Giving A Person More Attention Because They’re Attractive: And We All Do It

Image from Hooki

Ever prayed more for someone just because they’re hot?

Come on, I’ve done that too. Let’s not act like we’re above judging looks here. We give more cred to someone based on their defined jawline and thinner waist than their less tangible patience and hospitality and compassion.

A very fleshy part of our human nature presumes that good-looking people are also just good, or that less good-looking people don’t really count somehow.

In church it’s easy to ask for prayer requests from the well-off, well-dressed, clean-cut, easily approachable mid-twenties demographic. Not the weird cat lady off the street, not the dude with the one rotten tooth who talks up a storm, not the pale socially awkward kid who says dorky things.

Most Christian books have the same problem: they’re geared to that same easygoing group of believers who attend the same megachurch in a crimeless suburban gated neighborhood with the sparkling 2.5 kids and Hollywood acceptable appearance, but they have nothing to say for the sick struggling screwed-up former addict who can’t find a job because he just “looks wrong.”

Wired into all our unaware brains is the deception that appearance means more than it should: but if I could give you a pair of X-ray goggles, you’ll see a bunch of skeletons with the same hopes, dreams, ambitions, anxieties, and worries that everyone else has too.

That seventeen year old pimply kid who loves Call of Duty is the same bag of meat and bones as the athletic football captain with the perfect hair; that girl who everyone hates because of her so-called overweight body could just as easily have been the same girl with the slightly higher cheekbones who runs the gang of cheerleaders. You can honk your car horn at the punk teenager on his skateboard crossing the street, but wave at the old lady on her walker: when both are just people who run deeper than what you see.

Take a Spiritual X-Ray and we all have the same vacuum of eternity within our souls with the same desperate longing inside. You and I could do way better than our visual addiction to all things sight, and instead see by vision.

I’ve mentioned this one before: in a famous psychology experiment, a group of men were given pictures of women they would call over the phone and strike up a friendship. The pictures were not really of the women. In the cases where the woman pictured was less physically attractive (at least by worldly standards), the men would treat her less favorably on the phone. The woman in turn would respond sharply, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of circular expectations. In the case where the pictured woman was “attractive,” the man went all-out in getting to know her. The response was just as eager.

That experiment always makes me a little sick to my stomach because I’m sure I’ve frequently done the same thing. It’s so easy, and even understandable. The world culture hasn’t helped in all this: the global market has made a market out of people, instilling an instant reflex of “hot or not” that rips the the human out of human beings. There’s a lot of money to be made in it.

I grew up most of my school years being called ugly or “rated a zero,” and there was always a crushing sense of being treated as a subhuman second-class citizen like you are worth less than other people. When people spoke to me, I could see it in their eyes too: people would talk to me but not really talk to me, their eyes darting for someone else more important in the room. There was always a hesitant rush, like people had better places to be than being caught with one of “those” guys.

As stereotypical as it is, I’ve found that people who never grow out of the “appearance” phase end up in the garbage dump of history because they relied on their looks to carry them through life, when by the time they’re forty, they get the same face as everyone else: wrinkled, worn, and done. It’s just age, but many of us don’t know how to grow up with dignity. You can only post so many half-naked pictures of yourself on Facebook before it becomes a very sad endeavor. Some of us never catch on that God cares less about what we do or how we look, but about the kind of people we are becoming.

Rather than feel guilty about this whole thing, we can only be empowered to really get to know each other. To see beyond physicality and to dive into the fullness of human friendship, to fight the reflex of facial evaluation, to opt for humility instead of sizing-up superiority. None of that is easy because our default mode is judgment: but that little extra work to pull from the gravity of appearance will go a long way to a deeper fulfilled joy in our relationships. I don’t want to rob myself of getting to know you simply because of some idiotic postmodern notion that image counts above all. Image never matters where life actually matters.

I imagine Jesus going to the blind, beggars, lepers, sick, demon-possessed, and little children: and I bet he fit right in. Maybe no one could tell it was Jesus from afar, because they expected someone cleaner. I wonder if Jesus bent down on one knee to the girl with the cleft lip, touched her face, and called her beautiful. I wonder if he prayed for her right on the spot, hugged her, pulled back her hair and told her to smile. I wish I could’ve seen her light up, throw off all insecurity, and do something worthy with her life. That’s what Jesus is about. I want to be about that too.

