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Author Topic: Levels of attractiveness  (Read 2404 times)

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Levels of attractiveness
« on: December 31, 2012, 08:53:07 AM »
I got into a discussion recently about the terms used to describe levels of attractiveness.  For the record, it was a mixed group – women, men, and one teen-ager.

At issue was the term “rather attractive”.  I understand taste/opinions differ, but If someone is described as “rather attractive” I envision the person as average looking, well-groomed, but no superior features.  A rather attractive person usually will not turn heads.

When people are asked to describe a VERY attractive person, they will quickly say pretty, beautiful, or VERY attractive, or really handsome.  There won’t be any hesitation.  With “rather attractive” there might be a pause, and it’s like people are trying to be nice and cut some slack to the person they’re describing.

OTOH, there are people who are naturally attractive (they look okay when they get up in the morning), and with make-up and spiffy clothes, they become very attractive – pretty or handsome.

I also feel either a male or female can be “good looking”, but I usually apply the term to a male.  I've rarely heard a male describe a female as good-looking.

The teen said the term “hot” refers to a female with a pretty face, nice hair and clothes, but especially a good body - (no surprise there).  ;)


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Re: Levels of attractiveness
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2012, 09:43:47 AM »
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Despite very broad and general standards of beauty that vary from society to society and culture to culture, I think there are so many factors that affect how someone's physical beauty is perceived.

I have met on occasion individuals who I thought were incredibly attractive, but then once I got to know them, began to find them unattractive, usually because of a personality clash, or they said or did something that hurt me, or maybe we just had nothing in common - so while I wouldn't call them ugly or unattractive, I would say I found them less appealing.

The reverse is also true. I remember in college there was this girl who I thought was on the 'plain' side, but many, many of the guys I knew had a crush on her. I couldn't understand - there was nothing 'extraordinary' or remotely 'attractive' about her looks. But then I had a class with her and was assigned to work on a project with her.  I got to know her, and then I realized why they were crazy about her: she was one of the nicest, down-to-earth, intelligent, funny, interesting people I had ever met. I forgot her 'plainness' out of hand. I perceived her as super-model gorgeous - and I still do. Now I know why all the guys pined for her. They had excellent taste.

Someday, I hope to achieve her level of beauty.


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Re: Levels of attractiveness
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2012, 10:54:56 AM »
Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and (as I said) opinions and tastes differ.  I think we all have known people who became more or less attrctive because of their personality (or lack thereof). 

However, the discussion I referred to was strictly about appearances - "looks", on a superficial level.  For instance, if you see someone in a store, on the street, or in a photograph.

However, as I mentioned, the issue was the term "rather attractive".


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Re: Levels of attractiveness
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2012, 11:11:27 AM »
Did you ever watch that show from the 90's NewsRadio?  I love the take from there:

Lisa: Alright, look I did not ask for the stupid award.
Beth: If I were you I'd be upset too. I mean you? Cute? Come on.
Lisa: I am not entirely uncute. I... I... Why are you being nasty about this?
Beth: I'm not being nasty. You're pretty. You're very pretty in fact. But cute, I don't think so.
Lisa: Well I wasn't aware there was a difference.
Beth: Well of course there is a difference. Pretty means pretty. Cute means pretty but short and/or hyperactive - like me.
Lisa: Uh huh. What is beautiful?
Beth: Beautiful means pretty and tall.
Lisa: Gorgeous?
Beth: Pretty with great hair.
Lisa: Striking?
Beth: Pretty with a big nose.
Lisa: OK, you're making this up.
Beth: That's ridiculous, why would I make it up?
Lisa: Voluptuous?
Beth: Pretty and fat.
Lisa: Sexy?
Beth: Pretty and easy.
Lisa: Exotic?
Beth: Ugly


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Re: Levels of attractiveness
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2012, 11:12:05 AM »
Speech patterns have to play into that, too. Thinking about it, i use the descriptor "rather" pretty liberally, so someone i described as rather attractive would be just that in my mind, attractive, good looking, an 8 on the scale, etc. If "rather" isn't normally part of your lexicon it might seem out of place or put there to sound nicer.

:)...and now "rather" is starting to sound weird in my head because i've thought it too many times.

ETA: LOL at ilrag; that is perfect.

It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
~Gaslight Anthem


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Re: Levels of attractiveness
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2012, 11:31:31 AM »
Lisa: Exotic?
Beth: Ugly

Hmm.  I've never thought of exotic as being ugly.  To me, exotic = beautiful in an unusually striking way.  I don't see lots of exotic people walking down the street.


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Re: Levels of attractiveness
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2012, 12:10:17 PM »
I've usually seen "exotic" as a shorthand for "darker-skinned," honestly, except for in areas where caucasians are in the distinct minority (e.g. "exotic" blue eyes in Japan).

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