Do Looks Matter?

Here’s a quick response to a comment on my latest iHeartRadio video ‘Are You Pretty Or Ugly (Be Honest)‘ that I feel is important for you to read.

Paula says:

“This is sort of silly coming from Matt. Clearly Matt, you do not know what it’s like to be overlooked and what it’s like to be unattractive. The majority of the comments on your FB page and this blog are basically grown women fawning over how hot you are.

Looks DO matter. To say otherwise is utter and complete BS. Guys and girls are attracted to looks. People who are beautiful tend to attract more men into their lives (or women) and have more selection when it comes to finding a mate.
Also men with a hot woman will put up with her BS far more longer than if he were with a woman with the same flaws but average looking. Good looking people do benefit from their looks.

There is scientific research that indicates beautiful people get selected for better jobs and are perceived more favourably then their less attractive counterparts. To say this message is actually doing a disservice. Matt if you were ugly, I am sure you would not be getting the same reactions on your comments as you do now.”

My Response: (broken down as follows)

“This is sort of silly coming from Matt. Clearly Matt, you do not know what it’s like to be overlooked and what it’s like to be unattractive. The majority of the comments on your FB page and this blog are basically grown women fawning over how hot you are.”

If you think I’ve never been overlooked you are severely mistaken. If you think that I’ve never been rejected by someone who didn’t find me attracted you are also severely mistaken. 

I may get attention on my looks due to my work being seen by hundreds of thousands of women, but I also know that in any long-term relationship with a woman, my worth has been valued very differently. My looks have never kept someone around who didn’t want to be with me for deeper reasons.

“Looks DO matter. To say otherwise is utter and complete BS. Guys and girls are attracted to looks. People who are beautiful tend to attract more men into their lives (or women) and have more selection when it comes to finding a mate.”

I can show you MANY beautiful people who get no attention because they have zero charisma and aren’t interesting, and I can show you MANY people who haven’t got movie star looks who attract everybody. The lesson is that anyone can learn the things that make someone inherently attractive, regardless of their looks. Your argument is far more defeatist and deterministic. One day I may not have my looks anymore, but I sure as hell don’t intend on losing my attractiveness when that day comes. 

“Also men with a hot woman will put up with her BS far more longer than if he were with a woman with the same flaws but average looking. Good looking people do benefit from their looks.”

Who cares if he is unhappy and ends up leaving anyway?

“There is scientific research that indicates beautiful people get selected for better jobs and are perceived more favourably then their less attractive counterparts. To say this message is actually doing a disservice. Matt if you were ugly, I am sure you would not be getting the same reactions on your comments as you do now.”

So what? The people I envy are people that can walk into any room and create opportunity using their charm, their conversation, and the value they bring. It has nothing to do with their looks. In fact, many of the most charismatic people I know are the least good looking by ‘media standards’. 

Perhaps, instead of coming at it from such a defeatist angle, serving only as a convenient excuse for anything and everything that’s not right in someone’s life – after all, who among us feels pretty every second of the day? – you might look to some of the ways you could actually bring value to the world. (Tip: Bitterness isn’t one of them.)

And I couldn’t disagree more with your statement about my own comments. I believe that what makes me attractive to people are my thoughts, my energy and my outlook. To say this is just because of looks is an abhorrent thought, and one that I don’t think many would agree with you on.

I can give you any number of Youtubers who get HUGE love and admiration (and YES attraction) because of their online personas, even though they are not stereotypically good looking. Conversely, if being good looking were the standard for being a big online personality, there would be FAR more of them. Fortunately, it doesn’t work that way. 

I place no real value on my looks (something I did nothing to earn or create aside from keeping a healthy body), and I certainly don’t expect anyone else to.

I’ve trained my eye to scan past any looks-based comments in pursuit of ones that actually talk about what I’ve said. The latter are far more interesting.

Ultimately my focus is on creating things in the world. That is what I measure myself on, and what I am measured on daily. I also value the same in other people. 

