Last time I was single, between my first and second marriages, there were a number of women who expressed interest in me. (well, to be specific, ten). One time one of these women had expressed interest in what I'd look like naked. I mentioned that to my ex, at the time still just (I thought) a friend, and she exclaimed "Get in line!" After that we referred to the phenomenon as my line.
Now that I've been single for a while, that's forming again. A lot of it is women who are notably unattractive by conventional (also, unfortunately, by my) standards. (I wish I had better standards.) I think the attraction to me shows a bit of the often-noted phenomenon that women who are not conventionally attractive are invisible in a way.
I try to be nice to everybody, hot girl or not. Just a few days ago the Progressive Gun Fan noted that since his surgery I'd been one of his most frequent vistors, despite living over an hour away and being allergic to his cats. I'm interested in people, I like to listen. I'll give backrubs and massages to just about anybody. If you're a woman, I still rush to open doors for you, offer to carry things, etc, regardless of whether I want you or not. And I think a lot of women are not used to being treated that way, and they like it. Combined with the lack of pressure for sex, I suppose it makes me kind of look like a knight in shining armor.
But there's still something different in these 'invisible women' than 'invisible men'. Every woman who doesn't already know me has been on guard against sexual interest at first; their chief worry starts out that I want us to be friends with benefits or fuckbuddies. So while certainly women can have trouble getting sex when they want, generally they seem to perceive it differently.
I think there is probably a difference in expectations that shapes the difference in perception. Kissing the pretty poly girl New Year's Eve was a really big deal for me, and I've been trying to figure out why her rather than the other girls I've kissed. It wasn't just her looks. What I figured out is that that was the first time I've done anything sex-related where the woman had no conceivable motivation besides "he's hot". She doesn't know me, she'd only exchanged a few sentences with me before. It was enough to know that I am not some PUA who only wants sex from women. But, it can't have anything thing to do with me being nice or doing things for her or her feeling sorry for lonely me. I have been so steeped in the idea that sex is something women do because they want something else, like affection or security or marriage, that combined with my poor self-image it's always my assumption. The fact that I can't make this assumption is huge for me. As I wrote this I realized that I started out by explaining away "my line" in terms of that assumption; ironic, I'll leave it as is.
Women, I can tell, tend have their perceptions shaped by the inverse expectation. The women I meet normally suspect at first that I am nice because I want into their pants; ESPECIALLY where backrubs or massage are concerned. Not that I'm saying that's generally an unjustified assumption in cases other than mine. But I think probably there are a lot of women who think they have more sex available than they really do, and there is less kindness in the world than there really is, just because they are steeped in the idea that male kindness or politeness is a mask for desire.
Update: My friend Rook put in a good word for me with the pretty poly girl who kissed me, before the event. Which was very nice of her, she was trying to arrange more but most of her friends did not go that night. So, that brings me back from 1 to 0 cases of a woman doing anything sexual at all with me just based on looks.
Update: My rewrite of this was published at Role/Reboot!