If Men Like Only Hot Women, Where Does That Leave an Average Woman Like Me?

If Men Only Kike Hot Women, Where Does That Leave an Average Woman Like Me?

Dear Evan,

Why do dating experts for men teach them how to get the hottest women possible? Unlike women, they are rarely told to date someone they might not find attractive at first because she might grow on him. As an average looking woman (I am fit, well-groomed and fashionable, but I know that I am not a bombshell. I don’t make people gag, but I don’t turn heads either.), I feel that no man is going to find me desirable because all men feel that they deserve and can get the hottest woman out there. Just where does that leave women like me? 


Dear Tia-Maria,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for asking this question. A few months ago, I promised to write a post about shallow men, and this note from you is the perfect excuse.

First, a story:

When I started writing Why You’re Still Single, back in early 2005, I was working with a different woman than my eventual partner, Linda Holmes. This original partner was a noted matchmaker who brought a certain credibility to my pet project – she’s experienced in her field, she’s telegenic, she knows plenty about single people, etc.

One of the first chapters I completed was called “The Beauty Myth Is Not a Myth.” It didn’t necessarily debunk Naomi Wolf’s seminal work, but it did establish one very important concept that women need to understand: Men are as shallow as advertised. And while women can beat their heads against a wall, wishing that this were not true, they’re fighting a real losing battle if they expect men to stop worshipping at the altar of beauty.

Like much of my advice, it can rub a woman the wrong way. But I wasn’t condoning the behavior, I was merely reporting it. This is what men do, whether we like it or not. Yet my writing partner felt so unnerved by my stance, that her version of the “Beauty Myth” chapter only served to contradict everything I had written.

She mentioned that she was in the business of connecting souls.

She stated that as men mature, they learn to appreciate inner beauty.

She encouraged women to hold out for the kind of guy who isn’t as focused on the outer packaging.

That’s when I fired her from the project.

I tell this story not to make myself look good (clearly), but because I refused to put out a book that gave bad advice. And make no mistake about it – telling women to hold out for men who don’t care about looks is BAD ADVICE. Why? Because men like this are as common as Halley’s Comet….

Here’s an excerpt from Why You’re Still Single:

“I am not suggesting that men are pure objects of lust with all the depth of a bathtub. Nor am I suggesting that men don’t have the ability to love and accept any physical imperfections. They can and they do.

Just not as much as women. At least in my experience as a dating coach where I have the unique privilege of being given access to some of my clients’ online dating accounts. And after years of doing this, I’m still flabbergasted that no matter how unattractive a man is – no matter how little hair is on his head, or how much on his back – he STILL has the same twenty-something supermodels on his favorites list as if he was Colin Farrell.

Yes, Shallow Hal lives – and I believe he lives in a majority of American men. Men who are 5s want women who are 10s. And women who are 5s are often left out in the cold, at least in L.A., where I live…

Men who are 5s want women who are 10s. And women who are 5s are often left out in the cold.

If anybody should be judged harshly, it’s men for refusing to let women age gracefully. Most men do not break out of gender roles and societal expectations. So while you may know a handful of men who don’t care about looks, they are rarities. They are the gold standard, the type that every woman should be striving to date. But if you’re under the illusion that they grow on trees, it’s time to wake up and smell the Kiehl’s anti-aging lotion. The number of guys who are “above” the whole looks thing may fill a classroom, but not a stadium, and definitely not a big enough portion of the male population to suggest any type of trend.

In a weak moment, I bet that even the most non-judgmental guy around would say that he wants a mind, soul, and body connection – but only if she takes care of her body.

So, Tia-Maria, why do dating experts tell men how to get the hottest women possible? …

Because that’s what men want. Plain and simple. Dating experts try to sell products by connecting with readers’ basest wishes. And for men, the holy grail is to be able to get the hot girl. What these men rarely consider is that the hot girl might also be emotionally bankrupt, unintelligent, flaky, humorless, and lack basic human empathy. These details don’t concern them. Men’s repeated refrain: “I can’t help what I’m attracted to.”

