Why Men Should Be More Attractive
In the 1700s, men would often wear colorful outfits and dresses, and high status men were known to wear many extra accessories. They would spend time on having a beautiful, often long hairstyle. But in the 1800s, men said goodbye to the idea of beauty. In a movement referred to as The Great Male Renunciation, men started deliberately dressing down, and started spending less time on their looks. The idea was that, by doing this, men would, instead of being beautiful, focus on being useful.
In this article, I want to challenge that, with the question: can men be beautiful? And I want to argue that men across the world have nothing to lose. You have everything to gain from prioritizing your physical attractiveness, and thinking more about how you dress. Yes, a man can be beautiful, and yes, you absolutely should care about aesthetics and about your appearance, and no, that doesn’t make you a superficial person. Finally, let’s talk about simple ways you can work on and improve your appearance.
The word for beauty exists in all parts of the world, across cultures, and regardless of the language used. This is suggesting that the idea of beauty is something that transcends language and culture. Beauty is not a fabrication, but something which we can all appreciate and value, as human beings. Typically, we tend to refer to things as beautiful, when they are arranged symmetrically, according to certain rules, such as the rule of thirds. Beauty aids vision and helps us understand our environment faster. It directs our eyes and attention towards the most important objects in a room. Beauty is not just pleasant to look at, but also serves a function for human cognition.
Why Men Should Try To Be More Beautiful
I recently attended a discussion in which one man argued that men cannot be beautiful. He said that, to women, 90% of men are unattractive. To men, 90% of women are attractive. I rememember seeing sweat stains on his shirt and thinking that he had stank of sweat. I countered that this has more to do with the fact that most men don’t spend any time on their appearance. They don’t work out, don’t do anything with their hair, and spend little time on their skin, tan, or how they dress.
But that hasn’t always been so. In a famous poem from the year 1000, a british poet lamented about the vikings, who were known to seduce women across the world.
”The Danes, thanks to their habit to comb their hair every day, to bathe every Saturday, to change their garments often, and set off their persons by many such frivolous devices. In this manner, they laid siege to the virtue of the married women, and persuaded the daughters even of the nobles to be their concubines.”
The problem seems to be deeper, as many men seem to have a direct unwillingness to do nothing more than the most basic of personal grooming, despite the many benefits that can come from caring about how you look. People who care about how they look are not just more likely to attract a mate, but also more likely to keep a relationship going long-term. I think the problem goes deeper though, as many men are driven into a fixed mindset. They assume that their appearance is a fixed property, that cannot be modified, through any amount of effort. A man is either ugly, or attractive, and there is no work to be done that could possibly change that. This breeds a kind of self-defeatism, in which men don’t even think they will benefit from small changes, like a different set of clothes, weekly gym sessions, or a couple of extra minutes in front of the mirror combing their hair.
How Caring About Your Looks Can Benefit You
Still, looking good isn’t just about being more popular with the other gender. It also carries social benefit. People who keep a good appearance, appear more healthy, gain more social rewards, and even a higher chance of promotion or an increase in salary. But it goes deeper than that too. Looking good is a confidence boost. It’s about feeling comfortable in your own skin. Feeling happy when you see yourself in the mirror. To think of yourself as a beautiful, good looking person, means to carry appreciation for yourself, and is one other way in which you can exercise self-love. This leads to direct improvements with how we carry ourselves both in social and romantic settings.
Socially, we stand more confident, have a better posture, and become more comfortable making eye contact with other people. We feel less insecure when other people look at us, and feel more safe in groups. Sexually, we become more confident, too, and more ready to undress in front of our partners and express ourselves fully, without shyness or inhibition.
Sometimes, it’s argued that caring about your looks is a bad thing. Many dislike aesthetics, feeling that it’s unfair, tedious, or stressful to work on your looks. Often, we dream that people would ignore our bodies, and focus solely on our mind, and the qualities of our personality. But aesthetics can also be a way to express your personality. Your color choice, your choice of attire, your hairstyle, these can all be ways to tell the world who you are. Do you dress business-casual? Do you dress formally? There’s no right or wrong answer here. What do you like and want to look like? What colors are you drawn to? These things tell a story to the world and are another way to express your identity and who you are.
To try to fit yourself in modern beauty standards can, indeed, be exhausting, and is not always a healthy or positive pursuit. Many put too much stress or pressure on themselves, especially women. Feeling that they need to look perfect, just like the person on the advertisement or the tv screen. But this also has rise in the fact that people try to mimic beauty, rather than find their own, natural beauty.
Since we all are born with different bodies, and a different set of genetics, we cannot, and should not all, aspire to look exactly the same. The truth is, you don’t even need to get a tan. You don’t need to dress like George Clooney. And you don’t need to have any specific hairstyle. You just have to try to do your best with what you have. Think about what your strongest features are, and how you can draw attention to them. I would say, if people can spot three beautiful things about you, from a well kept beard, to nice eyes, or strong big arms, that’s more than enough. So try to think about three things that you can do to feel good about yourself. You might not be the most beautiful person in the world, but you don’t have to be. It’s enough that you have things that you lilke and appreciate about yourself. It matters that you put in at least some effort. Something that shows that you care about yourself, and how you look.
How To Start Making Your Beauty A Priority
Beauty rituals, from shaving, to skincare, to going to the gym, most of all serve a key purpose of making you feel good. Touching your own skin, giving yourself a massage, and doing things that feel nice and rewarding for your body? These things add to your everyday dose of self-esteem, helping the body release oxytocin. They give you an increased level of comfort. But how can you get started on your looks and what are things you can do to improve how you feel about yourself and your own appearance?
I recommend using the app Streaks which allows you to build habits easily. Using Streaks, which is available for a one time payment of 2-5 $. With it, you can add any number of goals that you like, and get daily reminders. The key to building and getting started on building habits is holding yourself accountable and tracking your own progress. You can set a goal to go to the gym or go for a jog twice a week, or to, every day, fix your hair or shave. I also recommend making use of the Widget feature on your phone. Hold your finger on your iPhone until the screen starts to vibrate. Then click the plus sign, navigate to Streaks, and add one of their great widgets to your homescreen. This adds a daily visual reminder on your goals and progress this week. I believe this should also be available on Android.
Can’t afford or don’t want to pay for Streaks? Apple has a notification and reminder feature you can use, which also works fairly well!
If you find it hard to complete or follow a goal, consider changing it. And if you set too high goals, you might lose motivation, so set realistic goals. Even just a couple of minutes a week can go a long way, especially if you stick with it for a couple of months or a year. And if you find that a goal is too easy – definitely consider increasing it. On top of that, talk about your habits and goals with other friends and family members. Talking about these things can feel shameful or boastful. But people who boast about their work and progress, and take more pride in their accomplishments, tend to stay committed longer. On top of that, you might inspire other people too. And if you need the extra motivation – ask for an accountability partner. Someone that can help you stay motivated and push you when you need it.
Most importantly, beauty and aesthetics should be a healthy pursuit, something that helps us feel more good about ourselves. If you find that fixating on beauty creeps into your self-esteem, that’s not good. It’s important to think about why that is and how you can find balance. Ultimately, beauty is not the only thing that makes a person beautiful. A good personality goes a long way. We tend to feel people are more attractive when they have a similar personality to our own. Beauty is just one of those unique things that make us human, not machine. We’re not meant to be purely functional or logical beings. We also orient ourselves using smell, visual stimuli, sound, and touch. So let’s allow ourselves to celebrate and pursue beauty, alongside with other form of self-development.
These are just my tips – what are yours?
How do you feel about your appearance and what kind of things do you like about your own appearance?
What are your self-care rituals?
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