When you’re toughing it out at the gym and hair salon, it’s easy to succumb to insecurities about appearance, wondering if it makes a major difference in what dates and jobs you get. But an awesome new study is a reminder that it’s really more about what’s inside than out. Creativity and brains can, in fact, outweigh looks when it comes to attracting a mate.
Sure, you probably knew this in theory (hey, your mom’s been saying it forever, right?), but there’s nothing like science proving something satisfying like this. The research, which was published in Royal Society Open Science, found that creativity isn’t just appealing in a potential partner — it has equal appeal to looks. So, if you’re dating someone who you might not be crazy physically into, if he or she is an ace photographer or has amazing drawing abilities, you’re likelier to discount the lack of physical attraction because those other qualities will make up for it.
“Creative displays can get a potential partner’s attention, create intrigue, keep them interested and make them want more,” says dating and empowerment coach Laurel House. “And while it’s natural instinct to desire such shows of affection, it also exemplifies effort. People want to know that someone is going to put effort into you and make the relationship a priority. By writing poetry, bringing interesting gifts or planning unusual dates, people can nonverbally and creatively communicate that he or she listens, cares and is invested in you.”
Essentially, while our biological instincts are drawn to people with symmetrical features on the premise that those people will be stronger, healthier mates to reproduce with, those instincts also kick in when creative, brainy behaviors are shown. We see someone who won’t just be smart, helpful and interesting, but will also, on a biological level, be a better bet as a life partner.
So if you’re single, you’d do just as well to buff up on your artistic and brainy skills as your yoga or elliptical ones. Satisfying, right?