If your child were to be boring, stupid, or ugly, which one would you prefer?

DT11 - child - PIC - postThis week’s Dinner Table question is from The Book of Questions:

If your child were to be boring, stupid, or ugly, which one would you prefer? Would your choice depend on the child’s gender?

Assume the child excels wonderfully in the two categories you don’t choose.

(I’m in the shit dealing with this week’s post, plus this is a really hard question, so leaving this one to you. Good luck.)

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  • Orkhan Jafarov

    Ugly. If he is intelligent he’ll have a good chance to be successful, reach his goals and live a meaningful and fulfilling life. If he is fun he’ll have a good chance to do it surrounded by devoted friends and a loving family. Being ugly may be tough, especially during teenage years, but intelligence and brightness should outweigh this challenge if the social circumstances are not too rough.

    The same should apply if the subject is a daughter, except in this case I don’t trust myself to choose ugliness for her if actually faced with such a choice.

  • Kostina Prifti

    It’s a fairly interesting questions, because the answer mostly gives the feeling that if the child would be stupid, he would be fun and handsome (and same applies for all variables), despite the fact that that is not made clear in the question. However, considering the aforementioned, I’d prefer my child to be ugly, because it’s the thing you can change the easiest.

  • Dario

    Boring. It seems like the least damaging option for a fulfilling life. After all, being ugly and stupid will end up damaging him a lot, while being boring is not something he himself is gonna suffer from. It might be an obstacle towards a fulfilling relationship, but it if gets to that point he can still try to do something about it (especially if he’s smart), while there’s no real cure for being stupid or ugly.

    Silver medal for being ugly, which in our society is pretty devastating, but does not really prevent a happy life, just makes for a slightly tougher one.

    Third place is for being stupid, by far the worst of the three options, I don’t think there’s even a real need to elaborate on that one.

    • The Delicate Place

      Absolutely agree. Stupidity is the worst offense for sure and ugly in our shallow society would have lasting emotional and psychological effects. I”m assuming we are talking about leagues of ugly here…as in, not just a growing into oneself kinda look but perhaps disfigured or maimed.

      • Orkhan Jafarov

        In this case, to be fair we should consider boring as “boring to death” and stupid as “stupid as a bag of nails” or even mentally challenged

  • Sarah

    I think it totally depends on how ugly. I think most people will choose that, but like elephant man ugly? I don’t know that I could wish that on someone. Normal ugly/plain, totally the best choice. It would have to be an ugly in which you could for see them falling in love, there are some levels of “ugly” where that is really hard to do. Being deformed can lead to depression and other serious life problems.

    If it was really ugly, I guess I’d rather they be boring instead.

  • PinkTheBush

    Ugly. Rough question, since growing up with any of those would just be hell. But I feel like if it were my child, and they were ugly, I’d have (roughly) 18 solid years before they moved on to drive home the fact that intrinsic human value goes far beyond appearance. Someone who knows their self worth and succeeds in talent and intelligence can totally attract a quality partner without having a pretty face. Beyond that, it’s the trait least likely to affect someone’s chances of landing and building a career.

  • kmmh

    boring. I say it because i’m boring and it only affects others really.

    He will be boring for others, while he will still find joy in his private life.

  • Raquel London

    I think you are asking the wrong question. Boring, ugly and stupid are not traits of a person, but judgments made about them by other people or by themselves.

    So do you want to know if I’d rather judge my kid to be boring, ugly or stupid? I’m not a parent, but I guess any parent who loves their kids will find them at some point acting in a boring, ugly or stupid way, but will never find them to BE boring, ugly or stupid.

    In any case, I’d probably go for boring. I don’t think being boring has ever stood between a person and their happiness.

  • Jonathan Gascho

    Boring is interesting to me because I see it more as something influenced by your choices as opposed to written in your genetics. And – boring to whom?! One thing that you choose to do with your time may be boring to one person, but fascinating to another. Choosing to either stay in and study something that interests you, or go to the cool bars tips the scales different ways for different people.

    Looks is another that seems flexible – but man, life is way easier when you’re attractive. Many more open doors, and if you trip on your way to one, someone will probably prop it open for you.

  • ankita

    I think i would be fine if my child would be stupid because i have seen that today’s world respects beauty and not wisdom.

    Also if you are pretty , its considered ok to be dumb.And well being boring is subjective.. so if my child is pretty and very interesting then its ok to not have wisdom. Plus wisdom wont make you successfull without luck

  • Raineer

    Ugly, can build more character than the other two. The people who would be attracted to you would be attracted to your inner self. The friends (and mate) you’d end up with throughout your life would be awesome.

  • Ben Grynhaus

    It really depends on how ugly or how stupid. But if we assume that any of the three will be extremely so, than I think I’d go with boring. This is especially strengthen by the fact that he/she will “excel wonderfully in the two categories you don’t choose”, so this leads us to:

    1. Choosing UGLY – No modeling career for you my ugly, ugly child. You can still be a scientist or whatever, but it will be extremely hard to find a life partner being a lot below average looking, which might (will?) lead to depression, which will probably ruin your life, and then it doesn’t matter how smart or interesting you are.

    2. Choosing STUPID – Well, in this case you can still be pretty successful in life (look at some of the people living in hollywood, a lot of the “reality tv” stars which basically became famous and some even rich just because they were on TV. Being interesting will also help tremendously, but I’m not exactly sure what they can talk about being extremely stupid.

    I consider this more of a personal call than the previous, since I think smarts is really important in life. Being stupid will make life very hard if you don’t have the right people around you.

    3. Choosing BORING – My choice of the three. I think being boring will make things difficult, but not overmuch so. Sure, people will fall asleep when he/she gives lectures, but that just leaves them to being so many other things in life. Finding a life partner might also be a bit troublesome, but I think you can make up for being boring with being extremely smart and extremely beautiful.

    I’ve also met many boring people, it never was a dealbreaker (in any regard) for me personally so far, so hopefully it won’t be for people he/she will interact with in life either.

    • Chemical-T

      Do you really think being ugly would lead to being depressed? That seems short sighted. Especially if you were intelligent and truly engaging to be around. I can also think of many beautiful people who are depressed, perhaps because they lack a deeper level of interaction with people because they were never forced to develop a personality.

      • Ben Grynhaus

        I didn’t say it will, I said it might lead to depression. Consider the fact the if you choose ugly, that entirely depends on how ugly he/she will be, and that’s the whole point here.
        If you’re saying that they’ll be only mildly ugly, that’s clearly a better choice, but if they’re ugly as in you can’t-even-look-at-them-without-your-face-melting ugly, than no, I don’t think that’s a better choice than boring.

        There isn’t “must” relationship such that ugly->depression in all cases, the same way there isn’t a boring->something relationship either. I just think that being really ugly will make things difficult for the person more than if they were really boring.

      • Ben Grynhaus

        I didn’t say it will, I said it might lead to depression. Consider the fact the if you choose ugly, that entirely depends on how ugly he/she will be, and that’s the whole point here.

        If you’re saying that they’ll be only mildly ugly, that’s clearly a better choice, but if they’re ugly as in you can’t-even-look-at-them-without-your-face-melting ugly, than no, I don’t think that’s a better choice than boring.

        There isn’t “must” relationship such that ugly->depression in all cases, the same way there isn’t a boring->something relationship either. I just think that being really ugly will make things difficult for the person more than if they were really boring.

  • marisheba

    The question as posed is such a complete no-brainer. Ugly, obviously. (Not only for all of the obvious reasons, but also this: physical attractiveness is only a small component of total attractiveness–personality and intelligence are arguably MORE important to attractiveness once you get out of the hormone-driven teenage years.)

    I think the question becomes much more interesting if you change “ugly” to “deformed”–deformed to a degree that most people would find extremely off-putting, and not surgically fixable.

    And I do think that deformity is a fate worse than stupidity or boringness. Ugliness, while surely extremely difficult, need not make it difficult to create basic human connections. Deformity, however, very often will; it will in many cases isolate people from the human community, and that, to me, seems the most cruel fate of all.

    So, stupid or boring? I’ve always though “boring” was in the eye of the beholder. It’s quite convenient that people who, say, party a lot and find my somewhat serious, bookish ways boring, are often people that I find boring in turn–we all gravitate to those that can find meaning and excitement from the same types of things. But to have a child that IS boring strikes me as meaning a child who has no spark, no interests, no engagement, and that, too, sounds like a cruel thing to wish on a person.

    So stupid it is! It’s the only of the three (when ugly is changed to deformed) that doesn’t

    actively impair one of our birthrights as humans–connection with other people, and the ability to find meaning and joy in life.

    • marisheba

      Incidentally, my answer is partly informed by my experience with people with downs syndrome. By typical societal measures, folks with downs don’t score well on intelligence or beauty scales. And yet the few I have known are lovely, kind, happy, very interesting people, with rich emotional and inner lives as well as meaningful relationships. It seems to me that there are far worse ways to be. (The huge caveat to this is that having downs makes you extremely vulnerable, and dependent on being in a supportive environment).

  • Monkeybone

    Boring, that would be easy. The child would be smart enough to stay out of harms way, and they probably would be forgiven like I was due to being easy on the eyes. Ugly would be too sad as the child would be consistently ridiculed, gawked at, or ignored. It would be hard to prevent such abuses from the outside world. I would have a hard time too not suggesting ways to make them look better like with makeup or clothes. I could not tolerate stupid and I know I would be verbally abusive to them out of my own frustration. I’ve never regretted not becoming a parent mostly for these very reasons. It may be nice to think one can love unconditionally, but I’m a realist (a truthist too!) and I know myself well enough to know I have my limits even though society frowns on those who admit that.

  • Zach

    Boring, because with the internet the other two are much more difficult to hide

  • chriscross

    I would say boring hands down. Being smart and attractive is a good combo, even if you’re not gifted in entertaining others. I think I fall in this category unfortunately… also I feel like boringness is cureable

  • LColleen

    Ugly. One, because a person’s worth and inherent charm shouldn’t be based on the symmetry of their face. (Lyle Lovett is a prime example, although if you go through the major minds and talents of the universe, very few of those people are considered even remotely attractive.)

    I spend a large portion of my time in the classroom encouraging my students to develop personalities and intelligence–as those are the only aspects that don’t wither away as your natural collagen does.

    I understand how much better beautiful people are treated. And being boring isn’t the worst thing on the planet–I would just rather have a vibrant, intelligent child than an incredibly beautiful one.

    Plus, not to go there, but Mark Twain was a weird looking mofo–and so was Pocahontas and Picasso. They all seem to have contributed beautifully to the world, regardless of their face.

  • Liam D

    Looks like I’m on my own but I’d go for stupid. Intelligence seems to decrease happiness. If they are beautiful and exciting/fun but thick, then I’d be happy because they’d be happy. If they were ugly or boring they probably wouldn’t be happy.

  • marisheba

    I would be really interested to see how the answers to this question would be different today, compared to, say, 30 years ago. We are still emerging (sowly) from an era (an epoch?) in which women were valued first and foremost on looks + caretaking + deferment of their own needs, none of which are affected by being intellectually stupid or being boring. I think we’ve come far enough out of that to see a really different set of answers than we might have in the past–particularly noting that the answers are so far ignoring the question about whether the gender of the child would change the answer.

    • Rimi

      Great point of view! Where I grew up, the value of women still remains concentrated on looks + caretaking + deferment of their own needs (and sadly, how much money they can bring to the table – either as their own income – work and then come home to more work as a dutiful wife – or as dowry)
      If it were possible, I’d love to hear answers from 30 years ago and maybe even, from 30 years in the future?

  • Mr. Bore

    Boring. The most subjective of the three. Even though looks and intelligence are subjective, boring is more so.
    Self esteem issues comes to mind when I envision the “entertaining” individual.
    Stupidity is the real bore.

  • LaCesser

    Definitely agree with Mr Bore

  • Wrong Bobby

    I would defininately go with stupid. You can be both well liked and happy, even if you’re stupid. And with the right raising, you could also turn out to be a decent human being. But if you’re smart and boring or smart and ugly, you will probably be aware of it.

    Maybe it’s even good to be a bit stupid, so you don’t have to realise how pointless your existence is.

    • Siebe

      You’re hereby implying stupid (unintelligent?) people have a pointless existence or are you implying we all have a pointless existence? The first one, I can prove wrong with a great example which is my handicapped brother. The other one, you’re probably a pessimist and well.. that’s a harder discussion.

      • Wrong Bobby

        No no, I do not mean that stupid people lead a more pointless life that others. I’m absolutely saying that we’re all having a pointless existence, when push comes to shove. The only meaning our existance has are the ones that we make for ourselves. In the grand scheme of things, everything is literally without meaning, which can be both comforting and offsetting. But if you don’t have to think in these ways, you can just go about and think that everything you do has a great impact on yourself and the world.

  • nielmalan

    Let’s take the focus away from the ‘disability’ and look at the excellences:
    Beautiful and Interesting: Child will have an easy start in life, but in adulthood will be the victim of gossip. (“S/he’s a nice guy, but stupid.”)
    Interesting and Intelligent: Will probably have to make a living writing or designing or creating.
    Intelligent and Beautiful: Obviously destined for television.

    Ugly it is, then. Fixable with makeup, surgery, or a mask.

  • sabs546

    You can still have friends
    You can still get a job
    You just have to find someone as ugly as you or someone who isnt too bothered
    (I’m guessing this is ugly from the face only but either way I would still pick ugly)

  • RF42

    I think I’d have to go with boring. I think with beauty, people would give the child at least a chance as far as getting to know him or her. And with intelligence, I think the problem of being boring could be overcome. In other words, of the three, I think boring is the easiest problem to solve.

  • Wim K

    Wow, this is a really tough one to be honest. I think I’d most probably go with boring. Being ugly and/or stupid are blatant disadvantages in life, but being boring is entirely subjective. A politics major might be incredibly boring to the layman, but might find other politics majors incredibly interesting. Same applies to basically anything – you will always find your niche.

    Unless, of course, the question implies that my child will be objectively boring to everyone. Then, hell, that’s a tough break. I’d still stick with boring though – wishing him/her to be ugly just seems cruel, and it’s really tough to make something of yourself being stupid. At least he/she could maybe become a lawyer or an economist or something.

  • Gokhan Arslan

    How can a person be boring and intelligent at the same time? Let’s consider Brad Pitt or whoever women have hots for these days. He is taking a woman out and talking about Fermi Paradox during the whole date. What would the woman tell her friends? That he was boring? My guess is quite the opposite.
    Looks have a very big importance. I personally don’t want my kid to be friendzoned and deprived from the interest of the opposite sex. Not everything has to be profound in his/her life, life is also about fun. So I will go with BORING (as if intelligent and good looking people can be)

    • Ioana

      If a guy were to talk to me about the Fermi Paradox (about which I know at the time of writing) on the first date I see two possible scenarios:

      1. He’s brilliant at explaining it to me in terms that I would understand, manages to make the subject entertaining, I find him extremely attractive and we live happily ever after.

      2. He is worse at explaining science stuff than my high school science teacher and bores me to death.

      It probably depends on your definition of what being intelligent means, but I think you can be intelligent and boring of you don’t have conversation skills.

      • Ioana

        Sorry, I meant to say that I know nothing about the Fermi Paradox.

      • Gokhan Arslan

        I see your point, buti f I know I will be intelligent, and then get to choose between being boring and ugly, I’d choose to be a very good looking & boring person. If you are ugly and entertaining the chance of taking an average woman out in the first place, is very little.

        By the way, here is a very fun explanation of Fermi Paradox https://waitbutwhy.com/2014/05/fermi-paradox.html

    • Anthony Churko

      I dated a girl who was really smart and pretty, but also boring, because she only enjoyed talking about geographical information systems, accounting theory, and Jane Austen. She didn’t have much of a sense of humor either (she laughed at jokes, but couldn’t really make any).

      • Gokhan Arslan

        It’s interesting how she has so specific interests, like, not 19th century English literature and finance, but accounting theory, and Jane Austen. Umm, is she still single? 🙂

        • Anthony Churko

          She did have a general knowledge of finance and literature, those were just the specific topics that got her excited. And to my knowledge, yes she is.

  • Cam


    Being smart, Beautiful and boring leaves you may get on well in life in terms of career but people won’t enjoy being with you, except to look at your face.

    Being Interesting, good looking and stupid is not something I’d desire in a child I find intelligence to be far more of an attractive than beauty or being “interesting” (note how can a stupid person be interesting?)

    Being ugly but interesting and smart is the best combo it’s skin deep beauty! Also great for filtering people who judge on outside traits!

    Also maybe people pick Based on what they are. I definitely consider myself the third category!

  • InjunPotato

    Ugly, definitely ugly. I’m assuming that “ugly” means actually slightly deformed and not just less than average attractive. The kind of ugliness that can’t really be hidden with make up.

