Can I accurately figure out how attractive I am?
February 2, 2012 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Can I accurately figure out how attractive I am?

I was going to try and pose this as some kind of philosophical debate about subjective analysis... but that is a bag of crap. I'd like to know if I'm attractive. On a 1 to 10 that I'm pretty sure I'm not a 9+... I think in my head I've always thought of myself as something like an 8.1 which I took to mean, better than average but not sensational. Then I read this thing in the Economist and it mentioned that something like 78% of people thought they were above average drivers. Crap! I thought I was an above average driver! (Despite my 3 car accidents in 12 years all my fault.) What if... gasp... I'm not above average attractive???

I posted my picture on one of those picture rating sites and I got a 7.9 from the votes. But looking at the other pictures, I just don't know how much faith I have in the judging there. I'm married, 29, male, about 160 lbs, 5' 10". Aside from the obvious fact that I need a therapist and I'm clearly a needy, needy man... how do I figure out accurately how attractive I am?
posted by meta x zen to Human Relations (48 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Obviously, you post a picture of yourself (preferably with your cat) here on metafilter, and we will tell you.

Though if I were you I'd just ask your spouse. Does your wife think you're attractive? If so, then congratulations, you're attractive! Do you think you're attractive? Then congratulations, you're attractive! Hooray!

And your cat is probably attractive, too.
posted by phunniemee at 6:45 PM on February 2, 2012 [47 favorites]


There's no such thing as a universal standard of attractiveness. Are you fit? Well groomed? Do you dress to flatter your physique and your coloring? Do you have a good haircut? You can control many of those things to greater or lesser extents. What you can't control is what the other people you encounter think is hot.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:45 PM on February 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes, post a picture here. But really, it's not an objective thing. The answer is: you can't.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:50 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The short answer to your question is no. No, you cannot rate how attractive you are.

Tip: asking about your attractiveness is not appealing. I know guys who look for women with that attitude. I know them, I don't like them.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 6:51 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're married. You are just attractive enough for your spouse, so why worry it. Or, post a picture and prepare for candid responses.

I am an above average driver. Actually, I am a good driver. 25+ years of driving with not accidents. I average about one speeding ticket every two years.
posted by AugustWest at 6:51 PM on February 2, 2012


Can I accurately figure out how attractive I am?

No.

Your attractiveness changes over time. It depends on your mood, your setting, your attitude, and the people you're with. It depends on whether you are attracted to them, whether you're turned on by them, whether you're intimidated by them. It also depends on how much money and other forms of power you have, and whether you're in a relationship or not.

So, no, you can't accurately figure out how attractive you are. Sorry.
posted by alms at 6:53 PM on February 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Reddit's Am I Ugly? subreddit is for exactly this kind of thing. Be forewarned that they're brutally honest.
posted by brozek at 6:59 PM on February 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


You're totally right about most people thinking they are more attractive than they are, it's been proven in multiple studies.

But why worry if you're married? Do the best you can with what you have, and keep yourself as fit as you can. Dressing well, being fit and having a decent haircut are basically 85% of the battle if you're a man who isn't hampered by a standout below-par feature or way below average height. Who cares about the rest, or what other people think of you?

And yes, being the type of guy who worries about people thinking he's hot is very UNATTRACTIVE, unless it's necessary for professional reasons (aka you're a model/actor).
posted by devymetal at 6:59 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are also things you can do to make yourself more attractive. For example, one of the most effective ways for a married man to make himself more attractive is to wash dishes. Really, trust me. It works. Your wife will find you more attractive if you wash dishes on a regular basis. Other women who know you wash dishes will also find you more attractive.

This may seem tongue-in-cheek, but it's true and it says something important about attractiveness.
posted by alms at 6:59 PM on February 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


How attractive you are depends on the person whose looking! One person might think you're the sexiest man alive, another might think you're gross. With males especially, there seems to be such a varied opinion on who is attractive or not. Not as much of a general standard of handsomeness for men as there is for beauty in females.

Someone thinks you're damn sexy! And I'm sure someone also thinks you're nothing special. Be ok with this.
posted by katypickle at 7:00 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can figure out how attractive you are. How attractive have your partners been?
posted by the jam at 7:09 PM on February 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm going to not post a picture of myself... it seems... too... needy... even for me.
posted by meta x zen at 7:17 PM on February 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


You always figured you were an 8.1 and the picture rating site gave you a 7.9. Split the difference and rate yourself an 8.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:18 PM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


What if... gasp... I'm not above average attractive???

As you've said yourself already: you are a needy, needy man, and you probably should see a therapist to address your body image issues.
posted by pineapple at 7:19 PM on February 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


LOL, I totally thought you were fresh out of high school.

