Prefer to be beautiful to having brains?

(265 Posts)
charlmarascoxo Sat 24-Nov-12 19:31:44

I was asked - would you rather be beautiful and have below average intelligence or would be rather be clever and be dull looking/plain jane.

I went with beauty.

It seems to me that in society having beauty is quite highly valued and life is perhaps easier because you are more accepted. Most people however chose brains over beauty. So perhaps I am in the minority?

StellaNova Sat 24-Nov-12 19:33:54

I would choose brains because there are various things you can do to make yourself more beautiful should you wish to, but you can't make yourself more intelligent than you are.

And also I would just rather be clever than pretty. Luckily that's how it turned out for me anyway wink

Euphemia Sat 24-Nov-12 19:34:01


I'm guessing by your answer that you must be beautiful hmm

Parietal Sat 24-Nov-12 19:34:39

Brains - last longer & more earning power than beauty.

StickEmUp Sat 24-Nov-12 19:34:39

I can see what you mean but it fades eventually.

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 24-Nov-12 19:34:40

Hmm yes, I would chose beauty as well. I know I might be shallow but yes beautiful people do get along in life easier.

I am neither sad so I would be thrilled with either.

BarbarianMum Sat 24-Nov-12 19:37:55

I would definitely chose brains - to paraphrase Maya Angelou (actually her step father) "plenty of beautiful women out there digging ditches or worse."

But then, I have never experienced (nor particularly missed) beauty.

charlmarascoxo Sat 24-Nov-12 19:38:06

TessCowDirect I consider myself better looking than most supermodels darling smile

Or ... it was a hypothetical question. I think society accepts beautiful people more. That is just my perception.

I don't think I am beautiful no, and never have I said I was.

quesadilla Sat 24-Nov-12 19:38:20

It depends what you want. Having beauty certainly opens more doors at a superficial level of your life. In more or less all areas of life: romantic, friendship, professional, beautiful people have an early advantage. But it only gets you so far: it won't stop people forever from noticing if you are shallow, thick or nasty. Brains are a more durable kind of advantage: they allow you to outmanoeuvre the beautiful people. And brains last forever - unless you have dementia. Beauty doesn't.

PessaryPam Sat 24-Nov-12 19:38:56

The beauty thing wears out eventually love, it's better to have brains and career.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrancesFarmer Sat 24-Nov-12 19:40:19

Brains all the way. I value learning and intelligence more than beauty.

EndoplasmicReticulum Sat 24-Nov-12 19:40:34

I like being ugly and clever.

But - it might be nice to be beautiful and stupid for a week, say, just to see how it feels.

KittyFane1 Sat 24-Nov-12 19:41:39

Brains - last longer & more earning power than beauty.
Not if 'earning power' includes a below average IQ beauty marrying for money.

Cozy9 Sat 24-Nov-12 19:41:42

I would rather have a bit of both. And I do.

Chottie Sat 24-Nov-12 19:41:44

Brains, first, second and third choice

Beauty fades, but Brains are forever smile

ParsleyTheLioness Sat 24-Nov-12 19:42:15

I am quite clever...not beautiful, kinda average. DD inherited looks from her father (handsome fwit) and brains from me. I observe how people react to her...and I think it would be quite nice to be beautiful for a bit...

fuzzysnout Sat 24-Nov-12 19:42:31

hmm OP are you Samantha Brick?

ParsleyTheLioness Sat 24-Nov-12 19:43:06

Chottie Judge Judy says, "Beauty fades, dum is forever..." makes me lol...

Serious question - how do you think that beautiful people get along in life easier?

Perhaps if they go for a career where their looks matter - yes - but there are thousands of things you can do where you don't need to be attractive.

They might attract a partner easier - but that would mean the attraction was based on what they looked like. If the partnership is to last, there has to be more substance.

McChristmasPants2012 Sat 24-Nov-12 19:44:34

Brains because you can't get by in life soley on looks

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 24-Nov-12 19:46:40

It is a known fact that beautiful people are more likely to do well in an interview and get the job, you get things a lot easier IMO and no I don't think I'm particularly beautiful. I think the most important thing that shines through whether you have beauty or brains or both is if you are a nice person.

I'd go for beauty if you said average intelligence - but below average no, I think the average person is daft enough.

Tweasels Sat 24-Nov-12 19:47:55

It depends what you want out of life, what kind of social circles you want to mix in, what career you want etc.

I'd rather be clever if I had to choose one or the other but ideally I'd be both. Although, I wonder whether being beautiful in some academic fields can be a disadvantage.

Think I'll just stick to being me, I can do a crossword and don't recoil in horror (most days) when I look in the mirror. That'll do.

Well, I've got every job I've ever gone for so I must be gorgeous grin

SecretNutellaFix Sat 24-Nov-12 19:49:51

No contest. I'd pick the brains over looks any day.

forehead Sat 24-Nov-12 19:51:17

Beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive. I know many woman , who have both.
My best friend is absolutely stunning and seriously clever.

BarbarianMum Sat 24-Nov-12 19:52:10

<<It is a known fact that beautiful people are more likely to do well in an interview and get the job>>

But only in conjunction with the right sort of qualifications, which for many jobs implies a certain amount of brains. Beauty alone won't make you a doctor, or nurse, or solicitor, or teacher, or engineer, or accountant etc

PimpMyHippo Sat 24-Nov-12 19:53:12

Don't ask me to link to my source because I can't remember it (this is how all convincing arguments start wink ) but I know I've read somewhere that being good looking is proven to open more doors in most areas of life, including careers and everything - makes people subconsciously more likely to like you in interviews etc. I'm not saying society should value looks above brains, but that maybe it does anyway.

I don't think there'd be anything wrong with being gorgeous and blissfully ignorant - some of the happiest people I know are as thick as the proverbial planks! grin

ohmeohmy Sat 24-Nov-12 19:54:29

Definitely brains, go for beauty and you will forever be reliant on the opinions of others for your self worth. With brains you might change the world.

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 24-Nov-12 19:55:15

No but if there was 2 solicitors going for the same job with one "ugly" person and one "beautiful" person the beautiful person is more likely to get it as the interviewer would superficially warm to her more.

I am not saying thats right but it is unfortunatly how society is.

amillionyears Sat 24-Nov-12 19:55:36

If I was beautiful , I would be scared that my other half only wanted me for my beauty. Also I would feel a certain pressure to keep up my appearance.

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 24-Nov-12 19:55:55

I think I read the same thing as you hippo but again can't remember where.

hmc Sat 24-Nov-12 19:55:57

Christ - I would go with the brains every time. Agree with Stella that most people can scrub up well with effort and with a good personality can present themselves as 'attractive' if not regulation beautiful.

In my view Kelly Brookes personifies beautiful but dim. Not good.

Lavenderhoney Sat 24-Nov-12 19:56:00

Even beauty requires some wits to get by with the short time frame of opportunity.

I assume a man asked would go for brains, as proven by the amount of short, balding, sweaty unattractive and rude men with bottomless pockets squiring 6 foot beauties about. Being vv handsome but witless and jobless with no desire to provide for your family with your partner is never going to fly is it?

Beauty is largely time and money though, isn't it? There is beauty in everyone.

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Sat 24-Nov-12 19:57:08

I used to be clever and beautiful, but choosing a teaching career and having a child in my forties has left me rather dull headed and worn looking.

frogspoon Sat 24-Nov-12 19:57:22

The most important thing for me would be to be happy.

I would say I have brains but not beauty, and am not especially happy.

Perhaps if I had beauty instead of brains I would be happier as I wouldn't keep over analysing things and making myself miserable. Most beautiful (but stupid) people seem to be much happier than intelligent (but plain) people.

BarbarianMum Sat 24-Nov-12 19:57:24

I agree InNeedOfBrandy but then you are comparing beauty+brains vs brains alone, not beauty vs brains as in the OP

(off to find some hairs to split)

Startail Sat 24-Nov-12 19:57:31

Beauty and brains, I've know a couple of women with both. Brilliant to watch them put sexist men in their place.

But they are seriously, first class degree from serious universities, clever.
I think beauty can get in the way in some academic circles if you aren't amongst the best.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 24-Nov-12 19:57:57

Beautiful people only get so far- if you are thick you have few long term options.

charlmarascoxo Sat 24-Nov-12 19:59:32

forehead I'm not saying that they are. I'm saying IF you had to chose one.

I suppose both can fade. Especially beauty, however brains can fade too for example having alzheimer's.

(also again I'm not saying I am beautiful and neither is my name Samantha Brick)

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 24-Nov-12 20:00:40

Yes that's true BMum I was forgetting a completely thick person couldn't be a solicitor grin

charlmarascoxo Sat 24-Nov-12 20:02:46

I know I wrote the OP. But do people consider brains and common sense to be the same thing?