Is the media fatuous and superficial? In many ways, yes. But unless you are trying to be an actor or a model in Hollywood, 99.9% of people live in a different world – the REAL one – a world full of complexities, differing tastes, and standards that are far more idiosyncratic than “does he/she look like Brad/Angelina?”

People are deeper than you might like to give them credit for, even if you have decided not to believe it. 

But since you have so labelled me one of life’s ‘good looking people’ – thanks for the compliment – and I am apparently doing a disservice by talking about how looks aren’t as important as we’ve been lead to believe, I have to ask – would you rather I have been superficial?

*Photo Credit: Allen Skyy

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40 Replies to “Do Looks Matter?”

  1. Hi, I just want to say I agree with Matt. What about if you imagine seeing two identical, great looking guys. And you want to say hi to them, so you go up and say hi. One glances at you with no change in facial expression, and he said hi and looked away. While the other one turned around and gave you the warmest biggest smile, and said, hi, how are you? Which one do you think you’ll be attracted to? I think the problem is… People under estimate the power of body language. Every little thing counts. That’s ‘you’ as a whole person, not just your looks. It seems to me that you’re more focused on how other people see you. What about if you try to smile and say hi to people the next time you go out, maybe you will see that people will actually notice you, despite of your looks.

  2. I’m a guy and can totally agree that looks matter. The commenter was right on that one. However, it’s true that a vibrant personailty can help, and if you’re overweight for example, there are plenty of examples of people out there making sure they live and eat well. Look at Adele – considered overweight but def attractive.

  3. I will be absolutely honest with you Matt, if I had simply passed you on the street one day, I may not have noticed you on a looks level at all. Yet, I am weekly enraptured by your videos, articles, and content even though I have never before sought council outside of my circle of trusted life confidantes ( which includes my father who is a PHD neuro psychologist who has always gently helped me to introspectively process my habits and behaviors). So with a wonderful support behind me, why do I allow YOU to be my partner on this love journey? Why have I grown to trust you? What is the cause of my attraction to you? You Matt, are so intelligent, yet so accessible and engaging. You are warm, friendly, loyal and kind while also being stubborn about important things and not afraid to speak up. You are a lovely perfectionist who strives constantly to connect to us, and help us and better ourselves while you are simultaneously learning how to better yourself. You have a beautiful smile which erupts spontaneously and eyes that sparkle with a passion and love for what you are pursuing. You are a beautiful human being Matthew, and you are right in knowing that it is your heart, mind and spirit which make you so attractive to so many.

  4. Well, damn. Happy New Year,Mr. Hussey! You both make some good points. I agree that cruddy behavior from someone seen as attractive can be a blinder or a bit of a hindrance when dealing with him/her in a relationship. I can also definitely agree that you irritating the hell out of me with a pretty face won’t keep me. Ultimately if we are not compatible with another human being in any setting, it doesn’t matter what you look like. Beauty is objective; no matter how many people agree someone is gorgeous, there will always be a few whose boat won’t float when they engage the famed beauteous creature. What I like may turn someone else off entirely. But it doesn’t hurt for me to have an engaging personality and learn to find common ground with everyone I meet (that doesn’t act like a turd on sight). Scarlet O’Hara was no great beauty so she played up her charm and her attraction factor went through the roof.

    And I’m pretty sure looks alone won’t save you from objectification, alienation, or eventually dealing with your insecurities and inadequacies. They don’t even pre-qualify whether or not you’re a sociopath. Ultimately, however, a bright mind and an engaging personality will win people over and get you what you work for in life. You can still be perfectly amiable and loved even without looking like a Hollywood actress.

