relationship needs to be built on so much more: intelligence, sense of humor, morality.

Besides, the majority of people are OK looking. Great unattractiveness is as rare as great beauty.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@marinelife A century ago, when marriages were not based on a love match, looks didn’t matter or they did but the longevity was accomplished because of other social norms like no divorce or that’s the way it is or because of lack of love. So many of our parents married for reasons other than looks OR character and have been together forever because they simply couldn’t go against the grain and leave each other. The love you speak of is rare and was always rare, in my opinion.

Facade's avatar

Just so everyone is clear, let’s assume that we as people know that inner beauty also matters. This Q is about wanting looks along with inner beauty.

tom_g's avatar

Merely human mammals struggling with their own “post-mammal” existence. We’re above all of that, right? </sarcasm>

BeckyKytty's avatar

That puzzles me too
I’m French/Sicilian and very sensual.

There is probably no one answer to that one my friend, but religion screwed up a lot of what comes naturally.

The bull poop story of Adam & Eve and saying God (God/dess) crated Man, genetically engineered a woman out of a rib, made them naked, then they get embarrassed because they are naked so “the creator” throws some fig leaves on them.

What a joke story!

Sexy is great. Ya only get so long to be in shape sexy (or to pick up on someone “in shape sexy) so I think go for it and let the “Religiously Oppressed” stew in their hell of judgement and sexual repression.

BTW, Mood Swings is my Middle Name!

Love Ya!

no, no, no

Hate Ya!

no, no, no

Love Ya!

oh, what the hell, I’ll just go back to sleep…..



Seelix's avatar

I don’t think it’s taboo. It’s just that no one wants to be seen as shallow, and so they want to make it known that looks aren’t all that matters to them.

If I’m choosing to spend the rest of my life with a man and possibly have children with him, of course I want him to be nice to look at. But I’ve turned away dozens of gorgeous guys because what was under that candy coating was less than sweet.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I thinking feeling physically attracted to a potential partner is very important. Maybe not as important as personality but it’s fairly close. I find it difficult to believe people that claim “looks don’t matter”.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I prefer to date really ugly women. Then everybody thinks “How did she end up with him?”

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Because psychotic people like to make a huge dramatic stink over the fact that you didn’t say, “My boyfriend is a stumpy, tub of lard, but I love him anyway”.

Poser's avatar

“That’s just something ugly people say to make themselves feel better.”

King_Pariah's avatar

It’s taboo?

KatawaGrey's avatar

I have always wondered this myself. It’s also frowned upon to say that you wouldn’t want to date someone with a particular physical aspect that is considered unattractive. For example, I once told my boyfriend that I would never be able to date anyone who was covered in hair. He told me that was an awful thing to say. I said to him, “Oh, so you’d still date me if I was ridiculously hairy?” He was silent.

I think people think it’s shallow to want a physically attractive mate because they might be offended by what some people consider to be physically desirable in a mate as compared to what they consider to be physically desirable. I happen to think that short men are very attractive which is at odds with what a lot of my friends think.

Edit to add: I realized I didn’t finish my thought. My point is that can breed some hurt feelings. I see a short man I think is attractive and I’ll point him out and the tall-lovers will go, “Ew, no way, he’s so short.” This will bother me not so much because they want a physically attractive mate but because they think what I consider to be physically attractive is ugly.

That being said, I think when a woman says she wants a man who x height so she can wear heels when she’s out with him is silly. What a ridiculous criterion for deciding your potential life partner.

Mariah's avatar

I guess the reason I have problems, personally, with people considering looks as a huge factor in who they date, is that we don’t have real control over how we look. If someone is born “ugly” but has fabulous character, I hate to think that there are a lot of people who won’t love him/her just because of that. Of course there are things a person can do to improve their looks, but those things take a lot of time and effort and I rather think of my potential partner using his time on more stimulating activities.

One could argue that the same argument can be made against someone who prefers to date, say, intelligent people. But the difference is that intelligence makes a huge difference in the way I relate to someone, while their appearance does not.

Facade's avatar

@Mariah That’s a very good point. It makes sense, but how is one supposed to enjoy being intimate with someone they don’t find physically attractive?

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Mariah: I don’t think that @Facade is speaking in terms of it being a huge factor, but people often will notice the way someone looks before anything else. Do you walk up to the ugliest guy in the bar and say, “Convince me you’re worth the effort”?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

No. You’d be going against nature if you did but it’s also nature to try and deny the basics in order to affect being civilized.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Facade That’s a good point. There’s gotta be some level of attraction.

faye's avatar

One of the first questions we ask each other in my experience is what does he/she look like. I don’t think it’s taboo to want someone physically attractive.

Mariah's avatar

@Facade Nah, I know. I was trying to be logical, and attraction is anything but. I’ll admit there are guys I know, to whom I’m not attracted, but probably would be if their personality was in a different body. So I’m kind of a hypocrite. As long as it’s not an enormous factor in your decision, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. It’s human nature.

That’s probably why it’s taboo. People don’t want to “discriminate,” when seeking partners, against unattractive people, knowing it’s not their fault. But they inherently do, and they don’t like that about themselves, so they pretend they don’t, and they criticize people who admit they do. Good debate. :)

Facade's avatar

@faye I didn’t think so either until I noticed it here.
@Mariah GA

ucme's avatar

I love my wife, she’s fucking gorgeous!!
There I said it, what others may call shallow I call lucky. Whoo hoo!! ;¬}

linguaphile's avatar

What I’ve noticed is that the measurement of looks seems to be value-based. I know that men and women are all attracted to different features in the opposite or same sex—looks, intelligence, social behavior, way of talking, presentation, personality, etc, etc, etc. and I really do think that’s what that person values.
I think when someone values appearance, they will find someone who supports that value to whatever degree. If someone, deep down, values other features, like intelligence or sense of humor, they’ll naturally get past the looks and be attracted to the inner-person.
I used to date an “Adonis” but everything for 7 years was all about him. Both of us were in love with him—I got tired of it and moved on. 20 years later, he’s still chiseled, still works out, still prioritizes his gym time, still tans, still can go to the beach and turn heads, but also still dates only a certain type of woman (heavily made up, super skinny, revealing clothes, looks 18, unthreatening intelligence, in her late 20’s), no matter how much older he continues to get and he literally has two values… appearance and sports. I’m embarrassed I used to “qualify” for him- I swear I didn’t look like that, ever!!
I honestly do believe he does have every right to do that, because it reflects his values, regardless of whether I agree or not… he’s allowed to be a shallow pwick the same way I’m allowed to be attracted to guys who are sharp, witty and have real things to talk about because of what I value. Is it offensive to dumb guys? If it is… shrug.

deni's avatar

I don’t think it is….in fact, I think it’s a product of evolution. A female wants to mate with a good looking, healthy male. Which is why you see those birds and frogs with the crazy colors. The prettiest gets the lady.

tinyfaery's avatar

You gotta be physically attracted to a potential mate and for that to happen you have to find them attractive. Some people have ridiculous standards and some people put to much focus on the physical attraction. Really, though, everyone picks their mate based on attraction, to some extent.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think that physical attraction can also change with other attraction. It’s amazing how someone once considered plain or unattractive can change when you find out how kind or funny they are, or when you find out that they love that super obscure book, tv show or dance club as much as you.

It’s also amazing how ugly an ex can become if the break-up was nasty or vitriolic.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@KatawaGrey When I first met my boyfriend, I wasn’t physically attracted to him at all. I wasn’t repulsed or think he was ugly but I just didn’t notice him much. When I got to know him I fell in love with his personality and now I think he is the best looking, sexiest man I have ever laid eyes on.

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