What Turns Us On
So, What Does It For You? We Asked, Boston Answered…
To find out how Bostonians define attractiveness, we created a 30-point survey with the help of Babson College statistics professor I. Elaine Allen. Along with posting it on our website, we dispatched pollsters across the Hub to interview people at T stops, coffee shops, and the occasional happy hour. Finally, we partnered with Cambridge-based dating website OkCupid, which hosted our poll on its home page. All told, we collected more than 1,100 responses—and plenty of eye-opening insight. For complete survey results, click here.
• Forty percent of the Bostonians we polled say a blue-eyed boy will get that second glance, followed by 26% for green eyes, 21% for brown, and 13% for hazel—numbers nearly identical to the breakdown for women’s eye color.
• The choicest height for local guys is 6′–6’3", which matches up nicely with our ideal gal, right, in heels.
• You want your men to be music lovers (18%), sports fans (16%), and outdoorsy types (15%). Of lesser appeal: tech geeks (3%) and nightlife aficionados (3%).
• Good news for the ironing-averse: jeans and a t-shirt is the best look for Boston men, say more than half of those polled. Workout attire scored lowest (2%) among choices for hunky menswear. (Which may explain why less than 2% of those surveyed reported meeting a boyfriend at the gym.)
• A small, straight nose is the winner by a 2-to-1 margin over all other sniffer shapes. Least favored was the snub nose, at 5% (it fared far better on women, at 38%).
• The clean-shaven look was voted most appealing, at 47%, but guys who can’t get to a razor every day shouldn’t fret—about 43% of voters say stubble also gets the job done. Goatees, though, are a bad idea. They’re dug by just 6% of respondents. Beards polled even worse (5%).
• The gold standard for men’s hair color isn’t blond (preferred by fewer than one in 10 respondents), but rather brown (71%), which was followed, though not that closely, by black (16%).
• Shaggy dudes: Four out of every five potential mates who pass you on the street think you’d look better with short hair.
• As men’s body parts go, you find shoulders (35%) and arms (29%) the most irresistible. You also think legs, which earned just 5% approval, should stay under wraps.
• Banking is considered the hottest job for Hub men (16%), but one of the least hottest for women (about 5%).
• Is it getting steamy in here, or is it just your glasses? By a surprising 3-to-1 ratio, Bostonians deem specs on women a turn-on (and think they’re pretty sexy on guys, too).
• An oval face is the shape preferred by a whopping 68% of the people we surveyed.
• The most alluring outfit for a woman is denim and a tee, say 46% of you. A scant 7% of respondents drool over a preppier sweater-and-khakis ensemble.
• Arty equals hottie, according to our respondents, a third of whom have a thing for artists or writers. The next most desirable vocation for women is physician (12%).
• The derrière and the legs tied for paramount female body part, with each prioritized by about 30% of voters. Hands, not so much (4%).
• An overly plump, Jolie-style pout gets the kiss-off from Hub voters (3%). Most like their gals with medium-full lips (51%).
• Survey says: The ideal Boston woman is about average height (5’4"–5’8"). But fewer than one in six Bostonians found women of 5’8" to 6′—a.k.a. the supermodel median—compellingly attractive.
Further Longings (and a Few No-Nos)
• In potential mates, you prefer dog lovers to cat people by a 5-to-1 ratio.
• About 20% of you believe men hit peak attractiveness in their forties or beyond; only 9% say the same about women.
• About 65% of you prefer your sweet nothings whispered sans Boston accent.
• Job combinations that inspire the least amount of panting: women as cops or firefighters (0.8%), men as waiters or bartenders (1.4%), and anyone as a politician (1.2%–1.6%).
• The most desirable trait in any Bostonian? That would be a good personality (62% overall). In a woman, the next-hottest quality is looks (24%); in a man, it’s intelligence (15%).
• Red hair on a woman revs up about 12% of local suitors. Red hair on a man, however, appeals to barely 2%.
• Harvard tops the list of sizzling alma maters for men (19%) and women (12%), followed by BU (8%/10%). But about half of you say it doesn’t matter where a potential S.O. went to college as long as they graduated.
• Of all the people we polled on what they find attractive in a partner, about half did not, in fact, have a partner at the moment.