Arjun Singh Rathore
There is a cognitive bias that men who look great on the outside are great on the inside.
What makes a man handsome or beautiful? From plus size to silver fox, the accepted ideal of male beauty is constantly shifting. In past decades, the most famous icons of Western male beauty have been a rather narrow cohort blue-eyed stars of the screen like Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio come to mind. But the idea of what the “perfect” male looks like is evolving as the film and fashion worlds embrace greater diversity, and the importance of representation is understood by global brands.
The conventional notion of the Mediterranean “tall, dark and handsome” type is still in demand, despite growing diversity. The phrase came to use in Europe in the early 1900s, and then was commonly used in Hollywood during the 1920s to describe Italian star Rudolph Valentino. It has remained a frequently used idiom, although the exact meaning and inference of tall, dark and handsome is now more closely debated. According to anthropologist Shafee Hassan, “Mediterranean men have a huge advantage in having dark eyebrows and dark facial hair. One can grow a full beard and dark hair is associated with virility”. Beautiful by these standards is Italian actor Michele Morrone. In Puglia, Southern Italy, he was working until 2019 as a gardener in Rome and auditioning for acting roles. His life changed overnight when he was cast as the lead in Netflix film 365 Days, which became one of the most-watched films on the OTT platform of 2020. He plays the smouldering Mafia boss Massimo, a figure of fantasy for his many fans.
After the success of 365 Days, Morrone told in a BBC interview: “It’s very difficult for a good-looking guy to get work as a serious actor because people think to be an actor you should not be this good looking. I don’t know why they have this concept. I had a casting every week for 10 years, I did not get the roles.”
Yet despite the continuing success of the traditionally handsome, the norm of the male beauty standard is opening up. Older models have seen a significant rise in popularity. Of course, we’re used to conventionally handsome “silver foxes” such as Pierce Brosnan and George Clooney gracing our screens, but now older male models are frequently used in advertising campaigns and on runways, among them Anthony Varrecchia, Wang Deshun (who became known as “China’s hottest grandpa”), Ron Jack Foley and Lono Brazil, along with our own 80-year-old actor turned model Amitabh Bachchan and 64-year-old cricketer turned model Kapil Dev are still the highest paid models in demand.
Age isn’t the turn-off it used to be. Over the last 30 years, we’ve seen cool young people with age, you can be older now and still cool and relevant. People want to see people who look like themselves represented.
There is a myth of Wealthy Men and Beautiful Women, but similarity and companionship are the currency of attraction, for better or worse. In one illustrious study of love (“human sexual selection”) in 1986, psychologists asked people to rank 76 characteristics: What do you value most in a potential mate?
And it was not a surprise that the winner wasn’t beauty, and it wasn’t wealth. Number one was “kind and understanding,” followed by “exciting personality” and then “intelligent.” Men did say they valued appearances more highly than women did, and women said they valued “good earning capacity” more highly than men did, but neither ranked measures of physical attractiveness or socioeconomic status among their top considerations.
While people tend to prefer people similar to themselves in terms of traits like religiousness or thriftiness, when it comes to beauty and income, more is almost always seen as better. On these “consensually-ranked” traits, people seem to aspire to partners who rank more highly than themselves. They don’t want a match so much as a jackpot.
People, though, are liars. Experiments that don’t rely on self-reporting regularly show that physical attractiveness is exquisitely, at times incomparably, important to both men and women. Status (however you want to measure it: income, formal education, etc.) is often not far behind. In real-life dating studies, which get closer to genuine intentions, physical attractiveness and earning potential, strongly predict romantic attraction.
As the great, professional male model Derek Zoolander once said, there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, really, ridiculously good looking. But the harsh truth can’t be ignored: dashingly handsome gentleman have it better. People expect these men to be more intelligent are undeniable. Because handsome and intelligent men are more likely to get better grades and go farther in their life. They are more likely to be successful at work. And they are less likely to get into trouble (for example, commit crimes) as adolescents. But given all the advantages of intelligence, though, you may be surprised to learn that it does not predict other life outcomes. You might imagine that doing well in studies or at work might lead to greater life satisfaction, but several large-scale studies have failed to find evidence that IQ impacts life satisfaction or longevity. This is, in other words, perhaps why “smart” people do “dumb” things.
To add-on a study at St Andrews University found that if people think you are attractive, they also perceive you as being more intelligent and a harder worker, even if you’re just a lazy dumbass with a flawless jawline. However, a study at Rice University found this might not be a good thing, attractive people are held to higher standards so in some ways can be more likely to fail.
Everyone keeps telling you how smart you are being intelligent, knowledgeable and able to think critically, but you aren’t. If people think you are clever, but you know for a fact that you are a giant dummy (as much as a giant dummy truly knows anything for a fact, or what a fact even is), you might at least be a beautiful one. A Yummy Dummy.
To sum up Men as compared to women, physically are build tall and are more muscular and the high fashion sense make them handsome. Tall (High), Dark (Hard) and Handsome is just a title created by we humans only. So just take it lightly. It’s not a big deal. Smile #HasdyRahoTyBasdyRaho.
Arjun Singh Rathore