Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Yesterday my friend got me thinking about fetishes, and I posted a blog on that topic. Today my mind is still influenced by her, and I’m thinking about what it is that attracts one person to another. I don’t claim to be an expert. I can only write from my own experience.
Understand that there are different forms of attraction. I want to discuss sexual attraction, but even there, I believe there are two levels of such. I begin with the most obvious form, namely, physical attraction. There is, I suppose, attraction based on sexual proclivities. Heck, my own particular fetishes are not uncommon and often have groups to help us find each other. But these proclivities aside, physical attraction is typically based on looks. Some people have a problem with being attracted to somebody based on looks alone, but if we’re being completely honest, often this is all we have with which to base this attraction early on.
Science has examined what it is that makes one person attracted to another. There are a few factors. For example, symmetry of the face is a feature of what people find attractive. Now, our faces are not exactly symmetrical, but excessive asymmetry is found to be unappealing. The hypothesis is that many medical conditions, such as stroke for example, can result in asymmetry. In the case of stroke, one side of the face can be partially paralyzed leading to this asymmetry.
Science often looks at attraction in terms of survival of the species. Asymmetry is often associated with medical conditions that can be passed along to future generations or make procreation difficult or impossible. The concept of attraction being related to survival of the species, or at least passing on of the genes, is not hard to believe when one thinks about the features people often find attractive. For example, I’m a decent looking man, and yet I’ve had no luck in finding a permanent partner. However, I lack many of the features that women do often find attractive. I’m not muscular, tall or aggressive in my nature (I have the aggressive nature of a koala bear that just got a nasty verbal thrashing). These traits can easily be seen as the ability to protect the woman, and the offspring. Society, on the other hand, has a strong influence on what is attractive. Today we tend to be drawn to thin, for example, and yet in the Renaissance it was heavyweight women that were most attractive. Back then, to be overweight was a sign of wealth.
I find that I’m often attracted to women based initially on looks, but attraction based on looks wears thin very quickly. If I don’t get along with a woman, I tend to see her as less physically attractive. I used to think my ex-wife was a stunning beauty, but now I kind of wonder why.
I think that, in my experience, my attraction is often based on, well, I guess the best way to say it is “power level”. I once dated a woman who was attractive in her own way, but also very boring. She never challenged me at all. If I asked her what she wanted to do, she would respond “whatever you want to do.” If I asked her where she wanted to eat, it was always “wherever you want.” She seemed to be trying too hard to be what she thought I wanted her to be, but what I wanted was to be with somebody who had her own thoughts, opinions, and desires. I fear she was far more into me than I had thought. I was in graduate school at the time, and really didn’t have a lot of time for myself anyway, and when it occurred to me that we wouldn’t work out, I went to her and told her I thought we should end it. She literally said to me that if I married her, I could have all of the affairs I want (no, I never cheated on her) and she would always take me back, as if this would “seal the deal”. Unfortunately, it only confirmed my suspicions that we wouldn’t work out.
Women can also be too powerful. I’ve kissed women who were so aggressive I felt like I was fighting the alpaca-lips. Yes, pun intended. My ex-wife, for example, reminded me (and the boys) that I was not her children’s father. She simply wouldn’t let me act in that capacity at all, insisting on doing it all herself. I wanted a partner, though, and she turned into a boss.
What is attractive does, of course, vary from person to person. These two women I just described might well be the ideal woman for another man, but not for me. I think maybe this power level, the give and take, is a big part of it. Some people want a partner who is very powerful, some that are very submissive, and I suspect that who we eventually end up with is often based on that power level which we seek. Again, I’m not an expert, but to me it makes a lot of sense.