Archives for the month of: May, 2012

After my last two posts, and the resultant discussions through the comments, I found this weekend’s horoscope from Jonathan Cainer highly interesting:

Why do we choose the clothes we wear? We want to catch our reflection in the mirror and think, ‘I like what I see there.’ And we want others to have a similar reaction when they cast their eyes upon us too. Or, at least, that’s the theory. All our outfits may be carefully chosen for this purpose when we first select them but eventually they just become ‘the thing that has to be cleaned today’. Happily, as you will soon see, both love and attraction are governed by factors that are deeper than appearance alone.

How’s that for being tuned in to the stars?¬† ūüėÄ

I’ve been percolating away on yesterday’s post, as well as the interesting comments that were made, and I find I’m not ready to let this topic drop!¬† Please bear with me while I muse aloud … in print.

It’s fascinating to me what different paths men and women tread toward attraction.

Now, we’ve heard for some time that men are from Mars, and women are from Venus.¬† That men seek independence and women, interconnection.¬† Deborah Tannen has written a fascinating book called Please Understand Me, in which she explores the different communication styles favoured by both genders.¬† Studying groups of 5 year girls and boys, and 25 year old men and women, she found more similarity along gender lines than within age groups, despite the enormous developmental differences between youth and adulthood.¬† The broad strokes of her research shows that, whether 5 or 25, males seek authority and give directives, while females seek consensus and ask questions.¬†¬† This was driven home to me while taking an international flight a few weeks after reading the book:¬† the attendants were readying for landing, and a man across the aisle from me and up several rows didn’t have his seat in the requisite upright position.¬† The stewardess gently touched him on the shoulder and said, “Sir, would you mind putting your seat up?”¬† Minutes later, the man hadn’t complied, and a passing steward stated authoritatively, “Sir, put your seat up.”¬† I smiled, and thought of Dr. Tannen.

From what I’ve read and seen, men and women seem to approach attraction differently as well.

I can personally relate a scenario in which I was interviewed for the job of Marketing Manager with a major book re-seller in the GTA.¬† The owner of the company sat with me for over two hours, during which time we sparred our way through a number of lively discussions springboarding off his interview questions.¬† At the end of the interview, he offered me the job.¬† I grimaced slightly, because it was the best 2 hours I’d spent in a work place in some time, and I was about to disappoint both him and myself.

“I’m sorry,” I said, ruefully.¬† “I just don’t think this is the right job for me.”

“Oh,” the owner replied in a deflated tone.¬† Surveying me closely, he cocked his head to one side:¬† “You want to think about it over the weekend?”

I sat back in my chair at the unexpectedness of his query.¬† “Okay!”

The next day was Saturday.¬† As requested, I thought long and hard about our discussion, and realized that, while I knew intuitively that the job wasn’t a good fit for my personality, there was something keeping me from just saying ‘no’.¬† On Sunday, when reflecting on the owner and our interaction, I noticed that some rather warm feelings seemed to be incubating within me … imagined scenes in which his physical person was placed in close proximity to my own.¬† In these … well, let’s call them what they were … fantasies, there may or may not have been some jiggling going on, but there was probably some rocking and most definitely some lip action.

The surprising thing about this was that the gentleman in question was so far from the societal standard for physical perfection in the male of the species as to render such feelings unexpected.¬† In comparison to myself, the quintessential ‘big boned gal’, he was petite, 5’6″ in his stocking feet, and perhaps 130 pounds soaking wet.¬† He had frizzy brown hair which framed his small face in a highly indiscriminate manner, and wore coke bottle glasses with heavy black rims.

And still, I was definitely feeling a physical attraction.  What was this about?

After several more hours of contemplation, the conclusion I came to was this:¬† I thought he had the coolest mind I’d come across in a long, long time.¬† When he asked a question, he looked intently into your eyes while you answered, and you honestly felt that he wanted to engage with you.

My mind was intrigued, and my body was following where the mind led … in this case, it was leading to some rather racey locales which are perhaps best left un-discussed, seeing as my mother reads this blog.

And since I’ve recently come to understand that curiousity engenders considerable discomfort in felines, let me tell you what transpired.

I went back to his office on Monday morning, sat down in the chair facing his desk, looked him right in the eye, and suggested that, while I still didn’t believe the job was right for me, I hadn’t enjoyed meeting a man so much in an extremely long time, and, if his situation allowed, I’d very much like to take him to dinner.

Goethe claims that fortune favours the brave, but alas, this was not my experience.¬† Apparently, his situation didn‘t allow, although he was discreet and lovely about it all.¬† I was disappointed, but felt heartened in that at least I’d attempted to seize the day, which was invigorating, even if unproductive.

Now, let’s move to male attraction. Male readers, please fasten your seat belts, it’s about to get bumpy.

I must begin by admitting that scholarly pursuits sometimes take one down strange and unanticipated alleyways!¬† I was conducting some research on Gary S. Taylor, who, along with that lion of Shakespearean study, Stanley Wells, had edited one of the most popular editions of Shakespeare’s complete works available¬† The most recent book on Taylor’s roster at that time involved a study of castration through the ages.¬† Clicking through various links, I came across the story of a man who had, for some years, entertained a castration fantasy, which he animated using a number of tactics too painful to relate in polite company.¬† One night, at a gay S&M bar, he abandoned his primary rule in such situations, which was to remain sober at all times.¬† At the home of a pair of young men with whom he intended liaison, he tipsily related his secret fetish; a short time later, he found that one of the men had injected his scrotum with anesthetic, severed his testicles with one clean swipe of a scalpel, and stitched up the incision with a proficiency only garnered through medical training.

