In this post I am going to discuss the subject of attraction floors and ceilings. While some of my posts have alluded to the subject before, I’ve never addressed it head on. If I had to guess, this post is likely to generate at least a small measure of controversy. The natures of male and female attraction and preferences are bound to do that. Plus these topics are really touchy for some folks. Because, and lets be honest here, the system is broken and a lot of men and women, good men and women, have been hurt by that. So, without further ado…
Introduction: The Nature of Male and Female Attraction
Before I can go into depth about ceilings and floors, I need to clarify a few things about attraction. For my regular readers, this will be a
short recap and summary of everything I have discussed on the subject before, so you can skip ahead to the next part.
Men and women are attracted to very different things. As I have explained before, men are attracted to beauty:
The principle feature which men look for in women to determine attractiveness is easy enough to figure out: Beauty. Age factors into Beauty, as Beauty will diminish over time as age increase. Now, ideal Beauty can vary depending on culture, but there are still certain physical features in women that carry across most cultures: a feminine face with strong facial symmetry, large breasts, a low waist-to-hip ratio, smooth and unblemished skin, etc. Beauty is essentially a purely visual attribute, indeed well over 95% of that which men use to determine the attractiveness of a woman falls under visual Beauty. Therefore it is usually quite easy for a man to quickly gauge a woman’s attractiveness on the standard 1-10 scale. The remaining features which determine attractiveness include how the woman smells, what her voice sounds like, and what her body feels like to the touch.
An example of this 1-10 scale, with my own thoughts on what each number means, is found below:
One thing to keep in mind is that a woman’s “score” is somewhat subjective. One man might rate a woman a 7, another a 6, and another an 8. Each man has his own preference in what he wants in a woman. But if you average together enough men, you will get a fairly accurate measure of how attractive any given woman is.
Also, there is a difference between a woman being attractive and a woman being unattractive. Anything “6” (cute) and up is attractive. Anything below a “4” (homely) is unattractive. So a “Plain” woman, or a “5”, is not attractive, but also not unattractive. [At least, that is how I use the system] This will be relevant later.
Matters are somewhat different for men:
Male attractiveness is much more complicated. While visual features do play a part, and other physical features have their role as well, there are other things which can make a man attractive to women. It is well established throughout history that money is something which women find attractive in men, along with that undefinable characteristic known as charisma, and women have long been known to be drawn to men of high station. When all of this is analyzed in the context of female behavior like hypergamy, it is possible to discern the triggers for male attractiveness to women, and categorize them based on their nature. There are three principal categories under which male attractiveness is analyzed: Appearance, Personality, and Externalities, or APE for short. Under these three categories are five more specific subcategories which contain the sets of attributes which determine male attractiveness: Looks, Athleticism, Money, Power, and Status, or LAMPS for short.
For a more detailed explanation, see here.
Unfortunately, a similar 1-10 chart for men doesn’t really work. At least, not quite in the same way as it does for women. There are several reasons for this:
1) Assessing male attractiveness is much more difficult than assessing female attractiveness. Because Money, Status and Power aren’t visual in nature, you can’t really assign hard values to them on the fly. Perhaps the best measure of male SMV is the SMV of women that the man can regularly “pull.”
2) Male attractiveness is on weighted curve, while female attractiveness is not. A female “7” is a “7” no matter how the other women around her look. But male attractiveness is measured against the attractiveness of other men, because Status varies for each man. As men are added or removed from any given population, their respective Status in the group will shift. And with it, their attractiveness.
3) Context can impact male attractiveness. Because Status can shift depending on where the man is, his attractiveness is fluid. This makes it impossible to assign him a universal number like you can with a woman.
One possible attempt to create a male 1-10 scale might look something like this:
And that wraps up the differences in Male and Female attraction.
While this should surprise no one, people react differently to individuals of the opposite sex depending on how attractive they are. And those reactions differ depending on whether someone is looking for a short term relationship (STR), a one-night stand (ONS), or a long term relationship (LTR), which for the sake of this post I will equate with marriage.
One significant manifestation of this is the so called “Attraction Floor.” The general concept is that people won’t choose as a (either sexual or marriage) partner someone who is below a certain rank. As with most interactions involving sex, attraction and desire, individual preferences vary wildly. In addition, men and women are each quite different in where their floors are located.
