This adjective has been used in a wide array of contexts. I could not understand why people were using the adjective in this way. Think about it like this, there’s a person X and he/she finds a certain person Y “cute”. But, a person Z could think that person Y was buff or frail looking.
“He looks cute!”
“That was so cute of her!”
“That is such a cute car!”
Note that these emotive comments could have been made in a diverse array of situations. For instance, someone could call a car “cute”, while another person could call it “ugly”. Or, someone could think that a certain man/woman is “cute”, while someone else could also think that they are “smart”.
On surveying my acquaintances, friends and family, and the internet what the definition of “cute” is, I got different answers.
“Cute is small and compact.”
“Cute is nice.”
“I think Matthew James Lent is the definition of cute. Or me”
“Small and adorable. Pretty but not quite hot”
There are more answers. But mentioning them would be repetitive and boring.
The common piece of information that I found from all the responses was that cuteness was something much more primal and abstract. It’s not just about how a person looks or how graceful or elegant they are. It wasn’t just about what a person said either.
It’s all about vulnerability.
That’s right, vulnerability. Vulnerability is an adjective that is commonly associated with incompetence, unattractiveness and failure. But it turns out, it’s all about the right type of vulnerability. Apparently, if there’s very little apparent vulnerability, there are two outcomes. The first outcome is that the person may seem to be cold. This type is highly likely to suffer from social alienation and misunderstanding. The second outcome is that, this person will seem “hot”. This lack of apparent vulnerability is usually complemented with bravado and extreme amiability.
The ideal scenario suitable for “cuteness” could be described as a mix of a moderate degree of apparent vulnerability that is pleasant and familiar. This kind of vulnerability removes any kind of emotional and social friction between the person who is eliciting such behaviour and the observer. In simple words, cuteness is the degree to by which someone can make someone feel.
If there’s a lot of apparent vulnerability in a person then they tend to described by adjectives such as “weak”, “vulnerable”, “loser”, etc. This type usually suffers too from social alienation, misunderstanding and is also likely to have low self-esteem.
However, if a person elicits a familiar, pleasant and a relatable vibe (this is dependent upon the shared experiences both the parties have), situational and apparent vulnerability, the person is more likely to seem cute. And do note, that not all of them will happen at once. But whenever it happens, it’s very fleeting and happens subconsciously. In simple words, if you can seem a little vulnerable without looking weak and manage to make the person feel like they can relate to you, your chances of seeming “cute” are higher. That being said, this article was just an effort to explore a question and not to tell people what to do.