Like Someone Hotter Than You? Don’t Give Up Hope

Photo: Glen Wilson/Sony Pictures/Everett Collection

While good-hearted people might look at certain couples and just accept the explanation that “there’s a pot for every lid” (in the words of grandmas everywhere), the more critical-minded among us can’t help but wonder: “How did he end up with someone as hot as her?” 

A recent study from the journal Psychological Science appears to have an explanation as to why hotter people end up with seemingly less attractive people: Like fine wine or ripe cheese, it takes time. A previous survey found that 33 percent of men and 43 percent of women had fallen for someone they were not initially attracted to. And this paper, which will be published next month, has evidence to support the age-old theory that attraction can sneak up on you.

Researchers videotaped conversations between couples who had known each other for varying amounts of time (i.e. married for decades, friends for a while before dating, dating for just a few months) and then showed those tapes to a panel of judges who were tasked with evaluating each person’s attractiveness. Researchers found a pattern: While those who had begun going out recently were rated as equally physically attractive, there was often a clear “hot one” in couples who had known each other for extended periods of time (as friends or acquaintances) before they became involved romantically.

This is great news for all of Judd Apatow’s leading men — and, actually, for all single people roaming around believing that the objects of our affection are “out of our league.” If we wait long enough, we can trick them into thinking we’re hot.

Like Someone Hotter Than You? Don’t Give Up Hope