Are looks really that important?

This article was written by our highschool contributor who surveyed her acquaintances and family to support the writing of this piece. It is a commentary article. Considering the limited sample size, the conclusions of this article represent the authors access and availability to respondents. This article should be read with that in mind.


According to popular media and movies, men are attracted to pretty and popular girls. As the stereotype goes, the popular and handsome guy always goes for the popular and pretty girl. This stereotype is played out widely in most popular media but does it really reflect what men find attractive in 2019?

All people have different attributes that come together to form their physical persona. These physical attributes can make a person seem attractive (or not) to others. What I plan on uncovering is what personality characteristics do men find attractive and is there a common trend between the men I surveyed or does it differ between age groups?

I’m working under the assumption that people will naturally choose someone kind and respectful as a partner as no one wants to be mistreated. But I want to dig deeper to see what men initially look for and how they deem a partner as attractive. To get some answers, I’ve asked four straight males from various age groups to answer some questions and see what conclusions or themes I can draw from them.

Looks vs personality

What is the first thing you notice about a person?

I asked this question because I really wanted to understand the initial reaction men had when they first interacted with a woman. What they told me, really surprised me!

  • 14 year old: I notice someone’s eyes first because everyone’s eyes are different.
  • 25 year old: I look at the eyes first, the eyes can tell you everything about a person.
  • 56 year old: I look at eyes first because I get a feeling of what type of person someone is by their eyes.
  • 84 year old: The first thing I notice about someone is their smile.

To my surprise, the eyes seem to be a hit! When i think about it makes sense, I mean, we tend to make eye contact and then determine if we’re going to smile, wink, or look away.

Are you more attracted to the way a person looks or the way a person acts?

I wanted to dig deeper to see what my respondents had to say about looks vs. personality. Let’s see what they said!

  • 14 year old: I’m more attracted to the way a person acts because I value someone who’s caring rather than beautiful.
  • 25 year old: The way someone acts is a lot more attractive as I need to be compatible with a person to like them.
  • 56 year old: I’m more attracted to the way a person acts because I care the most about a compatible personality.
  • 84 year old: At this point in my life it’s more important what a person is like rather than what they look like.

Wow, it’s really interesting to me that all four of my respondents said the same thing. I wonder if their responses would change if a man asking the question? That’s another article in-and-of-itself!

Looks vs personality

Are you more attracted to someone who is extroverted or introverted?

I wanted to understand the role personality types play in attraction. Do people value other similar to themselves or different?

  • 14 year old: I like introverted girls because I feel like I have more in common with them.
  • 25 year old: I am more attracted to extroverted people because people that are outgoing make me feel more comfortable in situations.
  • 56 year old: Extroverted because I’m more comfortable around outgoing people.
  • 84 year old: Introverted because I prefer quieter moments and no drama.

It seems like the personality of the men in question determines the personality type they find compatible. This interesting insight reveals that, as we would expect, beauty (or compatibility) is in the eye of the beholder!

Do you value physical attraction over intellectual attraction?

This is the big question that everyone wants answered! What matters when it really comes down to it: the physical attributes or the intellectual connection?

  • 14 year old: Intellectual because it’s someone I can connect with better and build a better relationship with.
  • 25 year old: Intellectual as I can more easily have a conversation and make connections to someone that way.
  • 56 year old: Intellectual because there’s more to a person than good looks.
  • 84 year old: Intellectual because I prefer the art of conversation over anything else.

The results are in: having a strong intellectual connection is valued most by my respondents. I wonder if the same would be true if I had asked women.

What is the least attractive thing a person can do?

The purpose of this question was to get at what the limits of attraction might be for my interviewees. What really is a dealbreaker?

  • 14 year old: Bad hygiene is definitely the least attractive thing.
  • 25 year old: Lie. You always have to be honest in a relationship.
  • 56 year old: Weak morals as I believe this is the basis for a strong relationship.
  • 84 year old: Being dishonest because how you act and what you decide should be based on truth.

Honesty, morality, hygiene–I think these responses make sense but I’m a little surprised my respondents didn’t mention how their potential partner treats others.

Looks vs personality

Who are you most attracted to? Describe your ideal partner:

What a tough question! My respondents answered really quickly. They must be fairly certain about what they have in mind.

  • 14 year old: I prefer someone who is thoughtful, active, and enjoys doing the same things I do.
  • 25 year old: I like someone who is around the same age as me, and have similar interests and beliefs.
  • 56 year old: I like someone who enjoys staying fit, enjoying the outdoors, and has a strong bond with their family.
  • 84 year old: Someone near my age so we can share our experiences together and someone who enjoys the same things in life as I do.

They seem to all have one thing in common: someone who shares my interests, near my age. Do opposites ever attract? Stay tuned!

Are you more attracted to someone who is perceived as strong or more emotional?

Strength and emotions are a tricky topic: sometimes the strongest emotions give us considerable strength. But let’s see what they said!

  • 14 year old: I prefer someone who is strong because if things turn bad I know she would have my back and can help get the relationship back on track.
  • 25 year old: I am more attracted to someone who is more emotional because it is easier to talk about certain feelings you are having with a person like that.
  • 56 year old: I like strong women because I am attracted to someone who is stable.
  • 84 year old: I am more attracted to someone who is emotional as I need someone to share my feelings with.

A mix of very interesting responses! I think we can all relate to the idea of needing someone to share our emotions with while balancing the need for a strong partner.

Are you more attracted to someone who is like you or opposite to you?

This is an age-old question that really cuts to the heart of the idea that commonalities, shared interests, values, and beliefs can have a profound impact on what is most important in a partner. Are looks everything? I think we have to say, nah.

  • 14 year old: I like someone similar to me so we can have fun doing the same activities together.
  • 25 year old: I like people who are more like me so we can have more things in common and do activities that both of us like.
  • 56 year old: Opposite so we can share different experiences and opinions with each other.
  • 84 year old: I like someone who is like me as I look for company while doing things I enjoy to do.

Overall, it’s evident that these men value personality and compatibility. We’re they telling me what I wanted to hear? I can’t be certain. What I can say is that contrary to both popular belief and what the mass media represents, being pretty and popular isn’t always as important as we might think it is. Being pretty or popular can only get you so far in life and after high school, no one cares about if you were popular or not. People value how you treat others and your individual personality and interests.

Looks vs personality

After conducting these interviews I’ve learned that for many people, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and can vary by age and personal interest. Based on these conversations I have found some common trends in what some men find attractive.

  • Compatibility (similarity, agreeable)
  • Confidence (emotionally strong, independant)
  • Original (unique personality, passionate)
  • Conscientiousness (organized, reliable)

What do you think? Would you agree?