How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘masculine appeal’

Picking A Lover: The Rating Game

Women are moved by sexual impulses towards particular men, not towards men as a whole, and men will never understand women as long as they do not understand this.
—H. M. Swanwick, The Future of the Women’s Movement

When you look around a party or when you go through your email address book or when you count on your fingers and toes men whom you have found attractive, you make implicit decisions about their appeal relative to one other. You also make decisions about their attractiveness to you. You have formed impressions based on appearance and conversations and, perhaps, on reports from other people; and you mesh these together into an overall response to the man. The many factors involved in sex appeal or animal magnetism or whatever it is called are difficult to define, but they combine to form an impression that is easy to recognize.

Every time you meet a new man, you form an opinion about him. Sometimes you feel indifferent, sometimes you feel a faint distaste, sometimes you feel drawn to him. In your responses, you subconsciously rank him from terrible to terrific, from fatuous to fascinating, from disgusting to delectable. It’s fortunate for everyone that the man who seems exactly right to one woman may not even seem passably attractive to another.

Helen of Troy

Helen of Troy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christopher Marlow in Dr. Faustus describes Helen of Troy as having “the face that launched a thousand ships.” Some irreverent young men, not attuned to the sacredness of classic poetry, borrow this line to rate their women. Out girl watching, they will say cryptically to each other, “Five hundred ships, huh?” “No, I don’t think so. Three hundred at most. But look at that one! Eight hundred easy.” The popular 1980’s movie Ten, featuring Bo Derek wearing rows of corn braids and not much else, was based on a variation of this perennial theme where men rate women on a one-to-ten scale.

Long-distance love affairs call for another sort of rating scheme. Just ask yourself: how far would you be willing to commute for a rendezvous? Some men are attractive enough to draw you across the street. Some are attractive enough to rate a drive across town, if it isn’t raining. Some of the spectacular ones are worth a bus trip from Boston to Philadelphia. A few even rate a transatlantic flight.

On the other end of the scale, to quote a woman friend of mine, “Well, if we had twin beds, and his was all the way across the room, it wouldn’t be worth the trip.”

When you are thinking about rating various men and comparing their pros and cons, there is another problem to be taken into account. In assessing a man and the pleasure he gives you or might give you, you cannot always average out the good with the bad. Sometimes, the bad is so bad that it destroys all of the rest.

In Fats Waller’s song, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” the man turfs out his girlfriend, complaining, “Your feet’s too big!” If shoe size is that important to you, then a beautiful smile and charm won’t compensate. However, it’s important to learn to overlook unimportant quirks and refrain from making arbitrary judgments over insignificant flaws. The more tolerant you can manage to be, the more people you can find potentially compatible, and the more tolerance you can expect in return.

Except for axe murderers, many of the so-called fatal flaws of physique or character are not all that fatal. Sometimes, however, a potential lover has a trait that makes him beyond the pale as far as you are concerned. He’s like a phone number you dial by memory. If you correctly remember six out of seven numbers, your memory is 86 percent correct, but you still don’t get the person you were trying to call.

Six correct out of seven is pretty good; but with phone numbers, as with people, it’s not good enough.

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Erotic Dialogue: Speaking of Love

To speak love is to make love.
—Honoré de Balzac

Part of masculine magnetism has to do with how a man looks. But there are other components to his physical appeal: how he moves, how he dresses, how he smiles, how he smells. That is certainly enough to get your attention.

Although these may be the first things that a woman notices, they are not necessarily the most important traits that make one man more or less appealing than another. How he feels is also very important. The best lovers are sensuous sybarites who have the gift of passion and who are Bohemian enough and confident enough to follow through to the full potential of sensuous delights. Even if he does all of this, he also has to have the right attitudes. He must like women in the abstract and in the flesh with an erotic response that is enthusiastic and involved, but not abusive or violent.

Suppose that you have been to a party where you met a handsome man who has since wined and dined you. The conversation has been extensive enough and intimate enough that you feel confident he is sane and reasonable—not a misogynist or a rapist, not a lecher or a bully. Now what? Remember that most men you encounter are likely to meet these minimum criteria. So while all those characteristics are important, they are still not enough. Now you must listen to him, really listen to him.

The most important feature of a good lover relationship is mutuality: the flow of interaction back and forth from man to woman and woman to man. What is needed is dialogue on all levels: emotional, physical, and intellectual. What is needed is reciprocity.

Mutuality implies a dialogue, and with a lover, that dialogue has two important interrelated parts: dialogue that involves words and nonverbal dialogue that involves a conversation of gestures and facial expressions.

Looking at Men as Sex Objects

More and more women are coming to use men as “mere sex objects,”
which is a welcome switch for both sexes.
—Brendan Francis

When you look at a man as a sex object or as a love object, you look at him in terms of the kind of person he is. You don’t think about what he is or what he has accomplished or how much money he has, but rather about his unique essential self.

Is he lovable? Do you want to reach out and brush his hair back off his forehead? Is he sexy? Do you fantasize about how his arms would feel around your waist? Does he make you feel sexy? Do you start to wonder if somehow it would be possible for all the other people in the room to miraculously vanish so that the two of you could snuggle down by the fire and see what happens next? Does he make you feel loving? Can you suddenly see yourself walking hand in hand on a beach at dawn, looking into each other’s eyes? Do you imagine the two of you speaking the sentimental clichés found in
Hallmark valentines or posing in the romantic scenes depicted in perfume advertisements?

English: Anthony Hannon's Shoot about shoe add...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Does he have sex appeal, that much-desired special something that makes heads turn and hearts throb? Does he give off that certain aura that’s so strong that you get weak-kneed and forget all your prior commitments? Would you have fun together sharing a mutual interest such as rock climbing, scuba diving, or exploring a new exhibit at the museum? If women are, or can be, sexual creatures with sexual appetites, what more logical choice for a sex object than a delectable man?

If a woman has enough resources that she does not need a man to support her financially and if she is not immediately concerned with finding a suitable man to marry, she can begin to look around for someone to love and to make love with. She can judge men in much the same way as men have usually judged women.

The idea of men as sex objects rather than as providers and protectors is still a somewhat new idea. It places men in an unfamiliar role, and many of them still don’t play it well.

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