Here’s my answer:
Defining “Physically Attractive”
Throughout this site, I’m using “attractive” to mean “appealing to the opposite sex for the purpose of
reproduction love/dating/mating.” By male physical attractiveness, I mean anything that can be noticed from meeting a man in person and hearing him say “hello.” Hence, physical attractiveness includes things like voice and social skills, but does not include the man’s personal circumstances or personality. You could think of physical attractiveness here as the design (or user interface) of a website (in which case “voice” could be equivalent to the typography), whereas non-physical attractiveness is the content of the site (what’s actually written, or what the man actually says and does).
Things to Keep in Mind
- Now obviously, anyone could argue with the exact percentages in the table. There’s no “scientific” reason why each of these numbers should be set in stone, so some things will always be more or less important depending on individual taste.
- (So please don’t bother to comment on why you think something should be worth half-a-percentage-point more. It would be far more helpful to say whether you agree with the broad components I’ve listed, and whether you think anything’s missing.)
- Of course, the numbers don’t work for all people or in all situations. For example, the chart does not work if you want to hypothetically select a man at random from the world’s population, and then answer “how important is x to his overall attractiveness?” It doesn’t work because each factor has a baseline — what you could say is the required level to be considered attractive — and then once you increase the level beyond that baseline, each factor has a slightly different marginal rate of return.
How to Use the Chart
The numbers work best if you use them to estimate someone’s attractiveness on a 10-point scale. If you decide what the ideal version of each factor would be (e.g. for height, you have to decide on the height that would get a score of 9.5/9.5) and then assign a score to the person based on how they compare (e.g. if the ideal height is 6″, someone who’s 5’10” might get a 9.0/9.5).
Add up all the scores (and divide by 100 so it’s no longer a percentage) and you’ll have a rough estimate of that person’s rating out of 10.
How I Came Up With the Numbers
I’m eternally grateful to Andrew at The Rules Revisited, who inspired this post with his brilliant analysis of the components of female beauty. I followed the same process that Andrew details in his notes: thinking of the categories first and deciding on their importance, then listing the factors and their importances, and checking that the resulting order makes sense. I also followed his method for calculating Controllability and Attention Deserved.
When it came to assigning numbers for Importance, I tried to think about how much each aspect matters to a man’s overall attractiveness, when you’re considering an attractive man as a whole. Andrew limited his list to strictly visual components — but I decided to include things like voice and social proof because it’s more useful for any man reading this who wants to become more attractive to women.
If I left those things out, the table would reflect the components of a man who looks attractive on the cover of a magazine, but I wanted to describe the components of a man who immediately makes you feel attracted when you meet him in real life.
Here are the components in order of importance:
And here they are in order of attention deserved:
Finally, behold this glorious pie chart, showing how you should allocate your “attractiveness-improvement” time and effort:
What do you think?
Did I get it right? Let me know in the comments below. And stay tuned — my future posts will explain each of the ideal components and how you can achieve them.
 (I put this paragraph in a footnote because it’s slightly confusing.) Take height as an example: the baseline might be 5’5″, in which case height=5’5″ can be considered a binary yes/no value. So simply saying that height is 10% of attractiveness doesn’t work because it doesn’t reflect the penalty for being a “no,” or the marginal rate of return on any increase above a “yes.” If you’re shorter than the baseline, your attractiveness is taking a hit that’s much greater than 10%: so if you would ordinarily be rated a 7, but you’re shorter than 5’5″, your rating will probably drop to less than a 6 in most women’s eyes. If you’re taller, like say, 5’8″, then it’s not like your 6 suddenly turns into a 6.5 just because you’re slightly above the baseline. You’d probably have to be at least 5’10” to gain any points from height. So as you can see, all the factors have different required baselines and different marginal rates of return above their baselines, and these are not reflected by the simple numbers in the table. (Anyway, I’ll probably do another whole post to explain this in-depth at some point.)