Attractiveness is in the eye (and hormones, psyche, heart, genitals, etc) of the beholder. As long as you and your wife still think you're hot, you're good.
posted by Neekee at 7:30 PM on February 2, 2012


Well, for the driving question, you can figure it out based on stats like the fact you've had three accidents in 12 years. Is that worse or better than average? (I am thinking probably worse). AugustWest thinks he is above average in driving, but on the other hand, he has had speeding tickets. Again, is that worse of better than average? (I have a no-accident, no-speeding ticket 16-year driving record, but I would probably rate my driving as average or maybe below. So clearly our instincts are wrong, but we could figure it out objectively).

The same is true for attractiveness. If it is actually "attractiveness" you are interested in, i.e. whether other people are attracted to you. How many times have you been hit on since puberty? By strangers on the street? By people at clubs or parties? At work? How often have people asked for your number? How often have strangers told you you're cute? How many relationships have you had? Have friends ever asked you where you get your hair done, where you buy your clothes, etc? Then you have to find out what is "average" for these things for men in your culture/subculture, and see how you stack up.

If you are more interested in "beauty" or "aesthetically pleasing looks" than attractiveness, per se, you could probably look at studies of facial symmetry, feature placement and so on, as well as weight, height and build for male models, men in art, and so on. I'm sure people have come up with something on this. Then compare them to your own.
posted by lollusc at 7:31 PM on February 2, 2012


No you can't.

Attractiveness is subjective.

I could tell you how attractive you are to me at a given instance, but that might change from day to day.

AskMe could tell you an average of how attractive you are in a given photo.

None of those tell you how attractive you are, because that doesn't exist in a quantified number.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:33 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, but a tailor can tell you if your clothes fit.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:36 PM on February 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry.

You can't accurately find out how attractive you are. It's entirely too subjective.

However, if you want someone to (brutally) judge whether your appearance is conventionally attractive according to current societal standards, you might try applying to a modeling agency.

Personally, I think working on your relationship and self-esteem will bring you much more happiness.

Good luck.
posted by Space Kitty at 7:37 PM on February 2, 2012


I think that generally speaking people who are overly concerned about whether they are attractive or not, are quite attractive.

Why do I think this? Well, I looked at the reddit thread, and every picture I saw was of an attractive person. Often people who are very physically attractive are the ones worrying about their looks, because they are "in the race". If you know you are not attractive, you wouldn't be thinking about it.

Also, I think people who are truly physically unattractive by society's standards probably know this. Not that there are many people who fit into that category. A lot of physical attractiveness is grooming and upkeep, except for the few who are outstandingly beautiful (also a minority).

So, consider yourself attractive and call it a day.

Also, I've read that as for the study saying that people think they are more attractive than they are, this applies to men more than women. Apparently women are good at estimating their level of attractiveness. (read about this study, don't know where).
posted by bearette at 7:45 PM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


OKCupid has a thing where you can upload a picture and find out whether a bunch of people would rather date you based on your picture than other people's pictures, after you pick between a bunch of people's pictures of course. It is also all anonymous, aside from strangers seeing your face and all, which I think is inherent in any possible answer to your question.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:46 PM on February 2, 2012


You want to go to http://faceresearch.org/. Apparently the more average a face looks, the more attractive it is perceived to be.
posted by costanza at 7:50 PM on February 2, 2012


HA!

This whip smart, but absolutely horrid person that I thoroughly abhor... and elderly woman with a lot of life experience... told me about this young woman she once knew who was pretty conventionally unattractive but always managed to have smoking hot boyfriends. The young woman's secret weapon?

SELF CONFIDENCE.

Your looks mean crap. The way you carry yourself and truly feel deep inside means everything.

ARE YOU GOOD TO PEOPLE? IT'S PRETTY HARD TO FEEL BADLY WHEN YOU ARE BEING GENUINELY KIND.

That's my two cents!
posted by jbenben at 8:03 PM on February 2, 2012 [13 favorites]


Typo

"... an elderly woman with a lot of life experience..."
posted by jbenben at 8:04 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, because it's truly subjective. I know people are resistant to that idea, but it's true... for example, if you did post a picture, you could look like Brad Pitt and I'd still think ugh because I know that you're an adult, married man preoccupied with your 10 point scale rating... and that idea bums me out.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:52 PM on February 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


i dunno, so you want to know if you're attractive - that's fine, and it's not like a shitload of other people haven't wondered the same. but the only way you're going to be satisfied is if you find someone whose opinion of physical beauty you trust. do you know anyone who hangs around with a lot of good-looking people? are they smart? ask 'em. but what the f are you going to do if they say "you're ok looking, but nothing special"? it might suck.
posted by facetious at 8:57 PM on February 2, 2012


You could look like Brad Pitt and I wouldn't find you attractive because I don't find Brad Pitt attractive. I mean, I can see why many people find him attractive, because he has symmetrical, chiseled features, but that blond leading man look is a non-starter for me.

