HOT OR NOT?
DISCOVER THE SECRET OF TRUE BEAUTY
Before the ‘Hot or Not’ website, there was Miss World. Before that, there were Divine Beauty Contests. It seems men and women have always enjoyed ogling each other. Dr Stu discovers what it takes to have that special ‘X factor’ on page 36.
It all started as an argument one evening. The men were on one side of the room, the women on the other. The battle lines were drawn. Movie star Keira Knightley was the point of discussion. We men were passionately arguing that she is beautiful. We
knew we were right. But the women were far from convinced – some claiming that she has a face that looks as if it has been hit with a frying pan. They were clearly jealous of her good looks. Predictably, the disagreement did not reach an amicable conclusion. The saying that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is painfully clichéd but true: everyone’s idea of what makes someone attractive is different. (Clearly not everyone thinks Keira Knightley is.) It is, however, hard to deny that some people are just… well… darned good looking. Take Natalie Portman or Ryan Gosling: they seem to have that special something, meaning that they regularly feature in glossy mags’ ‘Hottest Celebrities’ lists. We all know it when we see it, but can never quite put a finger on what that ‘X-factor’ is. The secret of beauty is, however, not as mysterious as you might think. Hey baby, your testosterone drives me wild! After breathing, drinking, eating and sleeping, a human’s next most powerful urge is to get down and jiggy with someone special. But this recipient of our lovin’ can’t be just anyone – they need to be able get our heart racing, tummy tumbling and the hairs on the back of the neck standing… erect. Put simply, they need to ‘turn us on’ – and that usually means they need to look attractive. So let us look at a stereotypically ‘good looking’ man: he is tall, has broad shoulders and a muscular, V-shaped upper body. Conversely, the belle of the ball has a curvaceous figure, full lips and soft features. These appealing qualities aren’t random and are seen positively across different cultures. In a primitive and unconscious way, they give us clues about who will make a good mate and parent of our future children. The hallmarks of a ‘good looking’ man suggest that he is physically strong, thus giving him the ability to intimidate and dominate other men. He will therefore make a good protector of a future family. Any good looking man will also tend to have prominent cheekbones, a chiselled jawline and prominent brow – all of which develop in the presence of high testosterone levels in the blood. And high testosterone levels indicate that he is particularly virile. Similarly, a woman’s allure is born out of her ability to bear children. When high levels of the female sex hormone, oestrogen, pump through her veins, she will develop wider hips, larger breasts and softer features. Plenty of oestrogen can make a woman extremely fertile – and that seems to be something men simply can’t resist.
LEFT: Comparison between a male
(top) and a female pelvis (bottom). Females generally have
wider hips to permit childbirth.