We probably spend more time than we care to admit comparing ourselves to other men. In such a wide dating pool (made even wider and trickier by the likes of Tinder), of course we wonder: do we really have a chance to break through to the opposite sex when so many guys have nicer skin, bigger muscles, fancier cars, and loads more disposable income than we do? Will we always lose out because someone else will always be more attractive to women than we are? Are we doomed to stay on the less favorable end of the dating pool, while the stereotypical “guwapo guy” gets the lion’s share of attention?
Well, Bruce Kho, the Voice of Reason, is here to impart a little daily wisdom on man-kind. “Guwapo” is something of an umbrella term that can mean different things: conventionally handsome, unconventionally attractive, aesthetically appealing, or appealing beyond surface-level good looks. That said, though not every man is born with the rugged good looks of Derek Ramsay, or the clean-and-smooth handsomeness of Paulo Avelino, thinking about being “guwapo” in a more creative way may even out the playing field.
And so, what we hope to do today is to think about all things “guwapo”—from the etymology of the word, to the science of attraction, and ultimately, to the many composite factors that can make a Filipino man a good 10%-50% more guwapo in the eyes of his beholder.
Ready? Let’s get cracking on what separates a guwapo guy from your average Juan.
Studies on the Word “Guwapo” for the Modern Filipino Man
Like many words in the everyday Filipino language, the colloquial term “guwapo” (alternatively, “gwapo,” “gwaps,” “pogi,” “swabe,” and so on) has roots in Spanish. “Guapo,” pronounced with a silent G (i.e. “hwa-po”), means “beautiful” or “handsome” in the Spanish tongue. Those who speak Spanish as their mother tongue might be quick to say that guapo conveys beauty or handsomeness that is not only aesthetic in nature. The use of the word also serves to compliment something beyond physical traits, such as intelligence or a strong presence that makes one exceptionally sexy.
In a feature from Psychology Today titled “How Men Attract Women,” Nigel Barber, Ph.D. thinks of physical attraction between people to have several layers. “Reading between the lines, most women are attracted to strong, healthy, physically fit specimens who project confidence and are more likely to succeed in surviving, reproducing, and prospering in any society,” Dr. Barber says. This is something that we observe in other animals as males compete to show a female specimen that they are worthy of being a mate.
Barber continues to weigh the importance of physical attractiveness in the human world: “Physical attractiveness is more critical early in a relationship—presumably because it colors first impressions so much—and women who are interested in a short-term relationship are likely to have their fling with someone who is above average in physical appeal.”
Physical attractiveness is not limited only to the sense of sight. Released in Frontiers in Psychology, a study conducted by Groyecka, Sorokowska, Havlicek, Karwowski, Puts, Roberts, and Sorokowski—interestingly titled “Attractiveness is Multimodal: Beauty is Also in the Nose and Ear of the Beholder”—demonstrates that partners are just as attracted to what they hear and smell. That means, then, that physical attractiveness has several non-verbal components. When it comes to those date-clinching judgments for physical attractiveness, men are surveyed based on how they sound and smell, not just on how they look.
Barber continues: “Once a man passes the first screen of physical attractiveness, a woman is likely to pay more attention to personality characteristics, intelligence, and general suitability for a relationship.” Once they get past that stage for aesthetic appeal, men are then judged to be guwapo based on the good things they can offer in their personality.
In his feature, Barber posits that the traits of kindness and generosity are particularly attractive to women. We could take it a step further and think about the unique traits that Filipino women find attractive on guys. From celebrity culture alone, we glean that girls love male celebrities who are caring, driven, family-oriented, and are upstanding to the rest of society.
Just 10 Certified “Guwapo” Things That Set Guys Apart
Any other assumptions about what women find guwapo in guys? Here are 10 things that we’ve learned in the field—from trial and error, from experts, and from women themselves. These should prop up the argument that guwapo is no singular state of being but a collection of habits, behaviors, and projections that any guy can use to up his guwapo factor.
- Guwapo guys know how to comport themselves.
In layman’s terms, “comportment” means knowing how to carry yourself. Comportment, however, is usually rooted in how a guy sees himself, and as such, is probably something that all guys should work on even before they start dating. A little care into how you carry yourself will stand out a good deal to a girl.How to carry yourself like you’re hot stuff: For starters, try to improve your posture and gait. Don’t slouch, look down too often, or drag your feet. Try not to stay too close to the wall at social gatherings; instead, gravitate closer to where the action is and where you can be seen. It’ll be hard for you to be seen as attractive if you can’t be seen at all.
- Guwapo guys take a master class in hygiene and good grooming.
Any girl will confirm this for you off the bat: no matter how good a guy’s baseline features are or how sharply he dresses, it’s a major turnoff if their hygiene is bad. Guys have much to gain or lose in terms of status if they don’t practice good hygiene and grooming habits. If you want to improve your chances, take a long look at yourself in the mirror and be frank about whether you look like you haven’t left the man cave. Start recovering your pogi points from there.How to “clean up well”: This is just an issue of the basics, which we’ll line up for you. Wash your face, moisturize, and treat your acne carefully when it pops up. Brush your teeth regularly and book an appointment to have your teeth cleaned by the dentist every six months or so (a girl will never tell you outright, but you may have bad breath!). Keep your facial hair neat and your eyebrows as well. Trim both your fingernails and your toenails. Consider switching out your default haircut for something more fashionable. And don’t overload on hair product or cologne, lest girls choke from the very strong odors.
