What makes people attractive to each other? Is it really male power and female beauty that are overwhelmingly important? The data suggests not:
First, people with higher status are, on average, rated more physically attractive—perhaps because they are less likely to be overweight and more likely to afford braces and nice clothes and trips to the dermatologist, etc.
Secondly, the strongest force by far in partner selection is similarity—in education, race, religion and physical attractiveness. After taking these two factors into account, McClintock’s research shows that there is not, in fact, a general tendency for women to trade beauty for money.
Read the whole thing for lots more on the dating market if you’re as much of a wannabe sociologist as most economists.