Sex + Dating

The Case for Dating Someone Less Attractive Than You

illustration of dating down
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

In the dating world, there's a certain grading system with which you're undoubtedly all too familiar.

Akin to a beauty contest scorecard, a person's attractiveness is ranked from one to 10. And generally, it's presumed that the beautiful Amazons among us (the eights, nines, and 10s) should only date each other -- while the "uglies" of the bunch (the twos, threes, and fours) must stick to their own Quasimodo kind. But, every now and then, a couple pulls the switch off this genetic equilibrium. And that's how we get pairings like Lyle Lovett/Julia Roberts, J. Lo/Marc Anthony, and Salman Rushdie/anyone.

Now, I'm certainly not going to put myself into the same camp with the Julia Roberts and Padmas of the world... but I, too, have dated my fair share of Salman Rushdies. I've welcomed men into my bed who were short, fat, or balding (sometimes all three), while I, thankfully, am none of those things.

Despite those relationships not working out in the long run, they did end up being some of the most rewarding dating experiences I've had. And I've gotta say -- it DOES have something to do with their looks. So if you're a Bo Derek-solid 10, here are reasons why you should consider dating someone who's a Dudley Moore... or someone at least marginally less attractive than you.
 

They will work harder to impress you

Not too long ago, I was on a date with an actor who knew he was hot AF. Things were going well, but I couldn't help but notice each time a woman walked by our table, his eyes would conveniently stray from our conversation. He talked a good game -- but his flirty texts were non-committal and confusing. Bottom line? He didn't make me feel special. I quickly lost interest.

It was a far cry from when I dated a less attractive dude, who was always so excited to see me. Our dates -- always planned in advance, and never involving late-night booty calls -- were consistently fun and romantic. Our conversations were easy, and I felt he was interested in anything and everything I had to say (even if I was waxing poetic on The Bachelorette). Afterward, he'd tell me how much he wanted to see me again. No games, no guessing.

When it comes down to it, a man who is less attractive than his partner knows he can't offer you a lot in genetics; instead, he amps up the emotional support, reliability, and kindness, which is what women really want anyway.
 

Inner beauty: not just for soap commercials

Fairytales and Dove commercials have told us again and again that inner beauty is more important than outer beauty, but what does that actually mean?

From my experience, someone's inner beauty is his or her essence. It's how they carry themselves in the world. It's their warmth, their generosity, and -- most importantly -- how they make you feel when you're around them. When I was 15, a hobbit-like guy named John pursued me hardcore at summer camp. Initially, I was put off by his appearance. But as I got to know him more, I began to genuinely like him. He was kind. He had a great sense of humor. And suddenly there it was: I was helplessly attracted to him.

The less conventionally attractive a guy is, the more likely he is to develop other areas and aspects of his personality because he can't rely solely on his #blessed looks. That's why the average-looking dude at the bar is probably more intelligent, self-confident, and funny than the hunk sitting beside him. Looks fade, but the essence of who a person is stays intact.
 

They (probably?) won't stray

Gavin Rossdale, Jude Law, and Ben Affleck all have two things in common: they're traditionally handsome, and they fucked their kids' nannies. They cheated because they could, and they knew they could. A less attractive guy won't mess around on you because he's just not built that way. Literally. Men with more testosterone are consistently rated more handsome than other men, and men with more testosterone are 38% more likely to cheat.

Plus, he's most likely so happy that you even considered dating out of your league, that he wouldn't ever consider cheating. When you date an unattractive guy, you'll more than likely feel safe and secure -- and that means never worrying about the nanny.
 

The sex is super hot

What he lacks in looks, he will more than make up for in bed. Trust me. Some of the best sex I've ever had was with average-looking dudes. Multiple positions, good shower sex (because you know that rarely exists), tons of orgasmic oral. These guys brought their A-game every single time. Maybe they both happened to be a couple of sex gods, but chances are they were work-work-working hard to please me, the Rihanna to their Drake. It makes sense. If an unattractive guy wants to keep you fulfilled in your relationship (not to mention keep you, period), then that means keeping you fulfilled in the bedroom.

Or on the couch. Or the kitchen floor...
 

They help you realize what you want in a relationship

Hey, we're human. It's perfectly fine if you want to date/sleep with someone just because they're ridiculously good-looking. Sometimes dating an unattractive person will make you realize that having a partner who physically turns your crank is vitally important to you. Or it might make you realize that certain aspects are essential, like, say, a sense of humor. As with all dating experiences, take what works for you, learn from it, and apply those lessons moving forward.

Just remember: even all the Botox and cosmetic surgery in the world won't keep looks from fading. If you're seeking a stable, stimulating relationship -- intellectually and physically -- that makes you feel adored and desired, then you need to be willing to think outside of the box. Or your league.

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Brianne Hogan is a contributing writer looking for the Kevin James to her Leah Remini. You can catch up with her on her blog or follow her on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter: @briannehogan.