There is a very common misconception that being good looking and being attractive are the same thing. Despite there being a high correlation between the two, the correlation is not 100%. So, if you were ever confused as to why a woman sometimes chooses a man who is not good looking over a man that is when not much else is in play but looks, keep reading.
Defining good looking and attractive
So, how are these two things actually different? It really is a question of definitions in the end, so let me clarify what I mean. When I say good looking, I am referring to that guy that girls say he is good looking when prompted. For instance, a guy who would score a high score on a "rate my picture" website. An attractive guy is a guy that attracts the interest (usually sexual) of a woman. He may not score as high as another guy on a looks scale when prompted, but his appearance turns her on more. This may seem weird, but it actually isn't at all, us men make this distinction all the time.
Men Do It To
Have you ever been more sexually attractive to a woman who is by most objective measures less attractive than another? For instance, the curvy imperfect "girl next door" versus the rail thin runway model? No one would argue the former is better looking, but many would rather sleep with her than the runway model. Hence, with he definitions used here, the curvy "girl next door" is actually more attractive, despite not being as "good looking". This dynamic exists even moreso with women!
Women want attraction over looks
Just like some men want the sexy girl over the beautiful girl, women want the attractive guy over the good looking guy. A lot of guys think when a woman says a guy is good looking that she is sexually attracted to them. This is not always the case. Granted, usually good looking men are attractive, but there are often men who are good looking but not attractive, and these men are usually quite unsuccessful with women despite having looks.
Examples might be men who are good looking but have very poor posture and body language, men who are too effeminate, or men who dress very poorly. These men all probably have the potential to be very attractive, but their looks are being hindered by other appearance "issues" that make them unattractive. Likewise, some men are not good looking but attractive to many women, for instance big muscular men (sometimes even big men who are fat!) and well dressed men with great posture and presence. Bottom line, attractiveness usually wins with women.
Good looking but not successful? 4 Ways to turn your looks into attractiveness
Now that you understand that good looks and attractiveness are not always the same thing, you are probably wondering how you can become more attractive. This could be an entire book in itself but here are 4 basic principles that will really boost your attractiveness.
It's kind of cheating, as working out will also make you better looking, but I've included it anyway given its importance. Almost anyone can have a good body, and while with clothes the differences between someone who is in reasonable shape and great shape isn't always that noticeable, the improvements to your presence and posture will make you more attractive even with the women who don't particularly care if a guy has a 6 pack or not.
2. Posture and body language
A very good looking guy can become quite unattractive if his body language is weak. Examples of weak body language include bad posture, rolling of the shoulders forward a lot, regularly looking down instead of straight, having very uncertain hand and arm movements, and having an unusual gait. In other words, showing lack of confidence or general weirdness in body language and the way one stands can turn good looking into very unattractive (or attractive!). To fix these issues, have good posture and make your movements deliberate and confident.
3. Facial Expression
Not smiling enough, making weird faces, or having a blank confused stare on your face is unattractive, even if your face is a good one! Have expression, smile, and don't make weird faces. It goes a long way!
4. Dress Well
Dressing unattractively (and being unattractively "groomed" for that matter) can make a huge difference in your looks and attractiveness level. Note that sometimes, dressing poorly can make you quite unattractive EVEN if women would all rate you the same on a looks scale with that or an attractive outfit! Some outfits just make a man look good, others make him ATTRACTIVE. You want to be attractive. How you dress to do that depends on your body type, audience, and particular venue.
Strive to be attractive
The takeaway here is that you should always strive to be attractive as opposed to simply good looking. Good looking is usually attractive, but it can sometimes be unattractive. Attractive is always attractive, and almost always what you should desire to be.