In the mating game plain men know that being funny or smart can compensate for a lack of looks.
That gut feeling has now gained validation with a study by Christopher Watkins, a psychologist at Abertay University in Scotland.
Average-looking men are more alluring when women sense he has an imaginative spark, he says, but "creative women with less attractive faces seem penalized."
He arrived at that view after volunteers looked at pictures of men and women and rated each by looks. Then the pictures were shown to another group with texts about the subjects' creativity, such on how they saw The Lovers, a surrealist painting by Rene Magritte in which two lovers kiss, their heads strangely covered in white cloths. Or what about alternative uses for a tire?
The results showed that men with less attractive faces get a big boost if they show a creative touch, though top- ranked men were those considered physically attractive and creative.
For women the news was not so good: looks alone are paramount.