Female beauty has inspired great poetry, great art, great music, and in this Internet age great arguments. Is beauty objective, does it subjectively lie in the eye of the beholder, or does it defy any description.

We can describe beauty in an objective manner by discussing symmetry, harmony (how the individual features work together), and balance (proportion etc.). However, that is not the full story. Just as nature and nurture do battle so does objectivity and personal taste.

When men talk of female beauty they usually mean female attractiveness. It is for sexual attractiveness, the dazzling moment, the 10,000-volt shock, the reeling smack to the head, that men create much of the art (and even war). The surge in his loins and not detached admiration motivates a man.

Attractiveness relates to beauty but is much more in the eye of the beholder. Nobody is perfect, so attractiveness is how pleasing those imperfections are. Attractiveness is also heavily dependent on individual taste (facial shape, boobs versus booty, blonde versus brunette, blue versus brown eyes, etc.). A perfectly beautiful woman may not always be the most attractive. An attractive woman may not be perfectly beautiful. However, the two remain related thus allowing the argument to rage forever.

On top of the physical is character. Character and personality animate those features. A beautiful face without a smile is less than an average face with a radiant smile. It is the difference between bright and sparkle. An average woman with sparkle will be just as, or more, attractive than a beauty who lacks that sparkle. A warm smile does not just light up a face; it can light up a room. A twinkle in the eye can suggest so much more than perfectly formed bone structure.

Lest anyone think I am arguing against dogma, I will say that looks are still important for a woman. They are not the only thing, but they are an important thing. Looks can take her so far, but is the sparkle that creates the magic. Despite the dogma what most men are looking for is the magic. What man wants a beautiful ice sculpture, perfect in every way, when he can have a wonderful warm woman that lights up his life but lacks perfect symmetry?

Objective, subjective? Who cares? I believe that this one area that the “I know it when I see it argument” is good enough. Is she beautiful or merely attractive? If you are not attempting to sell her at Sotheby’s or Christie’s, does it matter?

The age old question (or old age question)

There is no doubt that ceteris paribus youth is more attractive than age. However, ceteris is rarely paribus. Apparent age is more important than actual age in determining sexual attractiveness. That is where the age dogma falls down; a twenty-something that looks forty does not beat a forty-something that looks 25. Women can remain sexually attractive well past thirty. There is no reason why an attractive women in her twenties cannot still be attractive in her forties. The only problem is childbearing. Obviously, a man that wants children will need to look towards a younger woman. In that case, youth does win (but again only with other things being equal what man wants a child with an unattractive woman?).

But what about the men?

Looks do count for a man but they are not the important thing. Indeed beautiful men may arouse certain suspicions. However the same principals do apply, an ugly man had better bring some great personality (or wealth, fame, status) the table.

The last word

Was this post beautiful, attractive, or merely functional? I am not sure; perhaps it is all in the eye of the beholder.

69 Responses to “Beauty”

  1. sdaedalus Says:

    Very good post. I’m really looking forward to hearing our resident beauty expert & relentless self-improver Lovely Sexy Beauty’s views on this.

  2. Default User Says:


    I’m really looking forward to hearing our resident beauty expert & relentless self-improver Lovely Sexy Beauty’s views on this.

    I am not sure she visits. Perhaps I need to mention my seven figure salary. Perhaps the new (more alpha?) grAvatar will bring her out of the background.

    LSB, you out there? I promise I will make no mention of the lucky number three.

  3. brightstormyday Says:

    People often to try to quantify beauty and limit it to a number of measurements.

    While I don’t deny that symmetry does play a role in beauty, I almost feel like those “beauty measurements” don’t always hold true.

    There are different types of beauty, for one.

    Cute, attractive, pretty, sexy, beautiful.

    My current guy (too complicated to use the word boyfriend right now), said he prefers me to grow out my bangs, because without bangs I’m more attractive, but when I have blunt bangs I look more “cute.”

    I’ve always found men to be really strange with what they find attractive and what they don’t find attractive. I know guys who like well proportioned chubby women; perhaps you could call these women rubenesque?