I have a friend who I would deem to be clever. But she did think Brazil was in France so ...

HoneyDragon Sat 24-Nov-12 20:02:51

Beauty changes. In the sense you mean anyway.

Very clever people tell societies what Beauty is. It is the really clever people who are standing behind that door.

True beauty comes from within. Many people that are thought of as beautiful don't fit in with current ideals. It is interesting that an awaful lot of people who were fortunate enough to meet Mother Teresa described her as beautiful.

Equally cleverness is not an all encompassing thing. There are some people who could look at a jar of jelly beans and calculate exactly how many are within. But they couldn't open it.

I'd ditch both and pick confidence with a good dollop of self faith. That does get you places smile

Sargesaweyes Sat 24-Nov-12 20:03:40

I would much rather have brains. Beautiful people who are dumb do my head in after a while-that's really mean isn't it. Sorry blush

OddBoots Sat 24-Nov-12 20:05:55

I'm quite glad to be middling on both.

Dawndonna Sat 24-Nov-12 20:05:56

Many years ago in the uni bar, the uni beauty looked me up and down, flirted with dh a bit and then asked a member of the bar staff loudly, what 'he was doing with her'. Quick as a flash he turned round and said: unlike you, when her looks have gone, she'll still be funny and clever.
20 years later, I still luffs him.

NigellaTufnel Sat 24-Nov-12 20:08:03

I would pick brains, although it must be nice to be beautiful.

However people who are beautiful can still hate how they look. I am plain but still more attractive than some of my friends and a lot less attractive than lots more. But I don't think about my looks all the time.

Meh. Plenty of people are beautiful, but pretty soon it ceases to matter because if you find they are dull or stupid they are no longer really attractive. Personality goes a long way. Intelligence goes even further.

gordyslovesheep Sat 24-Nov-12 20:10:29

Brains - I had both - pre kids I could stop traffic (normally by throwing myself in front of it)

seriously though beauty fades - brains are what pay my mortgage and keep me in 'hold you in' pants

Plomino Sat 24-Nov-12 20:13:49

I'd go with brains . No good being the most beautiful person around , if you reveal yourself to be either ignorant or have an ugly character the moment you open your mouth.

honeytea Sat 24-Nov-12 20:15:20

I would prefer to be happy. most of the especially beautifull or exceptionally clever people I know are not among the happiest.

I think to have the ability to accept and appreciate the beauty and brains that you naturally have no matter how average/under average or exceptional you are is the most important asset.

mijas99 Sat 24-Nov-12 20:16:29

I tease my wife that she is as beautiful as she is intelligent

Which she finds insulting smile

3monkeys3 Sat 24-Nov-12 20:18:47

Youth fades, but the truly beautiful remain so. I have been thinking about this for about 15 minutes now and still can't decide which I'd choose - I am quite pretty and quite clever, but not exceptional in either area - I don't know which I'd be happier with/without. I suppose if I were stupid I wouldn't understand the depths of my stupidity?

HollyDayzacummin Sat 24-Nov-12 20:18:54

I have a niece who is beautiful. She has had terrible relationships with men since her late teens. Now in her mid 20s she has finally found someone who likes her for who she is, not what she looks like. First three boyfriends were dick-heads and the last one was abusive. No advantage to being beautiful in my opinion.

For my daughter, I prefer her to have brains over beauty. She is beautiful, but not stunningly so. She will be the kind of girl who, when scrubbed up, will probably be classed as very pretty, or maybe even beautiful. What's more important for her, however, is that she's beautiful on the inside. She is kind to other people. She supports her friends. She is a balcony person and she will help others to see the lemonade in the lemon, even though she can sometimes see the lemon herself, when she's with me. That's what I prize and, in the long run, it's what other people prize too.

Beauty is what beauty does imo. In terms of brains, she's a very academic girl, but she doesn't swan around with an 'I'm better than you' attitude. She knows that other people have difficulties with academic stuff, but they're better than her at dance, or art, or gym, or something else. Teaching children to see the best in everyone and not to overvalue their own merits is way more important, imo, than teaching our kids to value being a size zero or a Katie Price lookalike. No contest. Brains over beauty every time.

MrsDeVere Sat 24-Nov-12 20:21:16

I am glad my children are beautiful.
But one of them has LDs too.
I know which of my children are going to have an easier ride. The bright ones.
DS2's beauty will not make up for his cognitive deficit.

I also know of a couple of very striking young women. Within a very short time they become extraordinarily ugly. Their behaviour and attitudes negate their good looks within minutes.

DialsMavis Sat 24-Nov-12 20:21:34

I would choose beauty, life looks easy and lovely for the beautiful....

Lavenderhoney Sat 24-Nov-12 20:23:29

I was out in a very smart bar with my exbf, and we were waiting for our drinks. The man next to us said to me " is that your bf, how did he manage that - directly at bf- you red haired, four eyed, short arse tosser"
Bf collapsed in horrified giggles, I glared and the barman refused to take any money for drinks. Even my hairdresser commented on our being incompatible ( I am not Helen of Troy btw)

And once an ex friend of mine ( note the ex) commented unfavourably on my then bf ( now dh) looks and then on discovering what he did for a living, airily said perhaps she should meet him as he might prefer her!!!

3monkeys3 Sat 24-Nov-12 20:24:19

I have to say, as a teenager, being pretty was not a good thing. I wish I had bloomed later. I remember trying to talk to one bloke about what he was reading and he actually said to me 'I don't want to talk to you, I just want to fuck you'. Nice. So, looking back, I did want to be appreciated for my brains.

charlmarascoxo Sat 24-Nov-12 20:25:45

Hmm its interesting, I feel myself leaning slightly more towards brains now...

Its also interesting that as soon as I said I'd prefer beauty I got a snide remark from TessCowDirect of how that means I must think of myself as beautiful. When in fact I never said I was beautiful ever, which shows that girls gets jealous very easily and perhaps you wouldn't have as many friends if you were beautiful.

MorrisZapp Sat 24-Nov-12 20:26:31

My best mate and I once had a conversation along the lines of 'oh my god! Imagine how awful it must be to be stupid!'. All philosophical, like.

I truly can't think of anything worse. The stupid people I know simply cannot be on their own, ever, as they have no inner life, no resources, and they think reading is boring.

That sounds very horrible and insulting but it's just what I've seen. My dear, dear gran is completely uninterested in the world beyond her four walls, and doesn't enjoy reading. That's fine when you have a family to raise, a house to run and money needing earned. But in retirement, with family all moved away and friends slipping their perch... it's a struggle.

ErikNorseman Sat 24-Nov-12 20:30:01

Brains of course! Beauty is superficial, it doesn't impact on anything that matters
So men might fall over themselves to take you out - all that brings you are lots of dates, not lasting love with a decent fellow.
People will look twice at you in the street - and?
You might occasionally get preferential treatment at work - well I too have got every job I have ever applied for since the age of 20 and I'm not beautiful. I am confident and presentable with a good interview manner - I think that counts far more. Beauty might give you the edge but only if you have the goods to back it up.

BinksToEnlightenment Sat 24-Nov-12 20:30:05

I'm not saying this to be a dick, but I have experienced both.

I'd ditch the brains. Being clever doesn't make you happy. In fact, it's the opposite. I used to have agonising philosophical debates in my head about the nature of existence at the age of eight. If I spoke to my friends about it, they looked at me like I was insane. I couldn't relate to anyone.

Being beautiful brings instant acceptance. Brains make you doubt and question everything.

Fuck brains.

Arisbottle Sat 24-Nov-12 20:30:14

I am vaguely attractive but very clever.

By being clever I have always been able to earn a good salary which means I can afford good clothes, haircut and makeup which means I turn heads.

Brains can buy you the earning power to buy , maybe not beauty, but certainly attractiveness .

Arisbottle Sat 24-Nov-12 20:33:04

Binks I think there is something in what you say, I am lucky to have never suffered real depression but I do have a slightly melancholy nature at time because I turn things over and over in my head. Many of the very clever people I know are also similar

A level of emotional intelligence is important so that you are aware of this tendency and can form positive relationships to combat it.

ErikNorseman Sat 24-Nov-12 20:37:01

In fact I'm perfectly happy with my current level of intelligence which is good enough to manage a masters degree but nothing special. I'd like to be a little bit more beautiful, but I wouldn't be fussed about being a supermodel. I think I'm ok actually!

gomummygone Sat 24-Nov-12 20:39:23

Brains every single time.

But I disagree that beauty necessarily makes life easier. It may for superficial things. I think, however, that it can also make some fairly important things more difficult. Sadly, things like initially being taken seriously in your profession, or figuring out whether that potential partner wants you for the right reason, can be clouded by beauty, imo.

wtf1981 Sat 24-Nov-12 20:40:58

Wonder if anyone reading this wholeheartedly believes they have both. . .

