Have you ever looked at a man and a woman in a relationship and asked yourself, “What does a woman like her see in a guy like him?” or “Why would a guy like him date a woman like her?”
Essentially, we all have ideals about love, marriage and relationships with members of the opposite sex, so when we see a couple that doesn’t fit our personal ideal, we naturally wonder why they’re really together.
Often you’ll see a really beautiful woman with an average or even ugly guy and naturally you’ll think to yourself, “What can she possibly see in him?” On other occasions you may see a much older, graying guy with a much younger and very beautiful woman, and in most cases guys will think, “She must be a gold-digger. She must only be with him because he has a lot of money.”
So the question to ask is: Do men and women use each other to survive, feel happy and succeed in life? What value do men and women present to each other on both a superficial and fundamental level?
Beauty and the Beast
Why are so many beautiful women so in love with men who are not good looking? Seeing a beautiful woman with a not-so-attractive man on her arm has become such a common thing, that even researchers have become intrigued.
One theory about why beautiful women go for less attractive guys is that it’s simply a case of supply-and-demand.
According to a study conducted by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the London School of Economics, evidence seems to suggest that women go for less attractive guys because, quite simply, there are more beautiful women in the world than there are handsome men. Why?
According to Kanazawa, whose study was conducted with data from 3,000 Americans, derived from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, and was published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, it’s because good looking parents are 36% more likely to have a girl, rather than a boy, as their first child.
He says that this would suggest that in evolutionarily terms, being beautiful is more valuable to women. Kanazawa claims, “Selection pressure means when parents have traits they can pass on that are better for boys than for girls, they are more likely to have boys.
Such traits include large size, strength and aggression, which might help a man compete for mates. On the other hand, parents with heritable traits that are more advantageous to girls are more likely to have daughters.”¹
Essentially what he’s saying is that good looks are more beneficial to women and therefore chances are that there will be more good looking women than men. By default then, there will be many good looking women who have to “settle” for dating and marrying guys who are a lot less attractive than themselves, because there just aren’t enough good looking men to go around.
Did I mention that Satoshi Kanazawa is quite a controversial researcher? Although Kanazawa may have a point, I believe that this is a very simplistic view of why so many beautiful women date and marry less attractive men, and it seems science tends to agree with me.
According to another (and a lot more recent study), 13,034 people were followed and had their relationships monitored over a period of 15 years.
Each participant was rated on looks, personality and grooming. At the end of the 15 years, researchers concluded that women look for a good character when choosing someone to settle down with and are willing to overlook physical attractiveness in order to marry a guy who has a great personality and who essentially is supportive.²
Here at the Modern Man we’ve known this all along because we’ve seen it happen time and time again.
We’ve seen beautiful women dating average guys and if you ask them why, their answer is usually the same: Average (or ugly) guys don’t rely on their looks to get the girl; they usually have other qualities such as confidence, brains and a sense of humor going for them.
Watch this video by Dan Bacon (founder of The Modern Man) to understand why ugly, below-average looking and average looking guys are able to attract women…
Women are much more flexible with what they find attractive than what most guys realize. It’s not unusual for beautiful women to say, “He makes me laugh,” or, “He doesn’t think he is God’s gift to womankind. He knows what he wants from life and he’s out there getting things done rather than just relying on his looks to get him places.”
The next time you see a beautiful woman with a not so good looking guy, chances are he got her because he had the confidence to approach her and to allow his true personality to attract her and then maintain her interest. The fact is women want a man that they can look up to, respect and remain attracted to.
So while, according to researcher Jim McNulty from the University of Tennessee, “Attractive men have available to them more short-term mating opportunities and this may make them less satisfied and less committed to the marital relationship,” it seems that women are happy to marry a plain and even ugly husband because they want a husband who is supportive, positive and likely to be there for the long-term.³
Do Men Use Women For Their Looks?
It’s a common belief that men only go after women because for their looks. But is this really true?
Well, according to study conducted by Norman Li, associate professor of psychology at Singapore Management University and Oliver Sng, a doctoral psychology student at Arizona State University, men definitely have less attraction towards women with low physical attractiveness.
Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the study demonstrates experimentally that men and women differ in the way they choose mates in real-life contexts.
While women may consider certain personality traits as being more attractive than looks, men will accept or reject a woman based on her looks.⁴ Why? Because according to human mate-selection theory, men seek attractive women because attractiveness signals youth and reproductive fitness.⁵
But why are looks REALLY so important to guys? Does dating or being married to a beautiful woman mean anything more than just having a “trophy” to show off to the world?
Interestingly enough, a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology indicates that men who are married to attractive wives tend to be happier.
According to psychologist Andrea Meltzer who tracked 450 newlywed couples during the course of four years, “The significant effect of wives’ attractiveness on husbands’ satisfaction was significantly stronger than the non-significant effect of husbands’ attractiveness on wives’ satisfaction, indicating that partner physical attractiveness played a larger role in predicting husbands’ marital satisfaction than it did in predicting wives’ marital satisfaction.”
Essentially what Meltzer and her team discovered, was that having an attractive spouse definitely plays a major role in marital satisfaction – but only for men. In other words, men care more about looks than women do.
However, the happiness of the couples wasn’t one sided because it seems that the attractive wives were also more satisfied in their marriages. Why? Because it seems that having a happy husband made them happier too.⁶
And that’s not where it ends. The truth is, as human beings we tend to judge others on first impressions. We look at the way people dress, at their manners, their speech, their levels of confidence, etc., and we make a judgment based on the “scores” we give them for each of these things when we form our opinion after a new encounter.
Many of these qualities can be faked, but having a beautiful wife or girlfriend cannot. Whether we like to admit it or not, when we see a guy with a hot woman on his arm, we instantly perceive him as being of high worth in one way or another. And it’s not just opinion either.
According to Alastair Ross, a psychologist at Strathclyde University, “Men are rated as more likeable and friendly when they have a wife who is very attractive.”⁷
It seems that having a beautiful wife or girlfriend has many more benefits than just the pleasure of her company. Various studies conducted all over the world have unanimously concluded that being with a beautiful woman can enhance a man’s worth. How? Consider this…
- At company events, an attractive partner almost certainly gets you noticed by managers. (A Chinese study confirmed that husbands with unattractive wives actually earn 10% less than those with prettier spouses.)⁸
- When looking to rent a home, taking your beautiful woman with will guarantee that you’ll get the house you’re interested in (even if it’s potentially been promised to someone else).
- Queuing in long lines at clubs or restaurants becomes a thing of the past, and even if you do have to queue, waiters, bartenders and other members of staff will treat you better.
- Scientifically speaking, having a beautiful wife almost guarantees that you will have beautiful children too. And beautiful children reap the rewards of their beauty too by getting more attention from teachers, getting better grades and getting into the best colleges.
Do Women Use Men For Their Money and Social Status?
Okay, so we’ve determined that men benefit from a woman’s good looks, but women aren’t after the same things. So what do women want from men?
Well, according to Professor Robin Dunbar of Liverpool University, women’s priorities are very different to those of men.
Professor Dunbar asked 200 university students to rate the appeal of ads containing different categories of words relating to what they would value most in a potential mate.
He found that the vast majority of words used by people to describe themselves in ads could be lumped into five different categories, and that the men and women in the study attached levels of importance differently, to each category.
As the list below shows, men and women are attracted to different things in a potential mate.
- Social Skills
Essentially, it all means one thing: While a man will “use” a woman’s beauty to feel happier about himself and to get respect from his peers, a woman will “use” a man for his resources, and for his ability to commit to her, because such a man will not only be inclined to not only stick around, he will also be able to provide for her and their offspring.
In evolutionary terms, long before an expensive car and a big bank balance became a symbol of a man’s ability to take care of his children, women were attracted to the men with high status in a hunting tribe.
This status often translated as being the best hunters and therefore more likely to provide a steady source of food.