Who do we blame for this? Men, of course, but there’s more than enough responsibility to go around. After all, women buy into the Beauty Myth just as much as men do. Advertising and media saturation reinforce the image of perfect bodies and skin, and women spend thousands of dollars each year striving for an impossible standard. And to please whom? Men? Themselves? I’m not sure anyone can agree on this stuff.

And where does this realization leave you, Tia-Maria? I would say right back where you were before. Secure in who you are and who you’re not. Validated in your opinion that men are impossibly shallow. And rightfully concerned that you’re going to be overlooked.

Despite my shallow man diatribe, please bear in mind that there is a lid for every pot. Just look around. Most women don’t qualify as “hot” in the Maxim sense, and yet they still get married. The real struggle is in keeping a healthy perspective and a positive attitude until you find the right fit.

So don’t worry about what you can’t control (men); instead, take care of what you can control (yourself).

And trust that the right man will love you as you deserve to be loved.


For more commentary on shallow men, please read:

Where Are All The Emotionally Available, Mentally Healthy Men?

How Come Everyone I Want to Meet Online Isn’t Interested In Me?

Are Women More Likely Than Men to Require Chemistry To Go On A Second Date?

Online Daters Are Shallow! And Water Is Wet!

Join our conversation (493 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 121

    Just don’t turn an ankle, JG…

    Something tells me Cinn need not do that..

    “We do. And we do all that in a rockin pair of heels and cute outfit.”

    – Jeeze and I thought dressed up like a clown would be more effective. Maybe hold a beer in one hand & a pizza in the other…

  2. 122

    Hunter’s #119,

    I’d rather skip the comedy clubs & go straight for the Ray Romano cash in a sitcom. I can so do it. Make it the anti-Everybody Loves Raymond.

    Everybody Loves Ronda…

    She’s a lovable buffoon, who wouldn’t know how to walk upright without Ron’s wit and gentle (and not-so-gentle) prodding. Her parents would be neurotic, overbearing, and cartoonish…and the kids would roll their eyes every time Ronda talked but listened to Ron.

    I see big $ there….

    Don’t you?

  3. 123

    to vino,

    #122, sounds like a plan, do it…..

  4. 124

    yes, you definitely have the capacity 🙂

    ps. as far as I’m concerned you could also make one about a PUA 😉

  5. 125

    So… what does a ’10’ look like, generally?

  6. 126

    This reply is for Evan and Tia Maria. To Evan. I know you said that men that don’t go for looks are as rare as Haley’s comet. I have read all the posts and some people have mentioned women who were of average looks and attracted lots of men including good looking men. Obviously they have a formula for attracting men, and it was not just a question of a freaky one to million chance of an average girl being paired off with a handsome man if this kept happening to them all the time.If these women can do it and though they may seem to be a rarity, I’m sure other women could learn how to be like them.I think it would be good if a woman like this could be a co consultant on your page so she can tell her secrets. At university I also knew someone who really wasn’t that attractive but she was so popular withmen. She was really warm and affectionate and had a bubbly personality. I think confidence isn’t just a case of resignation of the fact I am a 5 and not a 10, but that I am not a 10, but I can attract men as if I am a 10. (self belief) This may be very difficult in this world, where for women confidence can come from attracting men, but I am sure the women I have mentioned must not care when they are rejected and they must believe they can attract the men they want as if they were a 10, if they didn’t believe this and were of average looks, they would not attract the better looking men.

  7. 127

    This is all so silly, though. Men are attracted to women who look like they might dig sex. I think that’s the only genuine criterion, if you’re talking looks alone. That’s what’s hot, I hear. I’ve been propositioned — I mean outright propositioned — in coffee shops while wearing indescribably unflattering clothing & not having showered for days, plugging away and trying to hit a deadline. One guy, an acquaintance, actually sat down across from me in a library not long ago and quietly started telling me a filthy (and, I must admit, rather exciting) story. Professors used to tell me blue jokes and show up at my apartment with bottles of wine. I’ve had more than my share of jewelry, flowers, proposals, dinners with various parents. Was once picked up on a train and brought to shipboard party for a dignitary, and been taken out for birthday champagne by an ambassador. I’ve been kissed by a piano tuner. I remember going through some years of wondering what in hell brought all this on, until an ex-boyfriend yelled the answer at me. According to him, it’s because I a) don’t immediately give men dirty looks; b) look like I like sex. Oh. I do, of course, but I hadn’t realized there was a look.

