In the Eye of the Beholder

So, what am I looking for?  I have no idea.  A couple of friends recently pointed out a pattern in my female friends and acquaintances (tall, long hair, glasses…see Joy Wilson for an example) but I’m not really sure I buy into that…that seems like more of a coincidence than an actual pattern. One of the women “in my life” who I honestly thought could have been Mrs. Charming was “short” (under 5′ 0″) with chin length curls and no glasses in sight.

When my friends were pointing out my apparent taste in women, I tried to analyze the last few women I’d found to be noticeably “attractive” and I’ve come to a couple of conclusions.

First of all neither height, hair length or eyewear are common denominators.  Nor is hair color, eye color, bust size, body shape or ethnicity. In fact, I can’t identify any common denominators at all.

Second, I can honestly say that for me personality can be more physically attractive than purely external features.  Sure, there are things that might catch my eye or turn my head, but a woman who shares my interests and I enjoy talking with becomes more physically attractive to me than any girl who is “just a pretty face.”

I realize that might seem obvious to some people, but for a lot of guys that’s a concept that’s simply impossible to grasp.  Several of my friends included.

So here’s how I explain it:  The girl I mentioned above, the one that could have been Mrs. Charming, she’s cute.  By most guy’s standards, I’d imagine that she’s cute and reasonably pretty.  If you’re into tall women or big busts, she’s not gonna be your type, but otherwise she’s certainly attractive.

To me she’s very close to perfect.  Her most attractive feature is the sparkle in her eyes when she laughs. She’s past thirty, she’s no longer “young” and yet she’s so fresh that I forget she’s out of high-school.  Never mind her degree from a prestigious northwest college.

Knowing her makes the shape of her face perfect, the arch of her nose sublime and the color of her lips adorable.  Strangers would see in her a sweet person with an engaging smile; I see in her the potential to be a wonderful mother, a dedicated partner, and an enthusiastic lover.

THAT is what I find to be truly beautiful. And knowing those things enhances her beauty, makes it shine, makes it last in the minds eye long after she’s out of sight. I guess that doesn’t really explain anything.  That’s just the way it works for me.

And it’s not limited just to her.  A lot of the women I find attractive are attractive for many reasons, less then half of them physical.  But the non-physical things enhance the physical.

And after about three hours of discussion with my friends, and quite a few beers (or in my case scotch on the rocks), I can safely say that’s nearly universally true for all guys.

I’m not a fan of the “number grading” system some guys use…in fact I find it more degrading than useful as no two men see a woman at the same place on the scale…but for the purposes of this illustration it will have to do…

Every single guy I know has at least one example of personality changing a 7 to a 10 or a 5 to an 8 or whatever.  At first we were debating if the “personality goggles” effect was the same as the “beer goggles” effect, but the beer goggles come off after a few hours.  The change that personality makes is usually permanent.

This is probably the only thing that really differentiates men from monkeys.  Or dogs.

So my first question is, does it work the same way for women?  What do you look for?  What triggers attraction for you?  Can personality overcome too many cheeseburgers?

I had a close female friend tell me that women are less physically selective.  I’m really not sure I believe this, but then most of my female friends seem to think guys are somewhere between highly and VERY physically selective.  Which is rubbish.

I know for a stone cold FACT that 99% of guys couldn’t tell if a woman gained five pounds if their life depended on it.  We simply aren’t geared to notice.  Or care.

Now, guys ARE pigs.  Even nice guys are pigs sometimes.  Even the most respectful, honorable, decent guy has said to himself “NICE RACK!” when a girl in a bikini walked by.  The difference between decency and depravity is a) not saying it out loud, and b) NOT ACTING ON YOUR BASE URGES. The first is easy, the second always trips up guys at the dumbest moments.

My 10 Simple Commandments of male decency: 
1.) It is only acceptable to whistle at a woman if you know her VERY well and if it won’t offend her. 
2.) Commenting on a woman’s physical attributes is NEVER ok. 
3.) Praising a woman’s physical attributes should be done privately and sincerely.
4.) If you aren’t clear on the difference between 2 and 3, don’t say anything at all.
5.) If she’s uncomfortable, you’ve fucked up.
6.) There is a BIG difference between making her blush and causing her to smile-and-blush.  See 5
7.) Listen more than you talk. As a guy, your mouth will do you in faster than anything else.  If you don’t say it, it can’t be wrong.
8.) If she’s brave enough to share her feelings, have the balls to share yours.
9.) If you figure out how to balance 7 and 8 you are straddling the universal paradox and you should thank God, the Stars and ALL the little angels that you haven’t fucked everything up. Yet.
10.) Even following these commandments will not save you.  You are a man, and you will therefore do something stupid eventually. DO NOT COMPOUND IT by throwing away decency after the fact.

Now, obviously these aren’t going to cover everything.  I do like my friend C’s personal mantra: “When in doubt, keep it in your pants.”  It works for breath mints, cell phones, and lots of other things.

So what am I looking for?  I still don’t know.  But hopefully I’ll remember how to act when I find her.