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How to make yourself attractive to anyone

When you're single and dating, odds are you spend a fair amount of time worrying about your looks. It's a troubling worry, because, you know, we were all born with Angelina Jolie genes, or … without. Fortunately, science, has some really good news.

There are things you can change about yourself (hairstyle, clothing) and things you can't (face shape, height).

Psychology Today's Dr. Jeremy Nicholson recently rediscovered a 1997 study that sought to discover which physical features would be most attractive to the opposite sex. After surveying a number of men and women, the researchers were surprised to discover that the highest marks went to changeable qualities.

"Their shocking finding was that, by far, the most attractive features fell under the category of 'self care' … changeable aspects like good grooming, neat hair, nice-fitting and quality clothing, good posture, and healthy weight," Nicholson writes.

So, what should you worry about? Nicholson's advice:

Grooming: This is the most important variable when it comes to attractiveness, he says, and can make or break your chances. Brush your teeth. Comb your hair. Shower. Keep your fingernails neat.

Clothing: It's not about style. Your clothes, he writes, "need to be clean, pressed and well maintained." Overdressed is better than underdressed.

Posture: The easiest, cheapest and best thing you'll ever do for your dating life is to simply stand up a little straighter. As Nicholson says, good posture is sexy.

Fitness: You don't need a total body overhaul. You do have to take relatively good care of yourself, which can be achieved with moderate exercise three times a week.

Attitude: One of the most surprising finds: "Pleasantness" rated highly among both sexes. This means being happy, positive and friendly. Being nice shows more self-confidence and ease than being shy or sarcastic does -- and it's really attractive.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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