What was that Poll About?

OK, so a week and a drop ago I asked women to list the traits they look for in a spouse using the list below, and adding any if they felt it warranted.

  • Facial Structure
  • Body Build
  • Politeness
  • Social Grace
  • Cleanliness
  • Kindness
  • Attitude
  • Intelligence
  • Affluence
  • Worldliness
  • Bravado
  • Height
I should mention, the list was compiled by JPS, a guy. That would explain the initial non-inclusion of height, the inclusion of cleanliness (seriously, that’s a prerequisite! Or did he mean “neatness”?), and the inclusion of the bemusing “bravado.” Only a guy who watches too many movies could possibly think bravado is appealing. Character was also left out, but I have a theory about that one.

So, we all know that guys, in general (due to internal wiring), go for looks. The theory is that women, in general (due to internal wiring), go for kindness. The purpose of the poll was to see how it would rank.

So, the results:

There were ten women who responded. Four rated kindness their #1 item.  Two rated it their #2 item. One rated it her #3 item. Only three didn’t rate kindness in their top 3 items.

Furthermore, except in one case, kindness was only bumped down from #1 to make way for intelligence. Now, shout out if you think I’m right or wrong (only if you participated in the rating), but when most people rate intelligence high, are they not really rating personality compatibility – meaning, someone you can communicate with and enjoy spending time with?

The other bump-downer was attitude.

My theory about character is that it was sort of melded in with kindness. Kind person has good character type of assumption. Correct me if I’m wrong about that too, people who made ratings.

To make the statistical leap, then, we can say that 70% of women rate kindness as one of the top three traits they look for in a mate.

So for all those guys who are trying to reinvent themselves in an appealing way: be nice.

15 thoughts on “What was that Poll About?

  1. I should agree that guys go by looks, but facial form can tell you a lot about the person – how kind, intelligent, self assured, easy going, winner or loser in the social game, modest, selfish and self-oriented, up-to-date in modern closing trends, nerdy, tries to be herself or tries to make people think of her different than she is, how old she looks, bubbly or arguing or loves to discuss every person who passes her and many many other little things that create full image personality. And if guys do look at girl’s forms judgmentally, they still catch her face and analyze it. And while some stick to body shapes as main key, others are able to pre-analyze situation and see through the mask of skin reliefs and layers of make-up.

  2. Dude with a hat, did you mean “clothing,” when you wrote “modern closing trends?” I actually like that phrase as a description for sales techniques. 😉
    I wouldn’t want all those assumptions to be based on a person’s facial form alone. While some people have very expressive faces and cannot hide what they are feeling or thinking, others make excellent poker players.
    What a number of the commentators at Mom in Israel touched on was giving the person a chance beyond just a few dates to really get to know him/her. I linked to her post with one of my own at http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2009/09/shidduch-qualities-list.html

  3. Mrs mekubal here-
    I know my DH had a list, but the first two things were red hair and good middot. What sealed the deal for him was a story I told him about a kid I was working with. Her colostomy bag exploded on me (she was 3), and instead of just being grossed out, I was concerned for her embarrassment(duh, who wouldn’t be?). I know he thinks I’m pretty (I’m not) but that wasn’t his first thing.

  4. My impression is nice guyz don’t primarily go for looks. Kindness is related to maturity, and maturity to wisdom. Mature and wise guys, my impression is, will look for what’s most important in forging a healthy and lasting relationship. Physical attraction is necessary, but shouldn’t rank that high.

  5. Does no one besides me consider “a sense of humor” one of their top traits?

    I had a pretty simple list: sense of humor, intelligence, goodness. (Oh, and taller than me, but I’m a short 5’2, so that wasn’t a big deal.) That was about it. I didn’t care if he was a genius, as long as I could respect his intelligence. I didn’t care if he was the nicest guy in the entire world, because people that are “too nice” actually annoy me. But sense of humor? That was something I could NOT live without.

  6. @Ariella – yup, it’s a typo.
    Everything depends on a person looking through. I agree that there could be no exact theory, but my point was that there are things beyond basic impressions you get seeing a person. Obviously it’s not the key either. But that’s better than nothing. IMHO I don’t care too much about some visual details because they will most probably change after few kids anyway. It’s cool to have, but it’s not a loss if it isn’t present.

    @Elie – that’s why you can’t base your impression of person only on looks if that is possible. Obviously conversation(-s) can break many walls that were hiding the real person.

    @MarriageNewbie – sense of humor is not something that would most probably define a healthy relationship.

  7. @Dude: We weren’t talking about “defining a healthy relationship” – intelligence wouldn’t make a relationship “healthy” or not, either. Sense of humor, however – if you can’t laugh with ’em, you can’t live with ’em. Trust me on this one.

  8. @MarriageNewbie – how can I trust you on such topics if I don’t know you. As of my experience with people in general and with girls in particular I didn’t find humor to be anywhere close to first important things.

  9. I would definitely rate kindness up there.

    I think “attitude” is all relative to your ideal mate: what kind of attitude should he have? Street smart, broski kind of attitude? Humble, gentle? Patient, caring? For me, it’d be a positive one and a patient one.

    Looks aren’t that important as long as he isn’t grotesque – but even then, if he charms me enough and we have similiar “ideals” then why not?

    I don’t know what else, though, I feel like sometimes it’s on a case-by-case basis.

  10. I wonder how much of what’s said, including what I said, is in practice what the poster looks for in a spouse. It’s very easy to say looks aren’t that important, but conceivably stunning looks can imprison the guy (and vice versa, to a lesser extent) into thinking the girl is nicer than she in fact is. Just a theory, and I won’t know for myself ’till I start dating.

  11. All of this relates to relative values of kindness and looks etc. Looks may not be rated consciously but they are a factor for women. It’s also true both for men and women that those are subjective terms.

    As far as nice is concerned someone needs to define that for me. There are two boys “men” really they’re not young who we have set up but the problem was that they were too nice.

    I agree. They are very nice and when anyone meets them that is the first thing they say. Yet …

    Also, I don’t know how this plays out in the frum shidduch scene but it is said (or was when my thirty plus girls were “in the parsha”, and when I was dating) that girls like “bad boys”. What does that say to the folks reading this post?

  12. @Chaim: I think that when girls in the yeshiva world say they like “bad” boys, they really mean worldliness and maturity. They want someone who understands that there are things outside the daled amos shel halacha that can be fun, still without violating halacha. They want someone who has a bit of take charge, who isn’t afraid to break the mold of what “everyone” does. They want someone who isn’t afraid to be an individual who thinks for himself.

    My top 3 would vary a lot depending on recent experience. Niceness? Most people are nice in their way. Obviously, no one wants to marry a total jerk, but, as MarriageNewbie said, too nice can be a turnoff. Too nice is boring. And I agree – sense of humor was always on my top 3, too.

  13. Don’t tell, but my theory is that he is trying to construct a personality for the purpose of wooing the ladies the same way psychopaths construct personalities to suit whatever they’re after. But I shouldn’t be spreading rumors about anonymous, online personalities.
    Can you tell I just finished “Snakes in Suits”?

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