    In case my grooming habits haven’t been adequately described, I’ll just add that I’m a short, graying middle-aged mother whose fashion sense is pitiable. I’m in good shape, and not fat, but I’m no 19. I don’t wear makeup, and apparently my default expression is “pissed off”. (I’m not, but that’s how it looks when I’m thinking.) I don’t know where my hairdryer is, and truth be told if I forget about it for a few weeks I do get just the tiniest bit mustachey. None of this seems to matter. I’d assumed all the attraction would’ve worn off by now, but my advisor’s just invited me to lunch because he wants to hear about the master’s thesis I wrote years & years ago, or so he says. I don’t believe him for a moment. Nobody is ever genuinely interested in someone else’s thesis.

    Anyway. My message of hope to all you non-photoshopped-looking gals is: Do not worry. You have everything the men want already. Relax, and you’ll see.

    1. 127.1

      I was about to stop reading after post 99 but I’m glad I continued on to your post amy. My situation has been very similar to yours, excluding ‘not fat’. I am a very large size middle aged grandma. I’ve had dates and friendships with all types of men. I’ve also learned to be very comfortable being single. I love my independence. One man I dated told me no man will ever marry me because I am too independent. Oh well… Life is Good.

  8. 128

    Amy, you lucky soul.

  9. 129

    Plain and simple.
    If you’re an average so-so looking woman, and you give off signs that you’re interested in having sex with the guy, chances are he’ll want you.

  10. 130

    According to him, I don’t immediately, a) give men dirty looks…

    THAT’s what I’m doing wrong!

  11. 131

    Really? Six foot-plus men prefer petite women?.hhhmmmhhh. I have noticed, that petite women try harder/make themselves available/use obvious body language, to get a mans attention.
    I can not disagree with this.

    Most men would ignore petite women.

  12. 132

    I don’t get ignored and I am quite petite. Infact, more tall men than short ones hit on me. Now if you don’t liek petite women, I can understand that Michael and that’s cool. But to say most men would ignore petite women sounds strange and is untrue.

  13. 133

    I think this article overlooks the true reason for the apparent shallowness of the male of the species: it’s to our evolutionary advantage to behave exactly this way. There have been many attempts at empirical studies to determine what physical qualities define female beauty, and the overall concensus is that many of these very same qualities…symmetry, youth, ample gender-specific attributes…are all indicators of a genetically healthy partner of ideal breeding age. Not romantic, I know, but good for the species as a whole.
    That doesn’t make us less shallow for pursuing these qualities. A good part of moral character demands that we all rise above our baser instincts. But those instincts are not inherently evil. They are simply geared towards survival. And they’re pretty strong.
    So, you are correct: the male interest in the “hot chick” is not going away any time soon. Neither is the status seeking female, who instinctively wants to assure a safe and bountiful nest for her offspring. I think the best we can do is learn to accept these qualities in eachother, while trying to remember that part of what makes us human is our ability to ignore our animal instincts when it may serve a greater good.

  14. 134

    There is nothing wrong with wanting someone attractive or finacially well off. However, as a woman, I’ve seen so many cases where men are just completely unrealistic about real women their bodies and their expectations. It’snot just about these features anymore. There is a huge part ofexpectations women are suppose to fit into that are completely unrealistic. Which I think largely has to do with the male media men entrench themselves in as far as images of Maxim or porn. Even the women in those magazines don’t look liek that and yet averagejoes think that’s what women’s bodies should be.

    I post on another message board. There was a young woman of 20 that just broke up with her boyfriend because he kept asking her to get implants. By her accounts, she has saggy breasts and he told her so and was not happy. So many of the men came on that thread and were really quite nasty towards her telling her she shouldn’t have saggy breasts at 20. It was very telling that these men had no concept of what a real woman’s body is. Most breasts sag because breasts are just fat, not silcone. You’re breasts can sag at 18 or 19.