B1ueberries Sat 24-Nov-12 20:43:05

Well it 's not one or the other, so I'd say that if I had to choose between being a bit more intelligent or a bit better looking, at this stage in my life I'd choose beauty because it would be more useful to me. All other things being equal being attractive is always an advantage.

BinksToEnlightenment Sat 24-Nov-12 20:43:46

That's exactly it Arisbottle. I would love to not be intelligent enough to ever be in emotional turmoil. I've never been done a disservice by the way I look, but my thoughts have frequently driven me mad.

hermioneweasley Sat 24-Nov-12 20:44:05

I am gorgeous, brilliant, have a great rack and I cook too.

hermioneweasley Sat 24-Nov-12 20:44:43

Actually only two of those are true.

hermioneweasley Sat 24-Nov-12 20:44:56

Ah, but which two, eh?

Mollydoggerson Sat 24-Nov-12 20:45:56

I think about 70% of beauty is grooming, weight management, poise and demeanour. Beauty can be worked on with big rewards if you are diligent enough (I am not).

Brains cannot be created but beauty can.

I'ld go with brains. (-;

inkonapin Sat 24-Nov-12 20:46:52

Surely it depends on the circles you move in? If you're surrounded by really good looking idiots then it would be advantageous to be beautiful, if you choose to be around people with something to say for themselves then its better to have brains.

forehead Sat 24-Nov-12 20:48:00

I think i have both <forehead runs away and hides>

skaen Sat 24-Nov-12 20:48:43

Brains. I think people who aren't beautiful can be much more attractive than someone who is beautiful because if her personality and the way she presents herself.

skaen Sat 24-Nov-12 20:49:24

Actually, I agree with Molly but would add money to her list!

charlmarascoxo Sat 24-Nov-12 20:50:22

“A person's physical attractiveness -- the look that they're basically born with -- impacts every individual literally from birth to death,” says Dr. Gordon Patzer, dean of the College of Business Administration at Roosevelt University. He's spent 30 years studying and writing about physical attractiveness. “People are valued more who are higher in physical attractiveness. As distasteful at that might be, that's the reality.

Just one of the many quotes I found online (not saying that they are reliable btw)

emsyj Sat 24-Nov-12 20:50:47

If it was a choice between average brains plus jaw-dropping beauty or average looks plus being frighteningly super clever, I would happily live with average brains and be beautiful I think.

I recently met the granddaughter of my DMum's oldest and best friend. F**k me, I have never seen anything like it - she was absolutely drop-dead, have-to-look-twice, couldn't take my eyes off her beautiful. Just gorgeous. She could have stepped into a Vogue photo shoot with no makeup. She is only 14!!! I was staring at her slack-jawed for the whole afternoon, goodness knows what reaction she must get in the outside world (we were at a family BBQ at DMum's friend's house so was all her family plus me and DMum). I would love to look like that! grin

I would class myself as slightly above average on brains - but only slightly. If I could improve either brains or looks, it would be looks 100% <shallow>

Teahouse Sat 24-Nov-12 20:51:02

Brains for sure.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Arisbottle Sat 24-Nov-12 20:51:35

Brains can't be created but your education can. You can also make yourself culturally and worldly aware .

But I agree that it is possibly easier to create " attractiveness " not beauty though, to me that suggests something natural.

Djembe Sat 24-Nov-12 20:53:35

I think life is easier if you are beautiful. People respond well to you. Life is hard when you are clever because everything becomes terribly complicated. I am a simple soul, I'd rather be happy than a high-flyer, so I'd go with beauty. The arguments against beauty seem to be perceived things that go with it like vanity, shallowness, stupidity, money-grabbing and so on. I have a friend who is seriously stunning - has been a model. She is the most chilled, happy, friendly, happy person I can think of. I just want to gaze at her all day and have her smile at me <girl crush>

BinksToEnlightenment Sat 24-Nov-12 20:54:14

I know I have, or have had, both in my lifetime.

I look similar to Michelle Pfeiffer in the eighties. I was particularly smart as a teenager. I would read the dictionary for fun. Looking back, it wasn't all that fun.

Mollydoggerson Sat 24-Nov-12 20:54:36

You know what this has made me think of?

The beauty trade v. the further education business.

I would think nothing of paying €€€ to complete a course/diploma if I thought it was worthwhile, but I would be slow to pay any money on anything over and above normal grooming (i.e. plastic surgery /teeth whitening/ fake nails etc).

Mollydoggerson Sat 24-Nov-12 20:59:06

btw I am in minus territory for both beauty and brains today - hungover to hell, the horrors, tomorrow will be better. I hate wine, it's ugly and stupid.

Arisbottle Sat 24-Nov-12 21:00:51

I am certainly not arguing against beauty, I spend a fair amount of my time trying to look good. I just think that my brains have had more of an impact on my life. Although that may be because I have more brains than beauty I guess.

charlmarascoxo Sat 24-Nov-12 21:15:20

Does anyone remember The Simpsons episode where Homer had a crayon stuck in his brain and when it was removed he became a genius?

At the end of the episode he had the crayon inserted back into his brain because being so smart only really brought him unhappiness.

Arthurfowlersallotment Sat 24-Nov-12 21:17:27

I wasn't aware they were mutually exclusive.

GreenEggsAndNichts Sat 24-Nov-12 21:17:58

It's an interesting question. I thought beauty at first, because even though it does fade, you could do a whole lot with it while it lasted. However, if you were beautiful with below-average intelligence, you wouldn't know how to use it to your advantage.

(No, I'm not going to explain what I mean by using it to your advantage, beyond the fact that society values beauty and there are situations where it is prized above intelligence. I also have read studies about how height is important to men's careers, so this isn't a phenomenon limited to women.)

ifancyashandy Sat 24-Nov-12 21:19:11

I was a bright minger (read: had no idea of how to embrace my prettiness) in my teens, twenties and thirties. Mainly because my mother was determined I would have a career and not rely on any looks I may / may not have had. NB: I am averagely attractive.

I am freaking GORGEOUS in my 40's and have a) had the term 'supermodel' attributed to me and b) never had so many 'looks' from men and women.

But it has naff all to really to do with my 'looks' and everything to do with confidence and not giving a fuck....

charlmarascoxo Sat 24-Nov-12 21:19:48

Arthurfowlersallotment where exactly did I say they were? hmm

Brains, no contest.

You may be right that the average idiot person may be more impressed by your beauty more than your intelligence but who cares what they think? After all this opinion shows what a moron they are!

I was not being snide by the way.

Your OP indicated that you were either beautiful or below average intelligence. Therefore I assumed you were beautiful. smile

Ignore that. It makes no sense. blush

I wasn't being snide though.

FunnysInLaJardin Sat 24-Nov-12 21:33:51

I have both, but I am a bit fat. I once said I would rather be slim than a solicitor. That was when I was studying for my finals. It seemed so much easier to qualify as a solicitor!

Marzipanface Sat 24-Nov-12 21:41:47

Brains of course!
You can MAKE yourself reasonably good looking with effort and the money you can make due to your colossal intellect!

Plus beauty fades big time compared to brains.

With amazing intelligence you can make a huge impact on the world - think Einstein/Tim Berners Lee/Planck etc.

A pretty face will be forgotten as soon as a new one comes along.

EyeoftheStorm Sat 24-Nov-12 21:45:00

Now if you were asking whether I'd prefer charisma or brains - that would be a hard choice.

Beauty? Meh. Physical beauty doesn't protect you from the vagaries of life. Why do actors end up in such tortured relationships? If beauty equalled happiness then they would be pigs in shit, but they're not. They're all going through the same things as every other normal-looking person on the planet - except they're doing it in full view.

Beauty might open a door, but unless there's something stronger inside to back it up, it's not going to keep you there.

exoticfruits Sat 24-Nov-12 21:47:38

Brains- can't see it is a contest.

Okay. Back to serious discussion.

Beauty can open doors but can also close them. Sometimes a really attractive person is not taken seriously or they could get into a situation where others feel threatened by their beauty.

EyeoftheStorm Sat 24-Nov-12 21:50:43

Exactly Tess. Would you really want to hang out with someone who only wanted you around because you looked good? Not interested in what you had to say, just whether you reflected glory on them

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sat 24-Nov-12 21:52:28

I agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and also wonder if the op is samantha brick.
If you voted for beauty would you rather have a 'beautiful' face or a 'perfect' body?

do men have these kind of discussions?

I doubt very much whether men have these discussions.

Fakebook Sat 24-Nov-12 21:57:40

I'd pick BRAINS every single time. There is so much you can do with a good mind. Beauty can be acquired.

LDNmummy Sat 24-Nov-12 21:59:35

I'd go for brains, perfect plastic surgery and buy myself some beauty grin

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sat 24-Nov-12 21:59:38

I think Brad Pitt agonises about it.

Arthurfowlersallotment Sat 24-Nov-12 22:01:31

Well, by virtue of asking what you'd rather have, there's an assumption that is the case OP.

Though clearly tis a touchy subject.

sunshine401 Sat 24-Nov-12 22:03:59

Hmm but what is beauty? If you ask my DH I am the most beautiful thing in the world. smile
On the other hand if you ask my lovely brother it becomes a totally different view!

sunshine401 Sat 24-Nov-12 22:05:24

I would go for brains though as it makes me able to make myself a beauty wink

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sat 24-Nov-12 22:05:52

who do you consider beautiful?

who do you consider clever?

Fakebook Sat 24-Nov-12 22:08:17

It's all just chemical reactions in the body. No one is beautiful. Your genetics decide what kind of features appeal to you and then all this chemistry takes place in your body and signals are sent to your brain saying "wow, that person is beautiful". There is no such thing as love.

StellaNova Sat 24-Nov-12 22:26:26

All the comments about cleverness making you unhappy make me sad. I think I am pretty clever - not something I would say in real life or on here out of context - and I don't feel this has made me unhappy in the least. Quite the opposite.

charlmarascoxo Sat 24-Nov-12 22:26:58

also wonder if the op is samantha brick

And why is that?

Don't think I have once said that I am beautiful or that my female friends are jealous of my good looks.

I said out of a choice of two I would be more likely to chose beauty.

So you can take your snide comment somewhere else, unless you can back up your lovely comment.

charlmarascoxo Sat 24-Nov-12 22:29:43

Arthurfowlersallotment why single me out?

Other people have agreed they would chose beauty (although it seems to be in the minority)

And others have told stories about things that have happened because they deem themselves to be beautiful.

I have not done this.

I do NOT think of myself as beautiful. All I said was that I prefer beauty over brains.

Proudnscary Sat 24-Nov-12 22:33:22

Luckily for me I have both


WorraLiberty Sat 24-Nov-12 22:35:51

I have a beautiful brain if that helps?

AViewfromtheFridge Sat 24-Nov-12 22:35:53

I put this question to a Year 9 C/D borderline class once (so "average" pupils). Actually, it wasn't looks - it was a choice between being really clever or really sporty. Almost every single one went for brains, which I found incredibly interesting.

Mollydoggerson Sat 24-Nov-12 22:35:54

I think it's mostly nonsense.

With both beauty and brains, the main thing is to apply yourself to your goal.

Fakebook Sat 24-Nov-12 22:42:11

I have a brainy face. like this

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sat 24-Nov-12 22:44:15

I agree the way we look affects how some people treat us, I'm not sure I've ever met someone I would consider ugly/not beautiful unless they have repellent personal hygiene or habits. It disconcerts me how hung up we are on looks because I know for sure there are many people who have a very narrow definition of what's beautiful.

As long as I don't scare children & small animals (& dp) too much I will be happyish with my looks.

As for brains, it doesn't matter how high calibre your brain is if you don't have the aptitude to use it. As we are constantly told now, you don't call a child clever you congratulate them on the work they've put in. You can work hard at your looks and/or your brains.

When you chose your partner/husband/whatever, did you choose them for their beauty or their brains.

BinksToEnlightenment Sat 24-Nov-12 22:48:54

Oh if it was brains or being sporty, then I'd pick brains. Who wants to be sporty? Look at Josie Jump - she ended up tweaking and being kicked off Balamory. No thank you to that!

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sat 24-Nov-12 22:52:14

Binks is that really true? grin shock

EndoplasmicReticulum Sat 24-Nov-12 22:52:20

Oh, I chose my husband for his beauty. But I don't think I would have stayed with him for very long if he hadn't been intelligent too.

Climbingpenguin Sat 24-Nov-12 22:52:58

i'm supposedly clever but I think I would plump for beauty blush

Kewcumber Sat 24-Nov-12 22:53:19

From my vast observation working on the brains side of a beauty industry, my choice would be neither. I would choose natural charm (not sleaziness but get-along- ability), those are the people who have the happiest and often (depending on how you measure it) most successful lives. Sometimes they are good looking and sometimes they have brains and sometimes they have both or neither but they are always likable and often have a genuine interest in other people.

Personally my brains have allowed me to pay off my mortgage before most people in London would manage it and take time off without anyone supporting me to be with my son when it became necessary. But I suppose you could have done it with beauty, charm or luck as well.

tittytittyhanghang Sat 24-Nov-12 22:55:50

If it was a choice between average brains plus jaw-dropping beauty or average looks plus being frighteningly super clever, I would happily live with average brains and be beautiful I think. Me too.

Meh, I dont care if people think im shallow.

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 24-Nov-12 22:56:00

I would say personality is what really matters, never mind brains or beauty.

BinksToEnlightenment Sat 24-Nov-12 22:57:37

Apparently so! That's why they brought in Josie Jump two.

Her song is catchy though.

But not as good as Pc Plum's. 'I found your doggy!'

Excuse me! As you were.

SantaisBarredfromhavingStella Sat 24-Nov-12 23:06:35

Didn't we do this only a few weeks ago?

BinksToEnlightenment Sat 24-Nov-12 23:17:07

It's one of life's indefatigable questions.

madeiracake Sat 24-Nov-12 23:24:14

but enlightenment, do you think it's not possible to be um.. less than intelligent and still in (equal) emotional turmoil?

charlmarascoxo Sat 24-Nov-12 23:24:19

Well SantaisBarredfromhavingStella sadly sometimes threads get repeated. Especially on such a huge forum.

However this has reached 6 pages without anyone else mentioning it. (Unless I have missed it) so its rather a pointless comment to make, as no one else seems to mind.

PessaryPam Sat 24-Nov-12 23:31:48

Reconsidered and believe that OP is right, it's easier to be average intelligence and pretty, think you would be happier, but sadly you can't chose your life.

TraineeBabyCatcher Sat 24-Nov-12 23:32:33

See I would just choose happiness.

For me its a balance of both.

For some its brains, and others its beauty. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful, not everyone wants it tho but it doesn't meen they can judge others for it, equally it works the other way.

SantaisBarredfromhavingStella Sat 24-Nov-12 23:39:56

Yes sometimes they do, especially the fucking pointless ones hence my 'pointless' comment. Clearly you would choose the former.....

IAmSoFuckingRock Sat 24-Nov-12 23:41:25

brains over beauty every time.

if you are beautiful (with no brains) you only have your looks to trade on. they can go in a flash (accident with hair dye, sudden illness meaning steroids for life)

if you have brains you can develop yourself in so many ways to make those doors open for you. you can learn how to make the best of your physical features, whilst also retaining the knowledge that you have personality and brains to fall back on if your face suddenly fell off. also, in such a fickle world, what constitutes 'beautiful' can change in a short space of time that you may be cast to one side in favour of the new beauty. what does that do to your self esteem when you know your beauty was all you had?

notwoo Sat 24-Nov-12 23:46:00

Ha- I asked my 3 year if she would rather be clever or strong the other day (she was eating fish and we were talking about how it was good for her)

She went quiet and thought for a bit and then came out with 'I think i'd rather be a mermaid'.

I'd go for brains myself

BinksToEnlightenment Sat 24-Nov-12 23:49:41

From my experience, having a brain that will not rest equals constant unease.

The way I see it, you keep asking 'why', to the answer to any question, and you run out of answers. A simpler person will be content with the answer 'because it is so' and they will get on with enjoying their life. A brain that will not quit will keep demanding to know the answers to things it is impossible to know at two in the morning every night and keep you awake. I like sleep.

I'd rather look in the mirror and think, oh look there's Michelle Pfeiffer and not oh shit I'm just a meaningless mess of particles crushed together in such a way that they have become aware of their existence.

While I do agree that emotional turmoil is for everyone, being smart means you invent more reasons to be in it.

blueshoes Sat 24-Nov-12 23:50:03

Better to be handsome (beauty with a big nose?) and clever. Will go far.

LynetteScavo Sat 24-Nov-12 23:51:40

When I was 17 I had this conversation with two school friends. They both chose brains, I chose beauty. We were all above average IQ, one was very pretty. At the time I felt very ugly.

With hindsight, I think it's easier these days to make yourself pretty (ie have your hair/teeth/nose fixed) than it is to suddenly understand quantum physics.

But the most overall successful people I know have a combination of personality, intelligence and looks, but aren't stellar in any one area.

Life is easier if you have money, and what is most likely to get you hard cash.?Money or looks, or personality? Or a combination of the three?

BinksToEnlightenment Sun 25-Nov-12 00:04:37

A combination of looks, brains and charm would be perfect - all in fair amounts.

I guess the question I was answering was; what is more of a burden to have in the extreme, beauty or brains?

Pendeen Sun 25-Nov-12 01:05:17


I can be clever when I'm old! grin

Dryjuice25 Sun 25-Nov-12 03:07:13

Both will help but brains command respect. Sadly at 34, I feel less attractive than before and wish I had invested more in personal dvt. As a mum, I will get my very beautiful daughters to be clever so they can experience the best of both worlds. Besides, didn't we burn the bras so our brains got the chance to shine

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 25-Nov-12 03:40:36

I'd choose beauty.

There are scientific studies that prove that even babies prefer a beautiful face

gomummygone Sun 25-Nov-12 05:04:12

shock In contrast to my previous response, I have asked my DH about this thread, to which he replied: "I went after you because you're gorgeous, but I MARRIED you because of your big fat brain!" shock

I'd still choose brains, a thousand times over. Think Tess has some really good points about the "challenges" of beauty.

HowAboutAHotCupOfShutTheHellUp Sun 25-Nov-12 05:21:40

Beauty. Being good looking has opened doors for me, I notice the way people react to me is different to the way they react to my friends, however wrong that may seem. Men often go out of thier way for me, they help me out and go that extra mile and are often willing to break rules and 'overlook' certain issues. This all sounds v conceited but it's my experience of being what is considered a conventionally 'good looking' woman.

Sometimes women will be interested in me and want to discuss my looks with me in some shape or form. I also note that a lot of women are surprised I am 'nice' and down to earth and normal and kind; just a regular woman underneath the exterior. They expect me to be insincere or fake or shallow because I'm good looking.

Conversely a minority of women are threatened by my looks and often become v 'peacock like' around me even though I am not a threatening person or a flirt or husband stealer. Despite coming across like I'm totally up myself by making this observation I'm a grounded person and make a concerted effort not to look like I love myself and I do not seek the limelight or attention that I receive.

forehead Sun 25-Nov-12 06:07:46

As a teenager, i came to the conclusion that as i wasn't pretty, i was going to ensure that i was brainy. I worked hard at school and have excelled academically. Furthermore, i made sure that i was well read etc.
In my twenties i blossomed and suddenly started getting all this male attention. TBH, i was amazed by how much value was placed on the way i looked, when what i truly valued was my academic success.
I agree with those who say that beauty can be 'bought' , just look at all those average looking A list celebrities who have invested a great deal of money on their appearance and are now considered 'beautiful'.
There is a great deal of value placed on the way we look, which is fuelled by the cult of celebrity, which is why you see young women going under the knife. It is quite sad .

CheerfulYank Sun 25-Nov-12 06:28:02

I was raised to think that the most important thing to have was sisu ...or in my father's words, "give a person guts, and shit will do for brains."

My brother is astonishingly clever and it's never gotten him anywhere; he's got no ambition or work ethic whatsoever. And far can it get you, really? I see so many jaw-droppingly beautiful celebrities who can't seem to find true love or stay out of rehab.

kelpeed Sun 25-Nov-12 07:26:00

just can't be arsed reading beyond the first page.

but would a bloke ever ask himself this question?

Sparklesandglitter Sun 25-Nov-12 07:53:25

I'd go for beauty, I'm not stunning but with a touch of makeup I'm pretty. I'm also have post graduate qualifications but find that playing on "dizzy blonde" generally gets me things cheaper and easier, particularly things in a male environment like getting my car fixed more cheaply/ for free. Yeah this probably goes against feminist principles but if my looks can get me what I need and for a better price why not!! My DP is also impressed at my skills in flirting/playing dumb to get what I need. Ps I have also been given a job on the grounds that I'm pretty so yeah I'd say looks smile

SomersetONeil Sun 25-Nov-12 07:59:26

Depressing that it's seen as an either / or situation. Brains or beauty...

Personally, I don't think either beauty in and of itself, nor brains in and of themselves is the answer.

To me, the ideal is:

- accessibly good looking; not beautiful
- intelligent but not genius levels
- a cracking sense of humour
- emotional intelligence/naturally kind and empathetic
- a healthy self-esteem and confidence in your own place in the world...

... is the best route to happiness and fulfilment. Not too much to ask for. smile That combo is most likely to win friends and attract nice, kind, decent partners.

Sargesaweyes Sun 25-Nov-12 08:06:41

I'm not a bag of spanners but I would be Pretty miserable if I thought the way that I got through in life was because of something that you are born with.

I agree with the posts that say humour, kindness and confidence are more worthwhile features than either beauty or brains.

Eastpoint Sun 25-Nov-12 08:07:55

Definitely brains.

My neighbour was a very successful model in the 50s & 60s, I've seen photos & she was stunning. Losing her looks in her 70s was something she found almost unbearable & of course she wasn't really unattractive in her 70s, the difference between her & other women became less marked. She had been able to get away with poor behavior when she was young as she was so beautiful and this meant she had fewer social skills than other women her age.

Brains every time for me & my daughters please.

BikeRunSki Sun 25-Nov-12 08:16:46

Brains are actually until dementia hits.

CaptainBarnaclesDaddyman Sun 25-Nov-12 08:21:47

Kelpeed I don't have to. I'm both super handsome and have a whopper of a brain. And modesty by the bucketload.

Brains every time!

spoonsspoonsspoons Sun 25-Nov-12 09:12:59

i'm surprised how many people equate intelligence with earnings, ime the two aren't as closely linked as you might imagine.

Peggotty Sun 25-Nov-12 09:19:28

Sparklesandglitter, that's just depressing.

Silibilimili Sun 25-Nov-12 09:22:01

I am both, me. grin

Everlong Sun 25-Nov-12 09:24:33

Absolutely without a doubt brains.

You can always have work done on an ugly mug wink

GinAndSlimlinePlease Sun 25-Nov-12 09:31:18

I'm striking looking and quite clever. A woman at work stopped me the other day and said she was jealous of me as I had it all.

I don't. I an rubbish at small talk and social niceties. But most importantly to me, I'm infertile.

So it's not just brains or beauty.

Having said that, I would take brains anytime.

MardyBra Sun 25-Nov-12 09:35:12

Without brains you'd not only be missing out on jobs and life opportunities, but also appreciation of art, literature, philosophy and all different types of learning. You'd be condemned to a lifetime of soaps, X factor and Nethuns. wink

I'm intrigued by Binks' comments. Surely not all super clever types are tortured by their intelligence. Not being one, I'm afraid I can't comment from a personal experience, but I do know some talented academic types, who seem to be happy.

BinksToEnlightenment Sun 25-Nov-12 10:39:58

It's not necessarily the brains that are the problem - it's the hyper-awareness that comes with it. Too much thinking can make for crushing social awkwardness.

My experience of my looks is similar to hotcup's. I get things without having to try. For example, in a restaurant, I know my order will be written down correctly because I know the waiter has given me his full attention.

It does sound horribly conceited, especially because I didn't ask for it or work for it. I was allocated a symmetrical face with tidy features and clear skin. That's not fair. But it's an easy pass in life. Children like me, strangers trust me. It has opened doors for me... When I was younger and plain, I was scared all the time that people wouldn't like me, that I'd never be accepted. Now I know they will.

That's only my experience though. I think it's estimable to pick brains. Maybe I'm a coward for choosing beauty.

bondigidum Sun 25-Nov-12 11:03:50


If by ugly you mean hunchback of notre dame then i'm going with beauty because i'd have such low self esteem I would have no quailty of life so the brains wouldn't be put to much use. If you mean basically average, just not stunning then i'm going for brains.

I'd rather have brains anyway because looks fade and most people take brains seriously whereas beautiful but brainless get basically laughed at. But I just wouldn't take brains if I was ugly to the point of no return.

AlwaysWantingMore Sun 25-Nov-12 11:03:50

I think I have both, and reap the benefits of both, but unfortunately I am not a very happy person. sad

Binks - nail on head there. The hyper awareness is the killer.

And Mardy, all the happy academics I know are clever but not super intelligent. Those that are super intelligent pretty much all have crippling doubts and social issues, although interestingly, the really super intelligent tend not to become academics. Make of that what you will.

Mankind cannot bear much reality.

FergusSingsTheBlues Sun 25-Nov-12 11:23:03

You dont know how your looks benefit you until they go. I was always regarded as a hot ticket until through stress and pcos and neglect, somehow put on six stone in a year and it was incredible how invisible i suddenly became. To man and beast. I lost the weight equally quickly, but this time I ignore all the attention because I truly see looks for what they are. Decoration.

cory Sun 25-Nov-12 11:23:10

Depends by how you define "society".

In a job interview, one brainy person with stunning looks may do better than an equally stunning person with a face like a gorilla, but a third person with no brains wouldn't have been qualified to apply for the job in the first place.

There are very few careers which depend on looks alone: even models need a certain amount of nous to stay afloat in the industry.

dinkybinky Sun 25-Nov-12 11:23:46

You can always make yourself more intelligent but you cant make yourself more beautiful.

MardyBra Sun 25-Nov-12 11:31:23

I think you can learn stuff but you can't make yourself more intelligent dinky

And whilst you might not be able to make yourself more beautiful, with grooming you can make yourself more attractive.

GreenEggsAndNichts Sun 25-Nov-12 11:33:03

I agree with Binks, it was what I was trying to get at with my post earlier. (Though she's touched on the hyper-awareness that comes with being too intelligent, and I think this is a real issue as well.)

However, because the beauty mentioned in the OP comes with less-than-average intelligence, I don't think it would be worth it to me. You wouldn't know when you were being used, you wouldn't know how to make the most of your looks.

MardyBra Sun 25-Nov-12 11:37:42

binks and wild. Tbh I don't really know what I'm talking about as I don't have anywhere near that level of intelligence to have a hyper awareness issue.

I would choose intelligence over beauty, but not the super intelligence of the small % of people right at the top of the scale.

Since we're making hypothetical choices here, I'd like to be able to choose "happiness" as my super-gifted ability.
I'd rather be one of those people who are able to be happy in all circumstances and don't fret or get angry or frustrated or bitter or anxious over the hiccups of life.

That, over brains and beauty, please.

I'm in shock - I'm forever getting flamed for judgmental posts and threads but this one has skimmed along for 175 posts without anyone thinking this is a rather dodgy topic and just accepting it at face value? hmm Where are all the sanctimonious folk I always encounter preaching about everyone being beautiful and clever and how dare anyone judge anyone else on these things grin

I'd say intelligence everytime as it is real, beauty is superficial. But like everyone else posting here, I'm probably saying that because I'm average looking and of above average intelligence. You dance with the girl you can with, IYSWIM.

whois Sun 25-Nov-12 12:15:20

I don't think being at the extreme of either leads to happiness. People on the genius scale are often full of self doubt and over analyse everything and are never satisfied with their current situation <massive generalisation>

Likewise I imagine that being stunningly beautiful can get in the way of normal social interaction.

A good mix of both is preferable. There is a correrlation between face symmetry (proxy for beauty) and IQ anyway, I read an interesting piece in the nat geo a few years ago. Being attractive means people respond better to you and your interactions become easier.

I am quite clever. Very clever compared to the whole population I suppose. I am also reasonably attractive. I am tall, slim, nice face and nice hair. Def not stunning but I am nice looking.

I bloomed late, at about 20 I suddenly 'grew into my looks' and boy did life become a whole lot easier. Social interactions became much easier, boys wanted to talk to me, more girls did too, it was easier getting part time casual work at uni (and I was told by a guy at one job that the manager had only Interviewed be because he thought I was 'fit').

As other people have said it is well documented that being attractive makes a lot of things easier. But you don't need to be stunning, a plain face can be an attractive face if you are presented nicely and are confident and happy in yourself.

My DP is ridiculously clever. Scarily clever! He Often thinks it would be nice to be stupid and just accept life the way it is!

Jux Sun 25-Nov-12 12:35:58

Looks fade.

Brains sharpen. Intelligence has the potential to become wisdom.

Beauty? <pshaw!> not worth the paper it's written on.

Jux, my brains are definitely not what they were!

BinksToEnlightenment Sun 25-Nov-12 13:41:43

Intelligence fades with age. And the ability to assimilate new knowledge and skills fades rapidly.

GothAnneGeddes Sun 25-Nov-12 13:45:39

What is deemed as beautiful is a social construct, or are we honestly stating, looking at fashion magazines etc, that white people are the most attractive?

Also, Josie Jump mk1 left to study fashion design and now makes her own knitwear.

AmberSocks Sun 25-Nov-12 13:47:55

It depends on what you mean by beautiful,women that are truly beautiful are at any age,not just when they are young.

It would depend on how beautiful an how intelligent.

Personally i think intelligence is overated,i just want to be happy!

BinksToEnlightenment Sun 25-Nov-12 13:57:25

Knitwear! Is that what the kids are calling it these days! grin

motherinferior Sun 25-Nov-12 13:59:46

I am clever. I would frankly rather have been beautiful.

EverlongLovesHerChristmasRobin Sun 25-Nov-12 14:03:36

Really mother?

motherinferior Sun 25-Nov-12 14:07:28

Yes, but I have massive Issues about my looks. And I have put up with an awful lot of crap treatment from blokes because I'm always aware I'm lucky to get anyone to put up me.

EverlongLovesHerChristmasRobin Sun 25-Nov-12 14:08:58

That's so shit sad I'm sorry you feel like this flowers

motherinferior Sun 25-Nov-12 14:13:32

I am pretty clever, though grin.

EverlongLovesHerChristmasRobin Sun 25-Nov-12 14:14:38


stargirl1701 Sun 25-Nov-12 14:19:12

Oh god no. I'd rather be intelligent than beautiful. I was listening to a conversation between two women about their friend who had come away with the statement that, "Holland is in Sylvania (sic), you know, like Scotland is in GB."

They were laughing but said, "She is soooo pretty though."

My judgy pants were hoiked right up. Pretty damn ignorant I thought.

marriedinwhite Sun 25-Nov-12 14:19:30

Brains. You could end up with a really good job to fund plastic surgery wink

Wankarella Sun 25-Nov-12 14:20:48

I don't know... I think a working brain would help right about now!

marshmallowpies Sun 25-Nov-12 14:22:48


One of the things I like about being plain and dull is the ability to pass under the radar. I was desperate to stand out and be different as a teenager, now I am relieved to blend in and be as un-noticeable as possible.

I only feel particularly out of place when in a group of women who talk about dieting or exercise DVDs or make up or clothes. I mean, I wear clothes and jewellery and perfume, (and make up occasionally), but I always feel like an outsider in those situations and not a 'proper' woman. The world of fashion and beauty is a complete mystery to me.

blueshoes Sun 25-Nov-12 14:23:03

Binks, I am curious by what you say about tortured genius.

I work in the City with some of the brightest minds in the business (not mine, I hasten to add). I reckon they are smart because they are constantly thrown into new situations, able to digest vast chunks of information in an instant, coming up with answers by drawing connections in different fields, presenting the answer in a simple and convincing manner and getting people to respect them as an expert and trust their judgment.

There is no evidence that these people are contorting themselves with existential issues. If anything, they can cut through the chase whilst others are floundering in the morass of detail. I would not say they are particularly intellectually curious (perhaps they don't have the time) except in their field of expertise.

It could be that they are only clever, not super intelligent. But I think overthinking issues is as much a function of personality as it is raw intelligence.

motherinferior Sun 25-Nov-12 14:23:57

I don't want to blend in. And I would quite like my idiocies excused by 'she is soooooo pretty, though', rather than having to be painstakingly accurate about everything.

DancesWithSnowmenAndElves Sun 25-Nov-12 14:24:20

mother - that is awful, but there are plenty of men out there that are more interested in brains and personality than looks. I'm sure you'll encounter one that is to your tastes too soon enough.

EverlongLovesHerChristmasRobin Sun 25-Nov-12 14:25:36

I agree. ' she is sooooo pretty ' is just infuriating.

motherinferior Sun 25-Nov-12 14:27:22

Oh, I live with a man who considers me the most beautiful woman in the world grin. (And I have come across quite a few blokes who fancied me in the past.) Like I say, I have Issues.

blueshoes Sun 25-Nov-12 14:28:42

Dances, I think most men, being visual creatures, will initially be attracted to looks. Brains and personality come later, if they figure at all.

perplexedpirate Sun 25-Nov-12 14:29:24

As someone who is both smoking hot and incredibly intelligent I would say brains get you further, but looks probably make the journey more pleasant.

I am actually mingling and dumb as a box of rocks. grin

CaptainBarnaclesDaddyman Sun 25-Nov-12 14:33:43

blueshoes! shock

Yes it's true my wife is vair beautiful, but she's also intelligent and funny and a wonderful person. If she wasn't, she wouldn't be my wife!

I've known a lot of beautiful women in my life, but I only ever pursued the ones I could engage with mentally and emotionally. A beauty with no brains is a huge turn off.

EverlongLovesHerChristmasRobin Sun 25-Nov-12 14:38:41

Aw daddy that's luffly.


blueshoes Sun 25-Nov-12 14:40:36

Captain, not all men, of course.

My husband married me for my brains and personality <cough cough> but it was my arse that initially caught his attention and continues to hold it.

Given a choice of only having one, would men naturally choose brains over looks?

Wankarella Sun 25-Nov-12 14:43:58

I was married to someone who said I was pretty....and nice

I have never been beautiful, I have been told, pretty nice hilarious and funny, so rounding that up I'm pretty nice-ish and sometimes hilarious and a bit funny....

Last night someone said 'I hope you don't mind but I think you are gorgeous and lovely' hmm I answered that with ' looks can be deceiving I am average and I'm faulty'.

Strange man must need his eyes checked or maybe he is another saddo looking for a quick jump. hmm

motherinferior Sun 25-Nov-12 14:47:21

Hmm, I think a lot of men say they want brains but actually they mean 'someone who isn't quite as bright as I am'.

CaptainBarnaclesDaddyman Sun 25-Nov-12 14:49:39

I would. If a relationship has the merest hope in hell of surviving past the initial stage, the partners have to enjoy similar intelligence levels so they don't just get bored and find someone else.

Every long term relationship of mine was with someone who i could hold a decent conversation with.

The ones who I discovered didn't have a lot going on upstairs didn't last beyond a week or a night.

My dw is beautiful and intelligent and we've been together for over 10 years and we discuss the wonders of the universe, medical advancement and literature, and I still burn with passion for her.

blueshoes Sun 25-Nov-12 14:56:39

Captain, would you be with your dw if she wasn't beautiful?

CaptainBarnaclesDaddyman Sun 25-Nov-12 15:01:35

Yes I believe I would. She's easily the most wonderful person I've ever met. I am so hugely lucky that I found her and didn't scare her off with my drunken ranting when we met grin

Let me put it this way. If I was blind I wouldn't know what she looked like, but I'd still know that I love her and that I never want to let her go.

EverlongLovesHerChristmasRobin Sun 25-Nov-12 15:06:45

<everybody is hoping that daddy is their dh in disguise>

CaptainBarnaclesDaddyman Sun 25-Nov-12 15:07:43


blueshoes Sun 25-Nov-12 15:07:55

Captain, I think it is different if you were blind, because then you would not have a point of reference looks-wise.

But I will accept the rest of what you said. I wonder whether if your dw were dog-ugly, you would have taken the time to get to know her better to the point that she is now a keeper.

<everybody is hoping that daddy is their dh in disguise>

I was convinced until he said they've been together 10 years (we're 25yrs)
and DH could not type that fast! grin

DancesWithSnowmenAndElves Sun 25-Nov-12 15:14:24

I think really really good looking men are looking for really really good looking women. However, normal average men and less fortunately looking men deal with real women, and are looking for a person they sync with, in whatever area is most important to them - be it brains, humour, a common religion, or sports team, whatever.

I have to say that DH was drawn to me because of my conversation and sense of humour, the fact that I have a great rack was a plus grin

EverlongLovesHerChristmasRobin Sun 25-Nov-12 15:14:51

I was convinced too until he mentioned the universe stuff grin

blueshoes yes, you got it - it's that those guys you mention aren't super intelligent. Having seen the types among my peers at Oxbridge that were attracted to the city and are now among the brightest and best in business, they were not in the genius league at all, but were clever, creative and very very driven.

The people I knew that were super super bright are now an artist, two teachers, a writer, two SAHMs, an academic that hasn't had a stellar career and is still "just" a lecturer at 45. None of them has excelled. They have all been hobbled by their own brilliance. It is actually quite paralyzing to have to have so much potential.

babyfirefly1980 Sun 25-Nov-12 19:50:32

Brains...lasts longer.

blueshoes Sun 25-Nov-12 19:52:22

wildstrawberry, that is interesting. Agree about these people being very driven!

This could be taking the discussion in a slightly different direction but perfectionism (perhaps like super intelligence you describe) cripples success. To be successful in a senior management role in professional services, you need the ability to delegate, build teams and create the headspace to think strategically, leaving the grunt work to others. That requires a personality that can say, this is good enough, I will have to let go and let others get on with it, rather than try to control all aspects of the work product.

The ability to leave it and not be bothered by things not being perfect is quite important to getting ahead IMO. Same to not thinking things through too much, I suppose. A confidence/blindness that I know enough and then stop there.

Yes, that makes a lot of sense, blueshoes.

LaQueen Sun 25-Nov-12 20:57:49

I don't think there's any Law stating that beautiful people have to be stupid, does there? Or if there is, does it then follow that all over-weight people are genetically jolly - and plain-looking people are always clever hmm

There's no denying that good-looking people tend to have a slightly smoother path through life. Their physically appearance marks them out as being slightly exotic/rare/significant - and most people tend to respond positively to that.

Life's even smoother if you are conventionally good-looking, and have above average intelligence - and there's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't have both. I always scrubbed up well - never beautiful enough to be a catwalk model, but conventionally good looking enough to be often asked to do promotional work at bars/clubs when I was a student.

When I met DH, he wasn't attracted to my personality, or IQ, or the fact I was at university...he came over to me in a club because he thought I was really pretty, apparently. Human beings are very visual creatures, and I think it very disingenuous to pretend that looks don't have a very important role to play.

Neither do I think that beaty fades. My Auntie has always been a stunning looking woman - whatever the occasion, she has always been the most beautiful 30...40...50...60...70 year old woman in the room.

Arisbottle Sun 25-Nov-12 21:04:11

No one has said that you cannot be beautiful and clever.

I was just thinking about my in laws actually, my mother in law has a timeless beauty, my father in law was very clever, he is now struggling with dementia and struggles to hold a conversation. So her beauty lasted but his intellect didn't.

I think you can be initially attracted physically to someone but after than it is often brains, personality or charisma that keeps you together. I knew my husband before as a friend, I don't think looks mattered to either of us one bit.

Laquitar Sun 25-Nov-12 21:16:01

I think that neither of them guarantees a good life.

Many beautiful women are very unhappy in awful relationships, many brainy women lack social skills or dont make the most of their brains because they luck confidence.

Imo best to have social skills, flexible way of thinking, adapt in situations, confidence, self-awareness.

Laquitar Sun 25-Nov-12 21:21:09

And those who say that good looks help you to make money and they open doors to you hmm yes but if you are stupid you can lose the money as quickly as you made them and shut those doors yourself.
You still need brains.

TheBolter Sun 25-Nov-12 21:55:32

I know a woman who is very attractive in a kind of 30's film glamour kind of way, in fact I would say she's beautiful. However her personality lacks charm and depth, she's quite haughty and cold in fact. She's sweet when you get to know her, but you only catch rare glimpses of this; she's impossible to get to know because she seems to be either made of glass, or stone - or both!

Unfortunately for her, her beauty is not so apparent once you realise this, because she lacks warmth, and a lot of what she speaks seems to be hot air, therefore I don't think she's as intelligent as she likes to think she is. She and her dh are v wealthy and I think that this combined with her looks gives her an easy ride in a social sense - people want to be their friends, and fawn over them a bit.

I know I sound catty, but you can say things like this about other people on an anonymous forum - I wouldn't run her down like this to anyone in RL!

TheBolter Sun 25-Nov-12 21:57:33

I realised that I contradicted myself in the first para - what I meant was that you catch glimpses of her probably being quite a sweet person underneath the haughtiness but she doesn't seem to want to get close to anyone.

SoleSource Sun 25-Nov-12 22:03:18

I am unpretty and unclever.

Jux Sun 25-Nov-12 22:25:33

Binks, I disagree. If you don't use your brains they'll fade, but if you do then intelligence continues. My mum's was completely intact (IQ 145) until she was 84. Perhaps she'd dropped a point or two, but it was not noticeable. My grandmother was the same, and so was my dad.

samandi Mon 26-Nov-12 10:28:11

Brains. I'm no genius but I like being reasonably intelligent. It makes life more interesting IMO.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 26-Nov-12 10:44:39

I wish I had things more in proportion. I sailed through school and Oxbridge and now wish I'd 'made something of myself'. I'm plagued by existential angst and didn't seem to grow out of it! I now live in a fairly boring area. Boring life. Brain spins but no outlet.

I was missed out in the looks department.

I'd have prefered a bit of both.

cory Mon 26-Nov-12 11:13:47

I think research has shown that you are slightly less likely to suffer from dementia if you keep intellectually active in your old age. But obviously it's a statistic thing, not a certainty: some people lead a healthy life and still have heart attacks.

Kewcumber Mon 26-Nov-12 14:22:00

Bolter Most people who are beautiful have to back it up in some way with a degree of charm or wit or friendliness etc in order to be considered beautiful in real life past a certain point. We are all influenced by personality over the longer term not just looks. We must all know people who are beautiful but vapid or really unattractive but lovely and once you know them its very hard to see them without seeing who they really are (IYSWIM)

Being in the press is different - you can;t "see" peoples real personality in Hello magazine.

bubalou Mon 26-Nov-12 15:06:08

I'm fortunate enough to have both so this doesn't apply to me.

The mind of Stephen Hawking, the body of Gisele and the face of Megan Fox.


EverlongLovesHerChristmasRobin Mon 26-Nov-12 15:18:58

< nods a lot slowly >

Loving your confidence bub grin
Go girl.

bubalou Mon 26-Nov-12 15:44:13


If only it was a tiny bit true - haha

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 26-Nov-12 15:46:15

I'd go for beauty. After all, everybody has a brain.

Jux Mon 26-Nov-12 16:17:55

Yes, but you could just as well say "everybody has a face", surely, Ifnotnow.

kensingtonkat Mon 26-Nov-12 16:24:12

I'm plain as day but on the one occasion I had a professional facialist, make-up artist, fake tanner, manicurist and hairdresser (my wedding day) I looked bloody fantastic. This is what all celebs have, every day. We could all be beautiful, given money.

I would take being immune to procrastination over being brainy. Women with energy inevitably achieve more than women with genius. Look at Anthea fucking Turner.

LurcioLovesFrankie Mon 26-Nov-12 16:47:48

Not getting this "but being bright means being tortured by the complexity of life and being socially inept" claim at all (perhaps I'm being dim). The world is so interesting, and being bright enough to dig below the surface of things is so much fun (whether it's following a Shakespeare play when seeing it for the first time, having never studied it, or appreciating a Bach fugue, or the Lorentz covariant forms of Maxwell's equations, or realising you've actually got the hang of the Schwarzschild solution to the field equations of general relativity, or thinking Cantor's diagonal arguments for the countability of the rational numbers and non-countability of the reals are just totally cool, or loving Hume's demolition of the argument from design). This doesn't stop me from liking everyday stuff too (happy to devote head space to which actors would make a good Jack Reacher, given that Cruise is clearly a disastrous choice), and I do have friends (most of whom I don't talk about esoteric stuff too, though have got mummy friends I can talk to about abstract algebra or philosophy of science), love doing physical stuff - climbing, football - as well as intellectual stuff. I totally agree that women with energy achieve more - but it doesn't bother me, I'm happy bumbling along thinking about stuff, earning enough to get by (research scientists are not paid well). Not ever been anything but plain, can't say it's ever bothered me. Alzheimers permitting, I hope to still be reading interesting stuff when I'm old.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 26-Nov-12 17:32:52

You could Jux, but not everybody has basically the same face grin
Everybody's brain has the capacity to learn, and become "clever".
Whereas if you have a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp there's not a lot you can do about it.

MrsDeVere Mon 26-Nov-12 17:43:58

There is a book called 'The Street'. It is a pretty grim tale but an interesting book.
It is set in Harlem in the 40s? (I haven't read it for years). It is about a black woman who is too good looking for her own good. She isn't full of herself at all but her beauty brings her nothing but trouble as a powerless poor black woman.

Just in case anyone is interested grin

noddyholder Mon 26-Nov-12 17:48:46

I had both when younger (looks long gone) and the looks were definitely the most fun and helped in my job .I definitely got work then because i looked a certain way(not boasting people told me I thought i was hideous)

Jux Mon 26-Nov-12 17:52:32

Yes, Ifnotnow, but some people are just dumb and no amount of trying or learning will make them a genius.

Seems you could say the same about faces - you could have anything from ugly as sin to total beauty - as you can about brains, anything from severely learning disabled to Einstein.

All brains are made up of neurones which interconnect, and all faces are made up of features which interconnect. I really don't see a difference in principle.

CheerfulYank Mon 26-Nov-12 18:27:03

Being bright does not mean tortured, but the few real geniuses I have met do often have problems.

EverlongLovesHerChristmasRobin Mon 26-Nov-12 18:29:13

bub grin just pretend to us lot.

MargeySimpson Mon 26-Nov-12 19:00:46

It's funny that the question is brains or beauty. people saying brains are doing so to take the moral high ground, but then ruin it with - so you can earn more!

LaQueen Mon 26-Nov-12 20:11:59

Kew I agree. My ex was a truly beautiful looking bloke, very Johnny Depp-ish...tall, dark, amazing cheek-bones and eyes to drown in. Other girls used to trample over me to get to him. People would do a double-take when he walked into the room etc.

But, actually his personailty really let him down. He was selfish, and mean with money. When I was with him, I was so besotted that I forgave him everything. And, he broke my heart when he left me.

But, when I met him a few years later (then being happily settled with DH) he wasn't nearly so beautful. Oh, I could see that he was still incredibly handsome...but I couldn't feel it. Because I knew him, and what I knew left me feeling pretty cold towards him.

CheerfulYank Mon 26-Nov-12 20:34:33

The most objectively gorgeous man I ever dated was an abusive asshole. He got ugly in my mind very quickly!

I know it's prejudiced but it's been hard for me ever since to trust really handsome men...I guess I mean "pretty boys", not the ruggedly handsome type. smile I'm getting over it though, I have known some with lovely personalities.

blueshoes Mon 26-Nov-12 20:38:39

On the issue of male looks, I am slightly suspicious of conventionally gorgeous men. They don't do it for me. I think men have to be slightly ugly and very clever to be attractive to me.

Latara Mon 26-Nov-12 21:16:51

I would rather be beautiful than intelligent; i'm prettyish in an average way but i'd love to have the kind of looks that stop men in their tracks... sorry if that makes me shallow but i don't care!

Ps. i'm intelligent-ish but not enough; & definitely not educated enough.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 26-Nov-12 21:19:05

I went out with a guy like that for a couple of years LaQueen-not that he was a git, just really good looking.
I broke his heart by running off with a much less good looking man.
Paying for it now though with my loooong dry spell (otherwise known as my Thirties).
Ugly bloke turned out to be an abusive wanker. I dont really regret it though. I wouldnt have been happy with beautiful guy either as he was really rather dull.
<Saves up for therapy> grin

Latara Mon 26-Nov-12 21:21:00

I get called 'sweet' a lot. Yuck. I would rather be beautiful or brainy or both.

Latara Mon 26-Nov-12 21:22:00

I don't think good-looking men are always that confident IME; not sure why.

Latara Mon 26-Nov-12 21:24:31

I'm not sure why some people are more confident or successful than others; but looks & brains don't seem to have much influence in either thing.

I'm not sure why some people call me 'sweet' or similar because i'm really not; i just look younger than i am. It's patronising IMO.

AmberSocks Mon 26-Nov-12 21:25:02

Most men ime seem confident,they just dont seem to worry about things like that the way women do.

thats probably why men are in charge of the world and we are not!

AmberSocks Mon 26-Nov-12 21:26:59

Plus you do get people who are good looking and intelligent....its not one or the other!

Latara Mon 26-Nov-12 21:27:16

My sister is very pretty but always gets lots of hassle from men; not pleasant really. She's popular with both men & women though luckily; & she's intelligent at maths, accounting etc. which is a good thing.
So she has both. I'm proud of her achievements in her career. smile

YerMaw1989 Mon 26-Nov-12 21:33:52

Logically I know I should say brains , but attractive people have easier lives in general so beauty.

Kewcumber Mon 26-Nov-12 22:21:42

"but being bright means being tortured by the complexity of life and being socially inept"

not necessarily - thats personality not intelligence. I'm not really a tortured should and certainly not socially inept - in fact I did very well in a "brains" profession in the media industry because I could talk to people (just like a real human being!)

I think there are a lot of stereotypes being trotted out on this thread.

blueshoes Mon 26-Nov-12 22:34:18

Kew, you are clever but probably not a genius grin. Agree about the stereotypes.

No one has said that being merely bright means being tortured and socially inept.

People were talking about extremes of beauty and extremes of intelligence and how they can be hindrances rather than beneficial.

Kewcumber Mon 26-Nov-12 23:41:23

how do you know I'm not a genius [pouty emoticon]

TheShriekingHarpy Tue 27-Nov-12 00:15:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Eliza22 Tue 27-Nov-12 09:03:32

Brains for sure. But then, I'm not blessed with brains or beauty.

Latara Tue 27-Nov-12 09:11:43

It's true to say that personality counts for a lot; because generally a person's characteristics show in their face i think.

I knew 2 pretty women who were bitchy & looked it; somehow it made them less pretty.
(But lots more people - pretty or not - aren't so bitchy luckily).

Corygal Tue 27-Nov-12 09:25:30

Brains, because beauty does not bring you romantic happiness. The biggest group of women divorcees are size 10, believe it or not. Isn't that sad?

But mainly because no one is that ugly. Scrubbing up can change you dramatically - and highlights are a lot quicker and cheaper than an MA.

LaQueen Tue 27-Nov-12 10:01:10

I agree with Harpy I think intelligence is a huge aphrodisiac.

When I met DH I dismissed him slightly as probably being a bit shallow, because he was very good-looking (he was the image of a young Matt Le Blanc) and a little bit full of himself...he went up hugely in my estimation when he told me he was studying a hard science at a RG university grin

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