Some of you probably despair that women only want very physically attractive men that you could never be. It can seem that way, if you focus on media images and what a number of younger women seek - and, right, no one wants an ugly partner.
However, when most women are mature enough for long-lasting serious relationships, status becomes more important to them - often more important than raw physical attractiveness is. Instinctually, they want men who could provide for future offspring, even if in reality they are unwilling or unable to have them!
What is status? Having resources or the potential to acquire them. Like it or not, in sizing up romantic possibilities, the information often is first inferred from appearance.
A man can be deemed cute, but not attractive in a romantic way. If pure aesthetics were all that mattered, many more young women would date each other.
This is more than creative speculation. Research has shown that physical features convey status in the minds of others. Examples include size and secondary sexual characteristics - picture the typical boss.
Here is the good news, men. The primitive part of the brain that semi-consciously evaluates image was not designed to distinguish between the physical body and artificial adornments to it. That's how the girl can be crazy about the sharp-dressed man and ignore his poorly dressed identical twin:
The anthropologists John Marshall Townsend and Gary Levy verified that the effect of the expense and status of clothing in attracting women is robust across any sort of involvement, from merely having coffee with a man to marriage. The same men were photographed wearing either a Burger King uniform with a blue baseball cap and polo-type shirt or a white dress shirt with a designer tie, a navy blazer, and a Rolex watch. Based on these photographs, women state that they are unwilling to date, have sex with, or marry the men in the low-status costumes, but are willing to consider all these relationships with men in high-status garb (quoted from The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating, by David M. Buss). More recent research suggests that overweight men get an extra benefit from wearing high-status clothing, in erasing some negative personality traits associated with excess weight.
Attention to detail conveys intelligence, which in turn suggests status. Because people can detect more subtle differences, you might benefit greatly from minor changes that don't make you stand out. Regardless, better clothing is how you can convey desire-inspiring status without great physical assets. (Though there is such a thing as overdressing.)
Higher-status clothing also typically helps in a purely aesthetic sense, thanks to superior colors, tailoring, and other factors. Last but not least, through the halo effect, the positive visual improvements make everything about you seem better.
For your benefit, here are some components and examples of status.
Elements of Status
White, $10 tee shirt
Baggy blue jeans that are threadbare at the knees
Charcoal, lightweight wool/silk sport jacket
Tan, silk v-neck shirt
Pleated Italian cotton dress pants
Brown leather casual shoes
High-end metallic, analog watch
Masculinity, neatness, quality, and cohesion (things match) are important factors that must be considered when selecting elements of status.
Are these elements serving you well?
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