Thursday, July 17, 2008

one’s hot

I might have a tiny crush on my neighbor. I know, I know, but I just can’t help myself. I feel like every time I talk to him, I learn something so wholly unexpected, such a surprising new facet of his personality that it makes him, well, pretty irresistible: He can fix anything. He taught himself how to design websites. Plays the piano like a savant. Lives life respectfully in regards to the environment. Loves his family. Funny and a good listener. Modest about his many accomplishments and awfully sweet. And good looking? Oh, my. He is loaded with attractability.

But that’s part of the problem, dear readers. Help me out here; because I’m not sure about this, but I think he might be too good looking. At least for me.

A while back on the Today Show, they were talking about a funny topic- "One's hot, and one's not." They were, of course, referring to that mysterious couple you sometimes see together that has a, well, sort of imbalance in their collective appearance.

Today talked to a number of people with extraordinarily good-looking spouses and then did a man on the street poll, asking what people think when they see a couple with an inequity in good looks. The responses ranged from “he must have money” to “he needs someone to focus only on him” to “maybe he has a nice car.”

I don’t think those are fair assessments. After all, when it comes to the laws of attraction, who are we to sit in judgment over their kind of cute? "My kind of cute" is my way of defining that elusive secret of personal magnetism, that indefinable draw to someone I like. "That's chemistry, Lisa," my friend Jo has always told me. And maybe she's right. After all, what better way to describe that feeling than by using the laws of science?

For me, chemistry works something like this. The "right" kind of man says something to me. Something about his voice, the words he says (or how he says them) makes a bell go off in my head. I'm not kidding. It sounds like the end of round 1 at an Anselmo Moreno fight. Ding!

But it’s nothing that I can explain properly. Especially to my friends, who are always bewildered at my vast array of love interests, which have ranged from the hippie guy to the entrepreneur, to the artist, etc., etc. I don’t know how it works. It just does. But sometimes, what other people think about the one you’re with can be damaging- to you or to your partner.

I was at a bar with an ex-boyfriend, who left to make a phone call. The second he walked out of the room, some would-be lothario rushed over to talk to me. “Is that your boyfriend?” “Yes.” “No, really, you’re with him? Why?” This went on for a while, while I stealthily text-messaged my boyfriend, telling him to come back and rescue me. Later, I told him what the man said, only because he said he wanted every detail of the conversation, but it was still a mistake. Because the man’s words were very hurtful, and they cast a pall over the rest of the evening.

I haven’t ever bothered with online dating (I haven’t ever bothered with online dating yet) since I think that more than likely I will just be wasting someone’s time. Because either I will hear that bell, or I won't.

"That's just sex," says my friend Mark. "There's a lot more to a relationship than that." Well, I know that. And I know that for me, how someone looks isn’t a deal-breaker. But isn't basic chemistry between a man and a woman at least a starting point?

I could give you a list of what I like in the opposite sex, but it would be kind of useless, since it seems to go out the window whenever I meet someone who's my kind of cute. I have no idea how other people see me. Because it’s all so subjective- if I’m not their kind of cute, they probably won’t be interested.

And when it comes to trying to find a match, I worry about the really good looking guys. Frankly, dating someone who’s much better looking than me affects the balance of power in a way that makes me uncomfortable. I don’t have to be the one that’s hot.

But I definitely don’t want to be the one who’s not.