'Being attracted to someone is a lot more complex': The problem with 'punching'

Not long ago on Love Island, an interesting dating term got brought up.

As much a mirror reflecting our dating culture right back at us as ever, for better and for worse, one of the Islander chats of late was about people they thought were ‘punching’ in the villa.

Punching is a term that can get thrown around a lot, which is a little odd when you think about it because its meaning is kind of harsh.

‘If you’re “punching” in dating,’ explains Match’s dating expert Hayley Quinn, ‘it means you’re seen to be going after someone who’s out of your league.’

The idea is that the person in question is ‘punching above their weight’.

Interestingly, Urban Dictionary says that ‘people who are punching above their weight are generally going out with women of far superior quality in either the face/body department’ – implying that women who date men are more likely to date below their weight, as it were.

With that being said, while it’s probably not nice to hear no matter who you are, something about telling a woman she’s punching does feel particularly uncouth, what with the value and pressures society places on womens’ appearances being so devastatingly vast.

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It’s also interesting that the term is evidently a boxing metaphor.

Is the puncher destined to stay in the ring and fight continuously to keep their punchee happy? Or fight to keep other potential suitors at bay just because their looks supposedly aren’t up to scratch?

‘Especially with shows like Love Island, it’s easy to think of dating as one big game of “hot or not”, where you will be left behind unless you’ve got supermodel good looks,’ says Hayley.

‘However, being attracted to someone is a lot more complex than just physical attraction.

‘When we say someone’s “punching” we may not be considering how well-matched two people are in terms of their values, lifestyles or intellect.’

So what can we do if we feel like we ourselves are punching with our crush?

‘If you do want to ask someone out who you consider to be good-looking, try not to psych yourself out,’ recommends Hayley.

‘To take another Love Island phrase, if you can “back yourself” and project confidence to the people you interact with, you will become more attractive in the process.

‘Good looks are very subjective, but having high self-worth is universally attractive.’

And remember, not only is attractiveness subjective, but looks simply are not everything.

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