    I know other men who prefer women to be very slender, with borderline unhealthy BMIs. (but if they’re naturally like that, they can’t help it, so don’t think I’m attacking women that are this slender, I know several who hate being that thin, no idea why).

    I know some guys who like huuuge tits.

    And others who like a huuuuuge ass.

    And others who like legs; not long ones, but ones with nice calves.

    And others who like long, skinny legs.

    While a certain number of things aren’t considered attractive, ever (you never hear a man shout,”Wow, look at her cellulite! I wanna rail that!”) I feel like once you reach a certain point, beauty becomes very subjective.

    I’ve received some of the most random compliments sometimes. I was surprised to receive a compliment on my nose once (from a guy). I hate my nose. And then you look at Cheryl Cole, arguably one of the most beautiful women in the world, and she has a nose that’s a bit aquiline.

    Janice Dickinson struggled to become a model because of her big lips. Seriously, what is beautiful now hasn’t always been beautiful.

  4. brightstormyday Says:

    Cheryl Cole’s nose!


  5. Default User Says:


    Cheryl Cole’s nose!


    I worry more about that silly looking dog.

  6. brightstormyday Says:

    Well yeah. I feel like that’s every young female celebrity’s accessory. A living stuffed animal.

    But the point I was trying to make is she’s still beautiful, even without a nose that’s like 90% of other hot chick celebrities.

  7. brightstormyday Says:

    And that beauty probably has to do because she’s different. or idk.

  8. Panda Says:

    And I love that bright versus sparkle idea. I remember using it before but I couldn’t find the link to it.

  9. Default User Says:


    But the point I was trying to make is she’s still beautiful, even without a nose that’s like 90% of other hot chick celebrities.

    I think we agree even if we are using different words. In my usage Cheryl Cole would be attractive even if not beautiful (because of her nose). For the purposes of this post, I use beauty to refer to perfection (or near it). I was saying that exactly what you are saying, that a woman that is not beautiful (perfect) can still be very attractive.

    In everyday use, we tend to mix the two up. And that is no harm because I still believe they are related.

  10. Default User Says:


    And I love that bright versus sparkle idea. I remember using it before but I couldn’t find the link to it.

    It is so hard to be original. I have often stated and idea, or stated in a manner I thought fresh, only to see later that it had already been done. I guess it is proof that none of us is God’s special little snowflake.

    I have not seen anyone use that phrase before, so thought I was been original. I remember I used something similar on a Roissy thread a long time ago.

    However, it seems like we agree, at least on the broad premise. I love the name “Hostile Panda.”

  11. anoukange Says:

    I dig unique beauty, on guys and girls. Always have always will. I especially love certain ethic looks because they’re different. I like flaws next to handsome features. He feels “more like mine” when I love everything about his face, body, hair, etc., even if some of those features are imperfect, like a snaggle tooth, or a bump in the nose. I love to photograph perfection but I love to date imperfection. For me, it’s all about the brain, mellowness, sexual chemistry and sense of humor. Looks run fifth. It’s a nice feeling to be someone’s type as a girl I will say. After seeing my ex’s past girlfriends I saw he went for petite girls with big eyes and long hair. I wasn’t threatened by his past girlfriends, I was re-assured.

  12. Default User Says:


    He feels “more like mine”

    I like that explanation. Perhaps we prefer some quirks to generic beauty because, as you said, she/he seems more like ours. Despite the stated dogma, I think that those other factors count for men too. Well they certainly count for me.
    [or maybe it is my male rationalization hamster exercising on the spinning wheel]

  13. anoukange Says:

    “Despite the stated dogma, I think that those other factors count for men too.”

    –oh, I know. I know and meet men in real life, and how they act and what they say differs from the “persona” we tend to run into on the net. Much is calculated wording by game bloggers, they have an image to sell. I am shocked at how many guys take their words as the end all be all. Scary. People who haven’t had real life expereince pull from others. Also scary.

  14. Word Around the Campfire – The Healthcare edition « Hidden Leaves Says:

    […] Default User: Beauty […]

  15. fsharp Says:

    Any examples of women who you find a) objectively beautiful and/or b) subjectively attractive.
    And has your taste changed over time?