- Guwapo guys are confident and forthright in the presence of girls.
Guys are significantly more desirable to girls if girls can tell how comfortable they are. Confidence, honesty, high levels of engagement, and a little humor here and there will increase the pogi Don’t be that guy who looks terrified to be around women (even if you are, try to keep it from showing!).How to charm and persuade: The key to securing a place in the conversation is to acknowledge that there’s more than one presence in the room. In other words, don’t be afraid to do things like make eye contact and ask questions. Also, do not play hard to get, and do not “neg” or throw a backhanded compliment to a girl just to get her attention.
- Guwapo guys have exceptional manners.
As luck would have it, most Filipino girls still dream of the “perfect gentleman.” You could definitely adjust your pogi points to this standard. Have gentlemanly manners, good body language, and common courtesy all on display for a girl.
How to do the right thing at the right time: Body language may be tricky at first, but it’s a skill that you can get better at in time. A good general rule is to study which levels of touch make a female companion comfortable, and adjust accordingly. Outside of direct touch, good body language can also mean angling toward her and not crossing yourself when you’re speaking to her. As far as being a gentleman is concerned, do things like open doors and pull out seats for her. And of course, practice common courtesy: reply to her messages on time, don’t be late, and don’t use coarse language around her.
- Guwapo guys know how to flaunt their intelligence.
Of course, women find intellectual depth very sexy in men. But what a true guwapo guy will convey, outside of being book-smart, is being dexterous with how he applies that knowledge and making things interesting for his partner.
How to show off a beautiful mind: The difference between being perceived as guwapo versus being chalked off as downright mayabang is how you put yourself on display. Your fancy college degree, loaded resume, or work achievements won’t be interesting to a girl if you seem like you’re lecturing her or hard-selling how good you are. Use your intelligence to engage her about something she’s also interested in, or joke about it a little if you like.
- Guwapo guys know what looks good on them.
As we’ve shared in previous features, clothes really do make the man. Girls are drawn to guys who know what styles, colors, and clothing variants work for them. Luckily for guys, fashion is easier to change up than innate physical features. And so, one of the quickest ways to gain pogi points is to dress a little smarter.How to develop your own personal style: They say that imitation is the best form of flattery, and this may be a good strategy for you. You can incorporate clothing types, accessories, or footwear from your favorite celebrities into your style and see what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with things like color and clothing material—just so long as you’re not wearing the same two outfits every single week.
- Guwapo guys work out and keep fit.
It can’t be helped that girls are drawn to tall, physically fit, and muscular men. Physical fitness also conveys to a girl that a guy cares about his health and is willing to work hard to improve himself.How to take care of God’s gift to you (and to women): That said, we know that not all guys can bulk up and get rock-hard abs overnight. Nevertheless, try to get a good fitness routine going as soon as you can. Go to the gym, eat right, and get enough hours of sleep. You’ll start becoming more attractive not when you shed fifty pounds outright, but when a girl can see the glow of good health around you.
- Guwapo guys aren’t afraid to share their talents.
Notice that girls often state how attractive a guy is not because of what he looks like, but what he’s Athletes, artists, musicians, and other talented individuals are attractive not only because of their physical charms, but because of their charisma and proficiency at what they do. That said, you can likely bank on your own talents to score pogi points with girls.How to draw her toward the things you’re doing: Ask what individual talents a girl finds sexy; it differs from person to person. An athletic girl will love it if you’re interested in a sport as well, while an artsy girl might swoon over a musician or a gifted actor. When the time is right, invite her somewhere that you can showcase the talent you have, such as at a game or a show.
- Guwapo guys are passionate and motivated.
Nothing is more ho-hum to a girl than a guy who doesn’t really stand for anything, or just seems to coast through life. Contrast that with a guy who has an advocacy, is an active member of a team or club, or has proven leadership experience. Truly, it’s this kind of guy that steals the show for women.How to show her that you’re the real deal:If you’re passionate about something—be it as simple as caring for animals, the environment, or for an organization—let your companion know outright. Look for opportunities that can turn a conversation from shallow to spirited. This will help her perceive you as a complex, three-dimensional, and thus uniquely attractive fellow human being.
- Guwapo guys celebrate their individuality.
Lastly, what distinguishes a truly guwapo guy from the average Juan is a firm, unapologetic, what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of personality. The best feeling ever is when a girl catches on to what makes you who you are and finds that sexy from the start.
How to be yourself, and only yourself, around her: From the beginning, be honest about your interests, your life situation, your humor, and your values. All the tips we’ve given you thus far are just points of improvement to what you already have on your side—don’t try to “fake” who you are just for a girl. Be a guwapo guy on your own terms and not on any other man’s.
Bringing out the guwapo in you can sometimes take a bit of work, but the result is definitely worth the effort. That said, good luck on your endeavors, and cheers to leveling up your own “pogi factor”!