    If they’re intelligent and interesting, that’s fucking brilliant. Why would I want a kid I couldn’t hold a conversation with. We could enrich each other’s lives so much more than if I’d chosen either of the other options.

    If they’re intelligent and interesting, then they’re bound to be attractive anyway, just not physically.

    And nah gender doesn’t make a difference to me.

  • Artyom Karapetov

    Ugly would be it, though it pains me to think about it. Though I guess if he/she is smart he/she will get enough money to get a surgery, and because the child is interesting he/she would have no problem with dating.

    So the ugliness can be fixed or ignored, but the other two can’t. Plus who cares about how people look? When you talk to people, does the first thing that comes to mind when you actually start a conversation with a person if he/she is ugly/handsome/pretty?

    If a person is beautiful but boring or tries to cover his/her stupidity by being fake “interesting” by blubbering nonsense, my best bet would be to choose an ugly child instead of a retard or pretentious prick. It’s simply the lesser of *three* evils.

  • Kyle Rosen

    Boring. Ugly and Stupid are forever but a personality can be developed.

  • František Ficek

    As most of others, I’m going with ugly. And because I don’t want to repeat stuff already written (I agree with most of it), I’m twisting this whole question around throwing in a little analogy. I hope you don’t find me weird for it. If my kid was ugly that would probably mean, that s/he would have problems with dating. I myself break characteristics of potentional partners into these 3 categories. Looks, “school” inteligence (not stupid) and “social” inteligence (mainly not boring). And it is the two latter categories which are more important for me. Once you get past teenage phase, you kinda dont care that much about the face. You care about if you can talk about science and laugh together. So even though I think puberty and late teens could be hell for my ugly kid, later in life it will all get better. No, screw better… It would get fucking awesome! Now go and rock the world you imaginary ugly kid of mine…

  • Chemical-T

    Ugly. And I am taking this question seriously because I am 6 months pregnant right now so I know what I might be bringing down upon my child as I write. I just think about how many successful people are fascinating and intelligent, but ugly. These people would overcome first impressions and probably be really great people to be around who have a strong inner circle of friends not reserved for those who take looks too seriously. I also believe that people you may initially judge as ugly become more attractive as you get to know their beautiful personality.

  • Natarats

    This reminds me of a quote from Anne of Green Gables. “Which would you rather be if you had the choice–divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?”

    But to answer your question I would say stupid.
    That’s a tough question because intelligence and being interesting kinda go hand in hand but I’ve known enough people in my life who were intelligent but we’re lacking(significantly) in looks or more than just lacking in social smarts and I know I’m only assuming but they seemed deeply unhappy either with themselves or their situation in life or whatever the heck else. I agree with Wrong Bobby.
    I don’t care if my future children become famous or grow up to be successful or change the world. I just want them to be happy.

  • N00less Cluebie

    This question can be reframed as to what kind of spouse you want, as your child will likely inherit the same traits and it’s straightforward if I can make the decision with logic:


    Beauty gets boring fast, it becomes the standard and much like your pixel person you become accustomed to it with nowhere else to go!

    Both smart and non-boring allows newness and constant growth as a person. Sure the ugly child may suffer social ills from bad first impressions but this will only encourage further character growth, and likely to spur the person to be higher on the conciousness stair; and isn’t that the real goal of life?

  • Sam Foster

    Of the three, I’d pick boring. The societal rewards of beauty are obvious and intellect can be of great help while boring is a relatively minor inconvenience that can be overcome.

  • Eddie Stuckey

    If they are smart and fun, but ugly, they will have self esteem issues and be depressed. If they are attractive and smart, but boring then they won’t be able to hold any long term friendships or relationships, and again, be depressed. However, if they are attractive and fun, but dumb, then they’ll be happy. They have nothing to worry about. What’s more important, understanding the world or embracing it?

    • Anthony Churko

      My brother’s attractive, fun, and stupid. His life kinda sucks, and he’s not that happy. Plus, he stressed out my parents like crazy with his dumb choices when he was a teenager. People like hanging out with smart, attractive people, even if they don’t have much to say. Ugly people develop better personalities.

  • Jana Lenkiewicz

    People made excellent points! Beauty and a little stupidity definitely increase happiness – but I would still have to go with ugly. I love my son no matter what – but the main reason I had a child was to have a forever family. I want to talk to him and have fun with him as he grows into adulthood. And then he has to take care of me when I am old. He wouldn’t be such a great person or friend if he were stupid or boring. Ugliness can be lonely, but personality can make up for a lot.

  • brytothey

    Ugly. People who are boring or stupid will begin to look ugly very quickly anyway.

  • Anthony Churko

    ***usual disclaimer about how I’d love them unconditionally, blah blah blah, but if I HAD to choose…***

    Sons: Ugly, but smart and fun. Like me!
    Daughters: Boring, but smart and pretty. Like my wife!

    Stupid would just be the worst, though. It would definitely be stressful to have a child who’s really attractive, but really stupid. I’m imagining a child who’s stupid, but not boring. Like…people are amused at how stupid this child is.

    • Jay Mullen

      Awesome answer. Love the self-awareness! Hope your wife doesn’t get mad at you.

  • Joachim Horsley

    Ugly. If they are smart and interesting, they can find a way to make enough money to afford plastic surgery. He/she may have confidence problems, but it will be my job to help. Not that life will be easy at all, but that’s the best choice for me.

  • Travis DC

    We should look at the three options this way:

    Kid 1 (if you choose boring): Smart and gorgeous but a real stick in the mud at a party and not much fun to go out to dinner with. Wants to take a roadtrip with friends but can’t find any friends who want to spend that much time with them. Turns off creative, funny, adventurous people. First dates with this person are dull, even if the other person is impressed with the intelligence and excited about the possibility of hooking up with them later. Think handsome brilliant computer science major who doesn’t have many close friends.

    Kid 2 (if you choose stupid): They’re gorgeous, and to be stupid and not boring means that they’re either really fun or hilarious or courageous or adventurous (or all of them). Very popular in high school, their friends love them, people always have a crush on them, and they might even become famous for something. However, they need to get creative about their career, because they don’t have a good academic background and a low gpa wherever they attended, and though they might be able to win over an interviewer with their magnetic personality and good looks, after the job starts, they’re quickly exposed for not being too bright. But in the right type of career, they can be a star. In the dating world, this person has an easy time getting a date with anyone, but smarter people will often rule them out after a first date. Think dumb charismatic rock star or dumb charming politician. Or maybe the cute, confident, charming girl working at Target for 40 years.

    Kid 3 (if you choose ugly): Brilliant, fun and vibrant but very unattractive. This person has lots of close friends in school but not many dates. Unfortunately, this one differs by gender. It’s hard for a guy to be ugly, but an brilliant, fascinating, funny ugly guy usually does fine with girls. A super unattractive but awesome girl will have a ton of friends and a great career but will have no chance with the majority of guys in the dating arena. Either way, this person can be a star in the world, with friends, in a career etc. Many standup comics are this person (some use their ugliness to their advantage), plenty of CEOs too. Will have a very hard time being an actor or singer.

    I think this is a very hard choice. My last choice is Kid 1 (boring). Boring here means most people are bored by you. That makes it hard to have close friendships, hard to get into a good relationship, and those problems make it hard to be happy. It also limits a career in many ways.

    Between the other two, I’d choose Kid 3 (ugly). Assuming the kid were amazingly smart and totally interesting/fun/funny/creative, this person could lead a terrific life in every way, after a possibly hard childhood.

    No one in the comments chose “stupid” (Kid 2), but since this means the kid is the opposite of boring, and also gorgeous, it makes him/her pretty great.

    So in order, I’d choose: Ugly, Stupid, Boring.

    • Rory

      Interesting viewpoint.

      I think if you’re playing it safe and want the kid to be accepted, you choose boring. Hot and smart will be accepted in most situations.

      If you want a kid who has a chance to be a star, you pick ugly. I think picking ugly gives the kid the best chance to change the world. Even picking stupid gives your kid a better chance to change the world than boring I think.

  • Rimi Jain

    Disappointed with this question. For three reasons:

    a. It implies that judgments of what is “stupid” or “ugly” or “boring” are absolute, when in fact, they are entirely subjective. I find baseball boring and may not be able to spend hours with a baseball fanatic, but I’m sure many people here would never agree with me on that.

    b. It implies that your life will follow an inevitable path if you are stupid or if you are ugly or if you are boring. A so-called “idiotic” person might do very badly in school or lack common sense on the streets, but may have a special knack for cooking and a flourishing career as a chef. A “beautiful” woman today may suffer a paralyzing accident tomorrow and cease to be as attractive to men (or women) as she was prior to it. Its not always about what you’ve got, but what you make of what you’ve got.

    c. It assumes everyone wants to be able to “design” their babies in some way – remove a perceived defect. Personally, if I have children, I hope I can accept them regardless of how they look, how interesting society finds them and how intelligent their brain seems to be.

    I want healthy, happy kids who grow up to be healthy, satisfied adults – and these factors are determined by much, much more than just the three options presented here.

    • Rimi Jain is pretty dumb

      It also is hypothetical and for fun. It is 100% a mental experiment and you are writing this like you might just be stupid.

      • wobster109

        Regardless whether you agree with a comment, it’s pretty unnecessary to call people names and throw around insults. When you insult another person, you discourage him/her from commenting in the future. The greatest asset of the dinner table is Tim’s commenters. Please do not bring down the quality of the dinner table by chasing away commenters.

      • Guest-type person

        I agree with wobster109. Lets not be unnecessarily rude and bring down the quality of the dinner table, especially if we feel the need to stay anonymous whilst being so.
        (even though I’m posting this anonymously)

      • Sharlene

        Beyond being rude factor, I wouldn’t say Rami is stupid. She (he?) stated her opinion in a very thoughtful and eloquent fashion. If you had to namecall, boring would be more appropriate for not wanting to play along. I, personally, agreed with the post and found it interesting.

      • Rimi

        Wow! Thanks for the support, all! I’m relieved to read it 🙂 I guess I should have added that regardless of what I think of the question, there are a range of interesting views and answers here as always.
        [And I’m a “she”, currently stupidly procrastinating on a dissertation proposal due yesterday]

    • Mya P.

      Rimi – Thank you for this comment, I feel the same.

    • Don

      The thing you missed, Rimi, is that the use of this question isn’t to be taken literally. The use is that by considering which you’d choose if you HAD to choose one, you assess the world and culture and your own values critically. It encourages deep thought about how the world works and about your own values. For this reason, it’s a terrific question.

      • Neko

        What if you chose not to chose? because you don’t value any one quality over the others?

  • Arthur Bárbaro

    If they excel at the others, I’m assuming they won’t have self esteem issues with ugliness, and I choose that.
    Given that they would, though, I feel tempted to choose boring. …Except that I can’t help but think about them as having no friends. And I think I’d think “My child is boring… 🙁 ” Maybe they would have their friends, though, only I wouldn’t get it…? And then I should choose over having a child I can interact with or one with self esteem problems? I’m really not sure what to do. …I guess I’d end up choosing ugliness anyways and work the problem over. It’s not like most people don’t feel ugly already and have to work on that already because of media standards anyways.

    • middleclassgenx

      Interesting points, Arthur. Especially the last sentence.

  • Douglas

    Stupid probably, It might be slightly cheating on my part, but if I pick stupid I can make my child potentially not boring, smart, and attractive. If my child was ugly the only way I could change that is plastic surgery which i’m not very keen on the idea of. If I choose boring then it would immensely be difficult to change, I mean how do you effectively change one’s personality? But if I choose stupid? I believe I could change that. I could try harder to educate my child on subjects in which my child lacks on. If my child is stupid in school classes then I could perhaps help him/her with their homework, or extend the teaching myself. If my child is stupid as in bigot, racist, and sexist stupid then I could educate him/her about those issues.

  • Goran

    Ugly – i’m reasoning with the fact that interesting and smart people go a great way on the road to personal success, and can be easily be surrounded with people they like, even though looks may seem repelling. I’ll take this to the next level and guess that my child will live in the generation that feels that engineering the aesthetics is not a tabu in modern world so, he can even fix it. I have a question: does this question hide a conclusion on the commenter? Because while I was thinking about this, I felt that I was being really subjective by my own experience and surroundings 🙂

  • Innocent Bystander


    I reverse engineered my answer to this one. Which trait do I most want my kids to have? Personality, intelligence or good looks. For me I believe personality is # 1 in achieving a happy life. It allows you to build relationships regardless of the other 2. Intelligence is second. Being smart will help a person professionally and with problem solving. Looks are last. I know being attractive helps to open some doors initially, but there needs to be some substance behind for it to be a valuable trait.

    Oh, and for the record my two girls are charming, brilliant, and beautiful. They are amazing.

  • Great Pierre

    I find stupid and boring people annoying, so ugly is probably what I’d choose. Besides, I think a super smart really interesting person is much better than an smart attractive person who is boring, or an interesting attractive person who is stupid. Unless this person is so ugly that even as babies they’re horrifyingly ugly(it’s not hard to be a cute baby), because then I’d choose boring. I cant stand stupid people. Also, I don’t think gender would matter in this decision.

  • wobster109

    This is an interesting question, and I’m going to answer assuming no change is possible (such as plastic surgery, study, etc). So whatever I pick, my child is like that for life.

    Rather selfishly, I pick ugly. Mr. Tolkien says “even the smallest person can change the course of the future”, and I feel it would be a hindrance for the child to be boring (unimaginative) or stupid. The child will have a difficult life. The child will always be challenged, always grasping at something out of reach, never content with an ordinary Wednesday. But there’s a better chance humankind (and machinekind (and alienkind, if aliens exist)) will be better off because this child existed.

    However, if I were optimizing for the child’s happiness, I’d pick boring. Even though it would be nice if looks didn’t matter, being ugly would have small effects, day in and day out, that would pile up. Small things like being rated poorly on a job interview, passed over for promotion, things like that. In the professional world being boringly dependable is ok, but being ugly makes us think less of the person’s work. A boring person could have a nice, content, happy, uneventful, stable life.

  • Sriram Reddy

    Boring. Because I have not met anyone boring yet 😛

    I would like my kid to be Smart:
    – smart enough to entertain itself when alone, that it’s unnecessary to entertain people and belong in a tribe
    – to speak out its critical and informed opinion, and not fear judgement
    – and to understand there is no psychological security among humans; the security that is only possible by belonging to as many groups as possible, thus creating a fragmented personality.. no thanks 🙂

    I would like it to be Beautiful
    – An honest beautiful smile to cheer up people
    – To look approachable, and affable so people can actually take a chance with him/her

  • Devon

    Boring! It will keep them out of trouble… 🙂 As a hypothetical parent, I would rather have a Mary Bennet than a Lydia Bennet (assuming Elizabeth is not in the cards)! And boring can also be addressed, I think, with time and exposure–they’ll have their whole lives to let new experiences shape their personalities and their outlooks on the world. Oh and no, this choice does not depend on gender. Bilbo Baggins was also quite boring until he went there and back again…

  • Chaosfeminist

    Better to be ugly than boring or stupid.

  • Jessie Long

    If it were a boy I’d say boring. if my kid was naturally stupid – I’m assuming teenage years would be even more stressful as a parent, knowing your boy was making dumber choices than he would if he were just average-teenage-boy-dumb. If he was boring, he will probably be book smart, and live a happily boring life somewhere with a boring girl and live boringly ever after in boring land.

    I’d say for a girl – because I’ve already got a boring son, I would rather her be ugly. I feel that if I were a parent, I would be able to nurture those qualities that cause people to look and see what is inside of a person… She’d be awesome, therefore not ugly.
    My friends with kids say that I wouldn’t be able to tell if my kids were ugly… I think I would… Does anyone have anything to say about this?

    • Rimi

      I like that you chose an ugly daughter. The stereotypical compliment for a boy seems to be, “He’s so smart, you should be proud” and for a girl its, “She’s so pretty.” (Where I’m from anyway)
      It always feels good to see someone disagree with established notions of gender socialization.

    • middleclassgenx

      “If he was boring, he will probably be book smart, and live a happily boring life somewhere with a boring girl and live boringly ever after in boring land.”

      LOL. Thanks Jessie!

  • Estrela Straus

    Ugly! Beauty vanishes… charm and inteligence don’t!

  • Ugly for both! My child can have plastic surgery to look better thanks to the money she/ he earns out of intelligence and can have an interesting life thanks to her/ his personality! No way can help the beautiful but stupid and boring child!

  • Danah Ashcroft

    Ugly. You can be successful in life by being smart and interesting. Both genders.

  • Heidrun Searles

    I would prefer my children be ugly than stupid and boring just like their momma, however I lucked out, 3 of my 4 kids are smart pretty/handsome, and quite entertaining. One of them however-well lets just say he takes after his father, stupid, ugly, and boring. Not bad odds though!