  16. Linkage is Good for You: Sloth Edition Says:

    […] Default User – “Beauty” […]

  17. Default User Says:

    Right now I cannot think of public persons that I could point to. Some of the Roissy threads showed that there were arguments over attractive versus beautiful.

    I don’t think my tastes have changed much over time (other than a drift upwards in age :/)

  18. Hope Says:

    Objectively beautiful: Adriana Lima. I don’t think I’ve ever read anyone who has called her ugly.

    Good piece. There is definitely something subjective about looks. How I feel about someone heavily influences how I perceive their appearances. But simultaneously I can step back and evaluate a person more objectively.

    Incidentally, I think men are often intimidated by perfect beauty, and a lot of men prefer “cute” women with a baby face to “hot” women. Might have something to do with the whole subjective thing?

  19. Bhetti Says:

    I think of it as sexy vs. beautiful in terms of female beauty. But that’s in terms of looks only. It becomes a more abstract attractiveness when exposed to her gestalt.

  20. brightstormyday Says:

    I don’t think Adriana Lima is beautiful. She’s attractive and exotic. But not beautiful. She’s kind of weird looking.

    When I first saw her I thought she kind of looked like a cavewoman, but after I saw her more I realized her appeal.

    She’s not ugly though. That’s true.

    I feel like there are other more objectively beautiful women. Like Bar Rafaeli, maybe?

  21. anoukange Says:

    I think they’re both beautiful. I find tons of women beautiful, ranging in all eye color, skin color and hair color. I can’t help it. As far as objective beauty, what I tend to like about women is what most men like, curvy, full or near full chest, full lips, round cheeks, small-ish noses, large eyes. I love the light blue eye with dark hair combo on guys and girls especially. Long, sleek limbs on a girl looks nice due to how well it reads in photographs.

  22. Default User Says:

    Most people do not photograph well. That is a photograph does not capture them at their best. That is why models, actors and actresses earn such high pay and prestige.

    I remember a Roissy thread were one of the most admired photos was a that of a posters mom (in her youth). What probably was the most beautiful (she was about 15-years old though) was more controversial. That thread seemed to point to confusion between beauty, attractiveness and hotness.
    [The results did cluster around a central point, but there was far from absolute agreement]

    I am not sure men feel threatened by beauty, but it may have a different effect than hotness (perhaps it raises a more protective instinct). Some of the preference for cuteness could be the male rationalization hamster excusing what they feel they can achieve, some might be anouk’s idea of “more like mine.”

    I agree with Bhetti’s gestalt comment, the sum of attractiveness is more than its parts. It is the combination of all traits (physical and mental) that seal the deal.

    Side issues:
    I have never found the 1 to 10 scale that useful. For me it is 1- not attractive, 2- attractive, 3- very attractive. On a general basis that would be 1) probably not attractive to most men – not necessarily ugly, 2) attractive enough – men might argue over exactly how attractive but few would say ugly and few would say stunning, 3) universally attractive – the majority of men would find her attractive but argue over the intensity of that attraction.

  23. Tupac Chopra Says:

    Off the top of my head:

    Hot – Kim Kardashian, Brigitte Bardot

    Beautiful – Audrey Hepburn, Keira Knightley

    Mixture – Claudia Cardinale and Rose McGowan in their prime

  24. Hope Says:

    Most people do not photograph well.

    This is very true. Photos often just don’t capture the “essence” of somebody that makes a person attractive.

  25. anoukange Says:

    I like your scale DF, it makes a lot more sense than the 1-10.

  26. Default User Says:


    I like your scale DF, it makes a lot more sense than the 1-10.

    The real reason is that I can seal my PUA credentials by dismissing any women as “Phhffft! A three or less.”

  27. anoukange Says:

    ha, ha….too true!

  28. Bhetti Says:

    SDaedalus’ blog disappeared 😦

    hero exercise was fun though, Default.

  29. chic noir Says:

    I think there is nothing like a great beauty of either gender. Beautiful people are God’s art work.

