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For all the guys who like to say that a great personality is more important than looks when it comes to women, we have some tough news. And for those ladies who also like to tout this oft-quoted dating half-truth, sorry—you’re probably lying to yourselves, too.
Despite all those tropes about how women care about personality more than looks, women (and their mothers!) consider physical attractiveness more important than other traits, like personality, when choosing a potential partner, according to a new study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science.
In the study, researchers presented 80 women (ages 15-29) and 61 of their mothers with three different potential partners—each with a different level of “attractiveness” and unique personality profile—and asked the women whether or not they considered the man to be a good dating match for themselves or their daughters.
The results? Well, they probably won’t surprise you.
For the women, men with the best personality profiles only beat out their counterparts when they were at least moderately attractive, meaning that guys have to meet at least a baseline physical appearance before their personality even comes into play.
Moms, on the other hand, were somewhat less picky when it came to weeding out men based on physical appearance, which could mean that they favor personality traits like dependability or honesty over good looks.
“We conclude that a minimum level of physical attractiveness is a necessity for both women and their mothers,” said Madeleine Fugère, a lead author on the study from Eastern Connecticut State University.
But if you’re not feeling so hot lately, you don’t need to worry about being eternally single—we’ve got you covered. If you’re in a style slump or in need of a new haircut, check out the 6 best hairstyles for every face shape and our 2017 style and grooming resolutions. Or even if you’re a fit, confident guy, make sure you read up on these 10 ways to look better instantly just to make sure you score that first date with your dream girl.
As for her mother-in-law? Make sure to clean up nice—and talk up your great personality.