  • Natasha Henderson

    Boring. If boring to me then maybe she or he is interesting to other people. If boring overall so long as s/he is happy being boring

  • LC

    I would pick ugly. They would always be beautiful to me, I should hope. Plus I know plenty of people who were not pretty children, who turned into knock-outs as adults. I think in the end, their personalities shone through.

  • TimmyB.

    Boring is usually the result of being both ugly and stupid. I’ve never met a smart or a good-looking child that was boring. ‘Good looking’ fuels popularity, which breeds leadership and EQ (if done correctly). Smart kids have IQ. And still some are both. I know at least 3. I’ve never met a boring child because all children are beautiful, but I’ve met boring adults and they are both ugly and stupid. The are visually and auditorially uninteresting.

  • Kelly

    Boring, for either gender. I don’t see a downside to being boring. I’m sure they would have no trouble finding others with “boring” interests to be friends with. Plus, BONUS: I would imagine it would make their teenage years far less stressful for me.

    I should note I almost chose ugly. I value intelligence far more than either of the other traits listed here.

  • liz

    If my child were stupid but extremely fun and absolutely gorgeous, then their life would be a blast (pretty much) until they hit Life After College. When they have to make a living for themselves. And then they would fail miserably.
    If my child were boring, but super intelligent and gorgeous (like Sherlock) then their life would be pretty darn good. People who actually appreciate them for who they are and not their sense of humor or gregarious personality would make their life meaningful.
    And finally, if my child were a potato but intelligent and super fun, then they would have a pretty good life (no pun intended!). Bullying would be a prevalent problem throughout their life, but people who can look past someone’s skin would appreciate him/her.

    Overall the best choice would be boring but smart and gorg. The best of both worlds, this child would weed out friends who just wanna have fun and leave behind the real friends. And a boss doesn’t care if you party hard- if you’re smart and good at your job, the money would come rolling in.

  • tmbrown1

    There isn’t anything quite like an eccentric, highly intelligent, ugly person. They amaze us all the more precisely because they are ugly. It seems easy to be a boisterous personality when you don’t need to stress over how you look from moment to moment. An ugly person who has accepted that they are ugly and made up for it with their intelligence and personality is intriguing, compelling and even inspiring… Think Tyrion from GOT… So I choose ugly… So long as he/she has the ability to accept his looks, say fuck his looks and then never give them another thought. If that individual doesn’t give a shit about his looks, it’s highly likely that other people will.

    And I would venture to say that not caring about looks, particularly in a society like ours, is a HUGE blessing… And near impossible for attractive people to do.

  • If I’m considered exciting (jumping from planes, sleeping with strangers, changing jobs and cities because I feel bored) then I’d rather have my hypothetical children be boring. No need to worry about them being in trouble if they’re boring and unpredictable, and if they have problems making friends, they can always be the kids with the cool dad. Not ideal to have people make friends with you to get closer to your father, but they’re friends nonetheless.

  • consanguinity

    OK, I have a fairly clear idea of how my parents see me as I am 12 and quite ugly. They like me because I do well at school and I have a few friends but since I am a girl, attractiveness is unfortunately very important as a feminine quality so people do tend to be standoffish on first impression. If I was stupid but interesting and attractive, I would be in the ‘popular’ group at school but I would be a big problem for my parents as I would have no interest in school and lots of interest in friends, parties, boys, etc. If I was boring but smart and attractive I would be my parents’ favourite, a teacher’s pet and the object of many people’s affection, but I would not have many friends and would be depressed, lonely and so on. But if I was a boy, all of these afflictions wouldn’t really matter because at least I am the other two, and that is what is really screwed up about society. Boys are allowed to be imperfect and their bad attributes are romanticised a lot, while girls are pressured to be smart, interesting, and attractive all at once.

    • Karen Edgerton

      You are so going places in your lifetime. You are going to change the world.

      • consanguinity

        Thanks! But what do you mean?

        • thedonkey

          I think she means that you are young and have figured out what most people don’t until it’s too late to make any changes to think like you. Actually, many people never figure it out, and we envy you.

          • consanguinity

            That’s wonderful.. thank you!

            • AngelaK

              I agree with Karen! If you keep on as you are, you are going to have a huge impact on the world! You are the most articulate, thoughtful, self-aware and switched on 12 year old I know. Keep on keeping on and good luck!

            • consanguinity

              Funny how more people appreciate me on the internet than in real life… Thank you so much.

            • Tim Ryan

              Yeah, you seem to have a very clear-eyed view of the world for someone your age and write more clearly than most adults.

        • Karen Edgerton

          To be so self- and culture-aware at your age is an anomaly. If you continue the path you are on you will only gain in wisdom and the power to make a positive difference in this world. I raised my sons to understand the things you do and they are changing everyone they come in contact with for the better.
          So I applaud you and encourage you to ‘stay the path’.

      • jaime_arg

        Being aware of things doesn’t automatically poise her for success. Don’t make promises you can’t deliver.

        • Karen Edgerton

          I am at a loss as to why you would criticize what I said and then proceed to put-down an obviously intelligent, self-aware 12 yr old girl. Telling someone they have what it takes to succeed is called ‘support’ not ‘a promise’. Recognizing someone’s potential and sharing it with them is a positive action. And btw, success has a lot of definitions.

          • jaime_arg

            You are mistaken on your second count. I never proceeded to put-down the girl.
            Both sentences are directed at your comment, not at the girl. I do believe she is smart and I do believe that she will learn from both our statements.
            “You are going to change the world” seems grandiose to me, I am pointing out the fact that changing things takes hard work.

            • George

              I agree, to ‘change the world’ in any way would take a huge amount of motivation and dedication. I would say they’re by far the more important qualities to change anything. Being smart and aware of what you’d like to change in the world are a lot more common traits than having the drive to do it. Children are too often told they will achieve greatness off the back of their intelligence or talent, and then lost self-confidence when they struggle. It’s pure, hard work that separates the greats from the average joe. Intelligence on it’s own only benefits you in yourself.

            • jaime_arg

              My point exactly. Hopefully Karen and the 12yo girl will understand this.
              I had a future when I was 12 (I actually argued for euthanasia at an English class at that age, much to my teacher’s dismay), now I spend my days reading blogs instead of writing them.

            • consanguinity

    • Aina

      many beautiful 12 year old girls think they’re ugly, so don’t trust your self judgement too much 🙂 Besides, you sound smart and if you’re a wbw reader at 12 i’ll assume you have a pretty good sense of humour. You say you have friends so you’re probably nice for people to hang out with. Those things make you beautiful, regardless of the pure aesthetics. Charming, friendly and smily people are beautiful forever (even if they’re “ugly” according to the beauty standards set by society) because charm, friendliness and good nature remain (and grow) with age, through appearence-changing life experiences (such as pregnancies, accidents, medical treatments or the such), through weight gain, etc… stereotipial beauty doesn’t necessarily pass those tests.
      All this to say, keep cultivating your intelligence, you sense of humour and your social skills, they’ll make you way more attractive than how you look.

      • consanguinity

        Thank you! I’m feeling pretty emotional.. these are more compliments in one day than I’ve had in the past year!

    • guy incognito

      My wife and I just had our first child, a baby girl, and I have to say that as a new father your comment is incredibly sad but ultimately inspiring. It’s a sad that someone so young has already been forced to reckon with some of the more cynical and depressing aspects of our society, but please don’t let that be your final judgement on humanity! I promise you there are people out there who will love you for who you are, what you do, and how you treat others around you. There are 7 billion people in this world, as you get older I hope you will learn that it’s really quite easy to search out the kind of people you want to spend your time with, and happily ignore the rest.

      Also, I would tell a person of any age who has decided to label themselves as “quite ugly” that this is a mistake, as an easy smile and a friendly demeanor are way more attractive than any physical attribute. But for a twelve year old to decide they are ugly…PLEASE trust me that you have a long way to go in growing into yourself, so don’t be offended, but your judgement on this point is basically irrelevant :-).

      Its wonderful to know that a 12 year can be so eloquent and thoughtful. Keep your head up and stay optimistic, and try and remember that the “popular group” at school is almost always miserable as everyone else.

    • Sriram Reddy

      Take it easy little girl. You are smart, that is evident; and also not boring, because you seem to articulate your ideas well. Ugly? You are just 12. You will only get better 🙂 . Being beautiful, smart and interesting, doesn’t make life easy, because:
      1. The price of being acknowledged is excessive expectations: Changing the world for starters
      2. Hard to convince people that you are actually a humble person
      In short you can never please everyone, so learn to entertain yourself. Also looking beautiful is easy. Just maintain good health, keep clean, and dress sharp. And finally, don’t worry and try to look like another beautiful clone 😛

    • N00less Cluebie

      Just because you think you are ugly now doesn’t mean you won’t be considered attractive later on. There are LOTS of people who go through awkward phases; even actors, and models You can google ugly ducklings to see some startling examples. But even if you don’t develop into a model, even if you remain (as you see it) GENUINELY UGLY, I PROMISE there will still be people who find you attractive. Some might even find you physically attractive.

      Sure, your teenage years MAY suck, but take confidence in the fact that EVERYONE’s teenage years suck. Even those popular “attractive” girls are probably unhappy with themselves privately even if they always seem perfect in public.

      You will survive, and you WILL thrive

      • consanguinity

        Thank you.. my level of self-esteem is rising 🙂

        • Dante

          Consanguinity. I am a man. So I wasn’t quite on the same path as you currently are. However, I am bisexual and an ethnic minority, which I think makes up for much of the pressure you might feel as a girl vs. a straight, white boy. That being said, I was very much like you. I was talented, intelligent, and very hard working. Emphasis on the latter, which is rather important. I obtained many academic achievements and awards, and obtained a chemical engineering degree in the top 12% of my class at a well reputed university. I have gone on to actually have a very successful dual career in modelling and engineering – which I think is fairly rare, but substantial nonetheless. I’ve modeled for Burberry, Giorgio Armani, and several others. However, at the age of twelve I was just as you feel today. I felt unattractive, and downright ugly. I knew I was smart, but I also was smart enough to know I’d have to work hard to obtain anything of value to me. I didn’t have many, or really, any real friends. My teachers all liked me, which was of some solace, but ultimately not enough at the time. And dealing with my confused sexuality left me wholly unpopular. I was teased and made fun of constantly, for both my unattractiveness and my perceived sexual orientation (though I was never out). Anyways, the point I’m trying to make is that you’re 12 years old, and you have much ahead of you. I know it seems like being unattractive at your age is a horrible curse that will plague you forever. I am here to tell you, it will only do that if you allow it to. You have the power to focus on your strengths and to know that you’re beautiful regardless of what the teens around you consider beautiful right now. You can grow up to blossom and be perspicacious about yourself and the world around you. You will find your niche, and when you do, you will be infinitely happier. Focus on yourself. Focus on continuous improvement in all areas of your life. And don’t let other people hold you back. I know middle school and high school can be horrible. Trust me, I do. There isn’t enough space on this forum to describe everything I went through and how I was feeling. But perseverance is your key to a wonderful world where people value you for everything you have to offer. It all starts with you believing in yourself, and projecting that unto everyone you meet.

          • consanguinity

            You are a huge inspiration.. thank you so much for the advice. I am glad that everything turned out well for you.

  • Lunadia

    Boring, please! Either gender, I don’t care. Stupidity is aggravating and hard to fix, difficult to work with and just, well, sad. Stupidity would eventually overshadow the child’s excitability and even good looks. Ugliness is sad too, An ugly child learns pretty early how others see him, and could develop an inferiority complex which might hold him back from developing his exciting personality and/or bright mind. Unless he’s Stephen Hawking. Ugliness could be fixed, but that might be expensive. A boring child might be just thinking big important thoughts or solving complicated calculations in his head or creating a poem or something like that. A boring child might just prefer that to interacting with others; or perhaps he goes on and on about quantum mechanics, which would likely bore others. I still want that kid!

    • consanguinity

      Yes.. that is true. The boring child is more likely to succeed in later life if you look at intelligence and first impressions. But don’t you think it’s important to be social to truly succeed? I don’t know, this is just my opinion..

      • Lunadia

        I may be wrong, but I don’t believe Albert Einstein or Nils Bohr or Nikola Tesla were known as sociable people. I could think of more probably if I had time…

        • consanguinity

          You are right, although Einstein was apparently quite the womaniser…

        • Abc

          Actually Niels Bohr was the most social scientist of his time. He had a tremendously charming personallity that helped him network with important scientists, invite them over to Denmark and give them the chance to collaborate with eachother.

  • Bill

    I was inclined to say boring due to the incredible cruelty and dramatically reduced opportunities faced by the truly ugly. However, I then thought about how they would excel at the other attributes. Being tremendously interesting would negate many of the social effects of ugliness, and high intelligence would improve career prospects that would otherwise be hampered by their appearance. You know who was tremendously interesting and intelligent, but ugly? Abe Lincoln.

    • consanguinity

      But do you think the same things would apply to a girl? Really think about how messed up society is for a second. Would an ugly girl REALLY be accepted in the real world?

      • AF

        Yes, ugly people can turn out really fine, even women. I believe being ugly could cause a lot of trouble to find a partner and be in a nice relationship. I see (with all the respect) my ugliest friends in VERY healthy relationships, they just get everything figured out. They are smart and interesting people and I really believe thats what trully matters. On the other hand, some trully beatiful girls just turn out to be in shitty unhealthy relationships and, as a consequence, unhappier than they would be alone. An inteligent interesting person has better chances to be happy and that’s all I’d wish for my child.

  • MrBarrington

    Define ‘boring’… what is boring to one person may not be boring to the next… dullness is relative and boring may be transitory… you kid may be boring but develop into an interesting person… so I would choose boring… because stupid and ugly are forever…

    • consanguinity

      I guess boring is just no social skills and no awareness of how to act while talking to a person…

      • MrBarrington

        So pretty much all children then….

        • consanguinity

          Yes, so I guess most people grow out of it..

  • Michael Jones

    I’d definitely choose to have a boring child. Honestly, having a stupid child would be my definition of boring. To have a child who’d never ask thought-provoking questions and come up with new ideas and search and learn and create and invent…I can’t imagine anything more dull. Besides, having a boring child would probably mean that s/he’d be pretty easy to deal with, even on the hard days. And as far as ugly goes, appearance is the very first thing that people notice. And sad though it may be, people may never get past what’s on the outside to appreciate the beauty that’s on the inside. So I would most definitely choose to have a beautiful child who is remarkably intelligent. (And as for whether or not gender would affect that question, my answer is no. However, when describing my fictional child, I envisioned a daughter.)

  • Kelly

    I’d have to say boring. You can’t fix ugly (at least not without paying for plastic surgery!) and low IQ is difficult (not impossible, but difficult) to improve. Boring, however, I feel is a direct result of environment. Introducing new activities, stimulants and ideas would hopefully encourage a child to examine the world and thus react and engage within it, in a new and different way. I’ve known people who are, at first blush, “boring” (in the environment that we’ve met in anyway), but tapping into their genuine interests (or in the case of a child: introducing them to things that might become a genuine interest) has taught me that “the boring” often have much more to contribute – if only you ask the right questions.

  • Tim Lai

    These 3 qualities can change over time, for better or worse. Boring kids can find something they fall in love with and may do it for the rest of their lives. Stupid kids may be stupid in school work or things that we expect them to be good at but they may be talented in art or sports or other things that they love, so you never know. Ugly kids may not turn out to be not so ugly unless they are also boring or stupid. The good thing is kids are not TV shows, even if they are boring, stupid or ugly, their parents still love them, while most other people really don’t give a shit.

  • Andaco

    Can you understand why I want a daughter? I want her to be pretty, and smart, and I don’t care if she is boring, as I think I would be able to have a great time with her even if it’s boring as I would show her a lot of films a good books, so I’ll be able to bond with her more if she is boring than stupid.

    But if it’s to much to ask, then send me a son. And here is where my dilemma starts, I’m smart (I am, despite sometimes not been able to form my argument well and people thinking the opposite), I’m not funny (well, I think I am, but my sense of humor is really weird for everyone else to be funny), and I have a nice face (subjective, but you can look at my photo). Well, I think I will choose for my son the traits I want for me, and despite thinking that being boring is the best trait to not have of the three logically, for some reason I think if I had been given the choice, I’ll exchange my smartness for being able to be funny. Which scares me, is like I have rather lose what makes me unique, in order to have a better social life. So I would rather trade off the rational thinker for a mammoth.

  • thedonkey

    Having been married to a pretty but insanely dumb woman for 7 years, I say boring. Wait. She was boring too. So, no matter what, no answer works in my world.

  • Andy

    Surprised at the number of people who chose boring – a crippling life affliction. My brother would be classified as boring – as such he has no friends, has remained a virgin until 34 and lives in a fuzzy state of alienation and depression. Girls rate his appearance as attractive (until they meet him), and his intelligence is gladly appreciated by the leadership in his workplace.