    Some women because of their own insecurities or the belief that only good looking men cheat, shun the true beauties.

    the life of a man who looks like Reggie Bush,a young Denzel,young Russel Wong or Epozy is very different from that of an average and certainly an ugly man. It just is, American men don’t want to hear this or at least the average and below average don’t like to hear it but it’s true.

    I sure epoxy has been eyeraped on numerous occasions by various women 8-80 deaf, dumb blind and crazy. It’s something most men will never experience to a large degree.

    if jack nickolson was poor would women line up for him? If epoxy was without a dime tomarrow would women line up for him?

  30. Default User Says:

    I hope it is just a technical problem for SDaedalus. I hope she has not done a Sofia and committed blogocide.

    The hero exercise was fun, though. Thanks for providing the link.

  31. sdaedalus Says:


  32. Default User Says:

    @chic noir
    Good looks certainly help a man. They open the door to his approach. Good looks may give him a few more minutes (that would not be granted to an average looking man). He may be excused stumbles in his pick up attempt that would have other men blown out. In the end, he needs to display a certain level of confidence or charm. Perhaps their greatest benefit is they increase his chances of early success, and those early successes build his confidence.

    That fact that relatively few men get the eye from women (for their looks only) proves the point. It is not that average looking, or worse, men would not prefer to be better looking. They just realize it is not the only thing. As you pointed out Jack Nicholson garners lots of female interest because he has attributes other than his looks (mostly fame, but he likely has a lot of devilish charm).

    Good looks will provide a small boost to an average man (in confidence and status). However, confidence and status can provide a major boos to an average looking man (e.g., Nicholson, Kissinger, et al).

  33. Default User Says:



    A woman that cleans house, I am sure you will garner many game-o-sphere fans.
    [gunslingergregi seems particularly warmed by such things]

    I look forward to your bright and sparkling return.

  34. brightstormyday Says:


    Agreed, most men can’t come to terms with the fact that the more good looking ones get the girls.

    I can think of only one good looking guy in my whole life that messed things up with girls cuz of his personality.

    And even still, plenty of girls try.

    It’s human nature. We want healthy, attractive, babies. It’s just how it is.

  35. Default User Says:

    Most men do understand how much women objectify us. Unlike women we do not complain, we try to find ways to improve our lot.

    Most men are average in looks and personality. It is no surprise that a good looking man with merely an average personality will do better than all those average looking men with average personalities. If I had an either-or choice, I would take average looks and massive confidence rather than good looks and a bland personality.

    Good looks (over bad looks) win even for men, so what?

  36. anoukange Says:

    I’ve always been very fond of Jack Nicholson’s looks.

  37. Default User Says:


    I’ve always been very fond of Jack Nicholson’s looks.

    Well there goes chic’s theory.

  38. brightstormyday Says:

    I can’t get enough when I’m with youuuu
    Cuz your feeeever
    Makes me feel so goood

  39. Default User Says:

    Thanks. . . I think.

  40. Rebekah Says:

    There are so many attractive and beautiful people in the world. When it comes to women, I think it’s all pretty: all colors, height, and shapes. I’m fascinated most by what I don’t have, of course — dark coloring, being tall, long limbs and such.

    Being attracted to someone really does seem to involve something extra, though. The scale 1-10 scale scares me; I’m constantly surprised when women ask men where they land on it. Ignorance is bliss. 🙂

    I’m glad beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as it gives a bit of hope to everyone.

  41. Rebekah Says:

    Note my repetitive use of the word “scale.” Perhaps it is coincidental that today is April 1 and I have a new determination to lose 10 lbs. by June 1. I’ve been thinking about the scale all day today.

  42. brightstormyday Says:

    Turn it up boyyyy
    make your move
    Keep me burning cuz it feels so good 😉

  43. KassyK Says:

    I love this post. I have always been surrounded by beautiful women (friends, family) and so I have learned to judge it in both a primal and objective way.

