Dating: The Look Vs. Personality Debate

Inarguably the most pressing and important debate of present mankind is the age-old question, “what is more important in a partner, looks or personality?” No matter where you look, valuable knowledge-producing institutions like Cosmopolitan, Sex & The City or Yahoo Answers all have diverse and sometimes contradicting responses to such a prompt. In favor of personality, one may suggest the query is analogous with car purchases – “Sure, a Ferrari may look good at first, but it’s the Honda that will last!” – casually suggesting that mildly unattractive yet charismatic and interesting people are about as useful as spare coffee holders and complimentary OnStar. Conversely, it could be argued that without sexual attraction, long-term relationships are doomed to fail, because there’s absolutely no such thing as a marriage without frequent and exhilarating sex. While both brilliantly compelling arguments, my issue lies instead with the question itself, as it poses a false-dichotomy. It is my contention that in fact neither of the options are at all important to a relationship. Having a “good personality” is obviously and entirely subjective. While it may seem impossible to imagine appreciating a given personality, there is no doubt that others may find such a personality enjoyable, as is evident by, say, the extensive talk-show career of Dennis Miller, or the mere fact that your redneck brother-in-law has a girlfriend, albeit a heroin-addicted one.

Instead of looking for someone with a compatible personality to your own – a difficult and daunting task, assuredly – it proves much easier to simply modify one’s own personality to match the other. We already do this every day, from pretending to care about dolphin-hunting in order to get laid to pretending to casually hate racial minorities in order to secure a place in Grandma’s will. I propose this emotional shape-shifting ability be extended to the dating world, wherein you turn every date into some sort of sociopathic game of altering your own personality to work in harmony with the other. If we can learn to love broccoli, baseball and alternative rock, why can’t we learn to love just about anyone? The issue of a potential partner’s personality is therefore rendered meaningless when realizing that one’s own personality simply be reconstructed instead. I recognize that my previous assertion may lend itself to argue on behalf of the “looks” camp, but this is not the case. See, while you may think you find a given potential partner attractive, sexy, beautiful, or otherwise, allow me to remind you that you are merely a victim of various agents of socialization, be it family, friends, peers or the media. What you find to be attractive is merely what you’ve been told – a social construction based on influences affecting you since the day you were born. Thus we can conclude without any further investigation that all attraction is fictional and fraudulent.

By choosing a typically attractive mate, you are merely attempting to signify to those around you that you yourself are attractive, successful and an achiever. In doing so, you buy into a culture of self-loathing and simultaneous self-obsession, and you don’t want to do that, do you? If you only date attractive people, your entire existence is a sham, period. Instead of these categories as primary factors of mate selection, I instead propose several alternatives. Dietary lifestyle, for instance, is integral. Have you ever dated a vegan? It means eating at the same restaurant whenever you want to go out because they’re the only place in town with a half-decent quinoa-patty and almond-milkshake, and feeling constantly scrutinized because your jizz tastes “beefy.” Another: general interest in “doing things.” Because there’s nothing worse than getting dragged off the sofa to go to the museum, a live concert or some other thing which supposedly “makes you feel alive.” One should also consider whether or not the person their dating has IBS, because while it generally rules out anal, it too eliminates the whole awkwardness surrounding shitting near each other pretty quickly, which is more of a benefit than one would initially consider. And as a rule of thumb, mixed couples don’t generally work. And by that, I don’t mean racially, but instead when one person but not the other is really into anime. Oh, and the same goes for booze. Ever heard of great sex between one sober person and one drunk? Neither have I.

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