Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Undesired vs. Disliked

I've been thinking about some implications of a point from the Confessions post, that men don't feel desired even when we are. So that means we men can't see desire for what it is. Men must either miss it entirely or see it as something else; like being valued for our usefulness. And this makes me wonder if, perhaps, when we men are not desired we percieve that as being less valued, we feel that the woman feels that we are not useful, we feel disliked? Usually I have more weight of personal observation than this when I bring something up; I'm really guessing here. But I think there may be a meaningful overlap between "women who I thought disliked me on first sight" and "women who were not attracted to my type." Maybe some of the time I've confused simple lack of attraction for dislike.

I'm sure that overlap is not all misperception, though. People pick up signals from one's looks about one's views, attitudes, subcultural affiliations, and there's obviously another big overlap between not liking those things about a person and not being physically attracted. I've been told that to women in general, nobody is attractive if the woman dislikes the person, regardless of their looks. Lots of men separate the two to some extent; e.g. when a man was asked about his admiration for the beautiful, scheming, manipulative, amoral and comic-violent character Shampoo in the anime Ranma 1/2, he replied, "I don't want to DATE her." (There's a whole lot of correspondence in me between not liking something about someone and not finding them attractive, but I admit I made sure Google Safe Search was off when I went looking for a Shampoo picture.)

I also suspect there's some wrong-way feedback in there, in terms of automatic extra dislike when we (everybody, not just men) look at people who would be really attractive except for whatever. I think of a certain gorgeous young woman at my last workplace, who was not very competent at her work and also tended to give orders outside her sphere of responsibility. During the time I was there she became even more disliked than her behavior accounted for. A young male friend burst out at one point, "She doesn't get to do this just because she's got big boobs!" Frankly, I think if she had been totally unattractive, she wouldn't have gotten as strong a reaction. I've observed the same reaction in women discussing a conventionally attractive man who was the wrong type.

1 comment:

  1. As a woman I can say from experience that there were guys I found very attractive in a shallow sense and desirable, and once I found out they were a "jerk" actually did find them less desirable...still conventionally attractive, just not the kind of guy I would date, or recommend to date...not that I would've talked anyone out of dating that person, I just wouldn't bring up the person as a suggestion. Conversely, I've found guys that weren't conventionally attractive, but had a heart of gold that I was STRONGLY attracted to, and yes that attraction was physical, just not on that shallow level..sometimes the old adage treat others how you would like to be treated is the best way to describe how female attraction works. My husband of 6 years isn't conventionally attractive but I describe him as the best looking guy EVER! I try to avoid this kind of conversation with him though, because like most guys he only sees the shallow attraction when he applies it to himself...There are many supposed mis-matched couples that prove women aren't as shallow as they seem to be...same with men...