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.