The worldly man treats certain people kindly because he ‘likes’ them: the Christian, trying to treat every one kindly, finds him liking more and more people as he goes on — including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning.
— C.S. Lewis

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
— 1 Samuel 16:7b

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
— 1 Peter 3:3-4

100 thoughts on “Giving A Person More Attention Because They’re Attractive: And We All Do It

  1. It’s funny, I’ve often thought about this from the other side. I often wonder if many of the “good Christian women” I know largely exclude me from their circles, their homes and their lives bc they are insecure about who of their group might pay more attention to me than them if I were there. And I know how conceited that sounds but lets face it, when you’re a physically fit young woman, most older, or even same age women want you around their house about as much as a sewage leak. So life is lonely, not only when you’re unattractive, but sometimes even more do when u are attractive. At least when you’re unattractive, you know the ppl in your world actually like you for who u are n not just what you happen to look like.


    1. Yes, any worldly standard of judging is not good.

      I’ll admit that sometimes I’ve dismissed an attractive person by thinking, “Oh they’ve had it easy, I don’t need to help them” — which is just as wrong. It sounds like a silly problem to have, but that’s legitimate too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. about these lies:

        No, “where are you looking? My eyes are here”.

        Do you think it is a real full-attention? Can you quote an experiment?

        You are not quoting any single psychologist, your saying is not scientific, and thus is very false.

        Only very lay people would believe YOUR Lies.

        I’m Catholic, and you’re a liar, and you are using religion to address your liars.




    2. Hi Lori, I can identify with you because that’s been my case. It can be tough because you genuinely are interested in the lives of others, but they may prejudge you because of being ‘tall and skinny’ — like you are an automatic snub! It’s sad but true both in the religious and secular world. Thankfully, it great to know that there are always going to be that minority who are not focused on the outer physique, but genuinely want to know the real you, and not judge you for it. It’s comforting to know that and draw strength from that, and love nevertheless! Thankfully, we have those in our lives, as well as the Lord of our Lord. All the best, Lori, and keep your head up because you are beautiful both inside and out. Be blessed, Brendaline 🙂


    3. It is really lonely. I went through that too, even in my teen years when I needed to be accepted by the people at the church the most, separating me because I was the only young single woman hanging around there. Most of the people my age would not go to those meetings.

      That is actually something I think about a lot when going to a new church. I confided this to a female pastor, and she simply told me I was doing a good job by sticking to only women’s group. What is up with that? I need brothers too!


      1. People are insecure. You’re not allowed to be more attractive or more intelligent than the status quo. If you are, most comfortable groups relegate you to non-friendable status. That’s just the way it works. And their insecurity ends up becoming our insecurity because we begin to wonder what’s wrong with us. Is there some underlying reason why ppl don’t love me? Maybe I’m unlovable. And then both we and they go through life never figuring out how to love people like Jesus did. Because it’s easy to isolate yourself when you’re afraid. I don’t have a solution except that, for whatever reason, God is pleased to teach us in ways that seem quite undesirable at times. =/


        1. Yes, it’s important that we are aware of insecurity and not allow ourselves to fall for the lies–that we are unlovable and that something’s wrong with us. Thankfully, we are God beloved and accepted wholeheartedly by Him; and that’s awesome truth! 🙂


  2. What i found during my life in school and etc.. appearance matters a lot. if u look the part, you can be the biggest idiot, you will get ahead. Simply as that. People judge your appearance before they listen to your words


  3. “I grew up most of my school years being called ugly or “rated a zero,” and there was always a crushing sense of being treated as a subhuman second-class citizen like you are worth less than other people” I saw your picture. I read your post and it was very insightful. You are beautiful. 🙂


    1. Don’t believe his/her lies.

      You just experienced that is a lie, because you say he/she is beautiful without having nevere ever seen him/her.

      Someone who addresses form and not substance should not even quote the religious figures.

      He’s a hellish liar.


  4. I went to a Christian college that valued female beauty way to much. There were about two female grad assistants that didn’t look like they could be in a fashion magazine. As a freshman girl you think “Oh, so thats the kind of people you want and value.”


  5. There is something I’ve learned a while back and asked myself the following question: How is it possible you find someone so attractive, then the same person you found to be attractive treats you like garbage or is disrespectful, and because of that bad experience you no longer find that person attractive lol. I’m sure many people have experiences it and most just don’t learn from it. Thanks for this lovely post. 🙂


  6. This is a great post, and there’s a lot of evidence to support this. Scientists have found that even babies stare longer at symmetrical (classically attractive) faces. I actually think this is the one area where internet anonymity is wonderful though, as you get to know someone’s essence mostly through their own thoughts and words.

