Work Your Ass Off and Get the 10’s

There’s a great discussion going on at Evan Marc Katz’s blog where he asks the question, should I date a 7 or hold out for a 10? The gist of what he’s saying (forgive me for paraphrasing this badly) is that most people with 10 looks are screwed up and it’s better to go for the stable, well rounded 7, because they make better life partners. One thread in the comments is that the perfect 10, someone who is a 10 in looks AND in personality, is so rare, that it is folly to hold out for them. I advised readers to hold out for 10’s and I got dinged pretty good in comments (which was actually totally cool).

I have several points I want to make:

1. When I describe looks to my pals, I’ll say things like cute, hot, smoking, a babe, gorgeous, etc etc. I don’t use numbers. Any one of those labels would do it for me when considering dating a chick. I’m definitely looking for someone that I’m highly attracted to, but I’m not holding out for a trophy.

2. I have unique tastes in the physical. What I like the next guy might hate. I happen to have a thing for skinny, petite blondes with small boobs, while my roommate can’t stand those girls. To each their own. My 10 is your 6 and vice versa.

3. Almost every 7 (or any other number for that matter) I’ve ever met, and I’ve met plenty of them, has had some issue(s) that disqualified her. 7’s can be just as dumb, shallow, insecure, narcissistic, bitchy, controlling, tedious, and vacuous as the worst of the 10’s. Simply being average in looks doesn’t somehow make you a good person on the inside. In my opinion, MOST people are average in personality, regardless of looks.

4. Presentation and body language are big factors when calculating looks. A good looking, fit woman can wear an awesome outfit, have great hair, wear makeup, then stroll into a club and get labeled a 10 by half the dudes in the joint. The next day she’s picking the newspaper off her driveway and she’s only a 8, maybe a 7. So what does that mean? That means looks are malleable and the girls who leverage their looks and end up having crappy personalities are really just 7’s anyways.

What do you think, 7's or 10's?
(What do you think, 7’s or 10’s?)

To extend my thought about malleability, people can change and improve virtually all aspects of their lives, including looks. I wrote a post about this some time ago, where I said that it’s important to grade yourself critically in the areas of looks, intelligence, personality, and social value, so that you can begin to define a route to get your personal 10. To use another example, you can take a homely, overweight dude who is a 5 in looks and jump him up several notches by overhauling his presentation. He hits the gym and loses the weight, gets a tan, gets a cool haircut, upgrades his threads, fixes his posture and body language, and all of a sudden that guy is an 8. That’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it, and that’s a big part of social artistry.

What I don’t recommend, and I’m sure EMK would agree with me here, is for anyone to settle for mediocrity or merely being average. For me, life is all about growing as a person, fixing flaws, making the best of myself, and improving my life. I think you should have tough, yet reasonable standards. Saying go for the stable 7 sounds to me like it’s okay to settle, and that sounds to me like it’s okay to be lazy and not put in the work. It sounds like grab the first semi-cute girl that you have okay attraction with and figure out a way to make an LTR work. But that never works. Unless you’re one of the lucky few who finds the perfect partner right out of the gate, you’re going to have work your ass off and go on a lot of dates to find someone who is a great partner. No, don’t go hunting for trophies, but yes, work hard and hold out for the great match who is also very attractive.

My deal is this. I work my ass off to be a better person every day by studying personal development, through online and offline discussion, by going out in the field and experimenting and meeting new people. I work hard on communication and connecting with people and sharing my positivity. I stay fit so that I have a healthy mind and body. I try to bring value to those around me. I put in a big effort, much bigger than most people, and I feel like I’m earning that partner who is a 10. What’s wrong with that?

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  • Hammer

    I use a three tiered scale in the looks department: First there’s a yes/no scale. Then within the yes tier, there’s a girlfriend or not scale. On my scale, 1-5 is the no, 6-7 is the yes but no gf, 8-10 is the gf category. The idea behind this is that looks only matter to a point. Beyond that point it’s irrelevant.

    That said, I’m not a pilgrim. I’m not going to settle. I know that if I don’t have the hottest girl in the room, I’m going to look at the hotter girl and think about fucking her. That’s just the way my mind works and I’m not going to apologize for it, so I do need a girl to be exceptionally beautiful to commit to her.

    Hammer´s last blog post…Song Lyric Escalation – “Tear You Apart”

  • Cathy

    What puzzles me is why people think it is OK to settle. Not only where relationships are concerned but in any aspect of life.

    Do we settle because having less than what we really want is better than not having a relationship at all?

    And, once we settle for that 7 doesn’t that distract us from working our asses off to become a better person?

    I want a 10. Someone who looks good to me and is doing all he can to better himself and his life. Someone I can grow with, not settle for mediocrity with.

    Cathy´s last blog post…Did he just stare at the waitress’ butt?

  • Honey

    What do you think about EMK and others’ points that if the vast, vast majority of people are actually fives, then a 7 is a coup, and not settling at all?

