Ask Minda Honey: He’s Cool, But Is Not Cute: How Important Are Looks?

Oct 9, 2019 at 10:05 am
Minda Honey

Louisville (and beyond!), this month marks three years of “Ask Minda Honey.” Thank you for reading, sharing and sending me your questions, which by the way, I need more of! You can email your questions to me at [email protected] reach me on All writers are anonymous.

I want to thank all of the guest responders who assisted me over the years to make sure y’all are getting the best advice possible. So, while I wait for the next round of questions to hit my inbox, let’s take on one a former question-asker casually sent me on Instagram:

How much do looks matter... Really?

You may remember a few months ago when someone wrote in saying that they were struggling with the fact that the super-great guy they’d been dating revealed himself to be a Trump voter. Things ended how you might have expected, and she’s swimming back around in the dating pool. She had a solid first date the other night, “He was super nice, easy to talk to, had a good sense of humor, doesn’t like Trump, so all the qualities I’d want!”

But, of course, there’s a but: “He’s not very cute. Clearly, looks aren’t the most important thing, but where does someone rate them?”

Honestly, I feel a little inadvertently dragged by this question because when I do a quick, unscientific analysis of my own dating history, I’ve definitely stuck it out longer with hot assholes than I have unattractive, nice dudes. There’s something about that attraction spark that turns on my tolerance for nonsense. However, last fall, I dated a dude who was not at all my type (and had a lot of issues overall), but he started out super nice, so I gave him a shot. And the affection certainly grew. I mean, kissing does happen with your eyes closed. However, he turned out to be on just as much fuckery as any of the hot assholes of my past. He lied, he attempted to be emotionally manipulative, and he drunk dialed me, and I found out almost a year later he was still messing around with his ex the entire time while also complaining about her constantly. Wild. This left me feeling all kinds of bitter. I gave this dude I was hardly attracted to a shot out of the kindness of my heart and all the Little Golden Books Dating Advice about looking past looks and I Stiiiiiiill end up with an asshole? Hmph. At least, with the hotties, I can look back at ‘em and justify my choices.

Now, this is not to say that her cutie will switch it up on her and reveal himself to be a terrible person. I’m just saying the degree to which looks matter is a highly personal thing and varies based on who it is. Someone can be a three out of 10 but have the confidence and swagger necessary to lure you in. Someone can be flat out beautiful but have a personality so stale you can’t get into them. I once showed up on a date and the dude was shorter than me. I’m 5 feet three inches. Still, I was willing to give him a shot ‘cause he had moves in the kitchen and the type of career for subsidizing my writer’s life and interest. But then I met his boss. Turns out he was having trouble at work. And that was the night I learned ambition and accomplishment are more important to me than height! Sometimes, it’s a ratio thing. You can sacrifice one or two things, but three is too many.

I have friends who truly, 100% do not care about looks, and that’s not something they had to train themselves to do. It’s just how they are. I also have friends whose visual interests are more eclectic, and the appeal of the person they’re with might not make sense to me, but they are all about it and really that’s what matters. So, how much looks matter becomes this mix of your dating history and natural (and society-inspired) inclinations toward appearance.

I suggest setting up a second date with this guy. Keep in regular contact, let his personality shine over texts and calls, where the visual element is removed. Do you begin to feel excited about seeing him again or are you filling with dread as the date draws near? If it’s dread, you’re just not going to be able to push past looks for this dude — and that’s OK! Nice doesn’t always mean a person is right for you. And not being into his looks doesn’t necessarily mean you’re shallow — think about all the cute guys you probably never saw again after one date. Be easy on yourself and may the next one be The One.