    Congrats on the FP!


  7. Human nature in all its glory. “Rather than feel guilty about this whole thing, we can only be empowered to really get to know each other.” Good reminder that we need to take active, deliberate steps individually to step out of that all-too-easy, natural pattern of judgements based on appearance.


  8. Good looks/ symmetric features/ fit body are the nature’s way to mark good genes, that;s why it’s so attractive… I don’t agree that all end with wrinkles – actually, nowadays there aren’t ugly people – only lazy ones as the saying goes. That beings said – looks do make peeps popular, but so do charisma and… money 😉


  9. thanks for sharing, great post here.
    We just have to smile a lot more, people feel comfortable when we give them genuine smile. I know that im not that physically attractive, i have flat nose and brown color but a smile can help me look beatiful.


  10. This is an interesting post. But two things. First, to the person who posted above – not sure where you got the idea that having a “brown color” is not attractive. Please don’t think of yourself that way. Second, and I don’t want to sound disrespectful of your point of view, but of all the portraits and statues and pictures I have seen of Jesus (and, believe me, I have seen many) he is always portrayed as…well, good looking. So while there is criticism about basing too much emphasis on looks and etc., the Church does a pretty good job of making the son of God look attractive. Odd.


  11. Of course we all do it. Who would want to give attention to an ugly person – it would go straight to their heads and make them unbearable to deal with. So giving attention to a good-looking person is just public service.


  12. Well thought and thank you for relaying. Thr Human in us ALWAYS looks for the fittest to perpetuate the specises. It is part of our nature. Understanding and accepting that is part of blending the ego and spirit into BECOMING more like Yeshua (Jesus). And yes that real moment you describe Yeshua was genuine, touching and uplifting, real. We should all strive for seeing through the surface to the Energy that makes up everything. It is more beautiful than the vessels. Much Love.


  13. this post is phenomenal.

    as much as i hate myself for it, i feel i fall victim to this kind of behavior too much. i wish we could all just put looks behind us and look at peoples’ worth based off of who they really are, not what they look like.


  14. A beautiful post, and you’re so right that if people haven’t gotten real with themselves by the time they’re in their 40s, they’re in a for a rough time. Good looks are also a matter of context; so what’s hot in one part of the world might be Alpo in another. And it runs both ways; sometimes when you’re a notch too button cute for your current context, you can be equally be excluded. All that said, looks do matter; I’ve found that many of my 40+ peers veer towards giving up versus showing up.

    Regardless, your post was inspiring.


  15. Really appreciate this post, and a lot of what you wrote resonates.

    I suspect that my situation might not be that common with regards to this subject, because I have lived on both ends of the spectrum. I spent the first 18 years of my life being widely regarded as unattractive. And have spent the 23 years since being widely regarded as ‘attractive’. It was very disconcerting at first because it seemed to happen overnight – people seemed to treat me differently after my skin cleared up and my figure filled out and my legs lengthened and my cheekbones rose. I was still the same girl on the inside. All that had changed were my externals, and through no effort on my part. In my head, I was still the girl who the boys at school would taunt as ugly. Yet years later, they wanted to date me? It was confusing, and it caused me to mistrust men a great deal. It made me realise the importance of appreciating what God had made of my heart, and of the heart of others. It also taught me never to judge someone based on their appearance. Because we never know where anyone has come from or what they have been through.

    So I would suggest that a balanced view would be helpful. The reality is, people on either end of the ‘looks’ spectrum probably suffer some degree of difficulty – being on the outliers of a bell curve isn’t easy in either direction I would say. I don’t think people deemed ‘attractive’ by some media-driven standard necessarily have it as easy as it seems you are suggesting, particularly not in a church setting. A lot of church environments might receive an extraordinarily attractive person – particularly an extraordinarily attractive woman – with some degree of suspicion. I would venture to say that there is a lot of discrimination against people who happen – by some random act of genetics – to have a bone structure, facial architecture or build that some (and I mean some) might call attractive.

    The most disheartening story I heard recently was that of a good friend of mine, a model with a heart as beautiful as her face, and a humility and a love for God that would put many of us to shame. She began dating a guy, and it turns out that when his friends at his church heard that he was seeing a model, without even having met her, their assessment was that this guy was shallow. Because he was dating a model. Never mind who she was and what she was like. Never mind that this woman loves God with all of her heart. Because he was dating a model, he was automatically judged as shallow, and her along with him. So you see, I don’t think it’s as easy as you suggest for ‘good-looking’ people. Prejudice abounds because without God, human nature is just prone to it.