    Someone like Cheryl Cole is a rarity because she is one of the of the most beautiful women in the world…and one of the most attractive as well. She has the WOW factor you mention, the physical features you mention (even her aquiline nose is pretty), and the sparkle with the big warm smile thing you mention.

    look at that face:

    look at that smile:

    I am a straight women who is in love with how she looks…

    That being said, I always find it interesting the attention I receive depending on my haircolor. I look exactly the same yet often completely different type of men hit on me as a blonde or a brunet (or a redhead but its been 4 years since I was a redhead).

    Attraction is a funny thing. And I second that many people are not photogenic…some of the most attractive people I know do not photograph well at all and in person are spectacular. Sometimes a photograph cannot capture the essence of the smile, the warmth of the eyes, etc.

    Beauty is beauty but that something more…that is special. 🙂

  44. Default User Says:


    eing attracted to someone really does seem to involve something extra, though. The scale 1-10 scale scares me; I’m constantly surprised when women ask men where they land on it. Ignorance is bliss.

    In the end what matters is not 1 to 10, it is yes or no.

    I was not saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but attraction was (and remained tied to beauty). Perhaps that is just playing semantics; if two people get together does it matter if what pulled them closer was beauty or attraction.

    On the weight loss, have you seen aoefe’s posts on going paleo (lower carb, higher protein)? You might find some useful comments or advice on that thread.

  45. Default User Says:

    I hope that your were not thinking of this version of that song when you posted.
    [work safe]

  46. Default User Says:

    Cheryl Cole has something for sure.

    It is amazing the change of hair color can make. I have seen that I thought were “ok” become very attractive with just a change of hair color. Clothing can make a difference too, by flattering (or not) certain features.

    How do you feel about the men that approach you while you are in different disguise (hair color). Is there a difference? Do you have preference (i.e., do you prefer men who prefer a certain hair color)? Do you get an equal amount of attention or does one color bring them out of the woodwork?
    [so many questions, I know]

    I often think that women look their best with their natural (or close) hair color. They might be better to change shade rather than color.

  47. fsharp Says:

    In the end what matters is not 1 to 10, it is yes or no.

    Great insight.

    How about the following categories on a objective->subjective scale – with the more subjective qualities tied to behaviours as much as appearance:
    Beauty – proud to be seen with with. ‘Objective’ elite consensus and status. Grace Kelly.
    Sexy/Hot – sometimes ashamed to be seen with (see discussion at Obsidians)! Kim Karshadian.
    Cute/Lovely – like to spend time with, endearing. Ugly Betty when not uglied up.

    But hasn’t the astute LovelySexyBeauty given us these categories in her handle. The LSB mix yields attractiveness. Could evolve into a byzantine acronym system.

    Agree with Tupac – Claudia Cardinale – especially in Once Upon in the West – is the perfect mixture. Claudia > Cheryl!

  48. Rebekah Says:

    I have been reading aoefe’s blog and following along with her experience, actually. Her passion is very inspiring to me. I’ve also thought many times how nice it would be if Il Capo had a blog where he complied his knowledge as well.

    In the end what matters is not 1 to 10, it is yes or no.

    I agree. “Yes” is really all that’s needed. If the man I love were to specify a certain number on the 1-10 scale, I would obsess over all the points I don’t have. If it was due to something I couldn’t change, I would be heartbroken. Insecurity is a beeotch.

  49. Default User Says:

    Your categories make sense.

    I could happily be stuck with either Claudia or Cheryl.

  50. Default User Says:

    On a new diet (or change of habit) the only advice I would offer is to allow for some failure. There will be times when you break the “rules,” this could be temptation (“just one little slice”) or times when you have less control (at a friends for dinner). Such backsliding is part of establishing a new habit. Each time you fail and recover will strengthen the habit, not weaken it. You will find that the failures becoming les and less frequent. You will see the time between then become longer and longer. Your new habit will eventually become the norm.

    You will not always have full control over your meal (e.g., at a restaurant or at a friend’s house). Just enjoy these meals and then return to your new habit.

    On insecurity:
    Because nobody is perfect (no man the ultimate alpha, no woman the ultimate beauty) focusing on yes or no will lead, if not to greater happiness, to less insecurity. Insecurity is a bitch (or is that an asshole) but hard to avoid.

