Hey, guys, it doesn’t matter if your dad is hot. You’re on your own.

He can teach you much, but give you nothing: Wait... Is this man even handsome? This IS complicated!
He can teach you much, but give you nothing: Wait... Is this man even handsome? This IS complicated!Courtesy monseurlam
Sorry to break it to you, dudes, but you aren’t just ugly ducklings—you’re just ugly. Or, if you are mirror-melting hot, those good looks are an invention all of your own, so skip the father’s day present, and get yourself something nice.

See, guys and boys, you’re dad may have taught you how to gut a possum, and he might even have given you your first possum-gutting knife, but he didn’t give you the looks that attracted all those hungry eyes at the possum market. He saved those for your sister.

It turns out that men don’t inherit their fathers’ “attractiveness”. Fathers do pass on masculine features to their sons, but there doesn’t seem to be any strong correlation between attractive fathers (or, technically, “hot dads”) and attractive sons. So says the journal Animal Behaviour.

By rating the images of hundreds of males and females, and their respective parents, the recent study hoped to test the theory that women seek out attractive mates to produce sexy male offspring, who will in turn pass on their mother’s genes.

Uh uh. The study found that hot dads didn’t necessarily have hot boys, and that unattractive fathers (or “ug dads”) didn’t necessarily have ug boys. In fact, the study found no evidence of male-to-male attractiveness inheritance at all. So that beautiful bone structure, those sparkling eyes, that indefinable something that makes you so, so foxy… where did that come from? Your mother, perhaps?

Nope, attractiveness doesn’t seem to come from your mom either. It seems that when boys are born, they’re cast out into the Land of Fug to fend for themselves, and if they find a sunny hilltop to build a face on, they have to do it on their own.

Mothers, the study found, do pass on attractiveness to their daughters. And, ironically, so do fathers—hot dads are likely to have attractive daughters. That means that daughters are getting all those good looks funneled into them from both sides! Ooooh, I hate them so much!

It’s like the legend of Puss in Boots, really. The wealthy old miller and his wife (who I believe was some sort of novelty hat heiress) were on their deathbeds at the same time (food poisoning, I believe), and were deciding how to divvy up their vast wealth between their two sons and one daughter. Keep in mind, this was before division was invented, so the two dying parents decided that the fairest thing to do would be to give all their money to the daughter and none to the sons. The daughter lived a long and very happy life, and no more needs to be said about her. One of the sons died more or less on the spot (food poisoning, I believe), and the other grabbed the miller’s cat and did a runner.

The stolen cat may or may not have had a plan for the surviving son’s well-being, but there was no way to tell, because the cat couldn’t speak English, and the son couldn’t speak Cat. So, making the best of what he had, the son forgot to feed the cat until it died, and then took its fur. (And this was clever in itself, because the son was still too poor to afford a knife, and he had to be creative—that’s where the saying “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” comes from.) The son then used the beautiful fur (it was a good cat) to make an attractive fur hat (a skill he learned from his mother), which he sold to a local eccentric. The profits from the sale were then invested in the construction of a new animal shelter/hat factory. The venture proved to be a lucrative one, and it kept the man in stockings and gin for the rest of his life, until he burned the factory down so that his own son couldn’t inherit it.

Do you see the connection? If you replace all references to money in the story with the word “hotness,” the analogy is particularly apt.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

A little side note—the study doesn't actually seem to disprove the idea that women seek out attractive mates to produce attractive (and therefore more... genetically prolific kids), just that sexy sons aren't the strategy there. I suppose males are pretty good at spreading their genes around, but, I don't know, maybe it says something about sexual bias in scientific theories? (Or maybe not.)

posted on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 2:50pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Here is a great article about Hot Dads, Ugly Sons.

Check it out:


posted on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 10:42am
Jack's picture
Jack says:

So a question is, how is attractiveness defined? And why do people consider certain physical characteristics attractive and others ugly?

posted on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 4:44pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

That's a good question. There have been studies to isolate objective qualities that make a person attractive, but that's another post entirely (or many posts). Masculine/feminine features, facial symmetry, subconscious chemical stuff... there's a lot there.

I don't think this study tried to define exactly what about the people in the photographs was attractive, only whether or not viewers found them attractive. That is, when they were asked if they found a person in a picture foxy, they only had to say yes or no, not why.

posted on Mon, 11/03/2008 - 10:52am
ASHL3Y SHANA311's picture
ASHL3Y SHANA311 says:

is this real because i look a lot like my father a so is it really true it can't be but my dad is pretty ugly

posted on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 4:46pm
tao's picture
tao says:

there is always plastic surgery

posted on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 4:49pm
plee057's picture
plee057 says:

I think this whole story is tight! I never knew about it. well Now I know Where I got my beautyness. j/k well this was a great story.

posted on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 4:53pm
plee057's picture
plee057 says:

I think this whole story is tight! I never knew about it. well Now I know Where I got my beautyness. j/k well this was a great story.

posted on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 4:53pm
maleman001's picture
maleman001 says:

wow i didn't know about that but it is not true because my brother does look like my dad

posted on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 4:57pm
zouapha's picture
zouapha says:

I can see some truth to this. I know for sure I have more of my dad's traits than my mom. But I feel that moms pass more of their looks to their sons. I have quite a few siblings and one 1 out of 6 brothers look more like my uncles (from my mom side) then my dad. But 1 of the 5 sisters (including me) has more of my dad's traits.

i wonder what are the statistic ratio/percentage of moms passing on their traits to their sons than to their daughters.

posted on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 4:57pm
Linda's picture
Linda says:

this is interesting - I don't have any brothers, but in my husband's family there are 3 boys. My husband is the spitting image of his mother, just a more masculine version and the other 2 boys resemble their father's side but the likeness is not as strong as my husband's mother to son likeness. In my family there was 5 girls and 2 of us look more like my father and 2 looked more like my mother - the 5th was a happy mix of both and doesn't really look like any of the rest of the sisters! We always teased her about being the mailman's daughter. It is not true - but we still get laughs from it!

posted on Mon, 11/03/2008 - 11:35am
raquel10's picture
raquel10 says:

Woow i founds that pretty funny!!

posted on Mon, 11/03/2008 - 5:10pm
iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

thank you for the reference about how there's more than one way to skin a cat. i've used that term MANY times before, as i often have to rmeind people how my way ISN'T wrong, but it works for me.
but too many people are scared when they see a different way of doing things, thinking it's wrong when it's just an ALTERNATE way of doing things.
it's much like the theme song to the sitcom 'different strokes', how the world don't move to the beat of just one drum. but i digress.
i think the greater debate here is the age-old one about nature vs. nurture. are people born a certain way or do they learn to act a certain way? this goes for looks as well, while having attractive parents isn't a requirement for being good-looking it sure does help.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 1:26pm
SHINee003's picture
SHINee003 says:

i would disagree with the person who gave the advice of plastic surgery...it just doesn't go with it....

posted on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 2:12pm

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