    Personally, I’ve heard the “we are animals and this is nature” argument too many times for it to have any real sway anymore. Often, I think this gets used as a justifcation for unreal expectations more then it does as an explanation of the real *nature* of men or women.

  15. 135

    yeah- I also have noticed that short women are usually the ones who get ‘snatched up’ first.

  16. 136

    If people are dancing, yeah, the short woman will be the first to be “snatched up” and put in the air. But as far as dating goes, not necessarily. Some tall guys find it uncomfortable having to lean far down (though certainly not all). And some average to shorter guys aren’t interested in short women because they fear that their children (particularly sons) will have no hope whatsoever of being taller and will face the problems that short men face. In fact, my 5’7-8″ boyfriend used to be of that mindset. But he’s changed his mind. 🙂 All this to say that shorties aren’t necessarily persecuted, but they’re not at the top of the totem pole either. I’d probably say 5-4″-5’7″ gets top selection as being neither too tall nor too short.

  17. 137

    Woman here, OBVIOUSLY men are attracted to the hottest women they can get – why wouldnt they be?? Why is this even a question??

    That being sad, i think the real problem is that women are told not to be that concered with looks, to be more deeper, more about the substance. Like someone earlier mentioned – “Women are supposed to be less shallow”. WHY? this is what bugs me..i think women have continuesly beencultured ( and im not sayingin the 21st century as obviously we have seen some progress, although old mores die slowly)disregard their sexual needs. THAT’s the real problem.
    now, i am woman, and i am shallow. and not shallow in the way that i want a man with money. on no gentelmen – I WANT A HOT MAN. there, i sad it. and im not ashamed about it. I’m sorry but i cant help being attracted to who i am attracted to. end of story.

  18. 138

    Well, my take is a bit different from the replies I’ve read so far:
    I feel that it does go both ways, just not in what most people were saying. Yes, men are attracted to looks, and average-looking women–who would make these great wives and moms–complain that men are shallow and don’t go for them. Just as women are attracted to powerful masculine energy (they call it “chemistry”), and so “nice guys”–who would make these great husbands and dads–complain that women are crazy and don’t go for them, instead going for the bad boy who has lot of issues.
    (Money doesn’t keep a woman around, and it doesn’t even really attract a woman. I’ve been in a relationship with a woman who stood by me for a year when I was unemployed and living with my parents. And now that my career/finances are well under control, I know I have gotten passed up more than once for a guy who takes home a much smaller paycheck. )
    Anyway, just as it is unattractive for a “nice guy” to complain about how women don’t find him attractive, it is unattractive for a woman with plain looks to complain about how men don’t find her attractive. The good news is that everyone has a different physical type, and you can make yourself look much better by going to the gym, dressing up nicely, good hygiene, and so on.

  19. 139

    Thanks very much for this, I’ve read a few of your articles and found them all to be fair and well considered.
    That said. I am a 39 year old single woman. I don’t expect to be in a relationship again and I am saddened beyond belief but not really surprised that the sexual part of my life is over.
    I suppose I’m asking for suggestions as to how to come to terms with this.
    In case you’re wondering, from 26 to 33 I was in an abusive relationship. By the time I managed to extricate myself everyone had either come out or got married (sometimes both LOL).
    I just don’t see a way to compete with women half my age when thats what my target demographic want. All the workouts and face creams aren’t going to change that.
    I love socialising although I’m not a big drinker, cycling and sports, have many friends and no hangups about divorcees and am financially self supporting but have no love life. Its just sad really. Feels like all I’ve got left is to hang around for the next forty years trying not to get in the way. So, what can I do to come to terms with this? Get a cat?

  20. 140

    i dont know if this stuff about guys only being interested in a woman’s looks and not career is true. ever since i started to have a better career men started to become more interested in me. i work in the arts too so maybe some guys are into that. i dont know. what i can tell you for sure is that these guys were not into me when i was an intern.

    by the way, i think the trick for oldedr women is to be ok with meeting younger men or older men. ive noticed even at my age (AND IM ONLY 28), that guys my age will want to go out with girls 5 years younger. So what do I do? I go out with guys five years younger too.

    if you cant beat em’, join em.