Because this shit is subjective, is what. You've got a spouse who thinks you're attractive, so you're set there. Among the 7 billion other humans in the world, some percentage would find you hot like fire, and some other percentage wouldn't do you with their worst enemy's genitalia.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:05 PM on February 2, 2012


Attractiveness really is the most subjective thing ever. Examples:

I think Brad Pitt is attractive.
I've always though Matt Damon was way unattractive (sorry, dude!).
I think Steve Buschemi is sexy.
I think my partner is hotter than the flames of a 1000 suns, combined, and to the power of 12.
And I think everyone else should think the same of him, but a few people, so strangely, seem to prefer body builders over sexy, whip smart programmers who are too busy laying down sweet, concise code to lift weights 2 hours a day.

They are fools.
But, that some might disagree with my amazing list of hotness is to be expected.

That said: why do you care?
And: do you really think caring obsessively over this is contributing to your overall happiness?
posted by vivid postcard at 10:06 PM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Attractive to whom?

Attractive for what purpose?
posted by amtho at 10:16 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Get photographs of both your parents, and if possible grandparents, when they were your age.

That's roughly how you look to strangers.
posted by ead at 10:17 PM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm going to go slightly against the grain here and submit 2 things:

1. Attractiveness is, to a certain extent, NOT subjective. As in, if you took 1000 people, flashed pictures of a 100 different faces/full body shots for 1 sec each, and asked those 1000 people rate how attractive they thought each photo to be, I'm willing to bet that you get a pretty high level of agreement. This would be based on factors like lollusc points out, mapping onto things like symmetry, clear skin, proportion of features, perceived ideal height/weight (which will vary the most by culture, I think) etc. Sure, individually we may all have our specific turn-ons, and we may not want to befriend/date specific people who are conventionally good looking for whatever reason, but in general we can at least recognize that they're hot vs. not.

2. However. If you're interested in how attractive you are to people who interact with you for more than a second, then it's gonna get complicated. Total hotties usually get way less hot once I know them (not at all because they're bad people, but because I get used to their faces, or they just seem more... normal and regular... somehow). Sometimes a conventionally less-attractive person who I really click with gradually gets more and more good looking. As in, I KNOW they're not great looking, and I remember thinking it back then, but now all I see are their twinking eyes and that endearing crook in their nose and their weirdly and charmingly dorky posture. And then I wanna get on them.

This is not some new-age love-everyone-from-within line I'm trying to feed you. It genuinely puzzles me that this happens, but it does. I guess, because the vast majority of my interaction with people is contoured by ... you know, their personality rather than their face, their appearance tends to lose importance and the other stuff just takes over.
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 10:59 PM on February 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


I don't know about your actual looks, but I can tell you that there is nothing less attractive than a dude who is obsessing about whether or not he's hot. Seriously. I'm pretty sure can hear your wife rolling her eyes from here.

Don't worry so much.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 11:21 PM on February 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Doesn't matter. No matter how ostensibly hot you are, there are people who aren't attracted to your looks. Data point: I am by far not the only woman in my circle who genuinely, for real, has never ever found certain universally swoonworthy actors attractive (Tom Cruise comes to mind), not even strictly superficially.
posted by desuetude at 11:55 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dude, I think you've asked a reasonable question. I'm not talking esoterically here, but attractiveness IS subjective.

This guy probably doesn't rate too high on any "objective" scale, but that doesn't tell you much.
posted by tel3path at 12:08 AM on February 3, 2012


However, if you want someone to (brutally) judge whether your appearance is conventionally attractive according to current societal standards, you might try applying to a modeling agency.

That won't work either. Pretties are strictly defined and are a very small subset of "conventionally attractive". In addition, some pretties are attractive and some are not.
posted by tel3path at 12:17 AM on February 3, 2012


Pics or it didn't happen. Wait, that's not right...

The way I see it, even if you could be assigned a 1-10 rating based on a flawless, objective Physical Attractiveness Matrix, and it were handed to you in a sealed envelope, would you rather open it and find you're only like a 5 and bear that the rest of your life, or would you rather just forget about it and live your life?

And personality plays a huge part, too. You could meet two 7.5s on the same day, and over the course of time one will become a 6, and the other a 10.

As for those photo rating sites, at least for the women, it always bugged me that wearing minimal clothing often gets you a high rating whether (I think) you deserve it or not.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:28 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, you can pick out the best looking apple from a bunch of apples. What looks good on the outside may not tell you what's lurking in the core. Plus, what looks like a good apple to me, may not look the best for person X :)
posted by TrinsicWS at 1:52 AM on February 3, 2012


I would rather go on a date with Vincent Cassell than Brad Pitt. This means that Brad Pitt is not attractive.

In a poll of 'hot people', Brad Pitt is more likely to come top than Vincent Cassell. This means that Brad Pitt is attractive.