  • Ulyana

    I’m not even sure anyone could argue with you. I hate the word “settle” in and of itself. Everyone should be going for their personal 10 (in themselves and others) or they’ll end up in some sad and pathetic relationships.

    And definitely, a 10 for me, is like a 7 for others, so it’s purely subjective. Whatever makes you happy.

  • Lance

    Sure, I guess if you say a 5 is truly average, then 7 is pretty damned good, I’d go for a 7. I’ve done it plenty of times. Usually when guys talk about 5’s it’s pretty undesirable, like someone you would only hook up with after a hard night of drinking. Take a gander at the 5’s on and you’ll see, for the most part, they’re not lookers. I guess we’re splitting hairs on our definition of the scale.

    I do like what Hammer said in his comment above about the three tiers, I feel that’s pretty accurate for me. When I go out, I never automatically assign numbers to chicks. It’s usually just a yes or no, and then I go for it.

  • Honey

    On the surface I want to agree, Cathy, but then I think about the whole abortion thing that went on when Obama was the commencement speaker at Notre Dame. Should we not make any attempt to REDUCE the number of abortions just because it may be impossible to ELIMINATE them?

    Similarly, should we not make any attempt to SETTLE for a 7 because it may be impossible to ATTAIN a 10?

    I don’t know. I think the BF and I, while we are maybe 10s for each other, are probably no better than 7s in life. And we’re thrilled to death to have found each other.

  • dadshouse

    Sexiness is an attitude. Street smarts can trump book smarts. Compassion is a way of life. They all trump beauty in my book.

    dadshouse´s last blog post…Giving Back Starts Young

  • URwingman

    Ok, so I say no to “settling.”

    We all have our own version of a “10.” Perfectly acceptable.

    But I’m with Lance here. You bust your ass and hustle to make yourself the best you can be and you’ll land yourself the “10” you’ve always wanted.

    That’s what I did and I landed a gem.

    Damn proud of my efforts 😉

    URwingman´s last blog post…Giving and Taking: The Win/Win Philosophy of Relationships

  • Honey

    Well when we went to my BF’s 10-year high school reunion he said that the reason he wanted me to go was because if he could get a girl like me, it was proof that he’d changed for the better since high school.

    So I get what you are saying, URwingman.

  • Janak

    “In my opinion, MOST people are average in personality, regardless of looks.” <– Isn’t this true by definition, assuming a standard distribution of whatever qualia are involved in the rating of personality?

    Janak´s last blog post…Massage therapist… for models?

  • Evan

    Thanks for the dialogue and the link. My two cents (on my two cents) is this:

    I was not talking about “personal” 10’s.
    I was not talking about tastes or settling or the potential for self-improvement.

    I was talking about men – Hammer, for example – exalting the value of the hottest girl in the room. This woman is an undeniable 10 who makes 90% of women seem average by comparison.

    But there are two big problems here:

    The 10 probably doesn’t want you – even if you’re a hardworking, self-aware 7.

    And, more importantly: the 10 is probably a 5 inside. She’s vain, insecure, and rarely has developed the kindness, intelligence, humor and empathy that it takes to be a great partner. In short, the 10 is usually a glorified trophy for the man who puts looks above all else.

    Hey, if you want a trophy – go ahead.

    I will stand by my argument that the 7 in looks is more likely to be a 10 across the board.

    That’s all I’m sayin’.

    Thanks again for your contributions.


    Evan´s last blog post…When Do You Tell Someone That You’re Different?

  • used tires

    Lance… this is going to be a short comment from me… but honestly there is nothing I can add, as I have to entirely agree with all your point of views here!

    Till then,


  • Penelope Trunk

    I don’t know what is possessing me to comment on this post. Except that Lance, I love the risks you take on this blog, and I read your posts even though I disagree with just about everything you write.

    So, what I think: A ten is a ten because everyone agrees the person is a ten. If the person is great for some people and not great for others, the person is a nine.

    And, you guys are kidding yourselves that a ten has something wrong and it’s subjective. A ten is a ten because the person is better looking than almost everyone AND has their act together better than almost everyone AND is has a more likable personality than almost anyone.

    Just becuase you can’t get a ten doesn’t mean you have to deny they are out there. It is statistically reasonable that there is this sort of person in the world.


    Penelope’s last blog post…How to decide where to live

  • Lance

    Penelope, first off, I think you’re hot, so I just wanted to get that out there. Plus I’m a younger guy. I’m just saying. Thanks for reading.

    The 10/10, or perfect dime as I like to call them, do exist, but they’re exceedingly rare. Not only do you have to be a badass to score one, but you have to look around A TON to find them.

    For the record, I think beauty is common, even very common, and that people with glowing, well developed personalities are far more rare.

