A lot of people put emphasis on their looks and how they’re perceived; the first impression they make on people they might be attracted to. This is not without reason, as immediate consensus hotness does play a role in a person’s “game”. But there’s good news for the rest of us who tend to rely on personality quirks to attract those we’re interested in.
University of Texas-Austin scientists Paul W. Eastwick and Lucy L. Hunt wrote about their desirability study in the New York Times last week, and their findings show that someone’s uniqueness might be influencing their romantic success more than their socially perceived attractiveness.
Earlier this May, Eastwick and Hunt published a paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, in which they basically measured desirability through two different metrics: mate value and uniqueness.
Mate value is based on the general consensus most people agree on about a person’s desirable qualities. Of course, an absolute consensus is never going to happen, but generally there’s a standard social agreement on someone’s “objective” hotness. These desirable qualities are well known and accepted by most (attractiveness, charisma, success) and that consensus opinion tends to define that person’s first impression most places he or she goes. To put it in their words: “If women agree that David has high amounts of attractiveness (or charisma or success), that Neil has moderate amounts and that Barry has low amounts, then David, Neil and Barry have high, medium and low mate value, respectively.”
But beyond that consensus, there’s the equally important concept of uniqueness, which oddly enough can also be measured. “For example, even if Neil is a 6 on average, certain women may vary in their impressions of him. Amanda fails to be charmed by his obscure literary references and thinks he is a 3. Yet Eileen thinks he is a 9; she finds his allusions captivating.”
It’s the reason we see that seemingly average-looking guy in the street holding hands with a really hot model and we wonder how he did it. Well, this is how. Uniqueness might be the most powerful aphrodisiac of them all. It’s that little spark about someone that gets us hooked; the little things we relate to, admire and desire.
The study also points out that most romantic relationships don’t start the second you lay eyes on each other. Only six percent reported to have started a relationship with a partner immediately after meeting them. It takes time, and with that time a person’s uniqueness takes over that first impression.
In one of their studies they got 129 college students who rated others’ desirable qualities at the beginning and end of the semester. The results showed a considerable drop in the previous consensus, while the uniqueness increased in all desirable qualities.
If you’re anything like me, and you feel like more of an acquired taste, these are refreshing results. “Be yourself,” is a cliché for a reason, folks. It’s that peculiarity that ultimately will filter that passing mate value and help you find someone who truly appreciates your quirks, regardless -and often because – of how weird they might be.