  5. Wow. Plain and Simple, Matt, you amaze me everyday. I thoroughly enjoyed your response to this comment because every bit of it made sense and holds true. I could go on and on about what I think, but I think it’s better that I just leave it at a great big virtual hug as you have such a good heart. I can’t wait to meet you soon!
    I knew there was a reason your and your values have entered my life. Thank you for being you! xo

  6. I find what you said very true looks isn’t all that important it is the inner beauty that rings true. I am in no way media beautiful or even pretty. I see retty who are and see the uglyness of their personality kand realize how much the inner looks shine through I love watching your videos because through your lessons I have grown to love myself more and learned to see myself in a new light,

  7. I agree with the point that stereotypical attractive people do get treated slightly better in certain situations, but they are mostly circumstances where they are amongst strangers. When you meet someone you don’t really know, you have very little substantial things to make your assessment about them, and the most obvious and predominant thing we have is the visual. It’s not until you get to know someone that their true selves start to shine, or darken. So while attractive people in that sense have some benefits to their looks, it’s fairly short lived if they don’t have anything of value to back it up. I think that would be the scariest life to live. How insecure and terrifying would it be, if you were just an attractive shell and had nothing more to offer? You would be consumed with fear that people would discover the ‘real’ you and feel like you had nothing but your face to offer the world. I am not saying that attractive people do not have anything to offer, Matt is clearly an example of a person who has so much value to share with others, and he lives his life doing just that, and just happens to be attractive as well. I think rather than focusing on what benefits others may have because of their physical appearance, and others may not. Focus on what benefits you have and how you can make the most out of them. I was reading a book by Nick Vujicic who was born with no arms and legs and he lives his life with so much love, joy and excitement that people actually envy him. In the greater spectrum of what is truly meaningful in our lives, do physical features really matter? Some of the most inspirational people I know are not stereotypically beautiful, but it’s the way they live their lives and what they offer to other peoples lives that makes them truly and sustainably beautiful people.

  8. Matt I agree with your response . And charisma have nothing to do with good looking . Yes you are a handsome man . But a wise woman know the diferrence between a pretty face and a pretty soul sometime you find ugly face with ugly heart andpretty face with a pretty heart . In my opinion beauty is a bonus we add how we see ur package ur package is attractive you become more beautiful your package is ugly we see u average or ugly and by package mean personality attitude many thing .
    Matt u r a beautiful person not perfect no one is but u r awesome. When you talk is sexy your soul seem sexy .
    And for people whocthink u need yo be perfect to have it all , you are so wrong And I am a disabled girl who use to getny man she want confidence baby .

  9. Your words of wisdom are so accurate once again I find that I am attracted to persona, and how that person is as a whole not based on they’re looks in fact I have been turned off of guys who were perceived to be good looking but they’re character and persona where very superficial I don’t base attraction on first site I like to get to know someone and then I find I am attracted to them from what I learn not what I see!

  10. I agree– but it’s unfortunate to those people who think of looks as a standard to build a meaningful, healthy relationship on. I ended up casually dating someone for a little bit, and it was amazing how he felt about looks and how it correlated to his commitment level in a relationship. (Granted, he has his own issues and it’s way more than just ‘looks,’ but I’m going to make my point so bear with me.) But, considering everything– it was just interesting to talk to him about it.

    I’m a curvier girl. I’m cute, I know I’m not bad looking, but I’m overweight and at least I’m aware of that and don’t hide it from people if I’m online dating, etc. Many men (including this guy) don’t take me seriously as a romantic prospect because of the way I look. Due to my looks, they either place me in the “friend zone” or they automatically dismiss me as a “one night stand” type of person. It’s disheartening and disconcerting. However, the best relationships I’ve had with men are the ones that start off as friendships. Guys say they are attracted to my personality and sense of humour– aspects of me that should be placed at a higher value than my looks. If they’re attracted to me, they have to accept how I look. And someone’s THAT much more attractive if you have a great personality :) I’ve dated many men who are not my “normal type” based off the fit. While yes, attractiveness has something to do with the initial impression, it’s personality that really allows someone to commit.

