Straight From His Mouth: Cute, Pretty, Beautiful — The Different Levels Of Attractiveness Explained

December 30, 2013  |  

Source: Shutterstock

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is one of the only truths that exist when evaluating the physical appeal of the opposite sex. While using labels to describe the beauty of a woman, the words are somewhat arbitrary. Generally, there is no “one size fits all” category that makes everybody happy. Words like “pretty, beautiful, cute, and sexay” mean different things to me than they do to another man, simply because our tastes are different. I make decisions to approach women based on whether I find her physically attractive. It doesn’t matter if I find her cute, sexay, beautiful, or pretty, if she catches my eye and looks friendly enough, I’m going to strike up a conversation. With that said, the words do bring up different types of women, so I’ll give a quick breakdown of each word as I use them.

If I say a woman is beautiful, I’m referring to a combination of both her personality and her looks. Beautiful women have an inner glow that is hard to ignore. Something about the way they move, talk, laugh, or smile, is intoxicating. It’s mesmerizing to watch a beautiful woman do almost anything, simply because their beauty seems to be present in almost every action they do. Beautiful women are usually near the top of the attraction scale for me; they have few physical flaws and are always someone I’d be interested in dating. These are my high 9s and perfect 10s on the attractiveness scale.

If I say a woman is pretty, I’m talking strictly about the physical. Pretty women have a different sort of air to them. I usually end up using this word for women who are fully put together in terms of makeup (not mandatory though), jewelry, or the way they’re dressed. When I think of pretty women, it looks like they’re about to hit the runway. These are the kind of women who can walk outside and damn near stop traffic. The kind of women that guys get caught looking at while they’re with their girlfriends and once the girlfriend see these women, even they have to admit that she’s worth almost getting slapped for looking at. Theres are my high 8s and low to mid 9s on the attractiveness scale.

If I  say a woman is cute, I don’t mean like a koala bear. I mean a really attractive woman who might have a few understated features. I got into an argument on Twitter once about the definition of cute and how it was an insult for women to be called cute. I don’t know if that was just a Twitter thing or if that’s a new policy that was installed without my knowledge, but when I call a woman cute, I’m saying “I’m physically attracted to this woman.”  Cute women may have similar features as beautiful or pretty women, but either haven’t gotten to the point where they’ve realized their full potential or their features don’t really stand out in the same manner as more attractive women do. These are women I consider to be in the 7-mid 8 range in levels of attractiveness

A woman being sexay, for me, holds a different meaning. Unlike the previous three definitions, sexiness isn’t really tied to attractiveness. Sexiness is more so based on actions, meaning even women I otherwise think are unattractive can be sexay (like Teyanna Taylor who is my poster child for the “sexay ugly” chicks of America). If I say a woman is sexay, it’s something she does physically that exudes sex. It could be the way she walks. The way she chews gum. The way she wears her clothes or even her attitude. Sexiness is a factor that stands on its own, meaning, a woman can be beautiful, pretty, or cute, but that doesn’t automatically mean she’s sexy. Sexiness is an entirely different category that has it’s own scale and criteria.

Most of the men I know classify women in a category of attraction based on a number of different factors that matter him specifically. In most cases, these categories determine whether a woman is dateable to a man, but again, the definitions made for each category aren’t universal. For some men, a woman being cute isn’t enough. Some men think sexiness can only be tied to women they find attractive. Other men don’t use the same qualifiers, but categorization does happen and it’s something taken into consideration when men are figuring out where they want to go with a woman.

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  • AlwaysBlossom

    Teyana’s nose is proportionate to her face. She’s a pretty girl. The majority of these type of men are usually ugly and are sniffing themselves too much.

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  • N

    that spelling is so sassy

  • bkenya

    stupid discussion, beauty/attractiveness/sexual attraction is subjective to the individual…one person’s opinion can’t give any great overall insight.

  • QueenOfLife

    Idk, I dont like rating ppl and I dont want other ppl rating me. I just feel like someone will automatically be disappointed if they arent classified as the highest rating..

  • Shawndrea Rachelle



    People need to stop categorizing themselves and just be. All of these classifications cause insecurity in people, spec women. just be.

  • Tee

    PLEASE STOP SAYING sexAy!! I hate whomever came up with that!

