General Question

nikipedia's avatar

When are you allowed to be shallow about attributes of a potential partner?

Asked by nikipedia (27526points) February 2nd, 2009

Is it wrong to not want to date people who are overweight? Bald? From an ethnic background you don’t find attractive? Who smell gross? What if it’s really gross?


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21 Answers

syz's avatar

I don’t think that those things are unreasonable, as long as they are not the only attributes that attract you to someone and as long as you exhibit flexibility within those parameters. Surely you would want to consider the whole package rather than just superficial characteristics.

If, for example you met someone who was brilliant, funny, kind, generous, built and bald, would automatically exclude them?

onesecondregrets's avatar

You’re allowed to be shallow whenever you want about a possible partner of YOURS. It’s not technically wrong. It’s instinct to be attracted to, or turned off by a certain attribute someone has or doesn’t have. You just can seem like a big asshole for some of the things you find attractive or not, ie. weight, balding.

But yo, if you smell really gross..take a damn shower!

elijah's avatar

You can’t make yourself like something just because it’s the PC thing to do. If you don’t like something, stay away from it. Just remember you might miss out on someone who is amazing just because they are 10lbs past what you consider attractive. There will always be personal preferences, but the more you limit your experiences, the more limited your experiences become.

EmpressPixie's avatar

You are allowed to be incredibly shallow when it comes to reasons for not having someone as a partner. I think it really only shows less of you when your only reason for having them as a partner is also shallow. You can’t make yourself be attracted to someone. You can do quality control once you meet someone you are attracted to.

kevbo's avatar

Speaking from experience, I think we’re “taught” by all our various influences that certain characteristics aren’t attractive, and unless we experience something different we don’t get an opportunity to know anything different. So I would say that “shallow” people are sort of living with a degree of ignorance in that regard. I would say the same of snobby overachievers and others who believe themselves to be better than segments of humanity.

In my case, I didn’t really come to appreciate large girls (for example) until I got into a LTR with one and hung around her fat girlfriends. Now, I’m an equal opportunity horny toad, which if you believe Woody Allen, doubles my chances for getting a date.

cwilbur's avatar

Your tastes are your tastes. You’re allowed to be as deep or as shallow as you want.

Of course, if you miss out on someone wonderful because you were being shallow that day, you have nobody but yourself to blame. And if the things you are looking for aren’t what you really want—such as looking for someone who isn’t bald when what you want is someone nurturing and intelligent—then, again, you have nobody but yourself to blame.

marinelife's avatar

People are “allowed” to do whatever they want within the limits of the law and that would apply to relationship choices too.

People are sometimes and somewhat influenced further (beyond legal limitations) by social mores and conventions.

Of course, what attracts someone to someone else is totally individual. It is not clear from current research how much of attraction is led by the frontal lobe. Thus, it is not clear how much control we have over being attracted to one person over another. Whether we follow through on the attraction is, I think, more in our control.

For myself, I have found that my initial views of someone as “attractive” to me often change radically as I get to know them.

Take the bald thread from the other day for example. In there, I confessed that as a general rule I am not attracted to men with hair loss. Is that shallow? You bet.

There have been exceptions to that in my life though. Men that I have come to know who have become very attractive to me because once I see their intelligence, sense of humor and kindness, I stop “seeing” their baldness.

I also knew in college a gorgeous man who shaved his head. My initial attraction to him faded as I came to know his egotistical, bullying ways.

I think, as kevbo wisely said, that when we make those shallow judgments, it is ourselves we are limiting.

Does this mean that out there somewhere is a sweet, sensitive, intelligent, funny man who elects not to bathe? Probably, but I won’t be dating him. That one I cannot overcome.

timothykinney's avatar

On All Shallow’s Eve.

TaoSan's avatar

I don’t think it is shallow at all.

galileogirl's avatar

You are allowed to date anyone who will have you but it makes good sense to choose a life partner based on personal values rather than amount of hair or size of nose.

It doesn’t matter if you wake up to a slack-jawed harridan after a one night stand but think about doing it for the rest of your life just because you couldn’t see beyond the the hourglass figure and tmake-up.

fireside's avatar

The qualities that make a good spouse or parent are not always the same ones we look for in a good lover. Some people are lucky to find someone who has all the qualities they are looking for in both, but other people may need to learn how to compromise if they want a fulfilling long-term relationship.

asmonet's avatar

Be as shallow or as deep as you want, as long as you shut your face about your hangups and problems in front of those possessing the features you find offensive. Then you’re just an ass. :)

@kevbo: What the crap is an LTR?

galileogirl's avatar

long term relationship

asmonet's avatar

Oh, haha. I’m retarded. :)

fireside's avatar

I really think people with Blue avatars look silly : )

asmonet's avatar



You know, mine used to be orange, then I got more awesome. Suck it.

qualitycontrol's avatar

Or you can just do qualitycontrol

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

A person is allowed to be as shallow as they choose to be when they quit asking for group validation that it’s okay to be shallow.

Jeruba's avatar

You’re not supposed to be attracted to everybody indiscriminately.

Grisson's avatar

@Jeruba You’re not? :o)

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

My television is possessed this evening and is stuck on the Discovery Channel Science of Sex Appeal. Seriously, I try to change the channel, and get a message that it’s being recorded. Fine, except there’s not a VCR attached to the television…

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