There’s a scene in The Wedding Singer when Drew Barrymore’s character, Julia, and Julia’s mom see a photo of Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler) and his fiancée outside of a wedding venue. After getting a good look at the couple, Julia’s mom says, “Look at that girl. You’re prettier than that girl and she’s getting married.”
Surprised by her comment, Julia asks, “What does pretty have to do with getting married?”
Her mom says that looks have everything to do with getting married, and while that’s not a universal truth, the idea of pretty people being luckier in love persists. Like the other day when I was getting a haircut and my hairdresser (a family friend) asked, “Is your brother seeing anyone? I’m sure he’s got a girlfriend, he’s such a cutie.” Yes, he does have a girlfriend, but I don’t know how much of that is due to him being considered a “cutie.” He’s also friendly and funny, but I suppose his looks do give him a pretty good trifecta to work with.
Don’t we all know someone who seems to be able to date pretty much anybody he or she wants to because they are just that attractive? We’re talking about the kind of person who simply has to smile the right way at whomever they want, and at the very least they’re guaranteed to have a conversation. Half of the dating-game battle is already won for these people because they possess a general attractiveness.
I’ll admit it: I totally fall for this. If I see an incredibly good-looking guy, I’m already interested, at least a little, and without him having to do anything other than being handsome. And maybe after talking to him I find out he has a crappy personality, but I only learn this after his looks have lured me in.
Sure, you hear model-esque people argue that being attractive is both a gift and a curse, because, “When you’re so pretty, sometimes it intimidates people and then nobody approaches at all.” To them I say this: nonsense. Extreme attractiveness might intimidate a few people, but certainly not everybody. And anyway, all pretty people are eventually pursued, so they get almost zero pity from me, especially because in the meantime people say nice and presumptuous things about them like, “I’ll bet she has a boyfriend, as pretty as she is.”
Please understand that I’m not hating on the universally beautiful in any way (well, unless they’re whining about their looks, in which case please re-read the previous paragraph). I’m just speaking as a person who hasn’t always felt like the loveliest lady in the room. For a good chunk of my teenage years, I was convinced I wasn’t pretty enough to actually be somebody’s girlfriend (which is a ridiculous and unhealthy mindset, but what can I say? The teenage mind can be a stupid, desperate place). Luckily I’ve moved past that insecurity, but still, I’m occasionally jealous that I have to put in a little extra effort to initially attract someone. I feel as though my personality has to shine extra-bright from the jump, which isn’t always easy for someone who sometimes freezes up in social settings.
I’m sure this is one of those the-grass-is-always-greener situations. There are obviously worse things than being well-liked for your personality. And I bet ridiculously good-looking people get tired of being approached based on looks alone. In fact, they’d probably argue that they have to work harder to be seen as more than sparkling eyes and a killer smile.
So does being pretty have anything to do with being married, or being a good boyfriend/girlfriend? Probably very little, at least in most healthy, sustained relationships. Sense of humor, intellectual compatibility, personality and shared interests all contribute to a person’s all-around desirability. Of course you want to be physically attracted to your partner, but the overall attraction always goes beyond looks.
Megan S. is an associate editor at Dating & Hookup. She's a big fan of pop culture, comedy and essay collections (but just a regular fan of any sport that isn't softball or golf).
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