  • char4olin

    I have always been considered as being “cute.” I use to be offended by it until someone explained to me it wasn’t a bad compliment. I never wanted to be just “cute” I’ve always wanted to be considered beautiful by the opposite sex. But I guess cute will have to do. 🙂

  • Lisa

    Geez, what an arshole, this is why I don’t date black men. They are too judgmental and shallow. They would marry a stripper as long as she was beautiful, and then wonder why she didn’t make a good wife and mother. Dumb. Besides, beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, and looks aren’t everything. Once you get some wisdom under your belt, you will understand that. Attraction and chemistry is what matters and that is totally subjective.

    • Cornell Ginger

      I hate when people, like yourself, try to browbeat and dictate others what they should and shouldn’t find attractive. I’ve dated plenty of beautiful women and they were also all around good women as well. This whole idea that beautiful women are bad for men and average women make the best wives is silly and immature.

      • Lisa

        You are silly and immature to come on a comment section and attack someone. I am entitled to my OWN opinion. You obviously cannot comprehend what I wrote because I didn’t tell anyone what they should or should not find attractive. Re-read what I wrote. I also said attraction and chemistry is subjective, which means it is basically your own viewpoint of what beauty is to yourself and not others. You shouldn’t come for someone if you really aren’t that bright.

        • Cornell Ginger

          “Looks aren’t everything” I only hear unattractive women say that. “They’re too judgemental and shallow. They would marry a stripper as long as she was beautiful and then wonder why she didn’t make a good wife and mother”. That statement alone is shallow and judgemental yet the irony of you calling someone else that. If men aren’t picking you, then more than likely it’s a combination of your looks and negative attitude. To say, “this is why I don’t date black men” as if you lump all black men into a bag comes off as a extremely judgemental person. Seeing that you come off that way, I doubt many black men are losing sleep that you refuse to date us anymore.

          • Lisa

            Again, assuming that I am unattractive because I am have my OWN opinion says a lot about your character. Looks aren’t everything, This is a message board and I have absolutely nothing to prove, especially to a man that is trolling on a female website. Your are an imbecile that appears to be some type of bully. Again, I have a right to my own opinion. I can care less if anyone does or does not loose sleep over my dating choices because you are speaking of men I don’t want anyway. So be it. You are the type of man that is the REASON why I don’t want a negro. Point blank period. You. I am not even entitled to my own opinion in your mind, do you see how ignorant that is? You have to put me down in some manner ( assume I am unattractive, which I totally am not!) in order to even have a dialogue. You are what I consider an insecure man, the only way you can exchange a difference of opinion is through attacking and bullying a complete stranger. Mentally, you are not on my level.

            • Cornell Ginger

              You’re unattractive in the words you speaks and your mindset. “This is why I don’t date black men” is an attacking and judgemental statement. “Would marry a stripper as long as she was beautiful, and then wonder why she didn’t make a good wife and mother” is an attacking and judgemental statement. Yet when someone is judgemental towards you, you’re suddenly the victim? “I don’t want a negro”. With that statement, you have no choice but to date out. Any decent brotha that might come your way, you’d instantly run him off. That’s not being attacking, that’s just facts. But I digress, take care and I wish you the best of luck in whoever you come across.

              • Lisa

                That is your opinion and you are absolutely entitled to it. You make a lot of assumptions, but that is totally okay. Since I am a total stranger, and you have no idea about my life or experiences, that is fine. The stripper comment is totally based on a real life situation. Not something I said just to be saying it or made up, but something a male friend of mine actually went through. And that is an honest fact. But I digress.
                I wish you the best of luck also. Happy New Year!

    • Cornell Ginger

      Btw, beauty is not in the eye of the beholder but in the eye of the mind. What “I” see myself as reflects on how “I” perceive you.

    • LotusBud

      Lisa, it’s not just black men, it’s men period. The vast majority of men on the planet care about a woman’s beauty first and everything else follows. Beauty is subjective, but there are definitely markers that are basic for most people, whether conscious and unconscious and good symmetry is one of them. In terms of the face, smaller features are pretty and attractive to men because they are youthful and dainty looking. Small features are not really European/Caucasian necessarily because a lot of caucasians have the issue of having prominent noses too due to being decedents of Neanderthals who had huge heads, foreheads, and noses from what Archaelogists can tell. The reason why you many not see that many walking around with this problem is that a lot of whites, middle easterners, hispanics, jews, etc. get cosmetic surgery procedures done starting in their teens to enhance their looks or improve upon genetics. You can see this on any plastic surgeons website who are the populations getting rhinoplasty and a myriad of other procedures done. How do I know this? Because I have always been ok with getting myself tweaked here and there. I am not one who likes to stay the same. I like to take what i have up some notches and invest in my looks. That means being open to change and respecting what is attractive to men across the board, as well as what’s attractive to me.

