How to Pick a Lover

The Adonis Complex

Let us leave pretty women to men
devoid of imagination.
Marcel Proust

We may well add, let us also leave pretty men to women without imagination. The trouble with beautiful men is not that their beauty does not last. The real trouble is that, like many beautiful women, they are prone to manifest the Adonis complex.

From an early age, in many circumstances, beautiful men and beautiful women find that being beautiful is enough. While people of ordinary looks bring presents to the party, all beautiful people need to bring is presence—their own beautiful presence to be admired. They bring to conversations their beautiful eyes for others to drown in. They bring to arguments their winning smile. And it works.

The beautiful lover often seems to feel that being beautiful is all that needs to be expected of him. He expects you to be grateful for even minor attentions. He expects either to be made love to or, at his pleasure, to take his pleasure from you. He does not concern himself with your response since just looking at him is supposed to guarantee it. He does not make love with you but allows you to love him.

People accustomed to being on a pedestal are often reluctant to climb down. And in any event, for a man or a woman, a pedestal is a poor place to lie down—and there is never really enough room for two.

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