    For a boy – ugly.
    Social awareness and intelligence from a young age will get him very far. Once he begins to understand the complex world of femininity by early high school, finding a partner will be no problem. He’ll also be able to slip under radars and make genuine career progress.

    For a girl – stupid.
    Perhaps I’m being misogynistic, but this is just a reality we face in our society. Intelligent girls can sometimes find themselves battling unnecessarily against the hierarchy of insecure males holding onto power. Ugly girls are also very poorly treated at a young age, so she’ll barely get her feet off the ground. Social skills and looks will grant her a happy, relaxed lifestyle with the support of a powerful male (who’ll she’ll be very comfortable with and attracted to, lacking an overbearing intelligence that causes her to overanalyse and question her happiness and circumstances).

    • FirefoxGuru

      ^That girl one sounds a bit North Korean…don’t you guys think?

    • lucy

      “Ugly girls are also very poorly treated at a young age, so she’ll barely get her feet off the ground.” And why teach a girl that her life is worth more than just looking good? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Better she be dumb lol

    • Mya P.

      Oh god, really? Because obviously the only way a woman could possibly be happy and fulfilled is if she is some douche-bag’s plaything.

      Why not wish for your daughter to be intelligent enough to avoid marrying a misogynistic prick in the first place, and for her to be intelligent enough to make good choices in life? Why not wish for your daughter to be able to think for herself and to know who she is and what she wants out of life? Why not wish for her to be smart enough to make her own way, and smart enough to know what a good man is?

      A woman is more than her looks, and a man who doesn’t want a woman who is intelligent is a man not worthy of your daughter and not worth knowing. I’d rather be valued for my mind than my body. For you to wish for your daughter to only be valued for her looks is more than sad.

    • consanguinity

      Maybe, just maybe, the girl might want to achieve something in life and NOT be a trophy wife or a trodden-on place-mat?

  • Laura

    If I had a boy: ugly. No question about it. Men are judged much more on other aspects of their lives, like their careers, than their looks. A guy who doesn’t look good, but who’s smart, funny & charismatic can still get ahead in life. I’d argue he could still have a successful love life, too, even still date someone attractive — just look at Jonah Hill’s girlfriend, Salma Hayek’s husband, or Robert Duvall’s wife.

    If I had a girl, the question becomes much harder. Unfortunately, and I know this being one, girls and women will always be judged by their looks first and foremost. Hilary Clinton is probably the US’ most successful female politician, but whenever I talk about her to people, her looks always seem to come up, usually within a minute. Just this second, I typed her name into Google, and the first new story is Jay Leno snarking on how old she looks. I do not want to have an ugly daughter in a society where a woman in her sixties looking old is treated as legitimate news.

    With that being said, I don’t want a daughter who’s boring or stupid, either. If I absolutely had to choose, I’d probably say boring. She wouldn’t have to endure the criticism and derision that ugly girls/women do in our society, and since she’s smart she can get a degree in Engineering, Computer Science, Statistics, or any number of things that can lead to a career that pays well and doesn’t require very much charisma. If she’s a beautiful young woman, enough men will approach her without her having to do much work, and eventually she’ll find one who doesn’t mind that she’s boring, especially if she’s smart enough to have a successful career. I’d say her biggest obstacle will be making friends. Most boring people I know have at least a few friends, however, and people tend to be drawn to beautiful women, especially when they’re young, so she shouldn’t have too hard a time. If anything, as a smart person, she can just meet other smart people with similar passions and geek out with them. Even if someone’s boring, if they can talk intelligently and knowledgeably about an interest you have that most people can’t speak on, you’d want to catch lunch or go out with them sometimes.

    • Stacee

      This was my exact thought process. Thanks

  • olivanananana

    Surprisingly enough I don’t think the gender factor would change my answer/choice on this question.

    So let’s see what we’ve got here:

    Boring – well I guess if you’re boring but smart, or good looking even, you can have your luck in finding someone with similar interest/intelligent level and be happy nerds together and it would work out fine

    Stupid – [sorry I can’t think of anything]

    Ugly – if you have a good personality and/or are smart, I guess you can still be the girl/boy-next-door and you can still get a decent job and great friends either way

    Messed up thoughts in short, I’d take anything but stupid. The scale would go like Boring>Ugly>Stupid. I’ve never got my IQ tested out so I don’t know how smart/dumb I am, but I’ve got this friend who despite her introvert personality and lack of interest and hobby on anything, she’s really stupid. She’s the kind of girl who would ask you how to put papers together when there’s a stapler on her desk, and the kind of interns that pisses so many people off as she expect everything to be written out and explained clear to her, as much as that she should carry her own cup for water. But in the real world, who has time for all that explanation? Expectation sucks but people outta have common sense on what life’s bringing on, and in her case, sorry she has none. Good looks are always a bonus point for whatever people has on their plate. Unless you’re a model or someone in the entertainment business of some sort (or maybe even so), it can only get you so far. So all in all, I would prefer my child to be boring if that means s/he isn’t as dumb as a _____ (fill it in with your imagination) or as ugly as ______ (well do the same, so you can come up with a more powerful insult).

    • ieva

      Stupid, methinks, can easily be turned around as a good trait.
      At least most of the stupid people I’ve known have had no problems reaching happiness, feeling comfortable with their profession and skills (Dunning-Kruger going strong) and often don’t have the anxieties that come with thinking ahead.

      I wouldn’t wish it to my children, but that’s because I’d have to endure them, and that would make me miserable, having to deal with that 😀

  • Ieva

    I would prefer ugly – that’s easily fixable at some point if they really want. My no.1, a boy, is currently going through his ugly teenage phase, and doesn’t mind – neither do I -, my girl no.1 had a small blemish that we didn’t fully fix when we were advised to do so – but she seems to see it as a special trait, not a problem, and my girl no.2 was an incredibly ugly baby (so much so that I was ashamed of thinking this way about her) and it seems that she’s going to be one of those girls who don’t give a damn about her looks.

  • Kate

    Ugly… regardless of the gender. Turns out beauty really is in the eyes of the beholder and beerholder. I have seen people i think the world owes an apology for their looks, but as long as they’re brilliant and/or fun… nobody seems to care! I don’t!

    Plus when you’re receiving a Noble Prize for discovering the cure for cancer, nobody’s really gonna care that you look like something the cat wouldn’t bother dragging in!

  • Ryder

    Stupid, for sure. Boy or girl. Attractive, interesting girls go a long way in life, and stupidity is a large step toward ignorance is bliss. Attractive, interesting, and blissful is worth something.

    A lot of the most intelligent people I know are miserable.

    • Kate

      Really? Don’t stupid people just get on your nerves? What if s/he’s intelligent and non-boring i.e. fun?

      • Ryder

        Not if they are interesting. Stupid, non-interesting people get on my nerves.

        I’ve known many stupid and pleasant people over the years. And I have the problem that being very intelligent has had the side effect of surrounding me with stupid people. (its a relative measurement)…

        This means that I find few people interesting… whereas someone that’s stupid will have a life where they find themselves surrounded by smart and interesting people. That doesn’t seem so bad.

        Now, I happen to find that intelligent people are generally interesting… but it’s the interesting part I care about.

        In the scenario provided us, a stupid person is also an interesting one… so we get the final result we are looking for (interesting), minus the smarts generally needed to produce it.

        It seems unlikely, but it’s not my experiment 🙂

        As it turns out, my son is actually high on the looks and interesting department… he’s flying helicopters, is a scuba diver, an EMT, collects fine watches, plays guitar, is into photography, is amazingly helpful to those in need or distress, and is a social giant. Endless friends and connections… meets famous people with some regularity. Kind, thoughtful… a good man.

        And… he’s not brilliant.

        Turns out it’s not really a requirement.

        • Clara

          I would consider someone capable of getting a helicopter licence, an EMT certification, learning to play guitar, and having an eye for photography not to be “stupid”. Maybe non-academic. Maybe too trusting? Maybe not good at some school subjects. But not stupid.

          • Ryder

            First, nobody but you ever said he was stupid. Next, So you are saying that stupid people can’t make music? That they can’t drive vehicles? (I see them on the road every day). Stupid people can’t take pictures?

  • Aina

    If you excell at two of those things, you can’t be completely crap at the other… I have trouble imagining someone who’s super intelligent and boring. I equally can’t imagine someone being interesting, funny and with good social skills without being smart. Finally, people who are both smart and also super nice and interesting just kind of become good-looking to people who get to know them…
    So i don’t feel it makes a huge difference. Still if I had to choose i’d drop he looks, because a good personnality and intelligence grants you a great social life and o be surrounded by great smart funny friends who are cool enough to not pay much importance to looks will make anyone happy. Regardless of gender.

  • Mehmet

    Ugly of course

    If they (boy and girl) are interesting and smart, they’ll be successful and at some level attractive to others.

    No question about it,

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder right?

  • Guest

    Boring. Personally I don’t think a really smart person can be that boring lol

  • Ruzicka

    This is a very easy question to me.
    Stupidity is a trait I really really dislike in people. People who don’t understand or aren’t smart is no problem at all, but if you are stupid you’re also slow, ignorant and simple and that’s just something I really can’t real with.
    Boring people probably lead boring lives and, correct me if I’m wrong, I think boring people are kind of stuck in their lives too. No one will hire boring people for good jobs, no one will want to spend their lives with boring people. You’ll have no friends, except for maybe your 10 cats.
    Ugly, however. If you’re smart and interesting, people will overlook that you’re ugly. They won’t care. They will love you anyway.
    I would gladly have my child, boy or girl, be ugly if it meant that they would be smart and funny. Gladly.

    • Frank

      I’m guessing (just guessing, ok?!) you fit in the “ugly spot” yourself

      • Ruzicka

        That’s not a very kind thing to say, is it? 😉 What makes you say that?
        I think I’m both somewhat ugly and somewhat boring. I know what I talk about with the 10 cats, you know. I can live with being ugly, but being boring is worse.

        • Frank

          hahaha, aren’t we all?! I’d prefer a boring kid, though… beauty sometimes makes things easier

    • Jeff Lewis

      That’s a pretty shallow perspective. Willful ignorance is one thing, but if someone truly is stupid there’s nothing they can do about it. They were born that way. I would hope most people have more understanding than you and could deal with the people who weren’t fortunate enough to be born with much intelligence.

      • Ruzicka

        Like I said, from what I’ve learnt, stupid does not equal unintelligent. Maybe the language barrier made this more offensive than I meant it to be. Stupidity as I understand it is rather… an attitude, for lack of a better word. Maybe the word I am looking for -is- willful ignorance. Stupid is an offensive word, to an offensive trait. Unintelligence is not offensive, because it is like you say, nothing one can be blamed for and most certainly nothing one should be disliked for. To me they are completely different, but I guess I misunderstood the question then. I have absolutely nothing against people with below average intelligence.
        I apologize for any misunderstandings my original post led to.

    • Mya P.

      If one is smart, interesting, and kind they are beautiful regardless of physical appearance. Someone who is smart, interesting, and considered physically beautiful yet is unkind is not attractive.

  • lldemats

    It is a shame that children take the blame for the “sins” of their fathers, in this case, the possibility of being boring, stupid, or ugly. Some of us are born all three or a combination of the three. In any case, we will love our children no matter what, but if I was to wish one of the three on any kid ‘o mine, I’d have to pick boring. Being boring is really unisex, of course. I haven’t met too many dumb girls or women in my lifetime, but plenty of boring ones. Plenty of ugly ones. Guys, too. What’s that saying? Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes right down to the bone? As I say, I’d choose boring because if they are just kids, I assume there’s a possibility of them growing out it. If they are stupid, it might be because there’s only so much their brains can process, and they just have low IQs. One hopes they compensate by having street smarts, or at least common sense. If they are ugly, there’s plastic surgery when they get older. I imagine having a smart, good looking kid, who is a bit of a nerd, but just not interesting to people. That’s okay. Because if he/she’s boring, that doesn’t mean he/she is bored. I picture having a kid who is really smart but not charismatic, but outgrows it as he/she realizes that in order to get a girllfriend/boyfriend, they’ll have to use their smarts to snap out of it. And if they stayed boring all their lives, that doesn’t mean they can’t live fulfilling lives. It’s only if they alienate people by being totally uninteresting, but still crave and need social contact, will it become a problem. Still, there are plenty of smart, good looking people who might be boring , and they can hang out with similar types.

  • Grün Kariert

    This is so easy: Boring. (Because it’s the only one of the three that will not lessen its capacity to live safely.)

  • Jenny

    This is an easy one…ugly without a doubt. I (and others) would much rather be able to have a good conversation with my child. Plus, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, aye?

  • Felipe Lisbôa

    This is easy: ugly, of course. Just think about the “ugly concept”. When you’re a child, if you’re not sttuning, you are beautiful or cute or, at least, ok (unless you have a physical deformation). When you’re in your teenage years, that’s the time where beauty matters more, but it’s also the age when you can dedicate yourself for hobbies like painting, writing and sports, also you can dedicate yourself to your studies. In the worst scenario you’ll be a slacker, wich is not that bad (comparing to get pregnant or involved with crimes). When you’re adult, your “beauty” will, still, affect your life, but if you’re the opposite of stupid (smart) or the opposit of boring (interesting) and also dedicated, you can have a good life. If you’re talented (wich is a bonus), you will have a great life. For instance, Sartre (ok, not a great life, but one of the most influential philosophers of our time), Susan Boyle (I don’t like her songs, but she’s talented), Ribery (soccer player), Rebel Wilson (she’s not ugly, but she’s fat), Steve Buscemi (He’s one of my favourite actors, but he looks like a pug). And these are just artists, people who depends on their “beauties” and secret talents to find jobs, but what about regular jobs where you don’t have to show yourself to the public or interact with a lot of different people? Beauty might seem a fundamental pillar in our lives, but in the real world (the world of competition, where talent and dedication speaks louder than anything), it’s not. But don’t get me wrong, beauty is important, you have to take care of yourself, get a nice haircut, brush your teeth regularly and if you’re beautiful, doors will open more easily for you, but if you are boring and/or stupid, people will ignore you as much as they can and if you’re boring, stupid and beautiful, people will take advantage of you everytime, everywhere and I don’t want that for my kids.

  • Maddie

    If a child is born ugly but not stupid (so, smart) and not boring (so, interesting) he or she will have the chance to fulfill a lot of amazing dreams and pursue opportunities that may not be available to someone boring or stupid. More interestingly, if the child grows up and still cares enough to want to look different, there is a possibility of changing how one looks through plastic surgery. There are no surgeries to make my child more intelligent or interesting.

  • HockeyMom47

    Ugly – Beauty is fleeting and we all end up looking like wrinkled monkeys anyway. Boring is horrible, because it makes it so much harder to connect with others. Smart is definitely the way to go….

  • Dorinda

    Boring!! Easily. This question talks about their natural state. Boring is the easiest and cheapest to overcome, by giving your child diverse, quality experiences. And frankly, I wish I could be a little more boring/normal/ever say the right thing out of my face, so this would save me some of the effort in making my child less of a weirdo.

  • Sportibus

    Boring. Simply because if the child is smart it will be interesting in some way, simply due to its knowledge no matter how random the subject might be (it might be very good at knitting or know everything about the Trans-Siberian Railway). Just as Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (although that is not technically true, as there are features, which appeal to the majority of a culture), so is beeing boring or not (same bracket content applies).

  • hal9thou001

    I’m going with stupid on this one. I know people who are dumb as a rock, but are the most fun to hang out with and just enjoy life. If they happen to look like a Brangelina type, bonus! They also love themselves totally as they are. Most people don’t moan, “Man, I wish I could be smarter instead of being the apex of the human form and having lots of good friends who love me for my sparkling personality.” Also, being stupid doesn’t mean you won’t be highly successful in this life, especially if you look like a fashion model and have charisma coming out the wahzoo. Quite the contrary, you have the advantage.

    • Jess

      Agree with you.

  • The Swede

    Ugly, I think. Smart and fun = success in the long run. Good looks is great, especially when you are young and sensitive. But with intelligence and personality you might end up beeing Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

  • The Major

    Ugly and its not even a close choice. I want to be a parent that takes pride from their child’s personality and intelligence, not their appearance. Also, as a parent, you are gonna spend a LOT of time with your kids. You can get used to a ugly face, especially if it’s your child, but I think its a lot harder to warm up to a bland or stupid child. Anyways, personality and intelligence will earn your child a far more rewarding life than pretty looks.

    • ana

      Your answer is kind of selfish though. You present 2 arguments:

      – you want to “take pride” in your child
      – you have to “get used” or “warm up” to them.

      When you’re a parent, you might find (I hope) that your child’s happiness will be above both of those, and for that beauty might be more important.

