Sex & Relationships

One woman's quest to find what people are physically attracted to

Freelance writer Callie Beusman recently set out to pinpoint the physical traits men and women are the most attracted to.

woman with brown hair looking into camera, beauty, model, brunette

(Photo by Alvaro Goveia)

Human beings don’t need much to survive: water, shelter and food cover the bases when it comes to sustaining life. I think when we strip away the marketing, the list of our wants — those items that satisfy our desires — are about as brief.

Once we distill our consumer addictions — all those shoes, clothes, beauty products (my weakness is expensive face creams and lotions) — into their primary motivations, it’s clear that what we want from all our beauty-counter excesses is to be considered successful and attractive, and by extension increase our chances of being loved.

It can’t just be shallow beauty-product hoarders like me who confuse appearances with overall desirability. Even the deepest thinkers are riddled with insecurities related to how they look and how their looks affect their chances of being loved. How else to explain the daily barrage of research studies into the mysteries of attraction?

Jezebel writer Callie Beusman recently poked fun at the sheer volume of studies that claim to solve the mysteries of attraction. She even went so far as to cherrypick a few such findings and compile a list of factors that reportedly make men and women more desirable to one another.

What she determined from her research? Men who have stubble, are six feet tall, well endowed, and wear white T-shirts are more attractive to the opposite sex. Women who are petite with medium-sized breasts, brown hair and have full cheeks are more attractive to men. (If such a vision of loveliness is also ovulating, she amps up her charisma, too, Beusman notes.)

So what are short men in brown t-shirts and flat-chested blondes to do when faced with the news that they’re not the choicest cuts of beef in the meat market of love?

They can console themselves by turning away from the mirror and looking out into the world where they’ll see how often reality conflicts with such findings. A quick glance will take in a host of complicating factors, from besotted mothers cooing over homely babies to mismatched couples — he’s gorgeous, she’s got a great personality and nary a white T-shirt or full cheek between them — all of which suggest that the real mystery of human life isn’t the science of attraction, but rather the mystery of love.

I still like my $90 face cream though.

What physical features do you find most attractive? Tell us in the comment section below. 

Get Chatelaine in your inbox!

Our very best stories, recipes, style and shopping tips, horoscopes and special offers. Delivered every weekday morning.