The really illuminating lesson of this photo is the tacit realization that its inverse wouldn’t be nearly as revealing of the participants’ SMVs. If a hot girl was in the arms of a shlubby beta male, no one would mistake her as the female version of “beta”. She would still be a hot chick. A hot chick with a really lucky beta boyfriend who must have some compensating SMV-boosting traits. No one would negatively reassess her looks (the bulk of a woman’s SMV) because her boyfriend didn’t appear to be “in her league”.
In contrast, people DO reassess the SMV of men based on the physical attractiveness of their girlfriends. A handsome man with an ugly girlfriend isn’t a quirky love match; it’s a tell that the handsome man has unattractive personality qualities which decrease the potential return on his looks. Similarly, an ugly man with a beautiful girlfriend immediately prompts musings that he’s got cash, got flash, got mast, or some combination of all three plus the rarefied “charisma”.
An ugly girl with a handsome boyfriend isn’t the fortunate recipient of positive reassessment from onlookers. An ugly man with a pretty girlfriend *does* receive revisited glowing reviews. This photo is sort of a Voight-Kampff empathy test, reminding viewers that the sexual market values of men are women are intuitively assessed very differently by impartial strangers, because the measure of a man is nothing like the measure of a woman.
Ugly man with a hot girlfriend is an alpha male.
Handsome man with an ugly girlfriend is a beta male.
Ugly woman with a handsome boyfriend is still an ugly woman.
Hot woman with an ugly boyfriend is still a hot woman.