  • Jeff Lewis

    It’s a bit of a trick question, because in reality, these three traits are usually linked. Good genes, good nutrition, a good in utero environment, and a good healthy upbringing usually result in people possessing the positive version of all three of those traits – not necessarily to extremes, but enough that they wouldn’t be considered stupid, ugly, or boring. But that’s not always the case, and this is a hypothetical, anyway, so I’ll take a look at each one individually.

    Ugliness would put a person at a disadvantage, since, unfortunately, people do tend to judge other people (even if subconsciously) on their looks. However, after first impressions, we can look past the outward appearance and judge people for their personalities, so ugliness wouldn’t be a gigantic handicap for the child’s future success. Also, depending on just how bad it is, this can be addressed in the modern world with plastic surgery.

    Stupidity would also put the person at a disadvantage, since most decent careers require a certain level of intelligence. You don’t necessarily need to be a genius, and hard work and perseverence can go a long way, but if things just don’t click, no amount of overtime can make up for it. And it’s not just your career – how well could the person manage their finances, or avoid scams, or plan for the future if they were stupid? (Note that I think the vast majority of people, by definition, are of average intelligence, not stupid. Stupidity means at least a standard deviation below average.) And a successful career is important. Although people like to say money can’t buy happiness, studies show that it does (http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-money-buy-happiness-heres-what-science-has-to-say-1415569538 ). Financial stability is important, and money well spent provides opportunities for activities that make us happier.

    Boring is an open ended adjective that isn’t defined well. Do you mean someone who’s boring to be around, and therefore unlikely to have many friends, or someone who just doesn’t do very exciting things but you still wouldn’t mind talking to at a party? And is this an inherent personality trait that can’t be fixed, or something they’ll be stuck with their whole life? Assuming it means boring to be around and that it’s permanent, that would be horrible, since it would result in a very lonely existence. People are social animals, and most of our happiness comes from social interaction (assuming no other abnormalities like ASD).

    So, I guess my answer is in the order I listed them – ugliness would be the least bad of the three options, since the person could live a normal life and would only be hindered by society’s tendency to judge people by looks, and could even ‘fix’ it with surgery. Stupidity would hinder a person’s ability to be successful, and hence all the negative consequences that go along with that, but if they were otherwise outgoing and friendly they could still have plenty of friends to make them happier. Boring would keep a person from making friends, and that’s about the worst curse you could put on a social animal.

  • Galit Schwartz

    As a parent of several interesting, intelligent and beautiful children of both genders, I say that this is a trick question. One’s own offspring can never be boring, stupid, or ugly, unless one is a lousy parent.

  • Jiri Roznovjak

    I would choose it to be half-boring half-ugly. Average looking mildly enterntaining genius is still a win. And you can always work with and improve all of these atributes.

  • Jiri Roznovjak

    I would choose it to be half-boring half-ugly. Average looking mildly
    enterntaining smartass is still a win. And you can always work with and
    improve all of these atributes.

  • Guest

    i would say “ugly” because once your child excel in a field, no cares about his appearance. according to rachel in dark knight “its what you do that defines you”.
    Also another argument could be- people who know you don’t mind, people who don’t know you doesn’t care.
    So I will chose ugly. Also beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

  • DrSuess

    definitely boring.

    But I have 2 teen-aged daughters, so I’m biased at this point to have them be the quiet and stay-at home type.
    The LAST thing any dad wants is to have the “exciting girls”. good grief, I don’t think my nerves could take it!.

    I almost went for ugly. 😉

  • Mya P.

    People who only value themselves and others for their physical appearance are not beautiful. Wishing for your child to have physical beauty and no intelligence is wishing for them to be ignorant, gullible and potentially shallow, vain and superficial which goes hand in hand with being boring and uninteresting. Any parent who wishes that for their child should not be reproducing in the first place.

  • Jess

    I’d say dumb. Hear me out, I consider myself an intellectual and a fairly smart person. However, the “currency” of our social system is based much more on looks and general likability than anything else. Beautiful people make more money and report more happiness and satisfaction in life. No, money does not equal happiness. But If you are beautiful and interesting but dumb, do you CARE that you don’t ponder the meaning of life or reflect on the vastness of the cosmos? No. And while school may be more difficult for a dumb person, there is a lot you can do in life to work around such a “handicap.” In short, being good-looking and interesting can potentially get you farther than being smart and boring or smart and ugly.

    Besides, interesting people are usually interested. So while your child may not be the brightest bulb in the lamp shade, their ability to appreciate this adventure that is life could still be there.

  • Jaime

    Definitely boring. Smart and attractive will get you far in life, and I’ve met many successfull boring people.

  • bertuol

    Waitbutwhy already analyzed the average pattern of readers, finding out that its “followers” are somewhat smart people. This weeks question falls in choosing one apparent flaw. I assume the majority here are against stupidity. Problably there are very few people fond of boredom also. I think, though, the majority would sacrifice boredom over stupidity.

    So, I wonder, what was the proposite behind this question? Is it a tool to survey the readers’ preferences? What will the autor research, what will the numbers show? That really intrigued me.

    After all, nobody really likes stupid, neither boring, nor (my opinion) ugly attributes in people. On the other hand we all have friends that fall in one of this categories and still surely like them. I mention friends because we can chose them in some sort of way. Some people are less picky than others. So, we seeking the priorities here? I am curious.

    My answer: I chose a ugly child. No, I would not like to my son to be bullied or put aside and everything that comes with it. But suffering is a path everyone will have to cross. My child will suffer if it is stupid; if he is a boring one also. I think people around him can suffer more if he is on the stupid-boring side. So let him be ugly and compensate with the other two characteres. For him and people around him, its the least “damaging” option I see.

  • Bob Roach

    Another question that ponders social popularity issues? (Boring)

    Freakonomics had a show where they talked about research between beauty and career impact. In all fields of work (with one exception–can you guess which?), the advantage of a ‘hyper-symmetrical’ (essentially, physical beautiful) appearance ended up giving about a 10% higher lifetime financial gain. It varies from field to field though (accounting for sales people, politicians, television journailsts, etc.).

    They also did a piece on the value of intelligence titled: “Can You Be Too Smart for Your Own Good?’ that brought up a lot of points that have been discussed here. Example here from a transcript with Steven Levitt:

    “I’ll tell you the biggest thing that happens in academics is that really smart people become convinced that they can trick, not just a single other person, but they can trick everyone at once. I’ve seen it a number of times where the smarter you are, the more you think you can get away with and it ends up being your undoing. The people who are really, really smart actually can run circles around people. But it’s the people who are one notch below the very smartest who I’ve seen get into a lot of trouble by thinking they’re too smart.”

    Excited? That’s pretty smart stuff. I think he’s nailed it though. If you want a smart kid without a , they’re better off not just ‘excelling wonderfully’ but

    It would be interesting to extend the terms to two sets, inner and outer.

    Inner beauty vs outer beauty.
    Inner smarts vs outer smarts.
    Inner excitement vs outer excitement.

    But that’s just really asking the ol’ nature or nurture question.

    I think it comes down to what you want most for your child.
    I would think that happiness is most people’s response, but that’s neither a proven benefit in the long game, or is it the wisest one for humanity. Then there’s the ol’ ‘freedom to be who they really are’ thing which is also befuddled by nature/nurture elements. What about ‘success’? Same thing. Too subjective, and personally — too socially distorted these days.

    Genetically speaking (and aren’t we all?) — I’d go for whatever combination provides the best odds for longer survival given whatever environment they are about to be raised in, because given enough time — you can always develop the luxuries of intelligence and social-excitability. One thing I’m not sure about is the relation between beautiful people and health. Does greater outside symmetry mean greater inside and micro- symmetry too? Does that mean better health?

    Oh, the one field where ugly really pays? Apparently, it’s bank-robbing. People take an ugly puss uttering threats and commands much more seriously than they do the ones coming from fashion models. (Hmm… maybe there’s still time for me to switch careers…)

    • Vivid


      Finally a career choice for me. Where were you when I was having career counseling? 😛

  • Joanna Rene Rasmussen

    Ugly, please.

    In my opinion, and from personal experience, interesting always trumps outward beauty and it’s hard to be interesting if you’re stupid.

    I was an ugly duckling, subjected to a lot of ridicule, growing up and I wouldn’t necessarily wish that on my child. However, after the braces came off my teeth and my skin cleared and I learned something about hair management and style, a really attractive and sexy human woman immerged. BUT, during all those formative years of struggling with my outward appearance, I’d been secretly cultivating a fantastic personality.

    Vanity, arrogance, superficial pride, are all such ugly qualities. I’d much rather have a smart child with an awesome personality and strong character, than a pretty, stupid, and boring kid.

    • Vivid

      Yes, but you are assuming the ugliness would go away, as was in your case. But the rule says that you can’t assume to improve upon these traits. otherwise, pick anything and then later improve it.

      • Joanna Rene Rasmussen

        I didn’t interpret the question quite like that. I see it says, “Assume the child excels wonderfully in the two categories you don’t choose.” But, there’s no mention of this being a lifelong challenge.

        That said, even if it were lifelong, I’d still pick “ugly”. Look at Steve Buschemi or Linda Hunt… They managed to do well in life and I would TOTALLY love to sit across from either one of those ugly mugs. 😉

  • Sooty Mangabey

    Definitely ugly but brilliant and humorous. I would take ugly over boring and unintelligent ANYTIME. But I suppose I’m being selfish :/ Well, the caveat would have to be that this child develops into an emotionally strong and decent human being.

  • Bill Warren

    Ignorance is Bliss…

  • wakagi

    This one is really tough and amusing at the same time!

    Thinking about this one, I often had to remind myself that this is my child and I should be their PARENT rather than being their friend, work colleague, etc. so, as a parent, if my child were stupid, I think I would be a terrible parent. Initially I though that ignorance is bliss, and probably being stupid, but interesting and beautiful would be great for the child. But then, I get extremely impatient with stupidity, so I might turn my own child’s life into hell, which I wouldn’t want to do. Another thing is gender. It seems that unintelligent women still can survive well in our society, while unintelligent men are more or less doomed.

    Boring… well, I wouldn’t mind if my child was boring. I mean, it’s a child, not an amusement park. This was the point where I had to remind myself that I am the parent, not the friend. It is rather sad for a person to be boring, but I feel like it is impossible to be universally boring. Every person—even the most boring looking ones—surely has SOMETHING interesting about them.

    And ugly. Hmm… I see a lot of people here choosing ugly right away, but I feel myself hesitating. It can be rather painful to be ugly, especially if you’re a girl. Of course nowadays we can fix everything with plastic surgery, but my child might still have to go through years and years of being unhappy with themselves. In addition to that I’d feel responsible for them being ugly.

    So in the end, I guess I’d choose boring. :/

  • Abi

    Ugly. Definitely ugly. Because then they’ll have to have a personality and I’d rather that than allowing a child to just coast through life on good looks. I wouldn’t want that to be all my kid has going for him / her. The gender doesn’t matter to me, the answer is the same. I’d go so far as to say I’d rather be ugly and interesting and intelligent than boring or stupid. I also think that many stupid people are boring so you kind of have two problems in one there. Plus I don’t think there’s anything wrong with learning how to get through life without good looks.

    • Vivid

      I understand your point, but many stupid people aren’t boring. In fact it is the opposite. In this imperfect world, stupid people are very interesting to majority. Of course, to a scientist, a stupid guy would be a boring guy, but there aren’t many scientists. The majority of people are with average or poor intellect, they go along well with each other, and all find each other interesting.

      I take interest in science, and consider myself intellectual, but most of the times, I myself find stupid people interesting…because not all of time I am having discussion about science. I am saying interesting in a sense of “fun”. Yes, although, many times such people are annoying because of their lack of understanding to complex concepts, but, notice I used the word “annoying”, not boring.

  • The_Postindustrialist

    Boring. Beautiful and Smart convey too many advantages. Meanwhile, boring…. The unfortunate truth is that creativity is rarely appreciated, and, from years of working retail, knowing the process of product development, etc. People in general are relatively boring and we’re not nearly as creative as we like to think.

    In this, “boring” can be a very good thing, and, quite frankly, I know way too many which would prefer a boring life.

    What’s that acient chinese proverb? “May you live in interesting times”?

  • JimBob

    I think it’s no coincidence that this is called the ‘Dinner Table’. As a parent to these potentially ugly, boring or stupid miniature humans, you will have dinner together with them thousands of times. In fact, due to work and other commitments, dinner time is probably where you’ll mainly connect.

    It is, of course, subjective but I can’t think of anything better than sitting around the dinner table with my ugly offspring, discussing interesting, stimulating things and telling stories together over a few bottles of wine without the need to descend into the territory of vapid bullshit. I hope that one day I can experience this as it must truly be one of the most wonderful things in life.

  • Daniel

    To all of those who are offended by this question or find it illegitimate because of some stupid technicality, please leave. Just kidding, but seriously. You all can live in a world of what should be, but I live in the world as it is. If the majority of people you encounter in life think you are boring, you’re freaking boring. If half your face was blown off in a fire, you’re probably ugly. It’s a sad truth.

    To answer the question, I agree with most people’s sentiments how it may vary by gender. And it will definitely depend on what you want your child to experience in his/her life and have the opportunity to achieve. Sad as it may be, some parents may only care if their child wins Miss America, gets a perfect SAT score or is the most interesting man in world. I think if you are a decent parent, you will want your child to live on their own terms. In that case, since you can’t know what they will want out of life, you want them to have the traits and attributes that will give them the best chances of success at a wide range of things. Out of the choices here, I think being attractive and smart provides far more diverse and compounding benefits than being interesting. Being boring just doesn’t seem to matter that much if you’re smart and attractive.

    Also, the halo effect can play a great advantage to those who are attractive. If you excel wonderfully in the attractiveness department, people are going to think you are more interesting than you actually are. People who are attractive get so many benefits, it’s absurd. They get higher salaries, better choices of mates, etc. Combine that with being smart, who cares how interesting you are. You can find other people who have interests in your fields of supreme knowledge and they will most likely think you are less boring than you actually are.

  • Dattebayo

    Considering that I’m not super ugly, but I am pretty damn smart, but not necessarily the most fun guy, I probably fall under the boring category. And I’d hate to look worse than I do (I’d rate myself a 6 or 7 were I a female) and I’d detest not being this smart, so I figure it’s not worth trading love agony or career agony for being not boring. Boringness can cause relationship problems, but those can be solved with effort, even if you’re not interested or interesting.

    • Manuel Salazar

      Problem is, you are really bad at what you pick.
      If you pick boring that means you would really be inherently boring, not something you can really solved with effort.

      • Dattebayo

        Right, but you could seem interesting if you just blindly agreed to do things people seem to think are fun, even if you’re boring and wouldn’t do it of your own volition.

  • JaMalle Flournoy

    Well, I’m not a parent now, but if I ever became one, I have to imagine my paternalistic side would trump the idealist in me. Now listen, in an ideal world,your attractiveness or not having a personality shouldn’t really matter…but it does. I can sit here and say I’d want my child to be ugly and smart, but that only works if it’s a boy. If it were a girl, I’d want her to be boring but attractive and smart.

    Unfortunately, today’s society still has a lot of gender norms that aren’t exactly ok for the progression of all peoples.

  • Ugly. There could be something freeing about being truly ugly. Not just bad skin and an overbite type ugly, but really deformed. If you are the former, you will spend huge amounts of time-energy-money trying to fix your skin, find the best haircut or neckline to downplay your overbite, etc. But if you are the latter, if there is really no hope you could ever be attractive, you will give up on it and funnel all your energy into being brilliant and unconventional and kind.

    As a woman, I totally get the comments about how hard it is to be an ugly woman in our society. Absolutely. It would suck. I wouldn’t voluntarily wish it on my daughter. BUT I can also imagine how a woman (or man) completely freed from those societal expectations because she or he is so far from ever reaching them–but also luckily brilliant and creative/exciting/interesting!–could potentially be free to be so much more. You would know you are never going to be able to climb a typical corporate ladder, so you would know from a young age you need to forge your own path. You would learn early that those who get to know you well would treasure your intellect/humor/unique take on life, so you would cultivate those relationships early (as opposed to a beautiful person who might take a long time to learn who really values them compared to who just likes their looks).

    It would be a hard path, for sure, but it could be an incredibly fulfilling and interesting path.

    Certainly more fulfilling and interesting than being boring but beautiful or stupid and beautiful and just skating by without doing much challenging or intersting.

    • Very interesting! I think I feel the same way as you in an ideal world, but when the time comes, would the parent in you really want your child to take the “harder, but more fulfilling path”? That’s the conundrum I’m facing right now with this question.

      • Always hard to say if you would really be able to live your ideal, given the chance. I guess I think of this a little as Tyrion vs Cersei.. it would be hard to choose Tyrion as a baby, but if you thought about what they are likely to grow up to be, I’d like to think I would choose smart and interesting.

