This afternoon in Psychology Today, an article was featured entitled "Being Beautiful or Handsome is Easier Than You Think!" At the heart of the piece was a study designed to illuminate what features a person finds attractive in members of the opposite sex (obviously, a huge flaw in the study is its bias towards heterosexuals, but I still think the results are worth sharing). The study aimed to determine the importance of stable features, like a person's height, with changeable features, like a person's clothing, in terms of physical attraction.
Without question, the majority of attractive features fell under the category of self-care. Changeable aspects, like grooming, posture, hair style, well-fitting clothes, posture, and healthy weight, were all the most attractive characteristics of a person. Obviously, some of those things are easier to work on than others. Combing your hair every day is certainly a different kind of effort than losing 15 pounds. But as the article points out, the guidelines were much more vague than definitive. People want their partners to be relatively healthy, but neither gender expected an ideal body type by any means. Mainly, people are attracted to those who take care of themselves generally, and that does not mean having to incorporate an extreme diet or plastic surgery.
I think society has a tendency to believe that unchangeable aspects of physical appearance are what make a person inherently attractive. The only manner of changing those things would be to result to more extreme measures, such as plastic surgery. But really, this study shows that with a little effort, it isn't very hard to be an extremely attractive person. There should not be any sort of helpless notion that you are either born "hot or not" and that's that. Everyone has attractive qualities, everyone should have confidence in those qualities, and realize that if you are dissatisfied, there are very attainable, little efforts one can make to adjust that.
I don't mean to imply of course that you should change yourself if you love your hair cut, but for people with deep insecurities or feelings that their innate physical qualities are blocking them from having a satisfying dating life, that simply isn't true. The little things count, there are things within your power to change if you want to do so, and it will go a long way.
What are the most attractive qualities to you? Have "changeable" attractive features (grooming, clothing, posture, etc.), ever drawn you towards someone, or pushed you away?