Lets begin with men. As I mentioned earlier, a woman is not necessarily “unattractive” if she doesn’t happen to be “attractive.” There is that grey zone of “not unattractive” where a woman may not repel a man like a “2” would, but neither does she excite him like an “8” would. Here is a visualization of this dynamic:
1) Attractive means that a woman has no unattractive features and a number of attractive features, or that her many attractive features more than offset her few unattractive features.
2) Not Unattractive means that a woman either has no major unattractive and attractive features, or she has some attractive features which are balanced by some unattractive features.
3) Unattractive means that a woman has no attractive features and a number of unattractive features, or that her few attractive features are more than offset by her unattractive features.
Now, how might this “Attraction Floor” work in practice? An example of this might be a man who would not be willing at all to sleep with a woman who is not attractive (which under my system means someone below a “6”). Another man might be willing to sleep with a woman how is “not unattractive”, but only as part of a ONS, and would insist on an “attractive” woman for his wife. A desperate man or a man with a low SMV himself might be willing to go so far as a “2”. And then you could have an Apex Alpha who wouldn’t associate with a woman who isn’t an “8” or higher. It all depends on the man in question.
So what about women? Well, it has long been argued that women are much more “discerning” when it comes to attraction thanks to Hypergamy. Some manospherians like to bandy about 20% as the percentage of men that women can/do find attractive. Personally, I have no idea if that percentage is right or not, but I do agree that far fewer men fall into the category of attractive than women. An interesting question though, is whether or not there is a similar category of “Not Unattractive” for men. I’m not sure that there is, but the toxic hypergamy which is the norm for most women these days makes an accurate appraisal of the baseline female attraction filter impossible. Be that as it may, here is a graphic representation of the traditional interpretation of the female “Attraction Floor” interposed on my male 1-10 scale:
I need to be honest and admit that my choices about names and where to place the line are completely arbitrary. That applies to all of the graphics, really. But they do serve a valuable purpose of providing a visualization of the discernment that is going on inside people’s minds.
Note: For women looking to marry, they need to understand that unless they can make it above a man’s “Attraction Floor”, they won’t be considered for a relationship. No amount of personality, character or other traits will change this. The same applies to men as well.
One idea that I have been exploring lately is that people might have more than one “floor,” at least when it comes to marriage. There is a “hard floor”, below which someone won’t consider anyone as a potential spouse. Then there is a “soft floor”, above which someone would perhaps agree to marry the first acceptable candidate who came along. In between there is a “Maybe” range, where someone wouldn’t dismiss anyone found there as a marriage partner, but wouldn’t immediately agree to marriage. Rather, it would take either a disproportionately large number of Desirability attributes and/or a belief that a better candidate is unlikely to be found to spur him or her to agree to marriage. A visualization of how it might work for a man would look like this:
Assuming there is something to this theory of mine, I further speculate that the ranges to this phenomenon are not fixed. My suspicion is that people are more discriminating earlier in their lives, and as they age the ranges drop. So a man who would have immediately “wifed up” a “9” or “10” when he was twenty years old would be willing to immediately wife up a “7” or higher when he is thirty-five. This certainly seems to be the case with many women, who by most accounts and appearances will focus their efforts only on male “8”s or above when they are younger, but once they approach or hit the Wall will marry a male “6” or “7”. The problem of course is that the woman’s “hard floor” has dropped below her attraction threshold, which means that she ends up marrying a man whom she isn’t attracted to. I don’t think it necessary to remind everyone just how disastrous that turns out to be.
I can’t recall having seen someone suggest the idea of an “Attraction Ceiling” before, so it might well be an original thought on my part. But the general idea is this: there might a certain attraction threshold above which someone won’t focus their attention, because they believe that those above it are “out of their league.” While they might be attracted to someone with that rank, they won’t pursue them because they know they don’t have a chance. Here is how it might look:
This “Attraction ceiling” would be a “soft ceiling”, in that it might flex as a person’s perspective on who they can attract fluctuates. Also, I suspect that this is something that is more likely to be a male behavior than a female behavior. Hypergamy would tend to drive women towards the top to begin with, and the current brutal nature of the SMP/MMP tends to cure men very quickly of any thoughts of “landing” a woman above their rank.
I haven’t really had time to flesh this idea out, but I wanted to mention it to see what other people think. Perhaps I missed it when another blogger covered this subject before. If so, that would no doubt impact my thinking.
That concludes my thoughts on Attraction ceilings and floors for the time being.