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What’s With The Face And Why Men Care About It

November 9th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I don’t know if I’ve ever gone on record to declare the physical quality I find most attractive in a woman, so let me do so right now. It’s her face. And according to an article I read in The New York Times this past Sunday, this is the case for a lot of men, at least when it comes to finding a long term partner.

“More Than Just A Pretty Face: Men’s Priority Shifts Towards Bodily Attractiveness in Short-Term Versus Long-Term Mating Contexts” was a  study written by two graduated students and a professor (two women, one man) at the University of Texas at Austin. In a sampling of 375 heterosexual students, women treated face and body alike. Meanwhile, 25 percent of the men chose to see the body when told to consider the person as a long term partner, compared with 51 percent who chose to see the body when considering a short-term partner.

All I could say after reading that is, “Duh.” Here’s why.

A while back I wrote a post about Confusingly Pretty Girls (CPGs), and to this day, I get a lot of questions as to what are the physical characteristics of a CPG. Well, I won’t get into semantics, but I will definitely say one of the hallmark traits of a CPG is an unbelievable body.

As the study suggests, it’s not that men don’t appreciate a woman with a nice body, moreso it’s the way we treat a woman with a nice body. Most women who are sexy have nice bodies, which is why we lust after them so. We see what they’re carrying and we want all of it, right away. For instance, a woman with a nice a**. Some women have such a nice a** that if a man sleeps with her but hasn’t gotten to do so from behind, it doesn’t even count. If a man sees a woman with nice breasts, what’s he want to do? Of course.

This is how men respond to women with beautiful bodies, by wanting to see them naked, and feel them naked. In the Times article the authors of the study even say, “Evolutionary psychology theory holds that men value current fertility (found in the body) more in a short-term mate and reproductive value (found in the face) in the long term.” If we take this out of medical or clinical terms and think about it in music terms, this makes complete sense. After all, think of all the songs men write about women. In uptempo songs about partying with women in the club, don’t most artists generally sing or rap lyrics describing the female body and the way they move it? Meanwhile, most songs expressing love and appreciation for a woman so fine generally compare her face to things angels and talk about features like her smile and eyes. If anyone saw Kanye West’s “Runaway” pay attention to how he falls in love with a woman who has the face of Selita Ebanks but the body of a bird. When it’s pointed out to him that she is a bird (A FREAKIN’ BIRD!), he responds by saying he didn’t notice. Of course he didn’t! Her face is gorgeous!

Now, I’m curious to see how women are going to internalize such news, considering this study just said women should spend more time looking in the mirror than looking at a scale. From where I stand, it seems like a woman’s face is one of the easiest things for her to manipulate. Makeup, fake eyelashes, different looks she can give, all of these things help a woman enhance whatever limitations she feels her face has. Most important to her face is the confidence she wears on it. To those women who don’t have as much confidence in their face as they do their body, may I suggest getting some? Confidence is a face thing. I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out the point an author quoted in the article made. Roy F. Baumeister, author of “Is There Anything Good About Men”, noted how the face is a signifier of emotion and character. Said Baumeister to the Times, “Men who want a long-term relationship are looking for emotional intimacy.” In other words, if a woman wants her man to feel like she’s his,  it better be written all over her face.

As for the women who know they’re carrying around the type of body traits men only want to touch and feel, don’t be skeptical of every man who approaches. Desire is the first step towards appreciation. Some men (I believe even more than 25 percent the study suggests) do want long term relationships with women who have lustful figures. Just because we want to take her home on the first night does not mean we don’t want to keep her forever. Even the authors of the study admitted to the Times they never asked exactly why a man chose face over body or vice versa. “We just assumed they were looking to evaluate attractiveness,” said Jaime Confer. She went on to say, “It could have been many other things — personality type, whether there would be a connection. We didn’t even think of it afterward. It was an oversight.”