      You can be what they call an unconventional beauty, meaning you have less in common with what society dictates as attractive, and still be very appreciated and respected for how well you care for yourself, health, personality, style, and how you present yourself to the world.

      But women like you can’t talk about black men, because a lot of black women get with the most horrible males for the dumbest reasons like that fact that they’re black too, or that they’re simply just a man, forget having any kind of attractiveness, respectability, class, quality, drive, wealth, etc.

      You shouldn’t judge someone for liking what they like. Everyone has a right to have unique tastes. As a woman, you shouldn’t be rebellious or defiant when it comes to trying to attract a mate. It’s your business to appeal to men you WANT to attract, because it is a two way street.

  • antonette green

    So where is the women column for men.

  • dez

    Funny article… Even funnier comments! Lmao!!

  • Diveta Cranford

    What a stupid effin article written by a stupid a** man….who tf made you judge and jury on standards of beauty…GTFOH!!! As if women don’t have a hard enough time feeling comfortable with their looks along comes yet another stupid man with stupid a** opinions. Thank God I know my worth and I’m comfrotable with who I am and how I look otherwise I might take this BULL**** serious.

    • Guest

      He’s not responsible for how you perceive yourself. Your response makes you flat out UGLY

  • A$AP

    Not even going to lie, I didn’t finish the article. Skimmed through it. Thanks for sharing your critical analysis on measuring levels of attractiveness though.

    • A$AP

      Lol silly… Especially, the ranking system.

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  • Cornell Ginger

    Beautiful:(Gabrielle Union, Zoe Saldano, Rochelle Aytes) I find myself staring at you. You don’t need makeup for you are naturally gorgeous. You can wear anything and look great. Not only are you attractive physically, but your spirit speaks to me as well. You make me want to be a better man for you. I can hold/cuddle you and think pure good intention thoughts. I’ll buy you flowers just because it’s Tuesday and you deserve them. I bring you around my family to brag.

  • Cornell Ginger

    Cute: (Brandy, Janelle Monae, KeKe Palmer) There isn’t necessarily a instant burning physical attraction but you’re appealing to the eyes nonetheless. Usually the girl next door, innocent, baby face, woman you just can chill with. Someone you can be a little too goofy with and start to see as the homie. (Men aren’t intimidated about approaching cute women if they find that particular cute woman attractive)

  • Thaalia

    Stopped reading when he started giving out numbered ranks.

  • Mimi

    For most part its not this deep. It depends on the mood, the age and the time the person knows the woman. I mean no one is gonna say every beautiful women is beautiful for a compliment she can be gorgeous, fire, a dime piece, pretty or hottt ect.. Cute is not for older women but for younger women. All I use is handsome, cute and freaking hott. So there’s the people like me with a comfort zone of limited compliments and men who just give a compliment off the top of their head who are just floored to see an attractive woman.

  • a

    I think he pretty much summed up from what I have heard from men. I’m considered beautiful and If a guy is looking at me his woman is to and I smile at them both. Or when I greet them I look both of them into their eyes and smile. Normally it’s the woman who says you are beautiful and doesn’t mind that her man is mesmerized to. I had an interview once and the woman was talking to me and then stopped for about 30 sec and was just staring at me. I didn’t know what to think. Then later on after I was hired I found out that she said she felt so much goodness from me that she could not help it. I have also found that some guys find me beautiful from the inside out and that is too much for them to take on and they don’t know what to do with that.

    • UNeedMoPeople

      Calling yourself beautiful, even if (…. if…..) you’re quoting someone else is ugly……

      • chanela

        so what the hell? it’s bad when women think they’re ugly and dislike themselves, yet when they DO think they look good and love themselves then that’s bad too? JEEZ

      • Chanda

        Nothing wrong with a woman admitting that she’s beautiful. Would you rather that she called herself ugly? It is what it is..

    • Mimi

      The Narcissist.

    • Paige


    • DrAKAHLF

      Go ‘head girl, with your beautiful self! 🙂 Your beauty must be evident inside and out for women to notice and be mesmerized by it.

  • Name

    Is it just me or did anyone else die laughing when he named Teyana Taylor as “sexay ugly”?!