  21. 141

    Well, this is kinda depressing.  But realistic.  So what you’re saying is, women should either accept that men will always look for the hotter women and go along with it, or else try to make a happy life being single and drama-free.  Sounds like a winning plan to me – the ‘remaining single’ part.  Too late for me at this moment.  I found a guy who I thought was a winner – interestingly, he’s NOT a high roller, he just was kind and a good listener and funny and we have a lot in common and our sex drives are the same (mine’s higher) – and now, he tells me almost everyday about a hot girl he saw that day or about a girl he either pursued or else banged in the past.  We have an infant son.  I can never say I regret meeting him, because I am so thankful for our son – and for him, during the moments when he’s not talking about other women.  But when he cheats – not if – I’ll be able to understand why and leave him peacefully: because men seek 10s, and if you’re not a 10 (I’m sure as hell not, I might weight 125lbs at 5’4″, but I don’t remember the last time he said I was beautiful, pretty, OR hot), then get used to the idea that you’re not enough.

  22. 142

    to Sonia:

    im in my late 30’s. and im married to a guy who just truned 30.. weve been together for 3 years and hes gotten abusive and he never tells me im pretty or beautiful, NEVER said I was hot either.. I’m getting ready to pack up and leave town with divorce papers on the table. I think that’s emotional abuse to never say nice things to your partner and i think its disgusting for people to stay with another person without manning up about their real feelings. If it doesn’t feel right with someone and you never feel good enough, i think its emotional abuse. And you have to get the hell out of there!

  23. 143

    Ron, you’ve got it all backwards. When someone is shallow it means they judge others based on something that they can’t control and has little or nothing to do with their personality. What kind of a job a man has or the money he makes, says allot more about personality than our looks. It says he’s likely hard working, goal oriented, and responsible all in one answer. Its more shallow to judge women on something that we are much less able to control. I think you are making a generalization about both men and women though, and I don’t see what support you have for judging on looks being better in any way, besides you restating that it is so over and over. 


  24. 144

    I dated a guy who dated a girl who was in maxim, and though I was intimidated by the fact that her attractiveness was validated by the magazine, I didn’t actually think she was that hot in real life. I also realized that many women, myself included, could be done up and made up and put in that magazine. I also dated another guy who’s ex was a former miss USA!  I started to think ‘what the heck, why do I keep dating guys who are obviously looking for one thing” but then I thought, maybe I’m in that league? Or maybe they are just attracted to me?   I think that most people want someone super hot to date, but sometimes the ones who are so hot are not the ones you are attracted to for some reason. I think these men who are 5’s are insecure and want to show that they can get with a 10 despite their lack of good looks, but I’ve noticed guys who are 10s don’t always go for the most gorgeous girl beause it’s not a big deal to them, they know they can get a hotter girl but they want the one they are with.  This isn’t always the case but it’s just what I’ve noticed…….What I worry is that someone who is above average in attractiveness, like myself, of tv looks or even model caliber, will still not be good enough for a man. Like he will say oh yeah she’s an 8 but not a 9, or she’s as pretty as Eva Mendes but she’s not a super model…I mean…isn’t a certain level of pretty ENOUGH????

  25. 145

    come on people! Don’t you know that the women in Maxim don’t look like that? I mean they’re not ugly, and some do have great bodies, but the majority is all fake. And the women in porn are mostly  just good bodies, with some exceptions… anyone can work out and have a good body. I’m not saying that anyone can be a super model or movie star type, but any “average” girl can make herself look hot by working out and wearing the right clothes and makeup. How many times have you seen that annoying bitch in the club who you don’t think is hot but she has a flat tummy and great eyes or some other feature that stands out. My brother said to me, you see a girl and maybe she isn’t pretty, but she has nice eyes, and she’s wearing makeup so you just see oooh eyes, and she has confidence, so she’s hot.  TRUST ME. I’m a model and actress, and while I am pretty I do not look like my photos and there are other girls, less pretty than me, who can be made to look better, and girls who are prettier, who don’t always look that great. “Sex appeal is 50 percent what you’ve got and 50 percent what people think you’ve got!” -Sophia Loren