When I read this, I literally felt sickened that someone would do something so permanent and destructive to another human being (although, to be honest, recent events in my life have reminded me that doctors have been ripping out women’s reproductive organs with little or no rationale for several hundred years).

At any rate, this man was left in the unenviable situation of reconciling his present  physical state, which many would consider a mutilation, with the fulfillment of his fantasy.

But what was really interesting to me was this:¬† when asked how he was coping in ‘normal life’ without those body parts deemed essential by most men, he said that he had only one overriding problem.

He never knew now when he was attracted to a man.

He related that attraction to him, in the past, had been manifested by ‘getting a stiffy’ and without this physical road sign, he didn’t quite know how to negotiate dating’s complex map of highways and byways.¬† It was uncharted territory for him, and he was being forced to re-learn attraction in a new and different way.

While we’re speaking anecdotally, these dichotomous examples are consistent with much of what I know and read about male and female attraction.¬† Women tend to encounter attraction through the mind and emotional centre, after which it seeps into their bodies.¬† Men experience attraction first in their bodies, before it potentially transforms into romantic feeling.¬† And please note, I’m not trying to judge either route in a qualitative way, just to understand.

So what do you think?  Is this true?  And if so, what does it mean for men and women as they attempt to hook up with the right romantic partner?

I’ve had occasion recently to ponder the aesthetics of this bio-mechanical apparatus which allows ‘me’ to travel throughout the world during my lifetime.

It began during a routine chiropractic appointment.¬† I was gabbing away, as my joints were being stretched and popped, regarding the significance of the Spirit Intuitive Reading I had had on¬† New Year’s Eve with Heather Embree, and how the comments she made had resonated fully with me, but had also surprised me.

When speaking of potential romance in my future, Heather described a man she felt I would soon meet, and as she listed his characteristics — he would see the big picture and care deeply about the issues surrounding humanity and the planet; he would enjoy debating ideas with me, often with a wicked sense of humour; he would respect my opinions and desires; he would be someone who truly engaged in life — I felt that she’d knocked one out of the park.¬† This man being sketched in the air in front of me would be someone I would wish to spend time with.

I would meet him, she believed, at an arts event, one we were both attending, she added helpfully.¬† But I was startled when she directed, “So make sure you always look good when you go out into public.”

This took me aback for a couple of reasons.

Heather is an exceptionally beautiful young woman, but her life partner is a man much older than she, and, if one chooses to make such judgments, not nearly as high on the ‘attractiveness’ scale:¬† it seemed unlikely she had chosen him for either his looks or his habiliments.

And then, of course, there was the notion that she was in a profession that acknowledged the prominence of the spirit:¬† I was surprised that she felt a snazzy outfit and a charming coiffure would be more necessary in finding a soul-mate than … well, a charming soul!

As I was describing my confusion on this issue to my chiropractor, a fit and attractive young woman in the prime of life, I saw her observing me with an appraising eye.

“She’s right,” she declared, shortly.¬† “I mean, you remind me of that show, ‘The Worst Outfit’.”

“Not that your outfits are as bad as the ones on that show,” she replied hastily, “but think how great you’d look after one of those make-overs.”

“You,” she stated emphatically, “are a diamond in the rough.¬† You just need your edges chipped off.”

“Hey!” I retorted gamely.¬† “I want people to see who I really am, not just my packaging,”

“How else do you know who you’re attracted to, except by how they look?” my chiropractor queried.¬† “Like, there are three men in a line at a party.¬† How do you know which one you’re attracted to except by their looks and dress?”

I pondered this for a moment.

“Well, I guess I’d wait until they SAID something.”

It seemed a perfectly reasonable statement to me, but it raised the most deprecating of facial expressions in my health care practitioner.

“Nah,” she replied disdainfully.¬† “I know within 15 seconds of seeing a man whether I’m attracted to him or not.”

“Hmmm,” I said thoughtfully.¬† “You see, to me, that seems sort of … shallow.”

Okay, I didn’t actually say that last part out loud, because when someone is holding your cranium in both hands, ready to exert forces on it which might, given optimal angles, sever it completely from your neck, you don’t want to piss them off.

So all I said was, “Hmmm.”

I must add that, rather than hurt or umbrage, my reaction to these statements was … well, amusement.¬† I mean, how often is it that you get fashion advice at the same time as spinal alignment?

But it did get me thinking.

Quite honestly, I feel I’m past the age when it’s either necessary or appropriate to put all my goods in the shop window.¬† And it disturbs me that fifty years after women marched for equal rights, our worth as individuals, not to mention as romantic partners, is still so linked to our appearance.

Yes, that’s the crux of it:¬† even in our enlightened age, I feel that men are judged by what they do, and women by how they look.

I’m reminded of this on those rare occasions when I see news reports of major fashion shows:¬† the women strut onto the runway clad in the strangest get-ups imaginable, outfits which restrict their movement and limit their activities in the most significant of ways.¬† But when the male designer emerges at the end of the show, he is invariably clad in a pair of black pants and a black turtle neck.¬† Why?¬† Well, he has WORK to do, he can’t be spending all day on his wardrobe!

And I realize that men are hard-wired differently than women, that they are more visual in terms of attractions than we are.¬† But still … do I really want to be with a man who has chosen me on the basis of physical attractiveness when that attractiveness is fading as the years chug by, and can be altered in an instant by one wrong move on the freeway?

That makes about as much sense to me as an unthinking obeisance to a god who threatens to smush me like an ant if I don’t toe the line laid out by his legal representatives on this planet.

Nope, don’t think so.

So now I’m in a quandary.¬† And need some fresh ideas.

What do YOU think?  New wardrobe?  Or shall I maintain the old rumpled exterior, and keep looking for a man who sees beyond it?

I’m waiting for your comments.