Janet Urquhart: What’s love got to do with it?

Anyone who says looks don’t matter is lying.

That, at least, was my response to a

friend who was musing over whether or not she puts too much emphasis on physical attraction.

Briefly immersed in the big-city singles scene, from which I emerged unscathed – which is to say, still single – I remain a believer in that old adage: Looks aren’t everything, they’re the only thing.

Another friend, looking for love in all the wrong places (the Internet) proved my point. His online singles ad attracted no attention until he posted his photograph along with it. He happens to be a cute guy, and others took notice.

Apparently, you can describe yourself as 6 feet tall, with a slender, athletic build and lush brown hair, but no one will believe you’re not 5 feet 6 inches tall, fat and balding without visual evidence to the contrary. Think about it: Someone who has never met you has already judged you as the dishonest sort, as they lack the ability to judge you on what’s really important – your physical appearance.

And why not? You wouldn’t buy an ugly couch. Why hold the people you date to a lesser standard?

Now that couch might turn out to be the most comfortable piece of furniture you could ever hope curl up with, but most of us wouldn’t give its orange and lime paisley-print cushions a chance.

Let’s face it, no one looks across a crowded dance floor and thinks: “Hmmm, I’ll bet he/she is a scintillating conversationalist with a keen wit and a captivating personality.”

That may all be true, but all you’ve got to go on for that first impression is what kind of hair day they’re having.

Fortunately, I also believe in that other adage: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why there’s hope for the most hideous of sofas, and everyone else.

Still, as I spent the weekend sizing up the fellow-unattached on a purely superficial basis (and sucking in my stomach), it occurred to me that the successful pairing up of two people is nothing short of miraculous.

For one thing, everyone aims high. Those with movie-star good looks aside, the vast majority of us are attracted to people who are far better looking than we are, yet we give no thought to that dichotomy while we’re trying to make eye contact with some bronze god/goddess.

Of course, if you’ve whipped off your dorky glasses in order to better exchange a meaningful gaze with a stranger, and you happen to have my eyesight, you may discover you’ve been tossing seductive glances at a houseplant.

At least the ficus wasn’t out of my league.

[Janet Urquhart has been told she looks better than her picture. Her column appears on Friday]