A couple of years ago, an Australian woman decided to take a break from modelling to visit an island paradise in the Australian outback.
As she headed there for a family holiday, she met a boy who, after she introduced herself, made an unexpected visit to the family’s cottage.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” she says.
“The first thing I said to him was: ‘Can I come with you?’
He said: ‘Oh yeah, why not?'”
She and her husband, a fisherman, had spent the day on a picnic.
But the next morning, as the sun set, the boy decided to go on a boat ride.
The next morning as he was on board, the sun rose.
“We decided we had to go back home,” she recalls.
“But the sun came out and the wind picked up.”
She wasn’t disappointed when the boat sank.
“It was just too much.
We were so scared,” she said.
“They were all screaming.
We all started crying.”
For this couple, the experience was the most important moment of their lives.
The moment that they realized that they could be together, no matter what they wanted, was a powerful lesson.
The woman’s story was shared widely on social media.
“A few days later, I got a text from a man who said: You’re such a lucky lady,” she writes.
“If you were a woman in Australia, you’d be dead.”
It’s a message that resonates with the majority of Australians, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.
Almost half of those surveyed, 51 per cent, said they would not be attracted to someone who is “attractive” to them, or “slightly unattractive” or “not at all attractive”.
Just one in five, 16 per cent said they’d consider dating someone who was not attractive.
“Attractive” and “somewhat unattractive”, the survey found, are two words that are frequently used interchangeably.
What makes a person attractive?
It’s not just that they are “beautiful”.
People are also judged by how well they dress, act, have the right personality traits, and how well their family or friends react to them.
For some people, these traits are a defining characteristic.
For others, they are more of a generalisation.
“What makes someone attractive is the way they express themselves,” Dr Michael Smith, the lead author of the survey, told ABC News.
“Not necessarily in the physical way, but the way that they interact with other people.”
People who have been judged less “attractively” might be able to accept this.
For example, people who are judged as being “not quite as attractive” might find that “not being attractive” is more attractive, because it makes them feel more accepted.
But what about people who don’t have any of these attributes?
“The thing is that when someone has no physical attributes, that’s not necessarily the problem,” Dr Smith said.
But for those who do have physical attributes but don’t appear to have those attributes, there might be a potential for problems.
Dr Smith says there’s a reason why people with less-than-ideal bodies can attract more men than women.
“Women tend to be more confident, more outgoing, more creative and more independent,” he said.
“[Men] tend to lean towards aggression and aggression is often associated with a lack of physical attractiveness.”
Women, meanwhile, are generally more physically attractive than men.
“Men tend to have more facial hair and body fat,” Dr Matthew Walker, a psychologist and director of the Centre for Applied Social Psychology at the University of Melbourne, told the ABC.
“So a lot of men are actually better looking than women.”
The research suggests that people with more physical attributes have more positive perceptions of their body.
“This is because men tend to look more masculine, and women tend to generally be more feminine,” Dr Walker said.
So when a woman looks more attractive than a man, that might make her feel better about herself, but not necessarily good about her appearance.
So how do people identify themselves?
Dr Smith and his team of researchers took data from a number of studies to find the best way to describe themselves.
They used the words “attraction” and “[attracts] to others” to describe how they identified themselves, but they also considered “lovely” and the word “attracted” to indicate whether they felt like they had a “personal connection” with someone.
“There is some evidence that attraction may be a better indicator of a person’s self-esteem than love,” Dr Turner said.
The more attractive the person, the more attractive they felt, the study found.
And for those people who had a strong relationship with their partner, that may have helped them identify themselves as attractive.
But it was not clear whether that was because of the person’s physical