Trying to better understand attraction.

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Trying to better understand attraction.

Post by Archetype694 on Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:35 am

This query is somewhat aimed at the older dating set (30's+), but all input is welcome. I pre apologize for the long rant, had a few beers and I can be long winded.

I've have been putting effort into expanding my social circle and have had great success in doing so. I became mutual friends with a cool and amazing couple and for whatever reason they started introducing me to their close friends who seemed to take a liking to me as well. My social circle has since grown to include many loving and supportive people.

Mind you just little over a year ago I was practically friendless, so to go from such to being considered a part of a wonderful extended family is practically the emotional equivalent of me hitting the Powerball.

Getting to my question.

As my social circle has grown, I've come to know amazing people, whom then introduce me to their friends.  Some of these people are attractive woman who for whatever reason occasionally flirt with me. While pleasant, I can find it confusing as it is something I am unused to. Yes I do get that flirting is a fun part of banter and small talk and often means nothing in itself, but the body language I read sometimes hints that occasionally there might be more to it.

As I have stated in previous rants I realize I am unattractive physically. In the past I allowed it to play a large part in how I lived my life, but thankfully I can state that I no longer care. Not in a bad way mind you, I do try to groom and dress reasonably decent. It's more that it does not even ring up on my list of concerns with how I deal with the day to day. It's a different frame of mind then I used to have.

To sum up the facts looks wise, I'm obese. Thanks to Kung Fu I move with grace and intent but I'm no looker. I do strive to avoid the typical fat guy stereotypes. I am making changes to my diet and have slowly been losing weight, but I do from the desire to improve in my art then to be better looking to others. Well, that and I would prefer to live past 50. Razz

If I had to say what my spirit movie avatar would be, I guess it would be something like Hagrid, with a scholarly, curious bent. A cute friend had mentioned to me the other day that I have a warm personality and it is something I do try to cultivate. I've also been told I have a way of making people feel at ease.

I guess what I have been trying to ramble out is that I know attraction isn't 100% just looks based, for some people at least.

How do I learn to trust what others tell me (in the context of attraction). If that does not sound crazy. In my youth I threw away the chance at what could of been amazing relationships just because of the thoughts that this person was, too interesting, too smart, too pretty, too whatever to be interested in a guy like me. I would like to not repeat this mistake going foward.

Thank you for your time.

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Re: Trying to better understand attraction.

Post by Prajnaparamita on Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:22 am

Hey Archetype, I don't know how helpful this is coming from a younger woman, but in the past I've found myself attracted to--no, not just attracted to, lusting over larger men (and I'm meaning like over 300 pounds and that's not all from muscle lol), when I at the time had a slim/fit body type. Digging back in my memory, I'm trying to recall what about these dudes (who I lated hooked up with) gave me such a ladyboner and an urge to immediately hop into bed with them, but the thing is, both of them were experienced martial artists as well, and they knew how to carry their bodies with grace and power, and when they entered a room they didn't shirk away or try to hide or diminish themselves, but rather stood with pride. And let me tell you, it's captivating to watch really. It draws you to a person, makes you want to be around them, because that kind of feeling is contagious. Additionally neither of them dressed or presented in typical fat guy way--no baggy oversized clothes meant to hide themselves in--rather, they both had their own very unique sense of style. One knew that he had really beautiful eyes, and so he was like "fuck the patriarchy, I'm going to wear eyeliner or mascara to show off the best part of my face, and it's going to look amazing". The other had a really beautiful long mane of dreadlocks, which he put great effort into maintaining and decorated them with little rings and spirals of gold. If there were Black elves, (and I'm not talking that racist ass drow shit), they would have had hair like his. Basically, that just is to say, two of the major factors that lead to me being attracted to these men are two things that you've stated yourself that you already do. Does knowing in a less abstract manner that those traits are things that other people do find attractive in men with body types like yours help in giving you a more concrete understanding of why people might become attracted to you?

Also, finally, please don't knock the importance of making others feel at ease! I know for me at least, and I'm sure many many others, it is impossible to develop attraction for someone if I can't first feel safe and comfortable with them. It's just a non-starter. If I'm wondering "geez, is this person safe?" or just feeling awkward or uncomfortable in their presence, attraction is just outright impossible, because I can't feel attraction for someone if the emotion they elicit in me is "I can't wait for this interaction to be over with already". Sure, it's possible to feel comfortable with someone but not feel attraction, but it isn't really possible to feel uncomfortable with someone and feel attraction. So don't underestimate that, it's an important part of attraction.

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Re: Trying to better understand attraction.

Post by Hirundo Bos on Fri Feb 05, 2016 1:42 pm

Thoughts about outside appearance aren't really my strongest suit – I've managed to not be so aware of my own – but I do have the impression that while there are certain cultural norms for attractiveness, it's not that hard to find people whose preferences go outside that norm. So in addition to attraction not only being about looks, you're likely to run into people who are attracted to your looks... just like Prajna was attracted to the men she mentions in her post.