        I have a young son, and while luckily I did not have to make a hard choice like this for him, there are ways in which you choose as a parent to push your child towards developing into a better human being or focus on helping them fit in in society. My husband and I think a lot about how we can help encourage him to develop into a better human being.

  • Clara

    It’s hard for me to think of an example of someone I know who is both stupid and interesting. Actually stupid, not just non-academic. Actually interesting, not just a trainwreck. Because at some point of spending time with a person who is doing interesting things, that person ends up opening their mouth, and if a constant flow of stupid is coming out, they stop being interesting pretty quickly.

    So I’d choose for my child to be stupid, figuring that if he or she actually does excel wonderfully at being interesting, their stupidity must be of the academic variety.

  • d

    Out of these three options ‘ugly’ is the only viable one as it ensures good other qualities plus acts as a motivator plus it can actually be overcome, whilst stupidity and boringness cannot.

  • Spectacled Avenger

    I’d choose “boring”, because, frankly, most children (and adults) are boring anyway. It seems that a perfectly decent life can be lived while being boring, whereas stupidity and ugliness are greater impediments to flourishing.

  • q

    Definitely ugly one! Because he/she would be interesting and not boring, what matters the most. Considering you are choosing your child and not a partner, looks are not relevant at all!

    • Vivek Naik

      i somehow feel that is an awkward answer

  • Phil Gagler

    Ugly is a matter of perspective. Even if someone is truly hideous, being boring or stupid is worse in my opinion. Thankfully both of my boys are handsome, interesting, and smart (just like their Dad!)

  • Annie

    Well there’s always plastic surgery… and tutors. Boring however, I’m not sure how you’d even change that

    • Bob Roach

      It’s a popular misconception that anyone with enough money (and time) can compensate for being ugly through plastic surgery. Not only would the ordeal be horrendous, but the guarantee for success in the long run are almost nil.

      Ugly to the bone is more than just a phrase. Which is why most cosmetic surgeries are relatively minor adjustments to an otherwise average or even above average, appearance.

  • Panda Morse

    Maybe a person can un-ugly themselves just being smart and interesting. If you’re smart and vibrant enough you can think of clever ways to get teeth and skin fixed; a nose job or weight loss. But what a weird predicament this question places us in. Unfortunately people are self-involved and have short attention spans, and would probably prefer to look up at an attractive person over dinner, not minding so much how boring and stupid the person across the table is. If the attractive boring stupid person can just hook up with a narcissist, it doesn’t even matter.

  • juliet

    When other pregnant women were having nightmares about their babies being born with tails or missing digits or with reptile heads, I was having nightmares about having a stupid child. So, that one is out. That also says a lot more about me than what would be best for said child in the society we live in. Maybe Daisy Buchanan (Great Gatsby) got it right by wishing that her daughter was a “beautiful fool” and we should all wish for blissful ignorance for our children. As much as it pains me to agree with Daisy on anything, ugly is also out. I don’t like it and I wish our world was different, but it sucks to be ugly and, as a parent, you would feel like your heart was being ripped out every time your kid was bullied or snubbed. I would definitely pick boring. Boring is underrated and terribly subjective. Who defines boring? I like to knit sweaters. My best friend thinks knitting is so boring that he would rather have a root canal than knit a sweater. Who is right? If the same 12-year-olds that define the top 40 are defining boring, then it is my fervent wish that my kids end up boring. In my experience, people that are called boring are either smart, idiosyncratic, or (horror of horrors) do what they are supposed to do rather than what they want to do most of the time. Boring people pay their bills on time. Boring people allude to classic American lit in comment sections. Boring people use the word “allude.” Boring people most likely will not die from a heroin overdose or become prostitutes. Boring people make good friends and parents. Boring people are my people.

    • Panda Morse

      are you kidding? Junkies are so very boring… they nod off in conversation and don’t have anything else on their minds but more junk.

      • juliet

        So, all the musicians, actors, and whatnot that died of heroin overdoses are boring? Say what you will, but Janis Joplin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, River Phoenix, Basquiat, Jim Morrison, etc. were not boring.

        • Panda Morse

          Their work was not boring, but their company surely was at times. How many junkies have you sat around your living room with? I challenge your notion that boring people will not die from heroin overdoses or become prostitutes. Being boring doesn’t sanctify a person, just makes their downfall less interesting and flamboyant.

          • juliet

            I agree with you that the company of junkies can be boring at times (and, yes, I know from personal experience.) The President of the United States has tasks and activities that are boring, it doesn’t make the job or the person boring or interesting. My definition of boring that I was working from (which I admitted was subjective) was that boring people were unlikely to take risks like that. Because, they are, well, boring. That doesn’t make people who don’t do heroin boring or all junkies interesting, I was merely positing that boring people aren’t likely to make those choices. I wasn’t sanctifying boring people, I was merely saying that a lot of the characteristics deemed boring are the same ones we also, paradoxically, revere and celebrate in people. I am interested to know how you are defining boring.

            • Panda Morse

              So you define boring as smart? Because they are boring, they make smart decisions to not take risks? Sounds like you are picking smart over boring and ugly. I define a boring person as someone who is without inspiration or passion, someone who is somewhat self-involved and limited in spacious thinking. Small world, not much to relate to in others and doesn’t much care anyway. I appreciate many a shy conversationalist who perhaps prefers a quiet life, but they are not boring people because they still participate – just not as loudly as someone who considers themselves “social.” And I do think many a boring person started out using heroin because they thought it would make them exciting, but in the throws of addiction, everyone is a snore. And then some of them, boring as they are – die of overdoses. I’ve never known a prostitute so I wouldn’t know how many of them started out as boring and decided to hook for the thrill of it. I think you’re wrong – your people are not boring people, your people are smart people owning their boring sides and being perfectly content to do so. Good on you.

            • juliet

              If you take the one sentence out of my post and take it out of context, I can see how you think I am wrong and need correcting. The rest of my post says directly that, yes, I am defining boring as smart. I explicitly defined what our culture calls boring as “smart, idiosyncratic” or doing what you are supposed to do rather than what you want to do (the opposite of a junkie.) I never said that boring people couldn’t be junkies, I specifically said it was “most likely” that boring (according to the above definition) people wouldn’t. I also said that I was defining boring by the same standards as the people who define the top 40, and by those standards, judging from the number of junkie celebrities, doing heroin is interesting. I don’t think it is and I don’t think doing drugs makes people interesting–this I know very well. I was not glorifying drug use because boring was defined as a good thing in my post! I was making a comment about our culture and the whacked out things “we” think are interesting versus things “we” think are boring as evidenced by popular culture and entertainment. If I had been using your definition of boring I would definitely agree with you.

            • Panda Morse

              okay okay, I’m convinced. You’re boring.

            • Emily Carter Kallas

              And being sanctimonious on the Internet is also boring. It’s been done MANY times before. Moving on…

            • juliet

              Thanks. I will take that as a compliment.
              *Heavy sigh* Why did I think that the dinner table would be any different than any other discussion board?

        • Daniel Bazan

          Did you know them?

  • Jane

    Ugly. 100% for either gender. That’s the only trait you can “fix.”

    • Vivid

      Isn’t that the only trait you can’t fix?
      Intelligence and interestness can be developed by reading books, through gaining experience, and they self grow as we age.
      But physical beauty is very much on chance, and if the only thing that can fix it is nature and “luck”. Or at least, it is very expensive to fix (plastic surgery and all that).
      fixing boring nature or non-intelligence is technically free.

  • Kayla

    I find it interesting that a lot (not all) of people here seem to be picking the trait they see as being easiest to ‘fix’ or ‘overcome’, as if it’s not okay to be an imperfect human being. I know that obviously most people here wouldn’t think that, but I still think it highlights the completely unachievable expectations that exist in society, because as much as the majority of people are aware that no one is perfect, most of us also try to find ways to fix things that we see as being undesirable or imperfect. While I think it’s important to always strive to be a better person in whatever you want to be better at, I just think it’s interesting how we strive to make our children as perfect as we can by ‘fixing’ things that aren’t perfect.

    Sorry that kind of ended up as a bit of a societal rant. It was mostly unintentional. I also think that almost all parents want the best for their children. Not that I’m a parent or anything. Also I hope I didn’t offend anyone and if I did I apologise.

    Anyway, I’m not really sure what one I’d pick for my hypothetical child. Probably either ugly or boring, because I think intelligence is important.

  • Oh Jay

    Boring EASY. Being Smart and Good looking is enough to get anything you will want in life and be happy. If some folks think you’re boring so what.

    • Disqo

      Upvoted because I accidentally wrote a giant response to convey exactly what you managed to say in about a line a half 🙂

      • Vivid

        Same here. But then I deleted the comment because Oh Jay said it much more efficiently.

    • asdf

      “Oh Jay” wrote exactly what I was thinking

  • Disqo

    To start with, I’m now really curious what Tim’s next Tuesday post is going to be.

    This is the second week in a row where we had to do without a full-on Tuesday post due to research. So it’s either going to be a magnificent well-researched post, or Tim is battling the procrastination demons again 🙂

    Now, as for the matter at hand, after careful consideration, I believe I would pick “Boring”.

    Here’s why:

    First of all, I’m removing myself from the equation at all as a parent. Essentially, I’m not going to pick based on what characteristics would make the perfect son/daughter, or the best friend, or the best dinner table companion.

    I want to choose based on one metric only: how successful and fulfilling life would be for my child.

    In technical terms, I want to maximize my child’s expected utility, not my own.

    Success can be defined at the individual level, such as having the most viable mating options or accumulating wealth, power and influence, or at the collective level as a society/species, making great advances or effecting truly admirable changes.

    At either level, individual or collective, it seems to me that when facing such a colossal challenge, I want to equip my child with the most potent tools available.

    Being highly intelligent is an indispensable tool; you can’t climb the ranks, overcome obstacles, and devise successful strategies without intelligence, and excelling wonderfully in this characteristic compounds the advantages significantly.

    Being highly attractive offers numerous advantages in our society; higher compensation, the halo effect, great first impressions, mating viability.

    Being boring on the other hand seems to appease only the 3rd parties, it has no bearing on the meaningfulness of my child’s life.

    Being interesting is not inherently useful, it would not greatly advance the individual’s or collective’s goals significantly.

    This is not to downplay the role that interestingness has in accumulating friends and connections and admirers, but this seems to play a far secondary role to the potent combination of intelligence and attractiveness.

    Looking at it from the perspective of the child, they would likely lead a successful and meaningful life, accumulating wealth and power and influence and wielding it for the betterment of humanity (no one said anything about kindness being off the table) at the expense of being considered interesting by others.

    It seems like a rather small sacrifice.

    P.S. As I was thinking about this question, I couldn’t help but think that the reason for Tim posing this question is that he’s recently watched the movie “Theory of Everything” about Steven Hawking’s life. Hawking is obviously abundantly intelligent, and is renowned for his sense of humor (in other words: not-boring), but is afflicted with ALS, rendering him immobilized and not attractive (in the common sense of the word). He’s still managed to lead an incredible life, have children of his own, and marry twice.

    So, in my mind, no matter what tools you are given in life, if you are determined to live life to the fullest and meet your potential, you are nothing short of a great success!

  • darthbarracuda

    Ugly. If you’re intelligent, you’ll succeed in life and probably get more out of it. And if you’re interesting (enough), maybe you’ll find someone who doesn’t care if you’re ugly but cares about your personality.

    • oh jay

      No no no. Being ugly sucks trust me. You can end up super lonely, I cant even get a date

    • Vivid

      Please…never choose ugly. Ugly is the worst thing in the world. Something society wont’ accept, but is TRUE. It is not like, ugly people don’t have relationships, can’t earn money, or can’t have friends…but the fact is – IT IS INCREDIBLY HARD.
      Spoken from personal experience.

  • Andreas Febry

    If this is the kind of society that judge a person by their looks, intelligence and charisma alone, is to not having a children is out of question?

    • middleclassgenx

      Good point. I think it’s unfortunate that people’s default setting seems to be to become parents. It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure. Once your in, there’s no getting out, either. In that way, it’s a more important decision than choosing a life partner.

      • Andreas Febry

        I know, being a parent is a daunting task. I just don’t want my kid (if I decided to have one) to grow up believing that he/she is boring, stupid or ugly. If they’re judged by the society this way, I want them to know that there’s also many important attributes beside these three, like kindness and compassion, strength, creativity, etc. And I want to let them believe that if they have the courage and determination to live, they can have a good life, whatever attributes they have or lack of.

        I hope I can tell them this, like I hope my parents told me this when I was a kid.

  • scapegoat

    Such a hard choice. I guess I would have him grow up ugly.
    Its fair to say I would want my daughter to grow up boring

  • Jessica

    I think the well-being of a child depends widely on the love their parents give them. If my child was boring or stupid, it would make me sad every time I talk to him, and my consideration of him would grow low. Whereas I guess that a clever and interesting child would make me very proud every day. My relation with him would be deeper, and he would start his life with a greater self-confidence.
    So yeah, I’d pick ugly.

    • Vivid

      Well, yes. It would make you sad not having a good conversation with a boring or stupid child. But think. Who would be sad by you picking “ugly”?
      A clever and interesting child would definitely make you proud, but it would be a hard life for him/her by being ugly. I appreciate your sentiment and admire the courage of picking ugly..but I just feel like saying, from my own experience, that a greater self-confidence is built by having a good looks.
      Therefore, I have none.

    • Bob Roach

      Don’t be too sure of being drawn closer to an ugly, clever child vs a beautiful boring one. According to research, cuter babies get cuddled more by mama and more attention from other adults. When they get to school, they’ll also have a lot more friends than ugly kids and will be graded easier by teachers. Even if these advantages are measurable, but seemingly minor — leveraged at a young age they add up to major advantages in adulthood.

  • Galit Schwartz

    My earlier comment got very little attention, so perhaps it was misunderstood. As a loving parent, I inherently see my own child’s beauty and intelligence, and find everything about him/her fascinating. So it is literally not possible for me to see any of my children as ugly, boring or stupid.

    Now, I can certainly assume that the question is asking about how I would want others to see my child. In that case, however, are we really expecting to see every other person on earth to have the same opinion? Of course not. Even the ugliest person can be attractive to someone (besides his/her mother…) Likewise with intelligence and interest. So we can’t make this judgment expecting a consensus.

    At the same time, asking about how OTHERS perceive my child is making a statement about THEM, not about my child. So I would love a world where (nearly) everyone sees my child’s unique beauty and intelligence (regardless of physical features or IQ scores). This would guarantee enough people giving him/her the time of day to discover if they have enough interests in common to find each other interesting, as well.

    • Daniel Schwartz

      Given a choice, I think it’s most important that my child be KIND. Let me have that, and the rest can work itself out!

      • G


  • Matt M

    I’d probably take temporary custody of china’s one child policy and start again. (I assume there’s room for dark humour here occasionally)

  • Rcharikar89

    I would prefer ugly…… for a mother her child is never ugly and beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder

  • Iggy

    guy – ugly, gal – boring… that’s how it usually goes anyway 😀

  • Iggy

    oh, and my choice depends on SEX, yes. gender… pffh. gimme a break 😀

    • Jessica

      That’s a little lowbrow.

      • Jessica

        Sorry, meant to write that for the comment below.

  • Brian

    If a person is smart and beautiful, how can he/she possibly be boring?

    • Sophie

      He/she can be a handsome and genius mathematician and yet have no sense of humor

      • Brian

        Ah, but no sense of humor is different from boring. I’d find a genius mathematician very interesting even if she is humorless.

  • jfenbauer

    having worked in the fashion and film industry, believe me you can make beauty out of vomit. has no one ever seen a good drag queen? (that goes for men and for women equally) if a person wants to be the standard of cultural beauty it can be done with whatever you start with. but if you’re smart and interesting it takes a lot less work because, honestly, those two things are sexy. i would go so far as to say you can only have interesting and still go for broke — look at where Tyra Banks stared and ended up.

    i’m hearing a lot about growing up ugly in this discussion and i have to say, growing up sucks. no way around it. if a person is going to obsess about a life being determined between the ages of 6 and 20 then they are going to miss a whole lot of the fun.

    • marisheba

      This is my favorite answer here. I like your perspective.

      • jfenbauer

        thank you!

    • Tim

      To me you seem to be describing how life should be, rather than how it is. As a guy, I’m fortunate that I can sometimes eke out a bit more sexiness by being intelligent and interesting (though how effective that is seems to vary a lot from woman to woman), but I honestly don’t think that’s true for women at all. I *like* women who are intelligent and interesting (and funny, and kind, etc.), but these attributes have almost no effect on how sexy I consider a woman to be — and I think I’m pretty typical in that respect.

