Thoughts by Richard Bleil
This morning, I heard “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangals (Susanna Hoffs, Vicki Peterson, Anette Ziliskas, Debbi Peterson, and Michael Steele). I don’t know how many of my readers remember the music video for this song, but I know that Susanna Hoffs seduced me, many of my friends, and I’m guessing many more men around the world with a single glance.
Centered on a stage performance, no doubt set up in a studio but intended to look live, in the final refrain as they approached the chorus, the camera focused in on this petite beauty’s face as she put her lips to the silvery microphone looking to her left as she sang, “Walk like an Egyptian”. In the pause that followed before repeating the line, as she blinked, she shifted her gaze from the left to the right. I was in love, a love that lasts to this day.
As I recalled this seemingly insignificant subtlety, I can’t help but wonder if it was intentional, and how often such gestures are with women. I cannot speak for all men, but I can tell you that I am not so aware of such subtle motions that another might find attractive in my actions, and even if I were I certainly lack the knowledge of how to use this for seduction purposes. I’m just a man, and don’t really think about it this much. I have been told, but have no idea if it’s true or not, that women are aware of when, for example, their blouse falls open to show a peak, something that turns most men on beyond measure. How common are things like this intentional?
I have had female friends complain of their uncontrollable physiological responses when they find someone attractive. I can assure my female readers that men have the same problem, and while my female friends worry that it might be very noticeable (I myself have never noticed anything to indicate a woman is aroused), for men it’s pretty obvious. It’s why there are times that a man does not want to stand up, and is the source of great levity in many teen based romantic comedies. Studies have shown that men tend to be far more visually stimulated than women (on average), so while it might be more obvious when men are stimulated (depending on the pants we’re wearing), maybe it’s not as commonly noticed than we fear it might be. Or, maybe it is. I don’t know, but I also find it curious that what should be a source of “bragging rights” is often viewed with shame which I attribute to a failing of our society.
I think we have become too critical of men for being attracted to physical appearance. To try to pay a compliment to a woman based on her appearance is often met with retorts suggesting compliments should be based on intelligence, for example, or worse. But before a man has a chance to get to know if a woman is intelligent, all he has to go by is what he sees. Another study has looked into traits of physical attraction, and has found that things like symmetry is important. The authors of the study hypothesized that features like asymmetry or others that men often find unattractive are often associated with some form of genetic deformity or disease. This implies that physical attraction might well be an inherited trait related to healthy babies and survival of the species. I know that I am often attracted first to appearance, but it’s a woman’s personality, including intelligence, that keeps me interested. Who knows? Maybe that’s an evolved trait as well.
Hopefully I have not offended anybody with this post. As a scientist, I tend to ask questions and examine them in an often blunt manner as I have done today. This might come across as rude, or the topic may be deemed “too sensitive”, but I also believe our society should be more open in these discussions. But I’m also a man. While I try to control my behaviors in a manner respectful to everyone including women, I am nonetheless subjected to the same base instincts as other men, including attraction and rather inappropriate thoughts and desires. I cannot believe that being a modern evolved man means growing out of these immature attractions and desires as such things are after all critical for survival of our species, but rather in how we respond to them. Hopefully my responses are civil and respectful. I certainly strive to make them so.