Ladder Theory lays down some pseudoscientific premises of how men and women evaluate each other romantically. The theory attaches significant importance to first impressions, determining that first impressions lead to a quick and often, final decision about the opposite sex. The theory initially created ripples as a satire, but eventually developed into an elaborate model of the dynamics of male-female attraction, though unsubstantiated. The ladder theory is based on an uncorroborated assumption that men, as compared to women, tend to be more comfortable with the idea of bedding their friends from the opposite sex. It perceives that women have a stronger tendency to maintain a definite separation between relationship types. Therefore, the theory presumes that a platonic relationship between men and women brings down the chances of a sexual relationship between both the sexes.
According to the ladder theory, the initial decision-making process, about how a relationship is to be classified, is crucial as it determines the future potential of the relationship, or whether the possibility of a relationship exists at all. The process of classifying or ranking the opposite sex is described as 'ladder'. The separation between these ladders is based on the assumption that women have different criteria to assign value on the ladder. The qualities that women seek in a friend are different from what they look for in a sexual partner.
The theory further lays down that, unlike women, men evaluate their female friends on a single ladder, keeping sexual desirability and relationship value on a same plane, which is the overall measure of their priority. Women, whom men place at the top of their ladder, are the ones who they view as an absolute ideal of desirability. A combination of extreme sexual attraction and other qualities that a particular man finds desirable would make their absolute ideal women. The other qualities may include social expectations and pragmatic concerns.
60% Looks: Men are known to attach a great importance to how a woman looks like. However, the criteria of physical attractive may vary in different men, though only to a certain degree.
30% Perceived Sexual Readiness: This implies men's perception on how quickly a woman would be ready to join them in bed.
10% Other Qualities: In women, "other" refers to personality characteristics. This may also vary from one man to the other.
50% Money/Power: This explains why unattractive men of wealth and influence can be seen with beautiful women.
40% Attractiveness: Attractiveness comprises of a combination of factors for women, which are listed below.
- 50% Physical Attraction -Basically a man's appearance and his looks.
- 20% Competition - The more interested a man is in something/someone other than woman, the more attractive will a woman find him.
- 20% Novelty - This includes how recently a woman has met a man and his distinction from other men she knows. Women attach importance to novelty, as they are supposedly looking for uniqueness in their man
- 10% Others - This is one area where there are no specifics. It will differ from one woman to the other. However, the usual traits that attract women are intelligence, sense of humor, honesty, etc.
10% Other Qualities: The other qualities may comprise of personality traits and they may vary from one woman to the other, depending on what characteristics are valued by them