      Finally, if Tyra Banks is ugly, then most of humanity is dangerously hideous 😛

      • jfenbauer

        just to clear up the Tyra Banks thing really quickly, (and i love your last line there!) look at her pics as a kid and without makeup. she got nothing. that is all art work and work work. compare particularly her nose and cheekbones with and without make up. that’s what i mean when i say beauty can be fixed. and of course drag kings and queens who have better wardrobes than i have or will ever had in my lifetime.

        i think that what you’re saying is – to repeat you – more true for men than for women (attraction to other than facade). but it is also true— SWEEPING GENERALIZATION ALERT — as women age they care a lot less what men think about how they look, so it all sort of balances out. but even more there is a certain ‘something’ that some women have and others do not. my sister has that. she can be 60 lbs over weight, just rolled out of bed after a bad night and a passing stranger (male) will propose to her. it’s bizarre. it’s not about how she looks. it has something to do with a certain vulnerability she has. i’ve never been able (nor has she) to put my finger on it. and i’ve had over 50 years to try.

        beauty is so very in the — CLICHE ALERT — eye of the beholder. and yes women are a lot less driven by the outside than men. but the real key is to have someone smart and not boring and (if you don’t think your partner is sexy – which i think is different than beautiful) a good supply of porn.

  • Shanghighed

    I like most of these Dinner Table questions, but this one is lacking. All of these attributes are dependent on the observer’s perspective. What one deems boring, ugly or stupid says nothing of the subject and everything of the one judging them. Some parents judge the hell of their kids (due to their own issues) and others see their children as perfect in everyway. The way society views them is another topic.

  • Ashimself

    If you consider it from the child’s perspective, which one is more able to lead a happy life?
    Boring->doesn’t do anything, no interests in life, no one cares about him
    Ugly->harder life, can make it but needs to put in extra work for same results
    Stupid->repeats same mistakes, no self-reflection, would be able to lead an eventful life
    Boring->quiet, timid girl who doesn’t do much, doesn’t really go out
    Ugly->same as for boys
    Stupid->someone who is somewhere between the car, golf set and the house

    Thankfully, boringness and stupidity can be amended. If you want a good-looking kid and you are not monstrous, just meet most of the immediate family before you finalize your partner. Since it is possible for a person to be amusing, clever and good-looking, I myself, would rather not choose.
    Oh, and because there are too many variables, I took the usual western way of life as an example.
    Go through school–>Uni/College–>get a job and marry–>make kids–>die.

  • Pete

    Honestly you probably can’t go wrong with any choice if the assumption is they will excel at the other two. Most people have enough trouble just mastering one of those characteristics. I think I’d choose boring. Like it or not attractiveness impacts people on a daily basis and often on a subconscious level. Being smart is probably one of the biggest advantages a person can have in a developed society and offers limitless possibilities if matched with determination. Being boring is a disadvantage as well, but this might be the most subjective of the three as interests vary wildly among people. My rationale is that you only need to be interesting to a handful of people that you will have your closest relationships with (spouse, best friends). Being smart and attractive is enough to have a decent amount of casual friends, you just probably won’t be the life of the party.

    Actually if there’s one characteristic I would put over those three it would be a strong work ethic. If you’re willing to put in the effort, most people can improve on all three of the subject traits. Laziness tends to bring down all three over time.

  • Julia

    speaking as a “pretty”, smart person who may be considered boring, THE CHOICE IS CLEAR!

    • Jorge

      “may be considered boring” is quite different from being boring. I think that here it means a person who nobody really wants to be with, because he/she turns every potential fun into, well, boredom. An undesired person. Are there people willing to spend time with you just because? If yes, then I would not consider you boring (if not, I am super sorry). And I do not think you are pretty, either; you look like Batman. My parents chose stupid.

      • Julia

        Lol, Batman is B-E-A-UTIFUL, and i’m sure whoever writes replies like that is not stupid

  • dendrarete

    Wait, but why children?

    Let’s talk about us! The next decade of our life we will excel at one of these, and utterly fail at the other — permanently marking us for life. To make discussion – you can only pick one pair — excel attribute, or fail attribute. The opposite pair is chosen at random.

    Why and why not? 😉

    As for kids, certainly smart and interesting. Ugly may make their life harder, but smart and interesting characters invent. I think it’d be a good time to make a bunch of little inventors. Maybe they’ll end up controlling a wifi truck all the way to the mooooon!

  • LB

    Seems simple – you can’t fix stupid and you can’t change your personality so I’d pick for the kid to be ugly. They can always upgrade looks via products, haircuts and such and if necessary then plastic surgery. Or in the best possible case, they will be so smart and fun that nobody will care about their looks!

  • Eric Shepard

    I think the question presupposes that the child would be ugly, stupid, or boring in your opinion, not as an objective measure. I would guess that if you think your kid is stupid, the rest of the world is probably going to agree; however, I think the whole “these traits are all subjective” is kind of a cop out answer.

    Being stupid is a terrible handicap I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Being ugly would suck, especially for a girl. But being boring seems like you are dooming your kid to a dull and uneventful life. I would have to go with ugly.

  • Eric Shepard

    I also think it’s interesting almost no one has said stupid.

    • Shanghighed

      If “stupid” equates to simple, I’d make a good argument for that

    • Clara

      I said stupid because I believe that if someone is really capable of being more interesting than average (in a non-ironic way), then they must have the ability to learn things and express themselves in a way that rules out dumbness. Their “stupidity” might be not being intellectual or not having a lot of common sense or being gullible, but being a truly interesting person implies competence on several levels.

  • Chris

    Given the assumptions, if I were a parent and had to choose, I would want my kid to be smart, beautiful and boring.

    Beautiful and smart mean peoples’ biases would be in their favor (calculating as it sounds), and the being boring part would make it less of a hassle to raise the kid. It wouldn’t get you into terrible situations that you’d have an obligation to get it out of, like drunk driving the car through the neighbor’s living room. Think about all the worry-free time you could spend with your partner, having fun and doing things while your boring kid sits at home, presumably watching the other kids. Win.

    Also, a beautiful kid is more likely to find someone (who wants to live with their 40 year old spinster child?). while the being smart thing means they might get into a good college, possibly even with scholarships, and, eventually, maybe even land a well-paid job.

    If you feel that maybe I shouldn’t have kids based on the above, I’m not gonna argue the point.

  • Aina


    • Gabriel


    • Galit Schwartz

      I’d also like to see a poll (without the commentary) showing which characteristic people prefer in their child, spouse and self. Oh, and add “kind”, as Daniel Schwartz suggested. Then graph it.

  • Oh Jay

    My mind is BLOWN at the amount of people picking ugly. You want your kid to be sad, lonely, and depressed? I am ugly and its not like you can just “fix it” as some of you claim. Let give you a clue. I havent been on one date in my entire life, cant even get matches on tinder. I couldnt get a date for my fuking prom. I’m looking at a high likelihood that I’ll never experience love and its very hurtful. DO NOT CHOSE UGLY

    • Jean Michele

      Or is it that you’re not confident? There must be an ugly girl waiting for a date somewhere near you. Or do you have something against ugly people..?

      • Oh Jay

        Funny story, ugly girls dont like ugly guys either! go figure

        • Rainbow Brite

          I’ve found that ugly men don’t like ugly women. Hence the reason I stopped attempting to date them. Luckily my smarts and non-boring personality make me attractive to non-ugly men. And give up on Tinder. It’s a cesspool anyways.

    • jfenbauer

      i have a pal in his 50s. he’s not scar your brain hideous, but he’s not good looking and he has a trust fund. truth is he can’t get a date because A. he wants to date women 20 years younger than he is, B. he is almost misogynistic in his criticism of any woman not capable of being in Playboy, and C. (as you may have gathered) he’s kind of a asshole. i have another pal who is straight up ugly – Edward Alamos level – and he’s 50 pounds over weight. he’s a writer for a second class magazine. he’s married to a doctor who looks quite a lot like Julian Moore.

      i’m thinking it’s not your looks that keeps you from dating. i don’t know what it is, but it is not inherently being ugly.

    • Sriram Reddy

      Damn mate!! you hit the nail in your every reply… am impressed xD … no dating advice though… maybe, grab some attention by acting sophisticated or something, and work from there… either way, if you live in Berlin, let me buy you a beer sometime …. cheers mate

    • R1ckr011

      So was Cleopatra who snagged herself a VERY important boyfriend. Ben Franklin was no stud either as he humped his way through france.

      There are sapiosexuals out there.

  • i saw the potato

    for sure stupid.

    it’s really frustrating being smart.

    all my life i’ve been surrounded by people
    fumbling through their train of thought only to produce simple minded and often
    wrong ideas.

    all my life i’ve been bored half to death,
    listening, watching or reading regurgitated ideas.

    all my life i’ve been waiting for everyone else
    to catch up to what i’ve already understood a while ago.

    all my life i’ve faced the “should i dumb myself
    down to be more liked” dilemma (i always chose to dumb myself…).

    all my life i’ve been neglected by every
    teacher, educator, professor, instructor or parent just because i was able to
    close the gap on my own while others benefited from their guidance.

    i’m really not trying to be patronizing,
    and i’m only being so blunt with my words because i can hide behind a faceless
    internet name. it’s only that it’s a lifelong buildup of honest frustration.

    Given the opportunity, i would choose to be
    dumb as a doorknob, honestly.

    • Dana

      I bet you’re under 20. After childhood, intelligent people can surround themselves with other intelligent people, at home, at work, and with friends, and there should be no need to feel that frustration or dumb yourself down. But growing up different than your community can be very hard, and that’s what this sounds like to me.

      • i saw the potato

        hi dana,

        i’m 30 (holy shit).

        i’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by pretty awesome people
        most of my life, but still, being so far right on the spectrum comes with a
        price. my friends and i are like brothers
        since we were 4 and still i get can’t brag about my achievements like they do
        because no one wants to hear it. my family are a loving supporting bunch i
        would take a bullet for, but my over achieving
        causes my siblings to be extremely insecure in life having to live in my
        shadow (not that i did anything to actively cause it). and i could go on about
        work or other groups but still, but you know…


        • R1ckr011

          having a long list of achievements is great, but after a while, it’s just punching holes in a belt that’s 10 sizes too large.

          Humans have a frighteningly logarithmic scaling of value. It’s why we can’t solve problems that are too big or small, and then there’s the “uncanny valley” effect when something is too close to ideal. Interesting that the Strong nuclear force has the same asymptotic behavior. Btw have you read Lightness of Being by Frank Wilczek?

          A proper topology of human interaction is necessary to determine the course of history and to fix these horrible incompatibilities that people have with each other.

    • Oh Jay

      If you’re picking dumb, then you arent so smart yourself. Intelligence is the key to almost any personal goal. If you’re smart enough, very little can stop you. Having the desire to do something that you’re not smart enough to do is a version of hell I wouldnt condemn on a child.

      You also dont understand what Tim means by boring. He doesnt mean that the child feels bored, he means other people VIEW that child as boring. Your child could be totally happy and satisfied with their life, but others will look at them at say “boring”. who cares about that’?

      • i saw the potato

        hi, i understand the meaning of ‘boring’, my being bored is
        unrelated. boring people are so because they have not experienced anything
        interesting. that’s a true hell i wouldn’t condemn anyone to.

        perhaps not being smart enough to live up to your own expectations
        is hard but should be fixed by adjusting one’s goals to one’s ability
        (something modern society is bad it, tim wrote about it in the ‘why y generation
        yuppies are unhappy’ post i think). in any case, i would prefer it to a dull,
        grey, universe.

        not for nothing, i disagree that intelligence is the key to almost any personal goal, i find hard word and dedication to the key.


        • Oh Jay

          Heres the problem: Who’s to say whats “interesting”. Some people like to collect to stamps, its interesting to them and bring them joy. I would call that person boring but if they themselves are happy who cares? “Interesting” is 100% subjective to the person, unlike looks and intelligence.

        • Oh Jay

          Also, yes you could simply “settle” in life for the things you smart enough to accomplish, thats what most people do anyway but that isnt fun. Maybe its just me, but I admire people who are truly intelligent, who have the intellect and skills to create, build, innovate, improve, and enrich themselves. THAT is what I would want for my child above all else. I don’t give two s*its if anyone thinks they’re boring.

          • i saw the potato


            you seem to be hung up on what people think of the poor dumb
            kid, who cares?

            taking the kid’s perspective, achieving what he can and
            achieving what a smarter person could are the same. so really, it’s mute.

            then again, from his perspective, being interesting would
            fill his life with all the experiences he would want to have had. sounds fulfilled
            to the max on all accounts and ok by me…


            • Oh Jay

              I’m not concerned of what anyone else thinks about the kid, I am concerned about how he feels about his life and himself. I don’t want him to be limited by his intelligence or attractiveness. I am biased, because these are the two big limiting factors in my life. Never has whether or not someone considered me boring mattered to me, I enjoy my hobbies and experiences.

              I asked below, but how can you define interesting in an objective fashion? That seems too subjective to individual opinion, less so than looks/smarts

            • i saw the potato

              being attractive and genuinely liked?
              i think the kid’s self-esteem will be just fine.

              Seriously though, he won’t be limited by his intelligence more than the lack of it. we
              all set the bar too high and find ourselves limited regardless of the hand we
              were dealt. and if in both cases we will experience the same level of achievement
              and limitation, i would pick the one
              without the anguish of intelligence.

              Look, being interesting is by definition subjective. if everyone says he is, then he
              is and there’s nothing more to it. it is so because everyone says it is so,
              like the sky being called ‘blue’ or money having value.

            • Oh Jay

              True, if we all want to be Einstein the great majority will fail no matter what. But we are talking about being STUPID, not simply being “not genius” or even average. STUPID. That means he will be very limited even beyond the average person. I just cant sign off on that one

              I also don’t think it matters or impacts him at all if others think he is boring as long as he thinks his own life is interesting. You don’t have to be that “interesting” to make friends, most of my friends are just normal average joe blows with nothing special going on, but they’re good people and we get along. I think you’re overrating this interesting category big time.

            • Instant gratification monkey

              Exactly. Boring is subjective. So you will think your child is boring. Happy holidays, birthday party parties and oops it’s pretty much every day for 18years boring company.

    • Instant gratification monkey

      The great Gatsby: ‘I hope the baby will be stupid. A beautiful fool, that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world.’

      So agree with all of the above and disagree with the conclusion. Ugly it is.

      1. I couldn’t take to be bored by own child, and if it’s stupid, it’s gonna be at least half-boring too.
      2. A happy and easy life deprived of abundant fantasy, abundant curiosity and fundamental inner struggle. I Prefer the blue pill (or is it the red?), once you know it’s there, you cannot go back.

    • R1ckr011

      The problem most smart people like you have is that they don’t have “green thumb” to cultivate others’ intelligence. Intelligence is something that grows, like interesting-ness, with lots of varied experiences with people, places, and things. Even boring idiots can have that pleasure, and indeed must have that pleasure, otherwise I’m pretty sure they would commit suicide from abject depression.

      Which happens, I suppose. At any rate, the “happiness” problem can be closed by smart people if they codify the process of engaging others in a positive manner. The “stupidity” problem is the same.

      A key question is to ask: why are sociopaths and psychopaths so charismatic? It’s not a talent, it’s a result of their analytical skills.

      In fact, judging by your statements, you are considered “uninteresting”. Many brilliant kids have great fanfare throughout their lives. Phillip Glass may be an example. Many others vanish after their MENSA years or after college. Many become cranks with pet theories.

      Anyways, It seems so much that smart people seem to find themselves without purpose. There isn’t anything stopping you from building your own OS, writing your own computer language, making something indeed as smart or smarter than yourself.

      If hard work and dedication are key, then it follows that a truly intelligent person would recognize that. But then, rationality is in every capacity inferior to irrationality for the individual. It drives all action and is the seed of all thought.

      I suppose that, and the AI posts hammered this in, is that the best kind of intelligence isn’t linear with respect to the sphere of one’s personal influence, it’s exponential. The only means of creating such an environment is cultivating others.

      You’re picking a very unpopular position. This isn’t compartmental analysis, So I expect the answers to come to the easiest solution to fix. Both Ugly and Boring are (easily) fixable. The only people who can fix “stupid” are insanely smart people who understand their proper place in the world: To basically write down every conclusion and thought they have to construct the map of the Universe of Thought–which, I’m sure you understand as well as I do, is finite.

  • MountainMan

    I’ve approached this by thinking of it in two ways. Would I prioritise the child’s legacy or their happiness.

    Legacy: Contributing to humanity. Most easy to visual this from a scientific perspective i.e. that they would invent something amazing or uncover some of the mysterious of the universe that would take the whole race forward (Einstein style). For legacy the child need to be ugly or boring (as it would have to be smart). Boring would probably win out as their attractiveness would help to give their intelligence a medium to get into the mainstream.