    Everybody wants to be appreciated for what is in their hearts first and foremost. I’m still hoping and praying that one day, I will meet a God-loving man who will love me for my heart first and foremost. Because that’s the part of any of us that stands the test of time and eternity.

    Thanks again! Blessings 🙂


    1. You echo my sentiments exactly! Both sides of the spectrum have the difficulty of being judge on appearance. Even sadder that it happens in the church world. But I’m learning that we are all at different levels of growth and awareness. Your post and the original post sheds light on a topic that’s not consciously spoken of, but is the social current that flows throughout this life. Lesson: learn to love the inner man of another, while accepting the outer; whatever the form! Love flourishes from this way of being! Thanks for posting and be blessed, beautiful one! 🙂


        1. You’re quite welcome, Thinkerheart! My prayers with you too in your quest for finding a great, God-honoring guy; actually, I believe he will find you, so you won’t have to. All the best


    2. I don’t know who blessed you whether it is god or you yourself. Whatever you are awesome!!! Keep thinking like that….! go ahead….i really appreciate your motivation.


  16. Really interesting post, thank you. I guess this is the very definition of objectification of a person – talking to them because of their material appearance. It’s never going to last, as you point out, and it can’t be love. But this puts an attractive person at a disadvantage, because you don’t know if someone is interested in you for your looks or for your reality.

    Real love, real spiritual love, is much deeper, and true. It’s a crying shame that our world is so focused on relationships, sex and status that we’re blinded to the true beauty of a person’s heart.


    1. Thank you!! I don’t remember where I got the spiritual X-ray idea, but it helps to just picture people one-on-one, chair to chair, looking them straight in the eye, to see all of a person.


  17. i think one of the reasons i love blogging so much is that you dont really know what the person looks like and meet the person first. the icon they use may not be them or it may be a picture of them from the past. i recall the 60 year old lady with her high school picture for an icon


  18. I will admit, when I first clicked on this link I wasn’t expecting much. But I love the honesty of this post. I really appreciate that you took the truth and made it a teachable moment. Thanks for that.


  19. Of course we can initially excuse ourselves for our shallowness by arguing that “good looks = good genes” and the human species has instincts that draw us towards that, blah, blah, blah.

    The greater point is that we have evolved into intellectual beings (more or less) and while it’s not necessary (or good) to suppress instincts, we would do well to simply realize that we have those inclinations and then dismiss them when we know they aren’t of use to us in a particular situation.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!


  20. “when by the time they’re forty, they get the same face as everyone else: wrinkled, worn, and done” Woah! Really have to take exception to this. I’m 48 and NOT wrinkled, worn, or done – my face or the rest of me. If we’re going to talk about stereotyping on looks, can we also talk about stereotyping on age?


  21. The “appearance phase” that you write about is an important point. It’s getting worse, not better. The plastic surgery, obsession with the aesthetic, etc. by increasing amounts of middle-aged moms is grooming young women and men to live with a clearly unhealthy mindset about themselves, and an obviously warped view of the world.

    People who transcend this narrow perspective, not necessarily opposing it, but rising above it, typically don’t really give a shit. Ironically, not giving a shit, coupled with the comfort and understanding of oneself, is the most attractive one can be.


  22. SO true! I hate to admit it but it is true. Being a pastor’s kid I know about prayer and all that comes with it but sometime I would pray more often for a person becuase I liked them (knew them better). That’s not how God opperates so I had to change but luckily he is patient. Great post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!


  23. I really, really like this. It’s honest and insightful. It’s direct without being crass or condescending. And it deserves Freshly Pressed – not just because its well-written (which it is), but because the subject matter, and the message, are worthy of being shared. Thank you. I am pleased it’s gotten the attention it deserves.


  24. Looks can affect almost everything about a person’s life. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that way, but it often is. It can start at a young age — parents — kindergarten, first grade. High school and college — I don’t even want to go there. And of course employment opportunities.

    I imagine that unusual beauty can have its problems — being judged only by beauty and chased by paparazzi. But in general, attractive people (both attractive physically and attractive personalities, and they often are interrelated) are a clearly a privileged class of people.

    Some people can and do overcome obstacles and disadvantages of all kinds. Some have a genetic resilience or drive to thrive, and some have extraordinary talent.

    But after many years of observation, I cannot discount the importance of good looks and genetic endowment. And of course, plain good luck in your work and personal life.