Today, hunting is no longer necessary, but in order for a woman to gauge whether a man has high status, and is therefore more likely to be a good provider, she looks to see if he has social intelligence. In other words, a man’s social skills are what make him most attractive to the modern woman.⁹
What are these social skills?
In today’s terms, being socially intelligent means that a guy is self confident, he is good with women, yet is not afraid to be himself and reach for his true potential in life. He is usually on his way to success or already successful.
Other qualities that indicate high social intelligence is having lots of friends because this indicates that he is likeable and trustworthy. Research conducted by Professor Doug Kenrick at the University of Arizona seems to support this sexual dynamic. He also found that a social skill particularly important to both men and women was having a sense of humor.
According to Professor Kenrick, a sense of humor reveals a lot about a person.
He says, “When women look for a sense of humor in a man, they’re saying – show me what you’ve got.” But when a man looks for a sense of humor in a woman, they’re saying “she laughs at my jokes, she must think I’m a great guy”.¹⁰
It’s All In the Numbers
Do women lose their value as they grow older? And do men only get better with age?
Essentially this is true. Biologically it is assumed that given the choice men will always prefer younger women, because younger women are likely to bear them more children, and the children will be less likely to be born with complications.
Professor Kencrick says, “In evolutionary history, by the time a woman got to be 45, she’d have had five children and various parasites. She wouldn’t have looked like one of those Hollywood actresses.”
Yet although studies have shown that men seem to prefer women with smooth skin, shiny hair and other features associated with higher levels of the female sex hormone estrogen because these have been strong indicators of youth, with the help of cosmetics and surgery, the modern woman is now able to hide her age.
Research now seems to suggest that when guys are asked to pick one woman as a long-term partner, they tend to choose the beautiful woman regardless of her age. It seems that to the modern man beauty matters on a much deeper level than just as a simple indicator of youth.¹¹
On the other hand when men get older their value increases. Why? Because as a man grows older, his potential to acquire resources, or the chances of him already having acquired resources, increases exponentially.
Older men are more “manly,” often better at sex than younger men, and because of experience, they understand how to make a woman feel like a woman, thus making him more attractive as a potential mate.
All You Need Is Love
Yes, men look at a woman’s beauty, and yes, women look at a man’s status and wealth; but ultimately when surveyed, 93% of married people say it’s about love.
When a man knows how to be a real man and can make his woman feel the way she wants to feel when she’s with him, and when a woman knows her role in the relationship and knows how to make her man feel they way HE wants to feel, then ultimately everything else goes out the window.
In the real world, you will see ugly men with beautiful wives, ugly wives with gorgeous husbands, old men with young, pretty girlfriends and even older women with young toy-boys. Why? Because ultimately men and women always have and will continue to use each other to survive, feel happy and succeed in life.
¹ Dubner, S. J. (2006, August, 2). Why Do Beautiful Women Sometimes Marry Unattractive Men? Freakonimics. Retrieved from
² Pocklington, R. (2014, February, 22). Worried about finding love? Fear not because women prefer ugly men with good personalities as husbands. Mirror, Retrieved from
³-⁷ Why Pretty Women Prefer Plain Men. Netscape. Retrieved from
⁴ Zolfagharifard, E. (2013, August, 27). It’s official: A woman’s beauty really IS the most important thing to a man – but for women, it’s all about social status. Mail Online. Retrieved from
⁵ Langlois, J. H., Kalakanis, L., Rubenstein, A. J., Larson, A., HaUam, M., Smoot, M. Maxims or Myths of Beauty? A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review. Psychological Bulletin Copyright 2000 by the American Psychological Association, Inc. 2000, Vol. 126, No. 3, 390-423. University of Texas at Austin.
⁶ Hillin, T. (2013, November, 19). Men With Attractive Wives Report Higher Levels Of Marital Satisfaction, New Study Finds. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from
⁸ (2011, August, 27). Pretty people still get the best deals in the market, from labor to love. The Economist. Retrieved from
⁹-¹⁰¹¹ Language of Love; Read between the lines. BBC Science: Human Body & Mind. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/articles/emotions/lonelyhearts.shtml