  26. 146
    Hadley Paige

    RE: Jill @ 144 “isn’t a certain level of pretty ENOUGH???? “
    Speaking for myself (who, if I mayhopefully say without  being perceived as obnoxious, is in a fairly datable category – educated, lawyer, relatively sane, relatively presentable, on good terms w ex, children in college, no alimony, children & animals like me, own house, etc — meaning I am not desperate & don’t find it difficult to get into relationships w women) not only is a certain level of pretty good enough, but I have arrived at the point in my life (50) where there is such a thing as too pretty.
    Yes, I have found REALLY attractive women are (speaking generally) too entitled, too difficult & too hung up on how they look. The fact that life has been easier for them due to their attractiveness has enabled them to avoid the painful but necessary personal growth & development that is forced upon most of us.
    So I actually avoid extremely attractive women & seek out women who are attractive enough for me. And I hear this from other men who have been “out there” for a while, as well.
    Bottom Line> spend the minimum necessary energy to be attractive enough & focus the balance of your energy & time on being a better person. Come to think of it that’s advice both sexes can use.

  27. 147
    still looking

    Hadley @146 –

    It probably took me a year of dating to come to the same conclusion that you reached.  While typing this the old auto rental commercial popped into my mind – “We’re #2 so we try harder.”

  28. 148


    I guess what worries me…is that these guys thought “whew okay, I am sick of these obnoxious hot girls so I’ll date this ok looking one instead, cause it’s easier,” all the while wishing I was better looking.  People kept telling me that I was in the same league or that those men would not have been with me if I wasn’t attractive, but I felt like they were settling because they didn’t want the headache.  When an ex boyfriend said to me “I know that looks are important, I know, but they aren’t the most important thing in the world, there’s other things going in on in life” and I said “but you dated a girl for years who’s job it was to look pretty” and he said “yeah well why do you think we broke up? It just became all about looks” but meanwhile the first time he ever mentioned anything with why they broke up was because he stopped being attracted to her.  So I wonder if she was really that hot, or she was hot enough but just that insecure about it, like me. :-p

  29. 149

    Oh my point, I didn’t get to it, is that I don’t want to date someone thinking “oh he’s great and he thinks I’m so pretty!” but deep down he’s thinking “I’ve dated hotter girls, but she’ll do”

    1. 149.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Jill – We have dated hotter girls, and yes, you’ll do. Once you accept that, you might find you’re in a happy relationship. But if you are under the delusion that you’re going to be the hottest and the smartest and the funniest and the kindest and the most generous and the most creative woman he’s ever dated, you’ve got another thing coming. Good relationships don’t require the kind of lies you want your boyfriend to tell.

      1. 149.1.1

        Most women are fairly realistic and know where they fall in terms of how they might compare to a man’s exes, looks-wise and otherwise. But I think it’s fair to say that most women would still want their man to think of them as being the most special woman they’ve ever been with, and there’s just something about her that’s different (read: better) than any other woman he’s ever known. Maybe I am not the hottest, or the smartest, or the funniest woman any guy has ever been with, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I still want my man to think I’m better overall than any woman he’s ever met. I think the point that Jill was trying to make is that she doesn’t want a guy who will think he’s settling by being with her. We want to be with men who think the sun shines out of our every orifice. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation if a man is truly in love with me – sure, he’ll undoubtedly recognize my shortcomings, but if he’s nuts about me, will it matter much to him that I’m not the best “fill-in-the-blank” he’s ever had? 

  30. 150

    I don’t know.  I look at Tiger Woods’ ex, Elin Nordegren.  IMHO, she is incredibly beautiful.  Yet, the Tiger cheated on her repeatedly, with arguably less attractive women.  There goes your argument that the truly beautiful women have a smoother course in love.

    Actually, the women I envy the most are very average-looking, and happily married to men I would love to have.

    I appreciate Evan’s perspective, but I do continue to believe he has a rather  NYC-LA perspective.  Which is OK. 

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