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Attraction, Part 2 [Sep. 9th, 2003|01:20 am]

Something else that disturbs me is that, in many ways, I seem to have fallen for what the popular media sells as “attractive”. There are some ways that I don't completely agree with the party line, but I worry that my overall tastes are distorted. Where they aren't distorted, I worry that they're perverse.

I'm a little wary of the palliative[1] “everyone is beautiful”. There is more than a grain of truth to that statement, but anything that general risks diluting the metric being considered.

In a similar way, I don't buy the argument “everyone is the best person they can be” self-esteem booster: if just being unique is the filter, then everyone gets it, and we're back to a [relative] neutral point. As such, it's a moot point.

In what I call my “window-shopping criteria” (in a ha ha only serious way), I tend to notice the short, petite, long-haired brunettes with open faces, engaging smiles, and lively eyes.

One problem with this set of criteria, of course, is that I have to eliminate the younger-than-half-my-age set (certain Oingo Boingo songs to the contrary). I don't know if I came by this preference naturally or — my personal theory — I first noticed girls when I was 15 or so, and since I didn't do anything about it then, I' still hung up about 15-year-old girls ... some 16 years later.

Which feeds into the image that the media loves to project, that of the waifish, clingy teenage girl as sex object. I kinda like it, then I feel a little disgusted with myself for liking it.

So where's the line between “that's just what you like” and “you've been programmed by Big Media to like certain rare types[2]”. I currently work around it by hiding from all relationships and just enjoying the scenery, but...

[1] It's way too late for me to be able to spell “palliative” correctly. Kill me now. (Or just feed me more Arrogant Bastard Ale, and maybe I won't care anymore.)

[2] My theory is that the media will always promote the outlier, more-rare body type as the beauty ideal. This lets them make the rest of us feel less attractive, thus getting us to buy gym memberships, diet pills, different clothes, etc, etc. And I think that this has been a constant throughout history; when being fat was a status symbol (of having enough to eat), that was the rare, more desirable state; now that we have an embarassment of riches (or, at least, rich food), the skinny waif is the ideal.


[User Picture]From: deliriumdreams
2003-09-09 08:38 am (UTC)
First, I really really need to get me some of that Arrogant Bastard Ale. I praise the person who thought of such a perfect name. I only hope it's flavor lives up to the expectations the name has created.

Second, I believe the media only has the ability to affect how attractive we find some one to a minimal degree. Unless of course you are just looking for a girl to hang on your arm and make you look better. But ultimately, what makes your head turn, what you look at twice is something completely different. Yes, I can look at some guy with rock hard abs that belongs in an underwear commercial and drool and maybe even flirt or have a quick little fantasy in my head. But, that isn't the guy I want to date.
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[User Picture]From: tkil
2003-09-10 12:40 am (UTC)

Arrogant Bastard Ale

Note that ABA is available in quite a few places around ABQ. Someone told me that Quarters has it, and my friends in Los Alamos said that their corner store is carrying it these days.

So you might be in luck.

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[User Picture]From: deliriumdreams
2003-09-10 06:25 am (UTC)

Re: Arrogant Bastard Ale

I am so going to go find me some. :-)
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[User Picture]From: evelynne
2003-09-16 06:57 am (UTC)
What about the tall blondes with smokey, half-lidded gazes and an air of mystery?

Seriously, maybe some of it is programming by the media. But on the other hand, I have always found people attractive IRL who aren't "pretty enough" for the media, so just as a practical matter it's hard to apply media criteria to "real" people.

Also, I've found that it's possible to change your preferences if you want to. Although I am naturally thin myself, I am bothered by people obsessing about their weight, and began to try to look at women with a less critical eye. Somehow I learned to appreciate fuller figures, to the point that I prefer them, and looking at the VS models (sticks with boobs) is a little painful. Some people are naturally that thin, but very very very few.

Wait a minute. Den Beste wrote about this. Let me find the link ... well, there are a couple of articles. Here's one:


He also wrote another, which I cannot find (or maybe someone else wrote it), wherein he said that he used to look at women in terms of media ideals, and would find almost every one lacking. Then he realized this was silly, and began instead to look for something individually attractive in each one. And he began to see beautiful women everywhere. That pretty much describes what happened to me.
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[User Picture]From: evelynne
2003-10-12 04:45 pm (UTC)
Hey, the link popped up today. It took me a couple minutes to remember who I was talking to about it and when, but if you care, the link is String Bikinis. :)
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[User Picture]From: tkil
2003-10-14 12:38 am (UTC)


Hee, 30+ days later, and you remembered. Thanks!

It’s a pretty interesting link, especially his views on the current crop of young women using the power of beauty over men. I think I’m one of those suckers admirers. Alas.

That doesn’t change my view that I’m still far too superficial when it comes to looking at women. It will be self-correcting eventually, I’m sure...
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