I’ve had several conversations recently about the subject of attraction, so I decided to collect many of the interesting points here (some direct quotes from emails, blog discussions and such). I’ve always been very happy that Jess and I are completely on the same page regarding attraction. Most people have completely unreasonable expectations of relationships and think that when someone falls in love with you, this turns off some magical brain switch and they are never supposed to find anyone else attractive again. I think Soupytwist wrote a great article about it here. Relationships are a choice. They don’t mean you stop being human, and stop finding people attractive, they just mean that you commit to that one person and choose to be with only them (of course there are some who believe in “open marriages”, polygamy, etc., but that is outside the scope of this particular discussion).
I love that we can actually discuss such things openly as it really makes me feel like my relationship is truly open and honest. There is no jealousy or guilt for finding someone attractive or even having a “crush” on someone. I think these things make us all feel alive and energize us. I do not believe that there is anything unsavory inherent in these feelings as long as you’re not lying, cheating or somehow betraying the loyalty, respect and trust of your partner. It’s nice to be able to share these things instead of feeling like you have to hide or deny them. When Jess once told me about a slight crush she had, my reaction was “I can see that, he’s a cool guy. If I were into guys, I might have a crush on him.” I didn’t feel that this in any way demeaned our relationship or meant Jess didn’t love me as much any more or something. I thought it was healthy and honest. Jess and I both think that attraction, flirting, crushes, etc., are fun, exhilarating, energizing, natural aspects of life. It’s nice to be able to share that with your chosen mate.
This leads to the discussion of being the recipient of romantic feelings/crushes/etc. I know my strengths and weaknesses. I know I’ll never be the guy that turns heads when I walk into a room. I’ll never be that guy who’s just so damn mysterious or charming that people immediately are drawn to me and want to get to know me better. I’m not someone who people form crushes on. In fact I’ve joked that I’m “flirt-proof” because people generally just don’t seem to flirt with me, even if they’re flirty people (and this was true even when I was single, though naturally there were exceptions). The thing is, in the big picture I’m okay with this. I know that the select few who bother to stick around long enough to peel through my many layers like a bloomin’ onion will find something unique and rewarding. I’ve always tended to have a very small circle of really close friends. Not by choice, but because I find it extremely difficult to transition “acquaintances” into “friends”.
I’ve also been the recipient of some unrequited feelings (yes, hard for me to believe too). When I was single, I was always scared to reveal to someone when I had romantic feelings, because I was scared that they would not feel the same and after that they would be uncomfortable around me and our friendship would be ruined. This, however, was one of my infamous internal double standards where I believed that the rest of the world operates differently from my alien brain, because if someone had feelings for me, then hat’s about the highest compliment someone could pay me. I would feel bad that I couldn’t reciprocate, but I would not be uncomfortable. I would also do my best to make sure that the other person didn’t feel weird for having told me and, as far as I was concerned, our friendship was not affected negatively at all. I would ride that high for a long time, flattered that someone would feel that way about me.
Jess said that she doesn’t think she would really want to be someone who always had people falling for her. Then again, she’s not too crazy about the idea of fame, and I think I would love it. I said that while I would, of course, rather have substance over looks, I would be lying if I said I don’t think it would be cool if people had crushes on me. Really I think that most, if not all people want to be liked and feel wanted and attractive. I would be totally lying if I said I didn’t think the idea of being some gorgeous head turning hunk had some appeal. I’d love to be so charming that every woman I met swooned. I’m sure that this is all related psychologically to my own insecurities, desire to be loved, and my constant feeling that no one ever likes me as much as I like them. I’m incredibly good and accurate and analyzing myself, I just can’t seem to actually do anything about any of it.
At this point in the conversation, I stopped, and I laughed. I laughed because I suddenly realized that it was actually kind of mean for me to wish that. Wishing for people to fall for me even though they can’t have me. How cruel!
I guess I’m just a selfish, heartless, bastard though, because I still think it would be cool.