There is a blessing I remember from my youth: “May you have the love of a beautiful woman.” I presume that is mainly for men, while women would be blessed with the love of handsome men. I can see the appeal; good looking folk are a universal turn-on. We see them constantly on TV and in the movies, because average viewers pay more attention to attractive people than they do to homely people. Especially men of any age with respect to young women. I'm the same; a pretty and shapely young woman commands my immediate attention. We are hard-wired to notice. But as I go shopping at the grocery store I see real women, and they range from ordinary to gross, mostly because of obesity. As a general rule, the older she is, the heavier she is. Some have to ride around in the powered carts the store provides, being too fat to make the rounds afoot. And I wonder: do none of them have the discipline to restrain their appetite and keep their weight in a healthy range? Very few, it seems. Yes, men fatten too, but not as much, and in any event men generally don't make their marks by their appearance, but by their accomplishments, so it's less important for them.
This plays out in other ways. Yes, it would be nice to have the love of a beautiful woman, and many of my stories involve ordinary men who encounter lovely woman. I write that way because I want to sell copies, and pretty women sell more than homely ones. It's the same phenomenon as the TV ads and programs populated by lovely folk. Sometimes I will have an ordinary woman who encounters a handsome man. Somebody has to be attractive, if a writer wants many readers. Readers may claim that other story values count, and they do, but other things being equal, pretty people count more. There was a nice study done a few years back, wherein it was found that in second marriages, the wealthier the man was, the less his wife weighed. Obviously what counts for the man is her appearance; what counts for the woman is his money. Should you ask a portly elder man and his slender wife about that, I suspect they will angrily deny it, but statistically it is true.
But there's another aspect. Why is it such a blessing to possess a physically beautiful woman? Why not a smart woman, or a rich woman, or a really nice woman? Yes, one woman could be all these things together, and she would be a treasure. But the blessing doesn't specify anything but beauty, and I'm pretty sure it means appearance rather than character. I suppose the equivalent blessing for a woman would be to have the love of a rich man, as seen above. But isn't it a sad commentary on our culture, indeed on our species, that this one quality, out of the myriad qualities women possess, should be the one that defines her worth? I am disgusted, but I still look at beautiful women.