Science Explains Why Hot Women Don’t Always Go for Hot Guys (Vice Versa)

We’ve all seen couples pass us by on the street where the woman is hot and the guy is, well, not — and vice versa. If we’re truly being honest, we’ve secretly wondered how they got together in the first place.

These types of couples may stand out in our minds is because, in general, research shows we’re more likely to be romantically interested in someone who shares our same level of attractiveness (there’s even a scientific term for it: “assortative mating”).

A new study in the journal Psychological Science sheds some light on these couples with so-called “mismatched” levels of physical attractiveness. The researchers studied 167 couples to find out whether getting to know someone over time can trump the natural bias toward good looks. The study found that oftentimes, the answer is yes.

The researchers found that couples who were similarly physically attractive tended to become romantically involved after a short period of time — in other words, “You’re hot, I’m hot, let’s get together!” — while paramours who paired up and didn’t share the same level of physical attractiveness were more likely to have spent time getting to know each other first. In fact, 40 percent of the pairs in the study started as platonic friends. So time helps level the playing field.

“In our previous work, we found that as people get to know each other better over time, they tend to make more unique evaluations of them,” study researcher Lucy Hunt, of the University of Texas at Austin, tells Yahoo Health.

She points out that if you ask a bunch of strangers to rate your attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being very unattractive and 10 being very attractive, the group will likely agree on the same number. But if you ask your friends who’ve known you for a while to rank your physical attractiveness, that number would be higher (or eek, lower) because they’re also factoring in your personality. As Hunt points out: “Getting to know someone will either make you like them more or less.”

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