Should I Date a 7 or Hold Out for a 10?

Should I Date a 7 or Hold Out for a 10?

This blog post elicited a fair amount of heat, and it covered a  topic I dealt with recently in my free newsletter: the value of chasing white hot chemistry with a person whose looks are a “10”.

Now, before we get into that in great detail, I want to state 3 important disclaimers:

First, not every person who is a “10” is damaged goods.

Second, not everyone agrees on what a “10” is.

Third, people can be judged on things other than looks.

If a man or a woman is a 10, who is he/she going to most likely going to want to date? That’s right, another 10.

I say this, because these are the things that people invoke when discussing this – and it’s not like I’m not aware of them. However, the exception doesn’t disprove the rule.

“Rules” are rarely my opinions – more often, they are observations about how the world works. Women lie about their age. Men will not call after having sex. Smart, successful women will struggle to find equal partners.

I observe this frustrating reality and point out why it happens and what, if anything, you can do to counteract it. While I’m an emotional guy, my advice is based on logic and evidence. Generally, if you’re disagreeing with me, it’s because something I said hit you emotionally and rubs you the wrong way. That’s fair. It doesn’t negate the fact that my observations are just that – observations.

If I am to observe that a disproportionate number of “10’s” are: shallow, narcissistic, selfish, demanding, difficult, more likely to flirt, less likely to commit, and somewhat disconnected from the ‘average’ person’s reality, you might say, “Maybe…but I know this one girl who is gorgeous and sweet”. And you’d be right. It still doesn’t change that most 10’s are problematic partners.

So when I write “Stop chasing 10’s, marry the 7’s,” and my good friend Lance writes this reply:

Most hot girls are crazy, that’s for sure, but I wouldn’t advise anyone to date a 7. I say go for the 10 that’s awesome on the inside, too. They’re out there, you just have to look around and be the man that’s worthy enough to get with that gal. If you fall short, look in the mirror, and make the changes that make you attractive enough to land a 10/10.

Well, I’ve gotta disagree – vehemently – on a number of levels.

1) If a man or a woman is a 10, who is he/she going to most likely going to want to date? That’s right, another 10. Most men, in particular, don’t date “down”; they all want to date “up”.

2) If, as Lance says, you hold out for the 10’s…and every other woman holds out for the 10’s…but the male 10’s want the female 10’s…doesn’t that mean that pretty much every woman ends up not finding a partner? It’s like saying that everyone should hold out for a $500,000 salary because that’s what you’re WORTH. Well, if there’s only a few thousand of those jobs out there, there’s going to be a LOT of unemployment. That is, unless someone compromises – and finds a lower paying job (a 7) that has much better benefits and quality of life.

3) If the average guy is – logically – a 5, he usually thinks he’s an 8…and that he should be dating a 10. Yet women who are 10’s have, literally, EVERY single man they meet hitting on them. I can’t think of a better explanation about the fundamental flaws of online dating than this phenomenon. You’ve got a 1-1000 chance of landing a 10, tops.

If the average guy is – logically – a 5, he usually thinks he’s an 8…and that he should be dating a 10.

4) The most important reason that chasing 10’s is a bad idea is that, when you get right down to it, you probably wouldn’t want to keep them. That’s the big blind spot. Chasing looks and chemistry is like a sport. There’s the rush of the chase, the thrill of victory, and the smugness of showing off your hot catch to all your friends – for a moment.

But what happens when you GET the tall, dark, handsome, wealthy, educated, sophisticated, world traveler/self-made millionaire?

Guess what? He’s probably just not that into you.

In fact, he’s probably more into himself.

That means he’s going to be a workaholic – that’s what made him a millionaire.

He’s probably going to be arrogant and stubborn – that’s what happens when you’re a success at everything you do.

He’s probably going to be vain – that’s what happens when you’re told how gorgeous you are.

He’s probably going to be a player – that’s what happens when you have the ability to pick and choose your dates at will.

He’s probably going to be a commitmentphobe – why settle down when you can continue to date a variety of smokin’ hot 10’s?

And so, you never really GET George Clooney. Or James Bond. Or that guy you’re lusting over right now. You’re just renting him. And you’re merely overlooking his considerable flaws because of how hot he is.

Guys do the same thing with women, I assure you. The most tempestuous relationship I ever had was also with the hottest woman I ever dated – so hot that she had to hide her profile on to stem the tide of emails. I held on for four months of hot sex and bragging rights – mixed in with innumerable times of being insulted, emotionally abused, and left at restaurants, parties and weddings. Why did I put up with it? Because she was a 10. And because when she wasn’t acting crazy, she was actually a good girlfriend.

The key is to break the cycle. Stop chasing looks first. Yes, attraction matters, but seriously, it’s a short term high. You’re looking for a relationship to endure for 30 years. You want to spend 30 years on eggshells because the hot guy or girl is being selfish or doesn’t let you know where you stand? Go ahead.

But if you want to find something healthy and enduring – and STILL have great sex – try going for a 7 in looks and a 10 in every other area. Kindness, warmth, intelligence, wit, consistency, effort, generosity. These are the things that matter when you’re 50 – far more than whether your partner holds up next to a 26-year-old Maxim or GQ model.