    Lance´s last blog post…Work Your Ass Off and Get the 10’s

  • Erica

    I wonder what I am? I guess in my early 20’s it was all about looks. But now, if I find a guy who’s a 5 on the looks scale but can keep up with me in booze, he escalates to a 10. I’m not all that interested in looks, so I guess I’m the odd one out.

  • Lance

    Haha, that’s a good one. If he can keep up with you in booze, he’s a 10. We need to party sometime. BTW, I’ll be in Cincinnati in exactly one month. Maybe we can hit the Hofbrauhau and get gigantic beers.

    You bring up an interesting point about age. As we get older, it becomes less about looks and more about personality, compatibility, and values. I think that idea was between the lines in EMK’s post. i say if you’re young, which I am, it’s totally fine to go chasing the hotties.

  • Erica

    Don’t get me wrong, hottie chasing is fine. And since I’m 30 and not dead, it’s still an extracurricular activity – a body just doesn’t make it or break it for me.

    Hofbrau sounds awesome. I’m cursed with big boobs though, so I’ll try to bring some friends for you to oogle.

  • Lance

    HAHAHA, fuck yeah, it’s date. I’ll email you when it gets close. I’ll be in town for a athletic competition for the weekend. Good times.

  • Tiffany @ Engagement 101

    I know some fives that guys would rate as tens based on their energy alone. If they exert confidence and sexuality, guys would fall all over them.

    But back on topic, I once read somewhere that girls should date guys that are slightly less attractive than them. I’m only average looking, which means I would have to settle for someone below average in looks. Yuck, no thanks. I want a 10. He may not be a 10 to everyone else, but he would be my 10. So basically I agree with you.

    Tiffany @ Engagement 101´s last blog post…Engagement 101 and Real Housewives’ Bethenny gets the skinny on the “skinny girl” diet

  • Janak

    I’m standing by my earlier assertion that the only thing that is always and inevitably a deal-breaker if it is absent is a sense of humor mismatch. If you can’t laugh with someone, you can’t grow old with them. It’s that simple.

    Janak´s last blog post…Faux fuck buddy needed

  • Kat Wilder

    I think many of us, if we are self-aware and reflective, gravitate toward people in our “range” — if we think we’re about a 7, then we tend to be attracted to a 7. Not to say we don’t lust after a 10; I mean, I lust after Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp, but even if they weren’t actors, they mostly wouldn’t lust after me. I’m OK with that (well, sorta).

    But men in particular tend to want to date up (in looks), and will ignore all the red flags about her because she’s a hottie and thus they can show her off. They’re not settling in their mind; they decided that matters more than the other stuff. Hey, to each his/her own!

    For women, it makes evolutionary sense to date down, as I blogged about in Why beauty should always pick the beast. It works to our advantage when we’re in baby-making mode. Now that I’m divorced, middle-aged and not looking to get married, let alone have more babies, I can look for a “10.” At least for one night. Not as hard as it seems …. 😉

    Kat Wilder´s last blog post…He can be The Man, but he’ll have to pay for it

  • dadshouse

    Penelope – I agree that a woman can be a 10 all around. Just because she’s a 10 in looks doesn’t mean she’s flawed internally. I do understand Evan’s point that it’s often the case, especially perhaps in LA where he is located.

    Lance – I agree that as we get older, other things become more important for a long term committed relationship. The list you gave is great: personality, compatibility, and values.

    That said, as an “old” man in my 40s, I would rather be with an attractive woman who has those qualities, than be with a quality woman who doesn’t look good. i.e. looks remain a part of the attraction equation.

    dadshouse´s last blog post…Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe – Jamaican Jerk Seasoning

  • Janak

    People with “10” looks have a lot to overcome before they can be worthwhile. Evan’s observation with regard to reality reflects this basic truth.

    Janak´s last blog post…Weekly Roundup – Top 10 Casual Sex Links from Around the Web

  • Hot Alpha Female


    I’m totally digging this post.

    Firsty. You get what you ask for. So if your asking for 10’s with the looks and the personality then that is what you will get.

    Provided you would be worthy of partnering a 10.

    Secondly. I agree with what you said in relation to this whole rating system.

    I’m kinda going against this whole rating system anything. Everything is subjective, depending on who your talking to, in what situation and when you are talking to them.

    Someone’s 10 could be someone else’s 5. So really what is the point of categorizing anyone really?

    I guess the most important thing, when finding an ideal partner or looking for the right person … is that “YOU” feel you are dating a 10.

    If you think you can do better. Ditch them. lol

    Why in the world would you have to settle for less? Thats absurd.

    Hot Alpha Female

    Hot Alpha Female´s last blog post…Commitment. The Chicken is Involved. The Pig is Committed.

  • Honey

    Most people have to settle for less because THEY are less, and have yet to understand that bitching about the shallow-ness of the 10s (despite their wanting to date one) won’t get them an actual 10 nearly as fast as a positive attitude and genuine attempts at self-improvement.

    Poor people.