Thursday, October 21, 2010


Apparently all I had to do was write about my libido not working to start it up again. Inconvenient, but reassuring to know that no important nerves were lost.

My neurotic writing on the subject of men's attractiveness, and mine in specific, is probably getting boring. Sorry for that, but I'm primarily writing about it to help me work it out.

I had a dream last night that showed me some improvement in my attitude about men's attractiveness. It also showed me that I have a way to go. (I very rarely remember dreams.) It was one of those dreams where your mind borrows from a real-life person to construct the dream person, but they aren't really the same. I was in a room with a woman, at least 20 years older than me, based on a professor at the college at which my wife teaches. I always thought the real woman was pretty attractive. In the dream, we knew each other somewhat, but not well. We were both waiting for some medical procedure and were incompletely dressed. She was showing me plans for a house she wanted to build, which was going to be gorgeous, though energy-inefficient; I gave her a few suggestions for better insulation. She talked about someone sharing it with her, and the shared price. The way she told me seemed purposeful not casual, so I asked why. She looked me up and down in a very sexy way. I was suprised, but considered her extra weight and liver spots and thought, "Yes! She means it!". In real life she recently married another professor who is at least 30 years older than me, white hair, pot belly.

My separated wife is very good-looking, one of the best-looking women in our friend group. If someone saw her after reading this, they'd tell me something like, "Good grief. You're thinking liver spots are a necessity when this woman married you?" But during the course of the marriage I came to think of myself as quite unattractive to her, because I wanted sex so much more than she. I tend to blame it on the culture, but I'm sure quite a bit comes from that experience. She often complimented me on my looks (though not as often as I complimented her), but that rarely translated into making me come. When I get a compliment from a woman on my looks, I think it means she'd like to see me across the table at a nice restaurant that I'm paying for. It never means to me that she'd like to see me naked in her bed.

This is a bad time to be thinking about my looks. I can't get the spots where the pins (large and flat-ended, think machinist's pin punch not sewing pin) stick into my skull wet, for fear of infection. So I can't wash my hair. I can't remove the brace which is lined with fleece, so I can't exercise for fear of sweat I can't get rid of. The framework makes it hard to shave, so my knight's-cut beard is now just a mass of hair from my neck well up my cheeks. The most comfortable position for the brace is chest sunken and stomach pushed out so it's supported partially by my abdominal muscles. Anything paranoid I'm thinking about my looks is true right now.


  1. "When I get a compliment from a woman on my looks, I think it means she'd like to see me across the table at a nice restaurant that I'm paying for."

    Become the kind of man who doesn't pay for dinner. Then you'll know that women are actually wanting you and not just what you can provide.

  2. Become the kind of man who doesn't pay for dinner.

    Have to admit the first thought I had of "the kind of man who doesn't pay for dinner" was very far from a positive image.

    Thinking it through I'd rather like a first date at a nice restaurant where the understanding was that we'd go dutch because that suits my definition of a civilized and friendly arrangement which carries no expectations (especially if we were at a nice restaurant because he was as adventurous as I am about food and it was also understood we'd do a lot of sharing and trading, but that's strictly me), but that's still not my first thought of "the kind of man who doesn't pay for dinner", a cheapskate is. For that matter I'd be absolutely cool with buying dinner for a man I had my on, but not because that was the kind of guy he was.

    Well that was a nice and confusing look at gender roles and my own prejudices...

  3. My first thought wasn't positive either. I don't know that I can be the kind of man that doesn't pay for dinner. I want to provide and I think I will always value myself for providing. It would be a better society if women made just as much as men. And considering providing to be part of my value as a man is clearly an artifact of that unjust society. But I don't think it's a BAD artifact in itself.

    As far as expectations go, I'm the kind of man that pays for dinner and then refuses to have sex until we're married. I'll generally try to get the tab even if it's not a date, but I don't insist on in in any case.

    BTW, LabRat, I'm with you on the adventurous eating. I love trying new styles/nationalites of food and and I've never met a style I didn't like. Sharing and trading food is great because then you get to try twice as many things, or more if you've got more sharers at the table.

  4. Interesting reactions from you guys.

    In my experience, a guy who pays for everything solely because I have a vagina (not because he knows I make less and not just to be nice) is a guy riddled with other gender double-standards; ones that don't work out so nicely for me, like: "If I want sex that's normal but if she wants sex she's a slut."

    My best dating experiences have all been with guys who saw me as human first and female second. They actually wanted to get to know me, not just "buy" sex from me with free dinners; they saw me as more than just the gatekeeper of a vagina they wanted to get into; they didn't act so sexually aggressive with me that I was forced to be the gatekeeper. Sex, if it happened, was treated like a fun mutual activity and not "WOOOO I outsmarted her I'm gonna do a touchdown dance and wait a minute maybe she gets naked that fast with everyone OMG RUN AWAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!"

    I suspect the kind of dinner-buyings both of you are referring to are of a very different nature, mind you. I'm just saying that the concept of "guy who goes dutch on dates" shouldn't have a negative connotation. It should have a "we'll wait and see what's up with this" connotation, just like the concept of "guy who always pays for dates."

  5. I certainly see what you're saying about the guys you were with, and you're not the first woman I've heard mention the problem. It's such an ugly concept, the idea that you're buying sex for the price of a meal. The tradition of men buying, of course, goes back to times when the idea of waiting until marriage for sex was pretty normal.

    I buy partly, I hope, because I'm nice, and partly because I'm kind of old-fashioned, and I have an old-fashioned gender identity. I like P.G. Wodehouse and Sir Walter Scott. I buy, I hold doors, I tip my hat, I carry bags, I bear pain stoically. It's part of what being manly means to me. Sometimes these trappings of an earlier time repel people because it reminds them of a time when gender inequalities were much worse. Some people like them, though; after all it's not like letting me hold the door is the spell that restores the Patriarchy to it's old dominance. It's a matter of taste, and it doesn't say anything much about moral qualities either way.