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

handsome man in pool

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”³ – 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. 1

    LOL, can’t wait to respond to this one. I’ll blog a reply this afternoon. Cheers!

    Lance´s last blog post…Stomp, Anniversaries, Obama, and Vacations

  2. 2

    Well, considering the amount of effort that Lance is willing to put into the relationship (no matter who it’s with) is a 5, I think that’s probably what he can ultimately expect!

    SNAP! That’s right, I said it, Lance 🙂

    Honey´s last blog post…Stomp, Anniversaries, Obama, and Vacations

  3. 3

    @Honey: Haha, very funny.

    @Starthrower: You’re making the assumption that I’m looking for a perfect woman, that I need a perfect woman to make my life somehow more complete and satisfying, and that the pinnacle of human relationship is an LTR or a “marriage.”

    Lance´s last blog post…Stomp, Anniversaries, Obama, and Vacations

  4. 4

    Evan you possess what so few poeple pay attention to, and that is wisdom. I have made acquaintences with 10’s – not dated, but been introduced, and sure, there are some very nice ones out there. But because society treats “pretty people” differently, they are groomed to think and behave certain ways. I’m not sure that being a guy who’s a 10 serially dating a string of 10’s is a very satisfying way to live. At some point I think we all long to put down roots and find that one person who we can grow old with. But again, that’s wisdom. I believe wisdom is making a decision today that you will be happy with down the road. We all have a lot of head knowledge but not a lot of wisdom.

    Lance is going to be looking for that perfect woman for a very long time. I hope he can live up to the same standards that he’s holding her to.

  5. 5

    You’re a genius! I totally agree! Especially in big cities (like L.A. where WE live) it’s soooooo easy to get drawn to the seemingly endless parade of “10’s” on every street corner – but I love how you point out how often these people are self-absorbed, spoiled, or underdeveloped in other CRUCIAL ways. It’s like people who become famous – after a few years of everyone kissing their “you-know-what” and bending over backwards to impress them/make them happy/get their attention, they can’t POSSIBLY be normal anymore, or understand what it’s like to be a mere mortal. This is what happens to 10’s (or the extremely rich – anyone who has that kind of power for some reason). They stop breathing the air the rest of us breathe, and the only way to succeed with them is on THEIR terms, which makes being happy with them in a “partnership” impossible. Thanks for trying to wake up the masses! You’re a gem!

  6. 6

    Thanks for this post. I am sending it to ALL my single friends, male and female!!

  7. 7

    Roughly speaking, I seem to instinctively place men into 3 categories when it comes to appearance/sex appeal/spark: C = “No way in hell”; B = “I can make this work”; A = “TAKE ME NOW PLEASE!”.

    Obviously there are gradations within each category. And obviously this is subjective to *me*.

    I think I generally find the As too intimidating. They’re fun to admire, but I can’t feel like myself around them.

    I have always been pretty sure I will wind up with someone on the mid to upper end of the B range. I think that is the same as Evan’s 7.

    I can’t date Cs because there is just zero possibility of chemistry. But Cs are probably not even half of my target demographic.

    It’s not just based on appearance for me. It has a lot to do with how a guy carries himself and what kind of spark is in his eyes.

    1. 7.1
      Chris K

      “It has a lot to do with how a guy carries himself and what kind of spark is in his eyes.”

      It’s the same with how a man sees a women (though admittedly there’s usually more importance in appearance for men).

      There is no such thing as a 10 – there is only someone that you think is a 10. Some of that you might be able to pin down (for most guys it’s somewhere between slim and voluptuous) but tastes vary. And more importantly, a women with a smile, self-confidence, intelligence and warmth will look more and more attractive as you see more of those attributes.

      I’ve had women describe me as attractive (not all the time, but sometimes). Now, either not-especially-fit, balding guys are suddenly hot, or I’m getting a boost from my non-physical attributes.

      But I know that muscles count too, which is one reason I’ve started working out.

  8. 8

    Evan is describing the all-around alpha male, while there are also good(enough)-looking omegas (which probably automatically no longer qualifies them as omegas, but you get my drift). The latter is what I want for myself. A loving and devoted man whom I can imagine having sex with (preferably, indefinitely).

  9. 9
    Alan Roger Currie

    Good read Evan.

    One of the reasons why I believe you have so many dating singles these days is because all of the men and women are pursuing 9s and 10s (to no avail).

    Let’s say you put 2500 singles on an island. (1300 single women and 1200 single men) Let’s say that 10% of each group are “10s,” 10% are “9s”, 10% are “8s”, 15% are “7s”, 20% are “6s”, 20% are “5s,” 5% are “4s”, 4% are “3s”, 3% are “2s” and 3% are “1s”

    If everyone, hypothetically, were to date ‘within their range,’ just about everyone would find a companion. But if you have 75-90% of the men chasing female “10s” and 65-75% of the women chasing male “9s and 10s,” then you’re going to have some ‘lucky’ people … but more so, a high degree of disappointed and even frustrated singles.