Do you see what I mean? There is no one standard human opinion on attractiveness. If you mean 'conventionally attractive', then that might be a different thing, but even then it's down to asthetics, percieved sexiness, whether the person looking at you prefers blonde hair or brown hair. I think you should be worrying less about whether you are objectively attractive and more about why you need to feel you are. Is your spouse not making you feel attractive? Are you comparing yourself to other people all the time? There must be something behind this.
posted by mippy at 1:56 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're young and write an intriguing question on Metafilter. I'm thinking you're a 9.5.
posted by honey-barbara at 4:23 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


HEY META X ZEN I THINK YOU'RE ASKING A TOTALLY REASONABLE QUESTION!

(Trying to make my answer stand out amongst the negativity.)

I don't think you come off any needier than most people. I'm surprised by the reaction here - I always assumed that *everyone* wondered how attractive they were compared to other people. Maybe all the haters have already figured out they're 2s :)

Practical answer-to-the-question part: I'm sure I've read somewhere that you tend to form friendships with people who are, on average, about the same level of attractiveness as yourself. There might even be SCIENCE to back this up. So maybe taking a look at your friends would help? (But then what if lots of your friends are from college or high school and you've gained/lost 20 pounds since then or started bodybuilding or found a really amazing hairstylist or lost all your hair or solved that acne problem? I don't know.)
posted by mskyle at 4:28 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


You are chasing after an objectivity that does not exist. And I'm not just talking philosophically--certain faces are associated with certain immunue systems and we're searching for people who have complimentary immune systems. So someone's 10 is another's 6.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:37 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, the hotter you think you are the better. Especially if you dress and act like it.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:38 AM on February 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have a friend who is single. Half the women I know who have seen him think he is hideous and the other half think he is gorgeous. Go figure.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:59 AM on February 3, 2012


Very loosely, we tend to make friends who are about as attractive as ourselves, and we tend to date people who are about as attractive as ourselves. Look at your friends and their boy/girlfriends and you'll get a picture of your social group's general attractiveness.
posted by davextreme at 6:37 AM on February 3, 2012


Well, meta x sen, as a few other posters have said, you sound hot to me. But I think a little insecurity is attractive and some people don't.

I also think that looking at how attractive your wife and previous partners have been is a good rough metric. I've thought for a long time that it's true that people tend to be in friend groups with others who are roughly as attractive as they are, because that just intuitively makes sense to me. But can anyone point me to some evidence or research backing that up?
posted by overglow at 10:41 AM on February 3, 2012


Seems my answer was deleted. Guess I was wrong. You're super attractive! Yay!
posted by joe lisboa at 3:55 PM on February 3, 2012


Maybe you should do a professional photo shoot. Then you could see what you look like and the range of how you look from different angles, different expressions etc.

I think the number assignment is creepy, but I understand the insecurity. I never thought about this, that as a hetero-man it would be more difficult to gauge your attractiveness. Just because of the way most women are socialized- it is probably less apparent when women do find you attractive.
posted by abirdinthehand at 12:03 PM on February 5, 2012


What makes guys super-attractive most universally (yes, I am the expert, bow before me):

- strut: do you strut? penis first, men! no, I don't mean with the hips! no, keep it in your pants! it's that little... thrust forward. confidence, check. (you can end here).
- relatedly, look: look as if you're taking off the panties of all the women (and some of the men) you see, but in a subtle and charming way they can't accuse you of (or you're boorish). flirty polite boys, check.
- sexy hair: is your hair floppy/messy, or alternately do you have a nice-shaped scalp? 5 o'clock shadow or bare as a baby's butt, it's important that your hair look natural and touchable. bedhead, check.
- muscles: most girls like subtly defined muscles; there is variation from skinny-lovers to chubby-lovers, but the majority of girls will enjoy subtle muscles ala the swimmer's bod. surfer boys, check.
- boyish smile, smirk, or sense of humor: guys who're confident but too serious aren't attractive to most women, who like an approachable guy even if he's aloof and arrogant. women are weird like that. so, funny, check.


In summation, I'm here to tell you that most women really-and-truly care more about your personality, and if you're missing confidence and at least one or two other 'sexy qualities', you'd be up a creek even with the best possible nose in the best of all possible worlds. The bad news is that women tend to be really picky and really discriminating about really subjective personality traits that they (we) think we can pick up from random physical attributes. (Thus there's a special fascination many girls have with a guy's nose, a guy's hand, etc). True beefcake holds limited appeal to 90% of women if his eyes don't smolder and he isn't confident. You're then in danger of being a pretty-boy (and while many girls like pretty-boys-- especially at thirteen-- the smart money's elsewhere). In fact, in my armchair sociologist's opinion, perceived (in the preferred type of) masculinity counts like 300% more than pure attractiveness in men for women.
posted by reenka at 7:56 PM on February 5, 2012


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