    Happiness: Can anyone else think or read or write this word without the Pharrell song playing in their heads? So annoyingly catchy. Sorry, I digest… Anyway. If I want my child to be happy then to maximise that chance they couldn’t be boring or ugly. As we all know an ugly child in today’s society faces a lifetime of insults and that sucks. Yes many ugly people have the inner strength to overcome this but based on the premise that I want to maximise the child’s chance of happiness I wouldn’t pick ugly. Could you ever love someone you found boring? No. Without being loved by someone or having friends a child is very unlikely to be happy.

    So to conclude if legacy is the priority I would pick Boring. If Happiness is the priority I would pick stupid. Personally I would pick stupid as I would want my child to be happy. Many of Tim’s posts about how small and insignificant we are in the context of the size and possibilities of the universe make having a child which may advance the humane race seem insignificant. Thanks for that Tim.

    • Bob Roach

      >>Happiness: Can anyone else think or read or write this word without the Pharrell song playing in their heads?<<

      No problem. (Pharrell who?)

      There's some nice minor perks to being boring and ugly. Not having to follow popular music/movies/shows is one of the nicer ones.

  • Al10

    I would pick boring…my wife and I would be considered boring by most but we are very fun and goofy together, with our family, and a few close friends, and we are very happy with it. Our intelligence and non-ugliness makes up for dealing with the rest of the world. I have a harder time imagining my kids getting through society’s shallowness and difficulties if they were ugly or dumb.

  • qvxb
  • middleclassgenx

    It seems like with each dinner table discussion there’s been a little more acrimony. Let’s be better than the rest of the internet. It’s possible to express disagreement without name calling, belittlement, or snarkiness. Maybe if you feel your hackles going up go back and skim the “Religion for the Non-Religious” article. Make sure your words are in alignment with who you want to be.

  • Matthew Eugene

    I would rather they be boring than the other two. Here is why. Looks come across very strongly and people act and react on this superficial basis regardless of whatever volitional opinions they hold. Our brain is wired to appreciate beauty and the uglier we are the more we do not benefit from this cheap win in social settings. This can transfer over to work, relationships, etc. They start with an advantage not being born ugly. Stupid also comes across strongly. Stupidity to me infers ones inability to learn. If you do not have such a road block you can learn to deal with all types of situations in life to make life better. Lack of stupidity provides a child with an engine to deal with life. But being boring. Being boring sucks and can affect relationships but if I said I didn’t want the child to be boring then I would be answering in a rather selfish manner. As though their boring nature is not fun for ME. As said, being boring can suck but you can’t learn how to be pretty and I’d rather my child started with intelligence and learned how to not be boring than the other way around.

  • P

    Its kind of a sick question in the first place

    • Jack Torres


  • disqus_KdMiEg4hog

    Ugly! I’m smart and interesting and it’s great. Also you can fix ugly with surgery 😉
    If you can’t go the surgery route, then beautiful, interesting, and dumb as a bag’o’bricks please. Because then at least you can be happy.

  • Chetanya

    Ugly. Although, I sincerely believe that no living being on this planet can be deprived of beauty. It’s just the
    rigid and categorical mindset of the society which judges people on their physical appearance, and classifies them as good looking, average or ugly. :/

  • Bob Roach

    I wonder if we could pick more than one? Maybe all three?

    I mean, if you’re stupid enough, you might think that you’re really not boring at all. And you’d still be good looking enough to get away with that.

    Or if you’re ugly enough, you might develop clever cat burglary skills that you could never talk about at parties.

    But you could also be stupid, ugly and boring but be born into inherited wealth. I understand that works for some.

  • Marie

    Ugly I think – based on the kind of people whose company I enjoy – I tend to avoid boring stupid people. I agree people’s attractiveness impacts them every day but I don’t agree that being attractive makes you happier or a better person. Also I think intelligence is overrated and I’ve seen some very happy “stupid” people, but I’d hate for the kid to be in school and everyone else gets what’s going on but they don’t.

  • Fudgey Fun

    Boring, definitely.

  • Phillip van Pelt

    It’s not a really hard question. I’d go with the boring kid anytime. It’s really really easy to get over boredom.

  • rKater

    Boring of course. Hot and smart is more than enough to succeed in life.

  • Fogbound

    Stupid they’ll have plenty of company.

    • G


  • Sharon Hanna

    Boring for sure.

  • Valde

    So. I’ve read some of you other guy’s answers and here’s what i think:

    Intelligence is overrated. Bold statement, i know. It comes down to your definition of intelligence, of course, but it seems that the general consensus here is that intelligence more or less equates to academic prowess. Or that intelligence would allow that, at least. And that intelligence is the master prerequisite for a successful career.

    I would argue that there are only a very few jobs in this world where you are not required to, in some way, interact with other people. So if you’re stupid, you are probably not going to go for the academically challenging career, but given good support from home and an otherwise easy life (from being such a hot, interesting person) chances are you are going to get an education all the same. Being a very interesting person (nevermind looks) is an extremely marketable skill, and your career is probably going to flourish, because your bosses, your costumers and your co-workers will quite simply like you. As long as you rely on what you are good at (in this case, being interesting, which i am kind of equating to having “people skills” here) i would say that your career could be just as good as anybody else’s.

    That being said, of course intelligence isn’t a bad thing. I would in all cases, however, choose interesting over it.

    • fishtree

      Intelligence is not educational proweness. In fact, the educational system does a terrible job of measuring various components of intelligence and that is part of the problem with our society.

  • G

    Hmmm, I grew up believing I was stupid, boring and ugly, because that’s what my mom believed about me. Turns out I am, like most people, varying degrees of each. I would take kind, honest, or brave over all of these in a heartbeat and it is what I am working on the hardest with myself.

  • John Hulse

    I’m considered by my friends to be fairly smart, however I am convinced that intelligence is no guarantee of avoiding many moments of being exquisitely and breathtakingly stupid as a mud fence, as I can humbly attest to myself.
    Also, “what intelligence is, is highly and particularly weird-ass item when it comes to trying to define its permutations & boundaries.
    I am continually stunned and baffled by people’s ideas as to what constitutes being “smart”. God knows their highly mixed criteria for what equates as brainy are far ranging, and often in sincerely fucked up conflict with reality.
    And, I confess freely that I believe,on average, that I have made at least as many poor calls in judgement during my 62 years of life as most of my less brainy, non-boring, and sometimes unprepossessing looking pals.
    I think the amorphous nature of defining what smart is in some ways parallel to an equally fault prone premise; that if you are famous, wealthy, successful, and perhaps even highly popular, that those particular attributes mysteriously equate, by some magical default, as auto-proof of said class of people being sane!
    One only need to look at the GA-gillion mind-boggling faux pas of the rich and famous to know there are many, many, flagrant nut-jobs and even outright psychopaths, successful or otherwise, wandering about unfettered while socially being held in jolly high esteem, regardless of their dubious mental health, and so called smarts.
    Plus, on a simpler note, stupid can often be overcome by a life time of well learned experiences. Besides, to my passably smart mind, other human qualities such as empathy, kindness, humility and plain old honesty beat the living shit out of any amount of “smart” any day.

    So gimme stupid!

  • Jackie

    Boring. Looks, although this shouldn’t be the norm, open doors and provide opportunity. Smart also provides opportunity. Presumably the child wouldn’t find his/herself boring, so that is a win. There is also a good chance that there is someone, somewhere who would also have the same interests and not find him/her boring. Plus, boring has upsides too. Boring people tend to be safer, more stable, have reliable and gainful employment, and are generally dependable. I would think that is a fair compromise.

  • Instant gratification monkey

    Just like Truman Capote.
    Outragingly intelligent, totally weird, witty like Tim and funny as hell.
    Yes, also heartbreakingly sad as a teenager, but courageous enough to get through this.

    One odd thing to add: if she’s a girl things will be more difficult.
    But wait: do you know a smart, funny, interesting, intelligent ugly woman? (= one that doesn’t use work out/make up/style to her advantage,so that it comes down to ok?)

  • Julie

    Ugly, because that can be totally “fixable”
    but btw, my little girl (real life one) and gorgeous, super smart and intelligent like mommy (modest mommy here) and incredible entertaining and fun to be around (again, like her precious mommy) !
    Oh ! and I guess she is prettier than I am.. but we are still both beautiful ! 😉

    • DailySuicide

      What is your non-real life one like? ;P

  • hepcatbflat

    can’t rate ugly
    can’t teach stupid
    can’t beat boring

  • shaylabird

    Definitely ugly! I feel like ugly people go through hardship in life, but it builds character and empathy. Also, they’re born with a built-in bullshit detector that weeds out the superficial relationships in their life and leaves them with a few true friends. Boring would be my last choice — if you’re boring, you’re not pushing yourself enough.

  • Blrp

    Obviously not stupid. The fact that we as a species are this stupid and yet have access to modern technology is actually rather terrifying, and I wouldn’t want my child to be a burden to the world.

    Boring, as in singularly devoted to learning, discovery and intellectual contemplation, yet not someone you’d have deep conversations with because they’re withdrawn and disinterested in their fellow man? I’d be fine with that, but then again, such a person wouldn’t really lose a lot by being ugly so you might as well pick that.

    Boring, as in a mild-mannered accountant in a passionless marriage with a boring wife who collects stamps? Fuck no. I’m almost tempted to say stupid rather than this type of boring.

    Final verdict: ugly

  • Sultan Andre

    Ugly,no though about it

  • Glowing Monkey

    I’d go with boring because it has the highest degree of subjectivity between the three – you can determine if someone is stupid or ugly by objective criteria / standards, but whether someone is boring or not is simply a matter of taste, so this would have the minimal impact on the kid’s life. And I don’t think gender would make any difference. I based this choice on what I theoretically imagine to be in the best interest of a theoretical child.
    On the other hand, if I were to chose one of the flaws with only my interest in mind – the kind of kid I would most enjoy raising out of these 3 – I would go with ugly, because it would be much easier & fun to raise a smart, entertaining child and because of these 2 qualities, I would see her / him as beautiful anyway. I came to this conclusion based on the awesome experience of raising my awesome kid – she’s actually interesting, clever and pretty, but I realize that most of the times, what I love most about interacting with her is the fact that she’s entertaining, interesting & fun – cleverness comes in second (she’s a different kind of clever than me, anyway, but we’re ‘compatible’ enough so that I don’t lose my patience when trying to teach her something and I’m capable of and delighted to learn stuff from her) – and looks take the last place (of course, she has other qualities as well and they’re important, but not relevant to the discussion here).
    And again, about the gender making a difference in kids’ personality or what we might want for them, just this morning she said to me something like ‘If I’d been a boy I would still have had the same ideas in my head’ – I don’t remember the context, but anyway, that’s exactly how I feel about my gender identity 😀 (she’s 5, btw)

  • Lynne

    Is this a trick question? It is STUPID to be full of yourself, which is a BORING topic, and that is the UGLY of it.
    I have known people in all types of appearances, and it is what that is under the hood that matters. Go ahead and kick the tires, but you may get a dud if all is based on stereotype and appearances.
    What a person will do to one person they will do to another. An open minded character with loyalty, integrity, honesty, kindness, humility, and consideration for others, among other traits of quality, is priceless.
    LOVE is what I see.
    There is no such thing as boring, stupid, or ugly. Only other people who want to lower others around themselves, for a selfish high, while being unaware of the stupidity, boring and ugliness of their own nature.
    Any child of mine is interesting, intelligent, and beautiful, whether boy or girl. That is the joy life has meant for us all.
    WAKE UP!

  • Gabs

    Boring without hesitation,
    Ugly you cant get over it, you probably can ameliorate a bit, but …
    You probably cant get away from being stupid either, knowledge just wouldn’t sink in.
    On the other hand you can stop being boring, you can change who you are…

    • Gabs

      I’d like to add that as a parent I could help my child be more creatif in his interactions with other humans.

  • R1ckr011

    I’m seeing a trend here:

    If you’re Ugly or Boring, you will be stuck by your emotional confines. So being smart apparently gives no one this magical power over our own psyches.

    This is the most sobering thought about human relationship formation. That we cannot control our sense of self nearly as well as we like to imagine.

    Being Dumb however, does limit in a certain sense your reflectivity, which reduces the anxiety associated with not achieving what it is you set out to do. This could be the best thing to wish on a person from their own perspective.

    Boring very much limits the persons whole life experiences. There are more interesting things in the world now that ever before. But this individual will completely miss all of that. He will play second rate video games, read trashy novels, and never visit other countries or meet interesting people. Or if he meets them, he will be completely unfazed by them–an even more frightening idea. But then… If we think boring encompasses the whole of that person, they are relegated to esoterica and the confines of stale prose, never achieving financial or political success (which would by definition be interesting.)

    So…. are they allowed to think of themselves as boring? Could they be anything more than mideocre-looking? The assumption made by many here is that beautiful smart people CAN be boring. I think that’s absurd. We are naturally attracted to beautiful things, and smart people unquestoinably learn or create interesting things. The only way this could be mitigated is, like say Van Gogh, they die before their contributions are tallied. In the real-time internet age, this is exceedingly hard.

    So they will have to be somewhere remote, doing grunt work in building infrastructure in poor countries, and be a Luddite with ludicrous management skills. A middle man that would be called on to make famous philanthropists successes.

    Ugly dissects the people around it. People can’t handle that. Interesting people will be interested in Ugly people, and If Boring people are smart and beautiful, Smart people will be drawn to them. So Ugly people may be able to live and love Boring people as well.

    Dumb people can be picked up by anyone if they are beautiful. Shallowness is not a problem in the world–never really has been. All that glitters…is close enough, you might say.

    I think that indeed, smart boring people will be the worst off. I think smart people tend to be really put off by uninteresting things, so boring people will reject each other.

    And ugly as said below will likely reject each other. Is shallowness boring? I think so. So boring people and ugly people will reject them. Though interesting… interesting is a real wild card.

    We would need an alexa rank for every person on earth to divine one’s “Level of Interest”.

    I think the question is: If you are to be loved by someone who is One of these things, which would be the least preferable?

    Boring Smart
    DumbDumb, Boring Ugly
    I say Boring for Dumb because they wouldn’t mind being bored by a dumb person,
    And an Ugly person could be approached by a dumb person just for sexual reasons (vis a vis alcohol) and find themselves ensnared by the cunning of the Ugly person, especially if their rich.

    But would it be stupid for a person to act in their own self-interest? Nope. It would have to be an abusive relationship

    Damn… I think a beautiful, stupid, but interesting person would fare the best.

    I hate this result, but Based on my assumptions… they would be the least damaged by their situation. If this were Protohistoric times, Stupidity would be a death sentence. I think perhaps because we live in such a smart world (systems of agriculture, learning, engineering, government that all work “well enough”), that this picks up the slack. However, we don’t live in such a “beautiful” world. The world Is however, vastly interesting.

    So i suppose the worst would still be Ugly, just because beauty is so absurdly desirable, and the intelligence is kind of a swimming pool versus a bucket, but still being dumped in the ocean. And Interesting is also there, Even in the hideous nature of the world as it is, it has an aesthetic beauty (sad movies, the pride of Sisyphus, mortality in the face of an essentially immortal universe).

    But this is a rational argument, and honestly ugly people get married a lot. Empirical data is required here, because human dynamics have a great deal of variable flux. The actual answer may be different that all these presuppositions. I only Place 60% confidence in this answer.

    As for gender, I’m going to regard that as a troll question, because it takes away from the elegance of the problem. I might as well say “does the birthplace affect the result?” or “does height/race affect the result?”

    Honestly, I want to say Ugly :/ I want that to be the least important thing, with Stupidity being the worst curse. So that is my answer!!

    If we consider Hegel, It may be that True Boredom is the result of the double synthesis: Thesis of Beauty and Antithesis Ugliness with the Thesis Intelligence with Antithesis Stupidity. Beauty is that upon which we can gaze endlessly, and Ugliness as the think we turn away from. That which we glaze our eyes for is Plainness.

    Intelligence is that which we can think of endlessly and Stupidity the extinction of thought. In between is probably what would be best described as Work.

    So Plainness and Work i find to be True Boredom. It’s a lot of work to talk to a boring person, and hard to engage emotionally due to their lack of beauty.

    There is a shallowness about mankind that even with the most breathtakingly dull individual, if they are beautiful, we will listen to their words as if they were a god or goddess descended. Similarly, A hideous individual can hold our ear by whispering deep truths in the guise of riddles.

    A stupid person however, causes the scales to fall from our eyes in their beauty. Someone can say the most engaging thing, but if it’s presented in a horribly obtuse manner, we won’t care in the slightest– MATH TEACHERS take note (google mathematicians lament).

    Only stupid people can listen to beautiful stupid people, and only boring people in the manner characterized here care to wade through the slog of formal writing and the myriad abuses of notation that lead to the top of the respective ivory towers.

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