March 26, 1996 · Cavalier Dailiy

Mysteries Found in Attraction's Dance

The writer ponders the origins and reasons underlying sexual attractiveness. She challenges the idea of physical attractiveness projected by popular media. She argues instead that romantic interest is first kindled by a "spark" between two people, perhaps created by a common interest, a fondness for another person's idiosyncrasies, or a connection of uncertain origin. Further, she maintains that intelligence and a sense of humor are two qualities that make men attractive.


1996-03-26 - Cavalier Daily Mysteries Found in Attraction's Dance.pdf
Julia Miller
Cavalier Daily
Cavalier Dailiy
Mysteries Found in Attraction's Dance
Julia Miller
Associate Editor
THERE HE is," my friend whispers. I look up from my coffee and see the traditional University male in the doorway. He is decked out in the local dress - chinos, button-down shirt and requisite baseball cap. "God," my friend sighs, "isn't he beautiful?" Uh, sure.
The fact is, MR. America did not really thrill me. I mean, he was a good looking man, but let's just say he did not exactly blow my skirt up. My friend, on the other hand, was madly infatuated with the godlike creature standing in front of her. That episode made me think. What is it exactly that makes someone attractive and why do those qualities vary so widely from person to person?
Society supposedly gives us a standard of what is considered attractive. For example, Cosmopolitan magazine tells me if I wear short skirts, five inch heels and pout my lips just the right way, men will come from far and wide to beg at my feet. Right. Somehow, I know I will never quite fit that mold and to be honest, I have not seen many women who do. Does any one really expect us to? I think not.
I would like to believe there is more to being attractive than how you look. Most of the men I have been seriously attracted to have started as friends. There usually is not a physical attraction at first, but then one day you notice the way he musses his hair when he is nervous or you find out you have the same favorite Beatles album and, suddenly, an interest is born. By the same token, however, we all have friends who we think are wonderful, but to whom we just are not attracted.
Take, for instance, a good friend of mine. By all accounts, he is a fine specimen. I know women who would give their right lung to spend an evening with him. For me, he is just another guy. Why? He a terrific guy who has all the qualities I supposedly am looking for in a man, and one would think, if I had any sense, I would be chasing after him this very minute. Yet, here I sit, my running shoes safely tucked beneath my bed. It seems there just is no spark between us.
You all know what I am talking about. That bit of energy that makes you want to do strange things like dance in the middle of the road at midnight or splash in public fountains. A spark is a connection between two people that lets you know there is a romantic interest. It is elusive at times, certainly cannot be quantified and, most unfortunately, be conjured up at will. That quality is the very essence of attraction.
Why do we find one person attractive and not another? No one really has an answer. Perhaps it has to do with timing, connections and other hard to pin down variables. Attractiveness, or lack thereof, comes from within. It is deeply rooted in the soul and is an attitude expressed in the smallest gestures, words and glances. It can be mysterious or it can be the epitome of simplicity. It is the confusion and indefinability which makes it so special.
No one will ever completely agree on what characteristics make someone attractive, but some things are pretty much given.
Intelligence is a must. Isn't it nice to be able to talk to someone about something other than the weather or how nice his hair looks? Intelligence is one of those things that can make or break it when it comes to being attractive.
A sense of humor also is of the utmost importance. Life is much too difficult to be serious all the time. A person who can make you laugh is undeniably attractive. There are so many other qualities that make people attractive. What I find interesting, another person might think deadly. I doubt many other people would go weak in the knees if the person they were talking to could sing the song "Julia" by the Beatles, but for me, it would be something truly special. That difference is what makes attraction so wonderful and so unique. It would be horribly dull if we all liked the same type of person (not to mention extremely difficult to get a date).
The fact that I really like a quality in a guy that another girl may not - that propensity to sing from the Beatles' repertoire, for example - makes me who I am. It makes each relationship I have different from the next because perhaps I found a little part of me in another person. What could be more special than sharing that?
Attraction is like a dance. The rhythm and the steps are sometimes unknown, yet we dance to the music as if we were born doing so. Someday, my friend will realize her god has clay feet and she will move on to another dance, and another man. We will continue to circle around each other in the way I think only humans can. We will never know exactly why we are attracted to certain people, but who cares? It is not about what society tells us is attractive, or what we are supposed to find interesting; it is about those unknown intangibles that draw us together. The mystery is what makes life interesting and it is what makes me say: lead me to the dance floor.
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Date Added June 8, 2016
Date Modifed December 24, 2017
Collection Cavalier Daily: articles about gender discrimination

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