A study published this week in Psychological Science has great and/or terrible news for single people everywhere, depending on how shallow you are:
Attraction can grow over time.
Or, put another way, the emphasis on sheer hotness lessens over time.
The study, cleverly titled "Leveling the Playing Field," found that couples who got romantically involved soon after meeting each other tended to be closer in physical attractiveness; whereas partners who knew each other for longer before dating were farther apart in attractiveness.
In animal terms, the "mating market" is leveled by longer acquaintance time between potential partners.
"Perceptions of mate value change the more time that people spend together," Lucy Hunt, the lead researcher of the study, told the New York Times. "Sometimes you get that Seth Rogen happy story, where an unattractive person comes to seem more attractive to one person in particular. But the opposite is just as likely to happen too. Someone can become less attractive."
Anyone who's been on a Tinder date with someone with a super hot profile photo, only to realize they are the literal worst in person, knows this all too well.
But the study reminds us the opposite is true — someone who doesn't spark our interest at first (aka all those people we swipe left on) might actually attract us over time.
The idea that genuine attraction takes time is supported by many other studies that highlight numerous non-looks factors that go into romantic attraction. But of course we already know this; from how a partner laughs to how they read a book to how they interact with pets, we've long realized that observing a person's traits IRL is what really makes our attraction grow.
And as studies have found, arousal and attraction are linked, meaning being in an arousing real-life situation may actually make someone even more attractive to you than they were before.
While that may be bad news for non-photogenic types on Tinder, it's encouraging news for the "average" singles out there looking to date "out of their league" — stick around, spend time together and don't give up hope. If every sitcom ever is any proof, it can happen for you.