Dr. Smartass

The Downside to Being Beautiful

Being gorgeous isn’t always a good thing. Dr. Smartass explores the science of attraction and how beauty can become a biological burden.

By (@doctorsmartass)

January 18, 2010

Got a question for Dr. Smartass? E-mail doc [at] esarcasm.com.

Dr. SmartassGood readers, you know that the crew here at eSarcasm is quite fond of the lovely ladies. Your own virtual doc has even been known to devote a column or 12 to the shapelier sex.

But could it be possible for a woman to simply be too hot for her own health? Let’s head to my trusty inbox:

Dear Dr. Smartass,

I consider myself an attractive girl, and guys seem to agree. But the comments and compliments rarely translate into boys actually asking me out, outside of drunken assholes at bars just looking for one-night stands. My guy friends tell me it’s because I’m too good-looking, but that sounds like a load of crap to me. What do you say?


Miss Heidi, I’m glad you wrote in (though I wish you would have included a photo — for purely scientific reasons, of course). I did some digging in my vaults of medical knowledge, and it turns out there may be something to your friends’ theory.

First of all, there’s the obvious explanation that many men may simply be too intimidated to seriously approach a woman of your beauty. Throwing out a compliment and/or cat-call is relatively risk-free, as is extending a light-hearted drunken proposition. Asking you out on a date, on the other hand, poses the risk of real personal rejection.

(That risk, incidentally, is one your dashing Dr. S is more than willing to take. If you like aging fake doctors, darling, look me up.)

Now for the more research-oriented explanation, which comes from the crazy crew at UC Santa Barbara: The scientists analyzed fruit flies and found the most attractive females were actually at a biological disadvantage because of their beauty. And while you’re presumably not a fruit fly yourself, the horny little buggers are often used to make discoveries that can apply to humans, too.

“Can females be too good-looking?” the study’s author asks. “Can there be disadvantages to being attractive? The answer is yes: If you are too attractive, you get too much male attention, and that interferes with your ability to function biologically.”

To be clear, my comrade isn’t talking about the poor cognitive functioning inherently experienced by sluts — that’s another story altogether. What he’s talking about is the fact that attractive lady fruit flies are “disproportionately courted and harassed by males attempting to obtain matings” — kind of like you with your swarm of drunken bar boobs.

The full explanation gets a bit involved, but basically, the researchers say the nonstop male attention makes the ladies “less fit to reproduce.” They’re too busy getting busy, it seems, to be able to go about their regular day-to-day business. And that throws everything off.

My dear Heidi, you may not be able to tell your annoying sexual suitors to buzz off, but you can take something away from this study: Realize that, yes, your hotness may get in your way at times. Learn to tune out the noise, and maybe you’ll see the truly superfly guy who’s being drowned out by all the randy wing-flappers’ ruckus.


Being a babe comes with plenty of perks,
But it also encourages all kinds of jerks.
Know what you’re facing and soon you will find
A partner who likes you from more than behind.

Until next time,

Dr. Smartass

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