Heres what I want to do in this section

• Define what attractiveness is.

• Identify how people initially evaluate another's attractiveness on a snap judgement.

• Explain how beliefs and thought processes affect the snap evalua-

• Give some practical examples and advice on how to become more attractive.

tion.

5.1 What Is Atractive? Merriam-Webster gives two definitions:

1. Having or relating to the power to attract.

2. Arousing interest or pleasure.

That doesn't quite do it. Let's look at one of those definitions of attract: To draw by appeal to natural or excited interest, emotion, or aesthetic sense.

Now we're getting somewhere. My general definition of attractive is something that is desirable on some level. For purposes of this book, I'm going to deal with the kind of attraction that's most relevant to dating and socializing: When I refer to something or someone as being attractive from this point on, I'm referring to things that are attractive in a way that leads to sex and relationships. That is, a lot of things can be attractive on a lot of different levels, but I'm going to focus on what can cause sexual or romantic attraction.

Now, the first interesting thing I'll note from this: There are things that are not sexually or romantically attractive at all to women, that won't help in building a good, healthy relationship (or having enjoyable casual encounters, if that's what you're after) ... yet these characteristics ARE attractive to women with a very specific preogative (such as getting married, settling down, raising a family).

By that, I mean, if a woman is ready to settle down, she might look for a man who is very gentle and nurturing, a man that is less willing to take large risks for potentially large rewards, a man who will stick around and be a father figure for her children. These qualities of stability aren't universally attractive, but can be very attractive on a level to a woman with an agenda of getting married and settling it down. One of my girlfriends said it best: 'If I was going to get married right now, I'd marry my last ex-boyfriend. He still wants to marry me.'

Now, by all accounts and measures, her boyfriend isn't a very attractive guy. They've been broken up quite a while, and he's yet to move on. My girlfriend lives on the East Coast, her ex-boyfriend in California, and he recently offered to fly into Boston and get a hotel just to meet up

with her: And that's after she'd told him she wouldn't have sex with him ever again!

He's not particularly attractive, objectively, but his loyalty (bordering on obsession with her) and his low-risk lifestyle would make him a pretty good husband, and my gal's nothing if not pragmatic. She could marry many more attractive men than him, but few men that she'd feel so secure in his job and faithfulness.

That little aside there explains something major: There are many qualities that are not universally attractive, but can be attractive in certain situations. Another great example would be a female 'gold-digger': Something very attractive to her would be mass amounts of wealth. While wealth is rarely unattractive, a lot of behavior that'd turn off many girls would make a gold digger downright giddy.

That DOES NOT mean that throwing money around and spending it on these girls is building a solid relationship, or even the best way to get her in bed. Money is attractive by itself to most people; it does not necessarily make the holder of the wealth more attractive except to people with certain agendas.

The working definition of attractive for the rest of the post is something that is desirable on some level. Unless otherwise noted, anything I write about as being an attractive characteristic will be a trait that is desirable on an interpersonal level, that'd be useful for establishing solid relationships and/or getting quality sex. An attractive person is just a person with a lot of those traits.

5.2 How Do People Know If Something Is Attractive?

Of course, it all starts with the senses. For physical beauty, the person needs to be seen or touched. Hearing also matters, as do scent and taste.

When a woman sees a man, she almost always makes a quick snap judgement about him. If no other information about the guy is available, it's usually on what she sees with her eyes, and sometimes on what she hears (if she hears him before or simultaneous with seeing him). At

that point, very little if any conscious thought has been made, and yet she's made an immediate impression. This is daunting to a lot of guys. Many, many men do not want to hear this. The fact is, yes, you can change a person's initial perceptions of you with time, in fact, within a few more seconds.

But the matter stands: People quickly size you up, and it's a lot easier to go from (at least) a neutral initial impression to a positive one than it is to go from a negative initial impression to a positive one.

What's that mean? Something we've all known for quite a while: Improve your physical appearance, within reason, as much as you can. Seriously, check this out: You don't need to completely overhaul yourself in one day. Any small, positive adjustments are good.

Any one of: Doing your hair, cutting your fingernails, washing your face, taking a shower, styling your hair (even really quickly with your hands), shaving or trimming / styling a beard or mustache, putting on clean clothes, putting on clothes that fit your figure well, applying something like Chapstick or lip balm, adjusting your clothing and playing around to find a cool style (including tucking or untucking shirt tails, buttoning or unbuttoning cuffs, figuring out how many buttons on the top and bottom of a button-down shirt to unbutton, turning your collar up or down as appropriate, etc), washing / cleaning your hands, cleaning your shoes (even if they're sneakers or sandals), and... well, lots of other things.

You don't need to do 30 things at once: One little change makes a little difference, and if you're spending a lot of time reading articles on dating, try taking a 10 minute break to do even one small thing to up your appearance - it could give you a significant edge. And a quick note on dress: Just coordinating the clothes you already own can make you look 10,000 times more well-dressed.

Whatever you do, don't play into a victim mentality: If you find yourself thinking, 'I'm too unattractive to...', then get off the self-pity kick and make one small change. There's probably at least a dozen little things you could do easily in the next week to become more physically attractive.

Physical appearance largely dominates the initial first impression, but within moments, you're in conversation with her. Before any of your words even register, the tone of your voice has huge impact on what you're saying. This is why socially learned people advocate having a strong tonality: Either naturally, by being and feeling comfortable, or by consciously focusing on it and adjusting it to its best level. Either method can work, and applied perfectly, either method will work perfectly.

I'll address what a good tonality is momentarily, when I talk about how the information you're giving off is processed (that's when we'll talk about body language, too, if you've been waiting).

Smell is something that's easy to cover, not because it isn't huge, but because there's not too much conscious effort that we should or could put into it. As long as you don't smell bad, you're fine. It can be a plus to smell 'good', with either a good cologne or aftershave, or pleasant smelling soap and shampoo. In this department, don't smell bad, maybe make a little effort to smell good, and then forget about it.

Taste: Eventually, you'll be kissing the girl of your dreams, I hope. You don't want to taste poorly, but again, it's nothing you should sweat. Between the kind of ethnic foods that I like and regular salads, I eat a lot of onions, so I'm constantly battling that. Not a problem: A little fruit at the end of a meal goes a long way towards fixing your breath, and breathmints are a good quick fix. And of course, brush your teeth and take care in that department, and don't sweat this. I'm not going to talk about taste and smell for the rest of this article: Make sure you're not bad in those departments, make a little effort to be good, then get it off your mind.

Of the five senses, I've laid out the base idea behind four of them, and I've notably not mentioned touch much so far. Be assured that touch is a huge part of the equation, but the modern, western world has done a strange thing with touching: They've made it often more of a big deal than it really is. Thus, many touches, regardless of how nonchalant, can provoke conscious thought on her part. Whether you want to provoke conscious thought with your touch or not in a given situa-

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