    This is essentially what is going on right now in society….

    Alan Roger Currie´s last blog post…The Secret Power of Single Women – May 22,2009

  10. 10

    It’s nice to see that other people struggle with this as well, but I just want to confirm what you are saying Evan, because I think its important. 1) speaking as someone who has gotten the 10’s all her life, this “7” relationship is FAR better than any of those other relationships, which is why I had the pause to begin with and 2) when I listened to you, and made that decision to invest in what I had with this person the relationship, and the passion, only got better. It continues to grow from the 7 because of how great everything else is. It really was good advice, and I thank you for telling me what no-one else either had the nerve to point out, or just didn’t understand.

  11. 11

    Oh, and one other thing no one has mentioned yet, but everyone probably knows: the beautiful ones aren’t good in bed. Since they have no incentive to try to please their partners.
    Maybe (maybe) it’s less of a problem for men, who can just get off on someone’s looks, but it doesn’t entirely work that way with me.

  12. 12

    Lance, I responded to Evan’s mention of you in his post. I agree that we don’t need another person to complete us. And I’m sure for some, marriage is not the ultimate relationship. If that’s how you roll, more power to ya. It’s obvious my set of values are a bit different, but I’m not sitting around pining for a spouse. But I believe our relationships, be they romantic or non-romantic are the only thing we’ll take with us. I guess if being a serial dater allows one to have the ability to make a positive impact in the life of others, then by all means. It just seems like a series of “losses” to me.

  13. 13

    An excellent and provocative post.
    Physical beauty fades and only brings so much to a relationship. Intellect, Caring, Independence and other values add points for me.

  14. 14

    I don’t understand people who think this way. I have met guys I initially felt extremely attracted to, but after talking to them for 10 minutes, my attraction waned to zero. I have also met guys I only felt a flicker of attraction for initially that I eventually (or shortly thereafter!) became extremely attracted. People don’t fall into, and then stay in, little categories like that.

    People dating online can’t help but assign numerical values to things like “long-term compatibility” and “physical attractiveness” because you can’t decide if you’re really attracted to someone until you’re with them in person. You can only guess. This kind of thinking just seems so simplistic and pointless to me because it assumes everyone is attracted to the same thing. If you disagree, then just ask a group of men and women whether they think Sarah Jessica Parker is attractive. There will be people arguing vehemently on both sides.

  15. 15
    The Mike

    If you hold out for a “10”, you will be lonely! Also, a “7” will work harder and appreciate it.

  16. 16

    I find myself caught in that trap all the time, looking for the absolute best looking women I can find. And I did. And we hit it off. And guess what…I can barely get her to go out with me…still wants to play the field. So I am vowing to go out with some women that I ordinarily wouldn’t. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m afraid I’ll be with them, thinking I could do better. I guess if your really hitting it off and you have that elusive “connection”, her looks and size of breasts and all that other stuff men select for becomes really insignificant. I’m in communication with a few7’s now and it seems like we get along well and I don’t have to try as hard to be liked or impress them, and the pressure is not totally on me for the success of the relationship and some of it is on them. that’s a good thing. It seems to be more equal. It is funny that JuJu said that the 10’s are the lousiest lovers…some of the best times I ever had in bed were with a really homely gals. I’m 50, and a 6 who thinks he’s a 8 btw, so the sex thing is not quite as important…been there, done that, have proven myself. I did want to ask JuJu though if women have to be able to imagine themselves having sex with someone in order to be attracted to them? I thought that was an interesting comment.

    1. 16.1

      We have to at least imagine being able to kiss them, and yes, sometimes having sex as well. At least that’s the case for me. If I can’t see either, it’s not going to work.

  17. 17

    However, the exception doesn’t disprove the rule.

    Amen. I find myself in that kind of argument all of the time with people.

    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.

    Yep, those arguments I find myself in boil down to people being offended by reality and trying to argue reality into being different….instead of dealing with it the way that it is.

  18. 18

    IMHO, 7s, 8s and 9s can be quite attractive, great in bed and awesome company.

    I think some people who push aside a good thing to insist upon a 10 have ego/self worth/narcissistic issues.

  19. 19

    @Juju, comment #6.

    I was never in a fraternity so I am NOT sure I am right, but I think omega is the greek ‘z’. You may indeed be able to get yourself an alpha male, but if you can’t , based on your comments, I think you can settle for higher than an omega, the absolute bottom :).

    1. 19.1

      Surely, she meant something next to alpha. She may be more used to the opposition or association of alpha and omega rather than beta.

  20. 20

    Ack, comment number @18 looks like it could be a slam — not my intent — I was speaking in general.

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