It’s easy to say you’ll never compromise, you’ll never settle, and you’re going to be the one who finds the “perfect 10” – the Rhodes Scholar/ Supermodel/Top Chef. Good luck with that.

It’s easy to say you’ll never compromise, you’ll never settle, and you’re going to be the one who finds the “perfect 10″ – the Rhodes Scholar/ Supermodel/Top Chef. Good luck with that.

Most 10’s never develop the life skills that average folks do – which is why, on the whole, they’re not going to be as loyal or thoughtful or empathetic. If that’s okay by you, because, hey, you just can’t help what you’re attracted to, then I wish you good luck.

Just don’t be too surprised if everyone else “compromises” their way into a fulfilling relationship while you keep chasing a dream that never has a happy ending.


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  1. 121

    I’m 18 and most people around my age tend to be very shallow including myself. I used to (and sometimes still do) date solely for looks and nine out of ten times it went horribly. I’ve talked to guys who were 9-10, but had horrible personalities. They were complete assholes who thought that they owned shit because they looked good. Not all attractive men are like this, but there is a huge percentage that are. I once hooked up with a total stud and I regret that every single day. I was naive and insecure, and he was hot and paid attention to me. I was so blinded by his good looks that I failed to realize that he was a misogynistic pig that only cared about my body than the real me. My self-esteem went down the toilet and after some soul searching I decided that I couldn’t choose a guy solely on his looks. My last boyfriend was a 7 and he was a great guy, but our personalities were too different. I didn’t feel like myself around him, which now shows that 7s aren’t automatically better people. It’s all about chemistry and attraction. I’m talking to this guy and he’s probably a 5, but his personality is AMAZING! Better than most guys I’ve talked to. People tell me that I’m at least a 7 (I’d like to believe that) and I’d always tell myself that I want someone who is at least a 7, but this guy is awesome to me. He looks at me like I’m the only girl in the room, he tells me I’m beautiful even without makeup on (I have acne), he likes to show me off to his friends and tells them that he hit the jackpot, he even introduced me to his family. What won me over is that we go to different schools which are about 6 hours apart, but he’s willing to travel to see me for a weekend. My ex and I went to the same school and he wouldn’t even want to travel 15 minutes to see me. I was hesitant on getting into a relationship because he isn’t hot, but I once turned a guy down and then a year later he became super hot. You never know how something or someone will turn out and I’d rather regret getting into a relationship and it not working out than not getting into one and he be the one that got away.

  2. 122
    loves labor found

    This article made me so sad. I think the author shares the same viewpoint as a lot of people. I feel like the truth though lies in the subjectiveness of what a 10 is. What many of my guys friends deem a 10 or more lustfully put, “really,   unnapproachably hot” is probably not what the  majority of the. world sees. rather, i think theres a bit of science in here thats telling my friends brains that so-and-so would genetically be a good match for making babies. Seriously,some of these women have even been objectively unattractive. This is the beauty of nature. That being said, i a m friends with many objectively beautiful women who are 9s and 10s. They are smart, fun, and surprisingly suffer from a lot of low self esteem. I think that while a lot of men oggle them from afar, too few have the guts to approach them. Theyre stuck getting approached by the same creepy guys we all are. And the weurd thing is, not one of them is holding out for a 10. In fact, some of them gave been obsessed with men i think most of us deem a 6 at best. Im clinging to my theory that its biology at play again. the deal is, id much rather date a guy who sees me as this hot person, his version of a 10, though im objectively not, than be w someone who subscribes to the logic presented in this article and settles for me as a 7…all that happens is that the guy im w is always hung up on other women. And again, a lot of the women these men long for arent even that hot. Likewise, ive found that when i score a man id call a 9 or 10, we are both very physically into each other. I think again its biological. So, why are we ruining our precious gene pool by hooking up w all of these people we think are so-so? We owe it to them, ourselves and the next generation to follow our instincts a little. Think of it this way, there are plenty of men who’d call Nicole Kidman or Kalehsi from Game of Thrones less than a 10. Should theseguys settle for these women when theyre really attracted to something else? Of course not. Free the Nicoles and Kalehsis from being w men who settle. Like all of us, theyll ve just fine.

  3. 123

    i guess my boyfriend made that decision a while ago. He didn’t tell me that was what he was doing when we got into a relationship. We’d been together 9 months when he told me he rated me a 7/10. I was and am still hurt.  I’m not ugly. Up until then I’d never even thought about looks, but have often been complimented by friends and family. The one person who’s opinion matters to me doesn’t rate me highly. It leaves me hurt and confused. 

  4. 124

    What I reckon:

    1) Everybody disagrees on what a 10 is. I mean, massively. I would give George Clooney, Brad Pitt and David Beckham a 6 at best. They just look bland to me. Reality is that there is no such thing as a 10 and there are no such things as leagues. No one is just naturally better looking than anyone else. There are people everywhere who will think you and everyone you know is beautiful and they’ll mean it, because that’s how it works. Don’t settle for someone you’re not attracted to because you think you’re not attractive enough yourself, that’s nonsense.

