are looks important?


The sad truth is that, while beauty really is only skin-deep, those of us who are considered more attractive get benefits. It’s been proven in countless studies and illustrated by the media. Mainstream movies, TV shows, as well as romance literature rarely focus on the romantic hero or heroine’s fantastic personality and ignore their humpbacks and hairy, wart-ridden faces. Life isn’t like romance novels, but they do illustrate, if not exaggerate societal ideals of masculinity and femininity.

I’m not claiming to be more evolved than most, perhaps just different. As I age, I find I’m less and less interested in appearance. It just doesn’t matter that much. Sure, some people are more attractive than others. I’m not blind. I can see the difference between an Abercrombie model and, say, Santa Claus. I’m way more physically attracted to the 18 year old male model, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to want to go out with him. It’s not insecurity, either. I just am more attracted to personality than looks. If “Abs” has a fabulous personality and the maturity of a 40 year old, then, sure, let’s give it a shot.

I’ve been starting the “dating” thing, for lack of a more contemporary term, and I look at profiles. I look at pictures, I look at interests. And I chat with new people. I admit that sometimes I won’t even send a message to someone who seems “too” good-looking. I admit that I have a projection that they won’t be interested in me. But, when I choose from among the “normal” looking people, a very wide swath of humanity, I only look to see if they look friendly or nice. I like a smile; I like the eyes. It’s true. I actually dated someone for a while whose pictures did nothing for me. We met anyway, and we talked for three hours, and at the end of the evening, I was very attracted to him.

Chemistry, for me, has a few ingredients: looks, timing, attitude, personality, and interest level. There is absolutely that indefinable “something” that occasionally tells me I am not attracted to someone sexually, even if I like their other qualities. And, sometimes, I’m physically attracted to someone who I would never go out with, because of their manner or character.

In the last year, I’ve met all sorts of people online. I almost always chat a while online before meeting anyone, and I’ve actually met only a small percent of those people. That seems normal, and truthfully, safer. Out of the bunch, the two I’ve been most attracted to are polar opposites.

One of them – I’ve mention him before – is casual sex guy. He happens to be an attractive man, with a long, lean body and nice muscles. Have to say it’s been a while since I got to touch a real, actual ab muscle… I like it. Who wouldn’t  What makes me like him, however, is that he’s nice. He’s funny, smart, and attentive. We get along really well, and we have amazing chemistry. He has the moves, too. lol The abs are cool, but they actually don’t increase his attractiveness. I kid you not.

The second man I “met” a while ago. His picture seemed fine. We chatted for days online. He listened, he contributed, and he seemed to care. I was going through some rough stuff with my son and it was really nice to have his support. We’d been flirting the whole time, too, so at some point we agreed to meet. In person, he’s a big guy. More overweight than I am. But I didn’t care. I still liked him and was very attracted to him. It didn’t work out. Not on my end, but for him. Before I left, he held me for a while, and he ran his hands through my hair and touched my face. In those few moments, I felt paradise. His touch surpassed anything I’ve ever felt. I am sure that we would have been good together. If you saw him, you might not think that this heavy, geeky, average-looking guy would turn me inside out. But he did.

What got me thinking about this was a story I’d written wherein I described a man’s hot body. The story was based on a picture I’d seen. When I sent this story to a few friends, I wondered if they thought that the physique was important to me. The admiration of the body in that story is there because that man looks the way he does. If I had been writing about a man with a less defined build, I’d have written the story differently.

Looks, and physical shape are parts of who we are, but do not define us.

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