    An apt thread to bring back a picture as your gravatar. I hope that means you are feeling more secure and confident. Or did you just get sick of the flower?

  51. Rebekah Says:

    Thanks for the support. I actually failed this afternoon. I went out to lunch with my mom after church for Easter and had pasta. Carbs are my weakness! I don’t really like sweets but love pasta. I don’t really like meat, either, so I definitely think my problem is with my diet. I appreciate the idea that all is not lost b/c of my backsliding at lunch today!

    Yes, this thread discussing the fact that we all fall short of perfection, and how sometimes we don’t always look the best in pictures, made me feel a bit more comfortable posting the new pic. It’s one I’d scrapped to the recycle bin playing around with the iMac at work. The sunflower will probably return soon — I dunno, they make me happy or something!

    You can’t think of even one celeb for each of your personal attractive/cute/beautiful categories??

  52. brightstormyday Says:

    I never understood why people find pasta delicious.

    It’s nasty.

  53. Default User Says:


    You can’t think of even one celeb for each of your personal attractive/cute/beautiful categories??

    I would have to think of names and scour the Internet for pictures. I do not have a running list of celebrities in my head. Sorry.

    I could argue Audrey Hepburn for each of them, but perhaps cute would be it. Although I would certainly consider her attractive.

    I must have missed this reply earlier.

    Your gravatar picture is small enough to still be (somewhat) anonymous as I am not certain I would recognize you in real life from the picture. On the other hand it does provide a sense of what you look like. I prefer that to the sunflower. Perhaps a Bhetti/Spikey like caricature from

  54. Default User Says:


    I never understood why people find pasta delicious

    It is all about the secret sauce.

  55. brightstormyday Says:

    ugh…no, that makes it worse.

    I don’t know, in reality, college has made me hate all carbs.

    Except french fries.

    And bagels with nutella on them.

    And chocolate chip cookies.

    Ok, so yeah, I do eat carbs. But I hate bread, rice and pasta. wtf.

    Actually, I’m also sick of nutella bagels. I’ve had them three times already this semester.

  56. Tupac Chopra Says:

    fsharp — great montage you posted. I wasn’t aware DiCaprio had good taste in women, so I had to google it:

    Good on him.

  57. Default User Says:

    Are you going paleo?

  58. Default User Says:

    @Tupac Chopra
    I love the new gravatar. What is it and what made you choose it?

  59. Tupac Chopra Says:

    A dancing skeleton, of course.

    Memento Mori

  60. Default User Says:

    Well I figured it was a dancing skeleton, I was not sure if it had particular significance.

    Memento Mori. . . until the singularity, anyway.

  61. brightstormyday Says:

    No, I just hate pasta. That was the default “we don’t have anything in the kitchen let’s cook something!” food my parents made.

  62. Bhetti Says:

    Tupac’s avatar is from Donnie Darko.

    It is a cult classic: watch it.

    until the singularity

    Or maybe you have.

  63. Default User Says:


    Tupac’s avatar is from Donnie Darko.

    He has changed avatar since I made that comment. The comment referred to the skeleton that was an earlier gravatar.

    I can’t remember if I ever watched Donnie Darko; the title sounds familiar but I don’t remember the movie.

    Your new blog looks interesting.

  64. Bhetti Says:

    The comment referred to the skeleton that was an earlier gravatar.

    Of course…

    Your new blog looks interesting.

    Let’s hope I manage to make it live upto that promise when and if I start using it.

  65. Bhetti Says:

    I miss you.

  66. chic noir Says:

    * oh lord, not bhetti too*

    Default you’ve got some serious e-game my love 🙂

  67. Default User Says:


    It looks like you might also be taking a blog/Internet break (until July). Enjoy your break.

  68. Default User Says:


    Default you’ve got some serious e-game my love

    Thanks. Does that make me an e-Natural?

  69. Die Schönheitsgalerie « Sibling of Daedalus Says:

    […] up Gorbachev,  we will never get there if you keep stopping to write down your experiences.    Default, so nice to see you back with us again. Nearly […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: