Face Value: Do Looks Matter?

Maybe it sounds like an obvious question - do looks matter? - but there really are conflicting opinions. The same guy whose head is turned by the hot blonde on the street is telling his girlfriend he likes her better without all that makeup. Women spend half their lives dieting for guys that tell them they want a woman with "some meat on her bones," but when the pounds start creeping on, the dinner invitations seem to drop off.

Just as lost as we are? Let's look at these five facts about looks and love.

Face Value Fact: #1: Personality plays a role.

A recent study found that perceptions of physical attractiveness are influenced by personality. People with positive traits like honesty and helpfulness are perceived as better looking than people are unfair or rude.

Face Value Fact: #2: It's in the way you walk.

Researchers have long known that body shape was important to what we find physically beautiful, but a Texas A&M study found last year that how you move is also key. Women were considered 50 percent more attractive when they walked with a hip sway. Attractiveness rating for men doubled when they walked with a swagger in their shoulders.

Face Value Fact #3: It matters in mate selection.

As much as we might argue otherwise, we humans just aren't that highly evolved when it comes to mate selection. According to research comparing what daters said they were looking for and what they actually chose at a speed dating event, men sought the most attractive women. Women were more likely to leverage their looks for men with wealth and security.

Face Value Fact #4: So cute you can smell it.

Another study has found that women both smell and look more attractive to men at certain times of the month. And that symmetrical men smell better than their less symmetrical friends.

Face Value Fact #5: Looks don't last.

While the rules of attraction - however bizarre - might drive our initial decisions, it's pretty much universally accepted that lasting relationships are based on much more than what we first see and smell. Likeness of personality - not just looks - are what matter when it comes to sticking it out for the long haul.

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