Is White Clawing In Dating Ever Okay?

If there's anything to be learned about dating apps, it's that looks trump almost everything else. Sure, we can tell ourselves this isn't true and even read the results of surveys that say people prefer personality over how hot someone might be. But the reality is that — especially on dating apps — those whom we find good-looking will get our right swipes. It's just how it goes, and nobody should feel bad about it.

But where things can become a bit rough is when you date someone only because of their looks. You find them boring; every time they say anything at all you cringe; and when they're not around, you find yourself happier. But then when you see them again and they smile, you know why you're sticking it out. They're the hottest person you've ever dated, and you've convinced yourself you'll never date someone this sexy again. Then they open their mouth and say something absurd or mundane, and it immediately goes all downhill again. What you're doing is white clawing, a dating trend in which we do our best to ignore the personality of the person we're seeing because they're just so darn delicious.

According to dating app Plenty of Fish, 27% of daters have admitted to white clawing, and 42% report that they know someone who's white clawed. But while we can't fault someone for putting maybe too much emphasis on how someone looks, the big question is if it's ever okay. Are we bad for wanting someone pretty in our life? 

Is it ever okay to white claw?

This isn't an easy question to answer. Some of us are superficial to our core and don't care if we're with someone only because we find them attractive. For these people, white clawing isn't something to feel guilty about or ashamed of. And, based on the study, they just might see themselves equal in looks to the person they're white clawing anyway, so they're sort of accidentally white clawing. 

There's also the fact that as much as some people like arm candy, there are those who enjoy being arm candy. Various research has found that for both partners, there's sort of a win when the attractiveness isn't balanced. The one dating the attractive person gets validation from our society that puts so much importance on looks, and they get to feel impressed with themselves and powerful — men especially get this feeling when they're with a beautiful person. In their minds, they're more desirable to others, and people think they are endowed in some way. The other person gets to feel secure, that their partner will always be there for them, and that infidelity isn't likely.

Whether you approve of it or not, the white clawing dating trend isn't going anywhere. As long as people want to be in the company of pretty people, it will always exist. If you and your partner can sleep at night knowing there might be some white clawing at play, then that's when white clawing becomes okay.

People rarely know you're white clawing them

If you ever start to feel bad that you might be white clawing someone, you can breathe a sigh of relief. There's a very good chance that they have zero idea that they're just as hot as you — and everyone else — thinks they are. According to a 2020 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, unattractive people find themselves more attractive than strangers would consider them, and they're also completely unaware of how others see them. On the other hand, attractive people don't see themselves as attractive, and — unlike unattractive people — they don't think they're something that they're not. Granted, beauty is, and will always be, in the eye of the beholder, but when it comes to what society has decided is empirically beautiful, that's where this study comes into play. For example, you're bound to find more people who find Brad Pitt and Zendaya very easy on the eyes than Steve Buscemi.

With this information in your pocket, if you start wondering if the person you're dating knows it's not for their personality and more about their wavy hair, perfect teeth, and eyes that you always get lost in, you don't have to worry about it. While the person you're dating may realize they're hot, the likelihood of them knowing just how hot probably hasn't fully registered with them. In fact, they may actually believe you're dating them for their cringe-worthy personality — not that they know it's cringe-worthy, of course.