Regardless, her compliment to Brad got our wheels turning — what role do looks play in a relationship? We had an expert weigh in on what it means to date up you think your guy is hotter and date down you think you're hotter than your guy and how it can affect your outlook on love. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below Dating Up Maybe your guy is a dead-ringer for Ryan Gosling and you feel more like Ellen Page next to him.
Sweating over his hottie status is very common. We all play the rating game in our heads. Here's what you need to know If your man's a total babe, pat yourself on the back. And while you're swooning over how hot he is, remember, you landed him, buff bod and all. And it keeps you interested and working it in the bedroom. He's choosing to be with you, and it's important to trust his decision. Her essay is great because she looks at the root of the attraction to men who needed some kind of help getting their shit together, a desire to mommy them and feel needed and superior, her own family history, and totally owns her own part in it.
And who hasn't been there, attracted to someone who, for whatever reason, doesn't want the kinds of things you want, and isn't interested in making the effort to get them, and there you are, doing all the heavy lifting? Advertisement But in the larger more wide-ranging sense, I can't help but think about the gender coded stuff in these determinations. When men date down, it's a woman who isn't good looking enough. When women do, it's a man who isn't of means or ambitious enough.
It's nothing personal against Machado's essay, which I think is honest and insightful. It's the nagging sense that we can't escape gender roles even when we want to. They are so deeply ingrained in us, part of the very makeup of our idea of a perfect match. I've known so many women talk about good men who are "thinking of the future," and I don't think I've ever heard a man describe a potential female partner this way.
As women are increasingly autonomous, we must recalibrate our idea of what a good woman is, but also what a good man is, too. Just as we must expect men to not be threatened by a high-achieving or high-earning, accomplished, intelligent woman, we also must be able to see men as something other than only earners or doers who must baseline provide.
And Machado gets at the current climate for single hetero female daters: You could also argue my romantic preferences weren't entirely preferences, but a modern conundrum: Today's average straight, single gal is wading in a dating pool where she outnumbers male college graduates six to four , and where more than one in the six guys she's talking to doesn't have a job and two-thirds of those unemployed dudes say they're not even looking for one. She is more likely to meet a Jeff than a Zuckerberg.
And she succinctly addresses what is fairly retrograde about measuring a man by his income and prospects, too, at least in terms of how they elevate a woman: My stepmom confirmed this, in a strange, roundabout way: If he's nice to you, who cares what he looks like? Meanwhile, men often value looks over a woman's brains Of course, not all men value looks over intelligence, but just as a woman tends to value a man's "stability" over his looks, so too do men value looks over a woman's brain.
Freed tells us that this is because men are more visually inclined than us lady-folk. It's not even their fault for valuing physical beauty because they're "wired to be attracted by visual stimuli. So while it's easy to blame the media for what we deem attractive, it has no bearing on the fact that men in general place more value on looks than women when choosing partners. Freed assures us that this emphasis on physical beauty does not mean a man doesn't also value a woman's mind, "Evolved men look for a dynamic combination of what they find visually appealing and a true equal.
Someone will always have the upper hand. Someone will always have better attributes in some respects and not in others. Even when couples are "total equals," there is something that one person will have that the other lacks. Someone is going to make more money, be more attractive, have a better sense of humor. That is just the nature of reality. The key is finding balance; a balance that works for you and your happiness. So, while we may not be able to find someone who meets our match both physically and intellectually, we can hopefully fall somewhere in between.
You have to find what's right for you. Gigi is a Sex and Dating Writer for Thrillist.
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