The Science Of Assh*les: Why The 'Hottest' Guys Aren't Actually That Hot


You can tell a lot about someone from the nature of his or her selfies.

I’m serious. From the specific faces people make in theirs, to the frequency at which they’re posted throughout the day -- selfies can reveal a lot about their taker, beyond what meets the eye (underneath the filter, naturally).

Honestly, though, one of my favorite aspects about the “selfie” is the specific caption that goes along with it. For the most part, selfies will usually accompany a caption that’s made up of a Drake lyric -- or some long, diverse chain of emoji.

Other times, selfies might go hand in hand with a Carrie Bradshaw quote about loving yourself.

But, of all the selfie captions floating around social media, I always get a kick out of the ones that come off as super self-deprecating, the most.

And probably because any type of self-deprecating sentiment goes out the window when you’re sitting with your phone seven inches from your face, drowning in equal parts vanity and Valencia-filter.

Selfies are like the opposite of self-deprecation. In fact, taking a selfie is probably one of the more self-absorbed things you can do.

If you truly weren’t feeling too hot about how you looked on a certain day, why would you upload a picture of yourself to Twitter?

If you’re taking the effort to photograph yourself and present it to the rest of the world via social media, at least be straightforward about why you’re doing it.

There’s clearly some aspect about the photo -- which you’re taking -- that you find especially appealing, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be striking a pose (or making a duck face).

As Peggy Drexler, PhD, explains, “posting affirming selfies can be empowering,” and -- at the end of the day -- that’s why people love taking (and sharing) them.

When people are feeling themselves, selfies provide a tangible asset for positive attention from others. Selfies are a product of self-validation.

And as a result, it always seems like people who take the most selfies also tend to rate themselves the highest, attractively speaking.

As science reveals, however, it’s also likely that these people are overrating themselves -- especially if they’re men, that is.

Yep, according to Mark Travers, PhD, “research finds, again, that men tend to overestimate their own attractiveness” -- which might explain the increasing number of male selfies on your timeline each morning.

The logic behind this belief comes from the research of Stacy Yen-Lim Sim of Bowling Green State University. Sim, who surveyed 161 university undergraduates, asked test subjects to report on questions of self-attractiveness in addition to the attractiveness of other participants in the survey.

According to the experimental data, men’s ratings of self-perceived attractiveness were uniformly higher than those of the women included in the study. But the findings didn’t end there.

Additionally, researchers also set out to discover whether or not “participants’ ratings of others level of attractiveness depended on their own level of self-perceived attractiveness” -- which, it did, but only with respect to the dudes.

In other words, the guys who were more likely to view themselves as better looking were also more inclined to view other people as better looking, too.

On the contrary, women remained constant in their views of attractiveness.

Prior studies done on the topic suggest that men overrate their own attractiveness as a dating-defense-mechanism of sorts, one that’s meant to make them appear “more competitive in the dating pool,” as Travers writes.

But it’s also more complex than that.

According to Travers, “Perhaps attractive males are simply more comfortable rating others highly because they feel secure and unthreatened,” but he reaffirms that the same could not be said for beautiful women.

“Or, maybe it’s that men who perceive themselves to be attractive (but aren’t) are more lenient in grading others' attractiveness in the same way they are lenient with themselves,” Travers continues to speculate.

Ultimately, it seems that this is yet another case where women have a better grip on reality than men.

A separate study led by Christopher Bale and John Archer explains the significance of self-perceived attractiveness on the overall self-esteems of each gender.

The results from their study support the idea that, “self-perceived attractiveness predicted self-esteem significantly more strongly in females than in males.”

Perhaps this can help explain why men are much more likely to report distorted views of self-perceived attractiveness.

Since women’s self-esteems are more centrally focused around their self-perceived attractiveness, it would make sense why they’re less likely to “overrate themselves,” on behalf of some ulterior motive.

Men, on the other hand, will have no problem telling themselves that they’re Leonardo DiCaprio’s doppelganger, as long as it gives them the confidence necessary to approach an attractive woman from across the bar.

Men’s self-esteems won’t focus so much on how they look, as long as they’re able to compensate for it in other ways.