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Dating & Relationships: Should You Judge A Book By It's Cover? By Alpa Saujani

At a recent personal matchmaking interview with a new male member, we got onto the question of how important looks, body type and attractiveness are to him in a potential match. His response was somewhat surprising, yet inspiring, which I would like to share with you...

"About a year ago I went to an Asian speed dating event. Although I met some conventionally attractive women, their personalities just didn’t appeal. However, very early on in the speed dating, I met one woman who completely changed my beliefs around the importance of looks. I was awe struck with her personality, her outlook on life and her genuineness. In the few minutes that we shared, she maximised the time by sharing herself and by wearing her heart on her sleeve – with such a positive and warm aura, it was hard not to be taken in by her. Looks wise she was not my ‘type’ but boy did she tick every other box! I tended to be attracted to women who like myself are of a slim/athletic build and she was of a larger build. So at the time, I never ticked her box although she certainly left a lasting impression that lingers to this day. In the last year, I’ve been on dates with a number of women but none of them have had that spark. I do often wonder what may have happened had I not been so narrow-minded and just ticked the box (and assuming it was reciprocated). They say hindsight is a great thing and in this case the experience led me to reflect on how many other opportunities had I overlooked based simply on what I perceived my ideal woman should look like on the outside, without too much thought to the inner person. So in answer to your question, looks and attractiveness are not as important as a woman’s personality, sincerity and her passion for life..."

After listening to his story, it got me thinking about the old adage of ‘you should never judge a book by its cover’. But for the majority of people out there in the dating world seeking a partner, is this really feasible? Arguably, you’re encouraged to have this attitude by online Asian dating sites, who clearly state that you have a better success rate when you add a photo to your profile. However, let’s be honest here, how many times have you looked at a photo and made an instant judgement without even reading the person’s profile? By acting in haste, could you be losing out on opportunities to meet some great prospects, or the one?

Don’t get me wrong, attraction is important when it comes to finding a life partner. This is the person that you plan to spend the rest of your life with and will wake up next to every day. But is attraction better judged by a photo, or a real-life encounter? Fact: not everyone is photogenic. Nor can you gauge someone’s personality, or how you would feel when interacting with that person from simply looking at a photograph. I guess in this way Asian speed dating & other Asian dating events have an advantage over online dating. But having said that some men and women alike are also guilty of going to Asian singles events, scanning the room to seek out those who they are attracted to, then switching off, or being dismissive if approached by someone who does not fit into their ‘ideals of attractiveness’. Once in this mindset, even if they are faced with someone who would be highly compatible with a great personality and common interests, it would probably not be recognised.

People often say they are only attracted to certain physical types, for example I’m only attracted to tall men or slim women. Whilst this is each individual’s prerogative, can they categorically say that they are not attracted to someone who does not fit their attraction criteria, if they have never entertained anyone outside of it? Isn’t it akin to saying "I dislike Thai food I just know it, although I have never tried it before..." So I guess I’m left wondering whether it’s better to reserve judgement on a book, until you have at least taken the opportunity to read the synopsis to gain a better insight. If it peaks your interest slightly, then surely it’s got to be worth opening to see how well the words flow, the tone of the writing, the presentation and more importantly whether ‘they’ leave a lingering impression that makes you want to read more...

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I certainly agree with your article Alpa. Having been at various events I have most certainly been someone who gets overlooked or overshadowed by my conventionally attractive friends. 

Even in the arranged marriage world I have found that guys would rather see a picture than meet and actually have a conversation. Perhaps this explains why there are so many single Asian men and women out there, all looking for a certain attractiveness and then not being able to hold a conversation with each other. 

The first encounter should never be a photo it should be an actually meeting which is why I believe your meeting events are so much more likely to help people find that special someone.
Hey Alpa,

This is an excellent article. I know as men, historically we have been labelled as being shallower than women but women of this era certainly have also turned and are turning just like men... but it has given me food for thought!



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