  11. This is exactly what I needed to read in order to close this beauty obsession I had for the past 10 years of my life. Matthew, I love your response to this person’s statement. It is so true to say that what makes a person attractive is their ability to create opportunities when they enter a room and showcase their persona regardless of their looks, past circumstances and environment. I am the first one to admit that In the past I’d been behaving exactly like this person who relied on looks to measure any level of attractiveness within myself. Tonight when I went out with my friends, I decided that it was my mission to change this detrimental outlook that isn’t serve me in my expansion anymore. I wanted to experience what it feels like to be this type of person who is unshakable and acts certain, in the direction of what she wants regardless of external circumstances and so I made sure I smiled more, stood straight, walked proud, flirted with a bunch of people and was proactive at creating many connections during the night. I got the results I wanted. My looks didn’t change, the way I dressed didn’t either yet my attitude improved immensely because I gave myself the freedom to be all that I am and act towards the direction of following my true joy in each moment.

    The moral of my story is this: people who are fixated on external and superficial characteristics aren’t free. They don’t give themselves a chance to grow, to look at the world in a more healthy way and improve their persona along the way. Even if you give them all of the hottest, most attractive attributes considered by society’s standards they won’t be able to create meaningful, lasting connections.

    A person who isn’t free, isn’t a creator.

    No more beauty obsession for me. No more ignorance. I close this chapter tonight.

    Let yourself be free

    Alex

  12. I know a girl who by normal standards is very physically attractive. I have seen her out on many occasions with a different guy every night all of them physically attractive in their own right. I must also state I would’nt touch her with a ten foot pole. She cheats on the men she’s with, she is shallow and has admitted to me she cannot be with a guy unless he has a six pack. She is devoid of any virtue or redeeming qualities other than she is pretty. My friends all look down on her and pity her. The only people who don’t are the ones who haven’t met her. I have seen men stay with her far longer than they should as pointed out by Paula but like Mathew said it doesn’t matter because they all end up leaving her and wondering why they put themselves through it. Our genetics determines our behavior from being attracted to people with more symmetrical faces to what gender we prefer. But psychology tells us that genetics only makes up about 50% of who we are. The rest is our environment or for the layman our personal history. The intangibles that make you who you are can overcome any inherent trait. Just like I can shrug off the sexy girl at the bar if I got to know her first and found her to be a colossal twat. Or same sexy girl spends her whole life never having a healthy reciprocating relationship that lasts. Nuff said.

  13. I was on another site today for guys and the two men on the podcast admitted honestly that the first thing that attracts them is looks. Matt calls it visual chemistry and I think that’s true. They brought up a question: all things being equal, two people of equal charm, charisma, personality and one was attractive to you and the other wasn’t, which would you choose?

    The guys’ argument was, why not try to find a woman with all the things they wanted under the surface who was also pretty?

    People want to date someone attractive to them and I think we are all hopeful for that along with the other qualities we are looking for.

    The key words are ‘attractive to them’. It’s happily not all the same definition for everyone.

    I’m optimistic. I think most people can find someone attractive to them along with most of the qualities they are looking for. It just may take a long time, but it’s not impossible.

  14. I agree with Matthew. Saying that people who watch him on youtube are only doing so because of his looks is plain ridiculous. I think his most important trait, responsible for his success, is his energy. Matthew has an amazing ability to transfer his positive energy to the viewer from the very start of the video. It’s instantly engaging. And it has nothing to do with how he looks. He’s also intelligent and well-spoken, which is also very important for a coach, and has a lot of extremely interesting things to say.

    I too know people who are objectively good looking but who are not really attractive (at least not to me). There’s even this one guy I know who looks like a model and has a great style and all, but he never says anything (for his own reasons, which are fully justifiable). At the beginning I was very attracted to him because of his looks, but with time my attraction faded away, because there was nothing more. When I finally heard him speaking and found out that he was also VERY intelligent and funny, my attraction to him appeared again and was stronger than before. I can give more examples, but I think I’ve made my point.

    The thing is, for a very long time I thought like Paula – that looks matter and there’s nothing one can do about it. But thanks to Matthew and several life experiences I’ve learned that it’s not true. Looks matter 100% only until that person speaks to you. I found that a long time ago. The moment any person, man or woman, starts talking to me is the moment when they appearance stops being important to me. It just exists, whereas all of their other traits are what I really notice and care about.

