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All Lust Same

This post is also available in: German

The results are in from yesterday’s post where I asked the readers to rank the beauty of ten randomly chosen women.

Woman                                             Readers’ Score            My Score
(a) tiaramouth                                            5,6                                  5
(b) mcdormandvsthewall                            3                                     3
(c) lovelysophie                                           9                                      9
(d) redscarf                                                  7                                      6
(e) themask                                                 2                                       2
(f) bridgegirl                                                 7                                       7
(g) alizee                                                      8                                       8
(h) cigstache                                                 1                                       1
(i) perfection                                                10                                    10
(j) morosemetrogirl                                     4,5                                    4

Not much daylight between the readers and myself. This wasn’t a perfect test, nor was it meant to be. Many of the critiques left in the comments were justified.

  • High quality studio shots versus low quality snapshots will skew the results.
  • So will distance from camera and partially concealed faces. Bridge girl and morose metro girl may have scores that are too low or high because of this.
  • I made the mistake of choosing a McDormand shot where she is older. Since we’re comparing female beauty before the ravages of time have taken their cruel toll, a McDormand at her youthful peak would probably clock in a point or two higher.
  • As commenter Agnostic mentioned, there isn’t adequate variability in the photos. It skews toward the higher range. I guess it’s more fun for me to search for hotties than slightly below average girls. (Searching for incendiary warpigs can be fun, like craning your neck to get a better glimpse of a mangled car accident.)
  • People who are subtracting points because of inconsequential accoutrements like a tiara or flip flops are undermining the value of the 1 – 10 system. The 1-10 scale is sacrosanct. Don’t corrupt it with your nerdy pet peeves.
  • Some people complained that I used a picture of Monica Bellucci when she was younger and hotter. Uh, no duh. When you judge Barack Obama’s alphaness, do you use his performance as a bowler for your criteria?
  • Sophie Marceau may be one of the strikingly few women in the known universe who got better looking as she aged into her 20s. The teen pic of her posted in the comments, while certainly meeting the threshold of hottie bangability, shortchanges the breathtaking ethereal beauty that she acquired in her 20s. See: Braveheart. Today, though, she is 42 and not nearly as good looking as she was at her peak. Tragic. Oh well, that’s one way to cure a stalker-crush.
  • You could go through one million 44 year old women before meeting one who could approach Bellucci’s beauty. That is how exceptional she is. Lesson: Don’t get your hopes up, ladies.

Nevertheless, despite the justifiable criticisms of the methodology listed above, and the specter of Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem, there was considerable agreement on each girl’s ranking. Plus or minus one point and a few wiseguy outliers, most men share the same opinions about where women fall on the 1 – 10 looks scale. Beauty is not an artifact of individual male minds. It is an objective reality. That this should be so and that men are wired with preferences for the more beautiful over the less, proves that men exercise some choosiness when deciding on a mate, just like women do. Pickiness is not gender specific, though women are pickier than men in general.

As I predicted, there was stronger agreement at the tails of the beauty distribution and more fussiness agreeing on the middle rankings. Every man knows a 3 and an 8 when he sees one, but one man’s marginal 6 could very well be another man’s solid 7. Looking at the bar graphs, this observation is confirmed by the wider spread (heh) of the votes for the 4-7 group.

Commenter twiceaday wrote:

What’s interesting, as de Tocqueville alluded to, is that while we don’t necessarily agree on the exact position for any particular woman, we all agree on the range. The bottom 3 (well, really bottom 1 and next 2) are quite clear, the top 3 are a quite clear, leaving the equally clear middle 4. I think it’s safe to say that any normal hetero man would bang the top 3, very few of us would bang the bottom 3 unless we were desperate and hammered, and the middle 4 would be various flavors of “it depends”.

These 3 tiers relate pretty clearly to the dating world. The top tier will attract alphas easily and ultimately be able to hold onto one. The middle tier will attract the occasional alpha, but not for very long, and will wind up with a beta. The bottom tier will attract no alphas, the occasional beta, and ultimately wind up with either cats or an omega (is there really any difference?).

This is mostly correct. I’d separate the middle tier into two subgroups: Lower middle (4,5) and Upper middle (6,7). The distinction is important, as there is a critical and abrupt change between the two groups that has important implications for how men treat these women.

This is how it breaks down:

Bottom tier = beta and omega pump and dump, invisible to alphas.
Lower middle tier = mix of beta pump and dump and beta commitment, still invisible to alphas unless really drunk.
Upper middle tier = beta commitment of the “profess my undying love” variety, alpha pump and dump.
Top tier = alpha commitment, occasional beta stroke of luck with tight game.

I enjoyed doing this exercise, so I plan to do another one in the future. Except next time, you, the readers, will offer photos of girls for judging. There will be a page at the top of the blog for you to leave a link in the comments to a pic of a woman, along with the ranking you give it, and I will choose from among the reader suggestions ten women representing 1 through 10 on the beauty scale for a reader vote, like I did in yesterday’s post. This way, you can see how your taste in women matches up with the general consensus. No celebrities allowed; I want to keep it to everyday girls. All races allowed.

Easter Egg

One of the girls in the photos is a former fling of mine. The perceptive among you (hi, PA, Seeking Alpha) may be able to figure out which.

To people who think I’m in the top photo: I’m not.


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