    Life is not totally fair, and I suppose part of maturity and mental health is learning to accept reality without resentment or hostility.


  25. Great post and so true. I have totally noticed this in my own life. I have had years of being way over-weight and I seem invisible. But after loosing the lbs. suddenly people notice me. Kind of sad.


  26. Good post and good opening line! No I’ve never prayed for someone because they are hot. I just never got into movie star/ hero worship. Was too engrossed in my novel reading, art and poetry dabbling. Now I’m too old to even care or just tired after a long day’s work to pay attention. It helps that I don’t have a tv to stoke interest in celebrity hotties.

    Like alot of ugly duckling teenage girls, they discover over (many) years/decades, that they were misled. It’s now liberating and look back how narrow and awful we were confined to our own insecurities and other people’s judgements. Especially the latter.

    May we discover our own flowering graciousness and beauty for life.


  27. I vaguely recall that after he did the movie Tootsie, in which he dresses as a woman, Dustin Hoffman said he was a little ashamed to think of all the times he’d not given a woman the time of day because she wasn’t really hot.


  28. the flip side: judging the pretty for being pretty. in the immortal words of the not-so-pretty mamma bee, “i had to be smart; i wasn’t pretty.” passive aggressiva queen of saying wee bee is not smart because she has a subjectively pretty face. really, wee bee just has an avatar.


  29. I remember reading some study once that concluded that the pretty students at school receive more one-on-one time with the teacher, have their questions answered more often and are viewed more favorably than the ‘ugly’ kids.

    Great post and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.


  30. I dig your post. Superficialism is real and alive. And it does take that real effort to think and interact differently. I love your concept of viewing by skeleton ! That would make life so much purer. It makes me wonder if we saw people down to their bones would we still befriend the same people or love them just as much. It’s funny I was just thinking of a post I wanted to write along the lines of talking about how much is social media is a red carpet event. However, many people only premiere their bodies and not their minds, or anything else for that matter. And recently I’ve found myself on rants with family and some people have even confused my disdain for supercialism as a chip I’m carrying. But your post is confirmation that other people like myself see the bigger picture as to why living by looks is not conducive to living for God.

    Before I rant some more. awesome post


  31. I try to even not utter the words hello to affix a smile on my face as I am passing by someone. But I am amazed by how many people, even neighbors who don’t return the gesture. Perhaps it’s because people, especially in the states, disregard a greeting as just a gesture that isn’t embodied with any real concern. I think your baby and children in general have the right idea. A simple hello is an acknowledgement that hey I see you. It’s not that the person being greeted needs my validation but its the nice, the human thing to do. I contend even I need to get out of my bubble more and acknowledge my fellow passers by. They are and could be me one day. And a simple hello can go a long way. Thank you for your post. Very thought provoking.


  32. Thank you all for your wonderful comments, both encouragement and criticisms. I appreciate all the insight. I’ll try to reply more personally soon.

    If anyone was wondering about the psychology experiment, please look up “self-fulfilling prophecy Mark Snyder” (or click here for the Google search). It was a study done in 1977, published later by Snyder here. It’s actually way more detailed with multiple variables.

    Love you guys, thanks again …!


  33. Honestly, I think the eye and flesh is weak, you will always want to be with, posses or gain the “prize” the aesthetically beautiful person, and generally you want that person to validate yourself, which I’m sure is a hint of insecurities. Either way, once you know the person, if you yourself our a “quality person” you will not buckle and settle for a disrespectful attractive person, but instead require they not only be attractive physically, but mentally & emotionally. The prettiest people do the ugliest things! My blost post here, kinda reflects on waiting and being patient for a Masterpiece, and the masterpiece isnt just someone who LOOKS great, but they will be GREAT! Hope you enjoy, and love the post.


  34. what a beautifully etched post….we all do this and will continue doing it … we teach our kids to look beyond the material world but have never ever made the cross-over ourselves…
    lovely blog…so glad to have stopped by…thanks and congratulations!!!


  35. Wow. Thank you for writing this. It was wonderfully written. I still battle with my insecurity issues even at 24 because I was born “different” and I don’t look like the “standard” person according to society. Especially being mostly within the stereoptyical Korean-American community, guys are so stereotypical and it always makes me sad how I’m often treated like I’m ugly and not worthy.

    I really appreciate this post.


    1. Thank you for sharing. I believe everyone has insecurity, whether based from physicality or personality or otherwise — but most of it is just societal pressure that makes no sense. I believe many of us are entering a new era where “standards” will matter less. Let’s pray it happens quicker.


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