    • guest

      Didn’t know who she was so I googled her. I’d be interested in why “ugly” is part of his description of her. She’s got gorgeous hair (whether real or not), great skin, and nice features. “Ugly”????? Hmm. . .

      • guest

        Her nose takes up her whole face. and her nostrils take up half her nose. I can understand the description. Usually facial features that seem disproportionate to the rest of the face is distracting. It may not be ugly per se but it probably wont put you into the beautiful category for a lot of people either. Just Sayin.

        • guest

          Let me translate: This BLACK woman doesn’t have a slender, European-looking nose, therefore, she is relegated to the ‘not beautiful’ category. Did I get that right?

          Pathetic . . . smh.

          • UMadBro?

            Exactly. Her nose is wide, therefore she’s ugly. I’d hate to see what his mother looked like. I wonder if he’d say she was “ugly cute” because she had a Black nose or any other African features…

            • guest

              I thought the VERY same thing. I thought, ‘What is he going to do if his daughters are born with that very same nose?’ smh

          • guest

            You are joking right? Are you one of those race paranoid individuals….everyone hates me cause im black, my life revolves around what others think about race. Where in my comment did i say anything about this lady being ugly because she is black or her nose not being slender enough? Where? Pleeeeease point it out to me. Her nose is dispaportionate to her face. She has a pig nose. What in the world does that have to do with being black????? Trying to call me out for self hate…looks like u have your own issues to work out if you automatically assume that because i talked about her nose that somehow equates to me saying she is ugly because she is you’ve never seen a white person with a giant bird beak nose! Please. Get real.

            • guest

              “Where in my comment did i say anything about this lady being ugly because she is black or her nose not being slender enough?”

              Answer: “Her nose takes up her whole face. and her nostrils take up half her nose. I can understand the description [“ugly”]. . . it won’t put you into the beautiful category. . .”
              This young lady has a typical, NORMAL, broad nose which is COMMON to the African race. Don’t act like you don’t know that, and don’t act like you don’t know what your comment implies. The girl is NO WHERE near ugly. Neither is her nose. Black folks who can only find beauty in other Black folks as long as they have Eurocentric features are pathetic . . . and that seems to be YOUR issue.

              • guest

                Again. where in my comments did I say her being BLACK or having BLACK features makes her ugly? Im waiting, because that quote you took out did not say that. You either have a hard time at reading comprehension or you are projecting your own insecurities about black features onto what to what you read. That would explain your simplistic logic when reading my comment.You are clearly the one who is pathetic here. You are the one who equates having a disproportionate nose with being black. I never said that,That is all you hun. I have seen plenty of black women with broad noses that were pretty because…shock!…it actually matched the rest of there face. And I have seen plenty of whites with huge noses, that looked ugly. Seriously, quit being race paranoid,get over yourself and work out your issues with race, and get a clue.

                • guest

                  I put the word BLACK in capital letters to make the point that this BLACK woman has a typical, normal, perfectly fine BLACK-looking nose, not the European one you apparently think would make her look better. Learn to read and think critically, please. Again, her nose is not disproportionate. Many Black men and women have wider noses as they are a common trait. Doesn’t make them “disproportionate;” doesn’t make the person “ugly.” Just makes YOU look like a f0.ol for not seeing the beauty so many others can see in this girl because you simply can’t (or won’t).

                • LotusBud

                  That’s true, it needs to be balanced. However, large noses are fixable – whether wide, crooked, long, hooked, etc.

                • Sex Kitten Party

                  whoever you’re bitching at is completely right. you called women with large wide noses ugly. black people have large wide noses. What aren’t you following? It’s called DEDUCTIVE REASONING GENIUS

              • Sex Kitten Party

                calm down….you’re a SEXIST, a MISOGYNIST, and a RACIST.

          • LotusBud

            Untrue, i’ve seen relatively flat noses on black women that are still proportionate with their features. It’s about symmetry. I think when people look at an attractive face, everything blends well. Nothing stands out too much.

  • RodRod

    Cute = not ugly. pretty much solely based on physical characteristics. this category doesn’t hurt, but also doesn’t really say much.

    Beautiful = poised, put together, but still more dependent on physical characteristics.

    Sexxay = has a lot of intangibles, less dependent on physical characteristics, and I’d argue moreso personality-based. There are a lot of ugly-but-sexxay women, which a lot of women have a very hard time understanding.