Well, I may not have taken as many psychology classes as Confer and her colleagues have, but take it from a man who has been with women for both facial and body reasons. Some men (but apparently not as many) want to settle down with a woman who has a great body and an okay face. Other men (apparently most of us) want to settle down with a woman who has a great face and an okay body. But no man will settle down with a woman who we don’t connect with beyond the surface, not even the woman who has both. She can do push-ups and sit-ups, she can even do makeup, but if she makes that face, the one with attitude all over it, no man will want to be with her, no man will stay with her.

Source: “For Long Term, Men Favor Face Over Figure” via The New York Times.


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  • ShandART Productions

    Great post and insightful!

  • miss young

    Interesting post. I like!


    miss young

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  • maxfab


  • taut_7

    yep. i’ve been saying how much a beautiful face is more important than a beautiful body. in the end a nice face trumps all. i kind of touched on that in this post. check it out:

  • Ronnie6676

    If more men looked at the whole package, including personality temperment etc, instead of solely at the body or face, I think more happy relationships might exist.

  • Aisha

    Ok, I can get with this…interesting post! The face says a lot.

  • Princess0889

    Love this post:
    I think some people may be taking this too literally and perceive this as some kind conscious effort men do on purpose. Any person who says they aren’t the least bit shallow about a persons physical appearance should applauded and examined because clearly you have move pass all levels of evolution.

    Ain’t nothing like a man with very nice bone structure that make me wanna meow.

  • BoomShots

    I am unabashedly in the “a woman who has a great body and an okay face.” club. As long as I can remember I have been drawn to women with attractive bodies, especially if they are athletic. I can appreciate a pretty face but unless she is a “butta” face I am going to be drawn to her body, especially if denotes some strength and athleticism.

    Not every woman can be beautiful but most can with hair, makeup or even cosmetic surgery make their faces pretty. My view is that there is a lot more effort involved in maintaining a very attractive body especially after a woman past say 25. Some of it is genetics but exercising and eating right does require effort especially in the society we live in today where the average American woman is 5’4″ and a size 12. Not my speed at all.

  • Amanda R. Trinity

    You know…It makes a lot of sense…hmm…

  • Tasha

    Wow! I just checked out your blog. You made some really valid observations and I can really appreciate this post as a Black woman who is oftentimes overlooked because Im not thick and barely have an ass, lol. I sometimes feel like it challenges my racial identity and puts me in a position where I am not only rejected by mainstream beauty types because Im Black but then my own Black people don’t consider my body features beautiful. I am now a fan!

  • o_O

    I think it’s an age thing too… I’m pretty slim myself and when I was younger I felt shunned for my slender long frame (noassatall), most dudes in school wanted the big ole butts (oh yeah). But now, that we’re all older I’ve noticed those big butts just kept gettin bigger soooo (O_O)- lol… anyway, let’s just say I’ve embraced my lack there of the extra junk in the trunk.

    I think the ages and races of the guys that answered the questions in the study that Jozen presented would have been nice to see.

  • Mommy2doubles

    This was a very interesting article. I’ve gotta share this!!!!!! Men are so weird but gotta luv ’em!!!!!

  • taut_7

    thanks a lot. i’m currently taking a break from writing to focus on writing my dissertation but i’ll be back around february/march. 🙂

  • taut_7

    it is an age thing. when i was younger i was all about “thick” chicks but now i find myself more and more attracted to more slender women.

  • NZM

    Nice breakdown of the scientific explanation. But I will say, I am glad I have a cute face and the personality to back it up 🙂

  • BoomShots

    The thick chick is nice when you are 5 minutes early, you just don’t want to be the brotha 5 minute late.

    Me and my boys always look at some nice young thick chicks who we always say are like a biscuit away….or you have to hit it now because in a few years she will be mess.

  • Genetta1

    She can do push-ups and sit-ups, she can even do makeup, but if she makes that face, the one with attitude all over it, no man will want to be with her, no man will stay with her. chuuuuuuuuuuch!