  15. So, there was this guy I met about six months ago. My first impression was this: Strange little man.

    If my friends didn’t already know and love him, I wouldn’t have given him a second look… and may have avoided sitting next to him if I saw him on the subway, to be honest with you. He was short and had a tiny build, longer hair even though he was also balding, a spotty beard, and acne scars. Also, he dressed in baggy, ratty clothes that were too big for him. He looked pretty homeless overall.

    But since then I have gotten to know him. He is funny, an ambitious doctoral student, smart, and just lights up the room when he enters it, a natural leader. I learned why my friends were so happy to have him back. He is actually kind, not just nice. And searches out people who don’t feel included and brings them into the group. There are so many amazing qualities that he possesses, that gradually, that first impression of a homeless strange little guy faded away, and was replaced with what I see now.

    This guy with big brown eyes that melt my heart, and a mischievous smile, who I can trust and be myself around, who I want to tell every little thing that happens in my life because he actually listens and cares. The guy I want to be around all the time and he takes up way too much of my thoughts, and yes, who I want to sit close to and snuggle with as ofter as possible. That is who I see now. And, to be honest with you, he’s pretty hot. If you haven’t guessed, I have a huge crush on this guy. And I’m dating him. :)

    Looks can open doors quicker, I’ll admit that. Like I said, I probably would have missed him if my friends didn’t already love him. But they can’t keep them open. And not being good looking doesn’t stop someone from having an amazing personality. People who can’t look past appearance aren’t worth your time anyways. Not to say that if you don’t find someone attractive you should still date them because you don’t want to be shallow. But attraction is based on so much more than looks, and when you are truly attracted to someone, then they will be handsome/beautiful to you, no matter what your first impression on their looks were.

  16. Dear Lady,

    I would say that I have been perceived by men (and even women) attractive, especially during past 5 years. I think I just learned how to take care of myself – cosmetics, sports, healthy life etc. And guess what? I’m 28 and I have never had a boyfriend! I’m definitely not a bimbo, I do have intense spiritual life, I keep working on my self-development… I’m surrounded by a lot of guys indeed. And yeah there are guys who are attracted to my looks and yes it is quite easy flirt with them for me. But they are interested just in physical stuff there! What a victory for me, right? Speaking about relationships – for vast majority of guys I’m simply a dangerous combination of smart and beautiful and they rather put me into friend zone, because I’m simply too much and they cannot afford to fail! Trust me very few guys do not behave like cowards next to me.
    Don’t take me wrongly. I’m proud of myself and I keep going on and I believe there is sth wonderful happening to me in my love life very soon. But precisely because I’m good looking and smart, it is much more difficult for me to find the match. You lady put yourself together and start to work on yourself instead of spitting such poisons on the person who is actually one of few people trying to help us ladies to be high value women. I would not be where I’m right now without Matt! So I have only words of gratitude!

  17. to be honest look matters just 1% . you remind me what happened to me when I was with my parents at the hospital ( because they are old so I take care of them with my sisters .I can’t make them live in retired homes because in my religion I shouldn’t leave my parents to the others to take care of them . yes they are crazy .but they took care of me ) , so I was in the hospital with my parents and then the doctor came . he asked me few questions ( some of them were medical questions ) . he surprised by my answering .he thought that I’m a doctor but when I told him I’m not a doctor he started to ask me what did I study ? he shocked when he knew that I’m accountant and studying psychology . then he asked me what’s my name ? I told him . when I told him my name , he didn’t stop repeating my name in every sentence he said and in every question he asked me . I thought that he was obsessive with my name . I was terrified . and then he gave me his number ( I didn’t talk to him ) . but then I realized that he liked me . I asked myself why did he like me ? I thought it has to relate to my look , but no , I was like any women . after while I knew they were relate to my confident , my knowledge , and I was relax( so it makes easy to anyone to express themselves without judging them ) . I have many stories like this , so I agree with you HERO .

    THANK YOU HERO .

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