By Richard E. Bleil, Ph.D.
“Always tell pretty girls they’re smart, and smart girls they’re pretty.” This is the advice given in a movie from the attractive woman to the nerdy guy that she wanted to help find a girlfriend.
For the past few days, I’ve been chatting with a young woman from my relatively recent past who apparently had been attracted to me. It’s probably a good thing that I was unaware as any relationship would have been deemed “inappropriate” then, but it certainly has gotten me thinking about the kinetics of attraction from the male perspective.
Men do weird things. We really do. I’ve been guilty of this myself, and I write this blog not to defend the actions of men, or to make any kind of claim that it is somehow “okay”. The reality is that there are those men who act as if they lack the higher order thinking that evolution should have given them, who act in violence, who cannot control their impulses. These men are, in my opinion, an embarrassment (or worse) to my gender, and are far too common among us. Youth is a contributing factor, but let’s be honest about this. The reality is that this is also a reflection of the way that boys are raised, watching their fathers objectify women, and seeing their mothers treated as secondary citizens. If we raised boys to be respectful men, I honestly believe that this would go far to mitigate the “mistakes of youth.”
This post, however, is to try to give some insight into what happens with men when a woman finds them attractive. Not too long ago (about three months as of the writing of this post) my most recent attempt at a relationship decided she was done with me. It’s not really a surprise as it was not a great match, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. The result is that I withdrew into myself, and have been more or less (blog notwithstanding) isolating myself from everybody. My serious lack of self-esteem does not help the matter.
A few days ago, this young woman reached out to me via social media. Through our conversations, our mutual attraction has come out, and it has gone far to reawaken my feelings. The fact is, even for old men like me, our hormones still have a powerful hold on us.
It might be evolutionary (survival of the species and all of that), but for men, to that a woman finds us attractive is highly empowering. (I’m speaking here from a heterosexual perspective. I cannot extrapolate this to homosexual experiences as I have no point of reference to say if it is the same or not, although I expect it would be.) It’s very different from wives, girlfriends or women that we have known for a long time, and I suspect it is that animalistic instinct, the hormones that makes the difference. Maybe it’s just feeling like we still have the ability to attract others that makes the difference. We expect our partners to be there, and as sad as it is to say, men tend to take this attraction for granted. We tend to forget that we need to work for this attraction as well. It’s just assumed, so that might be why the impact is different.
The funny thing is that, as I think about this, I know what it is that I want to say, but I am having a difficult time putting it into words that would make sense to those who have not experienced it. A new mutual attraction makes me feel alive again, like a man. It’s an enormous boost to my self-confidence, re-awakens my sexuality, and stimulates my fantasies, desires and kinks. It makes me feel younger, virile, and attractive beyond this new interest. It’s a very powerful and empowering feeling, and one that fades.
This empowerment is probably why men lose their minds so often. It’s no replacement for the comfort, the love, the warmth of a long term relationship with a woman with whom we have a relationship, and therein lies the danger. We’re drawn to the heat of a fire, and risk losing the comfort of a blanket. The fire is intense heat, but only heats the side that faces us, and will die as soon as the logs burn out, while the blanket wraps us in warmth all around us, hugs our entire being, and will keep us warm as long as we don’t leave it.
But that fire…
But, here’s the reality. That rush might be part of the evolutionary process, but through that process we should have the higher intelligence to be able to control our actions. We have no control over the feelings, and I believe it is a mistake to try to do so. Acting on them, when it hurts another, is a mistake. It’s attraction for a new, expensive, and unreliable sports car over the vehicle that has been with us for years, proven itself to be reliable, and still very sexy if we only would open our eyes to see it.