    2) Going by Evan’s logic, I’m nearing a 10. I get a lot of attention. And he’s right about a one thing. I am vain – definitely – and I would love everyone else to be vain too because it’s nice. I enjoy looking at myself in the mirror because I find myself aesthetically pleasing. Do I expect everyone to think the same? No. Because of the point above. If a man isn’t interested in me, 9 times out of 10 it will be because he doesn’t find me physically attractive. That doesn’t mean I’m not physically attractive to anyone. I also don’t want to go out with someone who doesn’t find me physically attractive.

    3) However, speaking as someone who gets a lot of attention from men, is successful in their career, and was favourited throughout education for being top of the year, I will also say the following: I have empathy and I don’t think I’m better than others. I’m better than average at some things, but other people are better than me at other things. We are all equal. I’m also not stubborn or arrogant. Although I suppose technically I could have date after date after date, I don’t really want to because I don’t find the vast majority of people attractive (sorry), so I actually date very rarely and spend most of that side of my life politely turning people down. If I’m dating you it’s because I genuinely like you and find you attractive – and that’s rare for me so I won’t be dropping you for no good reason (must learn to drop people for good reason, though…)

    4) Men are not different from women. I have not noticed, in any way, any difference between men and women. People are different depending on their temperaments, experiences and upbringing. There are slight cultural differences depending on which country you live in. 

    Stop judging other people; stop judging yourself; and “hold out” for someone you actually like. In the meantime get on with your own life. Whether or not you have a boyfriend is not the be all and end all. It’s a cherry on the cake of an already full life. 

  5. 125
    Dina Strange

    I am curious who in their 30’s even follows those immature 6, 7, 10s. If thats how average man/woman judged her relationships, then there is no hope for us. At all.

    Grow up, people. Isn’t there limit to human stupidity?

    1. 125.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      When doctors ask you how much pain you feel, they ask you on a scale of 1-10. Is there a “real” 4? Is your 4 different than my 4? Of course. But it doesn’t matter. It’s an arbitrary shorthand way of describing something complex, like feelings about a person and a relationship. So I don’t think it’s “stupid” to discuss matters like this, especially since EVERYONE knows what I’m talking about – that how he/she judges a 10 is different than how he/she judges a 5. This doesn’t make people judgmental; you would seem to take the cake on that one.

  6. 126


    You are absolutely right. Being a 10 takes time, energy and money, leaving not much time, energy and money for anything else. Granted going against the social norm of an attractive person does have more options is futile, how far do you want to take it is another thing. We all have the same number of hours in a day, how we spend it is a reflection of who we are.
    Only a small part of the population is born naturally good looking while a larger part is only considered good looking because of grooming, exercise, dieting, plastic surgery, dressing up, etc.

    Would I prefer a partner that is a 7 in looks who spends time, energy and money on more meaningful areas that build character (volunteerism, time to bond, energy to help out around the house, pursuing a religion, time for self-reflection, helping out a friend or family member in need), hell YES! I would have a lot more respect for this person than someone who is a 10 in the looks department and have very little time for anything else….probably including me or anything meaningful around them.

    Another thing is everyone grows old (no matter how much you look after yourself), the same person in the 20s cannot possibly look like the same person in the 50s. Then what happens? Ditch that person? There has to be something more sustainable to keep someone interested.

    Also, bragging rights get old real quick. When you see others in your age group getting married and having happy marriages, your toy boy or hot girl will not suffice. I think the problem is one of a “elevated by association” mentality. A man feels he has a good catch when his friends pat him on the back for getting a hot girl and he feels better about himself by association. A woman who nets a rich man would have her girlfriends wishing they have a rich boyfriend and feels better about herself by association. What they don’t get is that you can very well spend time developing your own talents instead of relying on someone by association which you lose when it doesn’t work out. Developing your own talents has more security in the long run and who doesn’t like a successful independent individual?

  7. 127

    I see so many profiles of men bragging about what they have and the daring sporting activities showing that they “still got it’ and their profile states that they are looking for a woman from 28-35 and they are almost 48 themselves! Such a lack of self-awareness! And the only type they want is slender, or athletic and toned. I wish there was a dating coach that targeted men.It’s so frustrating when you are at that awkward dating age of 44 and a woman that can longer have children!

  8. 128

    …..Lisa……I agree with you, men would benefit greatly, if they went to a dating coach…..

  9. 129

    Well doesn’t Darwinism suck. Being genetically programmed to want the best gene pool against the market competition is reality. Dress it any way you wish with comments of what beyond physical face structure and body type may contribute to attractiveness but reality is you will be stimulated and attracted to your perception of 10. When you get used to the status that 10 will not be interested in less than 10 without other factors; mostly money, possibly fame but certainly not just great personality or humour by themselves. There are so many psyche/ego grown reasons why people want to be with or seen with a 10 that frequently it overpowers the logical status. Simply on mass; a 7 will date a 7, a 10 will date a 10 and with rare exception (unless thereare other issues involved)will date less. No one wants to state to their social group that they are less physically attractive than others.

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