With that said, I do have experience with feeling unattractive... my thoughts about my personality/behavior/social skills over the years have ranged from how they're toxic (for a period in my early twenties, they were), to how I'm disgusting, or annoying, or laughable, or easy to dismiss, or to how I feel today, which is generally likeable, mostly a good person, but not someone who sets loins on fire. And not really someone who deserves to be liked in that way...

And I have many examples of advances I've turned down because I didn't dare believe I'd read the situation right. (One time, someone contacted me online and asked if I wanted to be her lover, invited me for a beer to check chemistry, then back to her hotel room, then into her bed, and I laid there in my underwear and still wasn't sure if I was reading the situation right. Sexy things actually happened after all, although communication could have been better.)

So yeah, learning to trust other's attraction is probably a good idea. And trying to understand attraction is probably a step in that direction. Maybe more people, like Prajna, would like to share stories about what attracts them in people they've been attracted to?

Besides that, a thing that's helped me trust messages I've gotten about attraction has been to practice trusting my own guts in other situations. Found myself in situations where I've had to make quick judgments, then seen the consequences of those judgements play out, and they're usually in the range between okay and pretty good. (To take an example I went to a low level LARP event last year, which was my first, I've avoided it just because of the need to make quick judgments. But when the event was over, the person who ran the thing came and told me I'd done such a good job keeping the group together, he felt he could step back and enjoy his own part.)

From what you write, it looks like you're onto something like that already. Putting work in one area of your life is likely to spill over into others. Maybe you can give yourself assignments that goes directly towards trusting low level compliments from others... and maybe with all the other positive changes, some of the trust will just come along on its own...
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Re: Trying to better understand attraction.

Post by Enail on Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:12 pm

Not much to add, but just to second Prajna that how someone moves can be a huge attraction trigger, as can other visual aspects like how they use their facial features regardless of the attractiveness of those features in abstract (think of how common it is to get a crush on a movie character but not the actor that plays them or not other characters by them, and I've even seen identical twins where I found one dramatically more attractive than the other because of this kind of thing), and non-visual aspects like voice, touch, comfort and conversation.
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Re: Trying to better understand attraction.

Post by Werel on Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:54 pm

Yeah, seconding Prajna and Enail that how someone moves/walks/talks/animates their face is a big part of attraction for me. Grace and intent can go a long way, as can other kinds of physical presence. (I think the second half of this thread touches on that.) I have had some raging crushes on fat dudes who used their bodies well and who had the sort of warm presence you're describing.

I'm also one of those people Hirundo mentioned whose taste ranges well outside of the conventionally attractive. Thinking about the people I've been most attracted to in my life, there's a pretty wide range of body types, from skeletal to obese. It's not that I'm only attracted to non-physical attributes and so "see past" bodies that aren't conventionally hot-- it's that those bodies are actually super hot too. There are certainly other people like me out there, whose lizardbrain switches on for body types other than the kinds you see on TV. If someone is expressing that to you, trust it-- it's not the kind of thing people generally lie about.
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Re: Trying to better understand attraction.

Post by Archetype694 on Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:35 am

I just wanted to say thanks for the thoughtful responses. This is all useful data that I can chew on.

Prajnaparamita wrote:
Does knowing in a less abstract manner that those traits are things that other people do find attractive in men with body types like yours help in giving you a more concrete understanding of why people might become attracted to you?

Yes it does, very much. I was foolish to limit my query to the older dating set.

Hirundo Bos wrote:Putting work in one area of your life is likely to spill over into others. Maybe you can give yourself assignments that goes directly towards trusting low level compliments from others... and maybe with all the other positive changes, some of the trust will just come along on its own...

This does seem to be the case. That in my efforts toward self improvement I have noticed a spillover in other areas. I like your idea of mini challenges. Learning to accept (and believe!) compliments from others is an area I could use work in.

Werel wrote:I think the second half of this thread touches on that.) If someone is expressing that to you, trust it-- it's not the kind of thing people generally lie about.

Thank you for the link.

Your partners friend reminds me of a time I had nailed a bit during improv practice and I had noticed two attractive sisters giving me sly glances. After the end of the bit one of them came up to me and complimented my performance. I'm pretty sure I was being flirted with but could not comprehend why, so I thanked her kindly and did not try to follow up on my hunch. I think I can understand the idea of attraction to someone when seeing them perform. Perhaps it's something about the raw energy channeled into a role and a perceived sense of vulnerability? Whatever it is, it's powerful stuff.

I really appreciate everyone's input and experiences, it is helpful to hear what others think as my own sense of self (in the context of attraction) can be so off kilter.

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