Natalie Keir looks at the reasons why some are hot, and some are just not.

Fascination Factors

A recent (and frequently recurring) topic of hot debate within my group of friends is: Bradley Cooper or Ryan Gosling, who is hotter? Our parents would be oh so proud. My personal preference is undoubtedly Cooper, but if asked, I would be unable to explain exactly what had led me to this decision. It seems that when it comes to levels of attraction, there is neither rhyme nor reason. If I was going to be cheesy I might even contribute that classic line; love is blind.  It is a sub-conscious decision and it isn’t down to a significant difference in jaw definition or brow prominence, we just seem to have an overriding feeling as to who is hot and who is good looking but just hasn’t got that chemistry. So what determines how attractive a person is and why do the preferences of a seemingly similar group of friends differ so tremendously. It seems that there are a few main factors that determine our gentlemen of choice.


From the moment of conception, a foetus/baby/human is simply an organism of ever-splitting cells. If these cells were to always split perfectly and evenly, the resultant person would be perfectly symmetrical; a specimen of human perfection. By this logic, the more symmetrical a person’s appearance is, the more valuable their genetic goods. A determining factor related to symmetry is a well-established mathematical concept called the ‘golden ratio’. Using the golden ratio, the ideal facial ratios can be determined; from face length to width, nose to mouth distance to nose to chin distance and so on. According to Kendra Schmid, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Nebraska, the ideal face would have a length to width ratio of 1.6, and lips that are twice as wide as they are high.
Another interesting observation of facial attraction is the preference men seem to have for women with less facial cartilage. Cartilage is the material that structures your nose and part of your brow, so having less of it shortens the nose and flattens the brow, making the eyes more prominent. The amount of cartilage in a women’s face is influenced by the amount of estrogen they produce, so this is just another way of evolution favouring the fertile. The male hormone, testosterone, has a similar alluring effect on the ladies. An abundance of testosterone causes a man’s face to develop a large jaw and a strong brow – both characteristics that our good friends Gosling and Cooper exhibit.


A recent research endeavour required women to smell men’s sweaty T-shirts and to identify which smell they found most alluring. The majority of women identified the nicest smelling T-shirt to be the one that belonged to a man with a different major histocompatability complex than themselves. The major histocompatability complex is a group of genes that influence our immune system, so in terms of evolution this makes perfect sense. People are naturally attracted to partners that would cause their children to have an expansive immune system. Another trend that emerged was even more fascinating; women on contraception were more attracted to the smell of men that had the same major histocompatability complex as them. It would appear that if you are a women who is on contraception, your body is one big F U to evolution. The downside is that when a women is using contraception, they are automatically attracted to people who aren’t necessarily going to produce the strongest babies, or be most compatible in the long run.

Waist to Hip ratio

It has been found that men are most attracted to women with a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7. Studies have shown that women who produce a healthy amount of estrogen naturally fall into this ratio, and regardless of weight, studies have shown that it is more uncommon for them to experience cardiovascular disorders, cancer, and diabetes. Women of this ratio also have less difficulty conceiving. So maybe it does pay-off to be a little curvier than you would like? Well there goes my gym motivation.

So why do some ladies go for Gosling and some for Cooper? Well it turns out that despite the maze of biochemical warfare that I have just guided you through, women are ultimately attracted to men that have a similar facial symmetry to them. So whoever matches your proportions most accurately is more likely to be your man of choice.  Cooper still has nicer eyes though.


Natalie Keir


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