Beauty: So What?

Published May 3, 1984. About a year ago, I made the comment in one of my articles that husbands still want and appreciate attractiveness in a wife. For this observation a woman from Salt Lake wrote to me and called me a male chauvinist you-know-what that oinks.

That accusation has caused me some thought. Was my observation biased, or is it a common expectation of many husbands? Now, in my own defense, I present the observations of others.

In her book “What Every Woman Should Know About Men,” Dr. Joyce Brothers, psychologist, has noted, “A poll of more than a thousand young men revealed that personality was more important to them than beauty. Another group of men reported that the most appealing quality in a woman is her ability to show affection. A survey conducted by an advertising agency found that one out of 10 men want a woman who, first of all, will be a good mother. Seven out of 10 said that the ideal woman is intelligent, family-oriented and self-confident. Beauty was way down on their list of desirable qualities.”

What does Dr. Brothers observe about these findings? She states “No matter what men say for the record, good looks are what they want most in a woman. You have to remember that there is quite often a difference between what people say and what they really think. Men may not think it sounds correct or intelligent or sophisticated to say that beauty is what appeals to them most, so they tell the interviewer that affection or a good personality or an independent spirit is what they are seeking.”

On a similar note, Elaine and William Walster state in their book “A New Look at Love” something interesting. They write “We’ve all been told countless times from adolescence onward that looks don’t count – it’s what’s inside that matters. But few of us ever bought that idea completely. Looks shouldn’t count, of course, but we all know that they usually do.”

At the College of San Mateo in California, another study indicated that looks are rated very high by some men. About 350 randomly selected men were asked to write down three qualities they valued in a marriage partner. The qualities listed were, in rank order (1) looks, (2) love, (3) compatibility, (4) sex appeal and (5) personality.

By now most of the wives reading this column hate me and are asking, “So what?” Next, you’ll recommend we get a year’s supply of make-up, cottage cheese, and a life-long membership in the local spa. Not at all. You might do all that to no avail. Before you try and change your looks, you may want to change your attitudes. About yourself.

Alexandra Penny, an authority on male-female relationships, and a woman, has made the following observations about women who may want to be beautiful . . . and even sexy. She notes, “Very, very, very few people have super bodies and or flawless faces, and it is important to keep this thought in mind. It is amazing how many of us don’t feel attractive or desirable or comfortable with our bodies . . . Contrary to what the media says, you do not have to be beautiful or to have a perfect body to be truly sexy.”

Alexandra concludes “Many of our insecurities and our fears are amplified when we watch TV, or go to the movies, or leaf through glossy fashion magazines telling us that people with beautiful faces and beautiful bodies are the ones who are sexy. If you feel that you are sexy, men will feel that you are sexy. And what does it take to feel sexy? Simply this, the more you are comfortable and at ease with yourself and your body the more sexy and attractive you will feel.”

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