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Author Topic: What do you people see in men?
Djuna
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Hi, a weird thought came to me the other day. What do women (or men, I suppose, but I don't know if it's a different thing) see in men? To me, it's just really puzzling. If there was any logic, it seems to me there'd be two kinds of people: lesbians and horny men. [Wink]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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JamsessionVT
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(I think you want to be careful with your last statement. That could very, very easily come across as offensive)

I'm not sure I understand where you are coming from here. Your question seems to suggest that men are somehow bad or don't possess qualities that anyone could ever find attractive, which is certainly not the case. Men and women can share equally as appealing and equally as discouraging personality traits. It's not like the male population is made up of a bunch of sloppy, unattractive human beings. Hardly. The range is endless, so there is never going to be one answer. We are all attracted to certain characteristics, in men AND women, so to limit it and play it like women are the only ones worth being attracted to seems a little odd.

Of course, there will always be scummbaggy people, but this goes for both genders, not just one.

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Djuna
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Sorry, I really didn't get across what I meant there. And I didn't mean to be offensive so sorry.
I meant it just puzzles me how we are attracted (bisexuals aside) to a certain sex.
Why is it that people are attracted to just men or just women (again, apart from bisexuals?) It just seems strange to me that there aren't just people we find attractive and that's an end to it. Why are people attracted to women OR men?
Like I said, this kinda falls down when it comes to bisexuality (if that's a word), but I suppose there are very few bisexuals that are exactly 50-50.
Basically, it just puzzles me that (taking heterosexuality as an easy example) most (heterosexual) men are attracted to certain characteristics, and most (heterosexual) women are attracted to a different set of characteristics.
Really, I was wondering what it's like from the other side of the gender 'fence', if you know what I mean.

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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JamsessionVT
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quote:
Originally posted by smileyjoseph:
Basically, it just puzzles me that (taking heterosexuality as an easy example) most (heterosexual) men are attracted to certain characteristics, and most (heterosexual) women are attracted to a different set of characteristics.

Really, though, this isn't the case. Women and men can and do look for the same sorts of things in the opposite sex. Confidence, for example, is something a lot of people look for in a partner, heterosexual or not. Women AND men can both be attracted to blond hair, spontanteity, athleticism, respectfullness, adventurousness, the like; in short, there really isn't a characteristic that only ONE gender looks for or is attracted to.

I think we need to define, though, the difference between attraction and romantic attraction. We can be attracted to certain people, regardless of gender, without being romantically attracted to them. We are often attracted to those who share our interests, for example. But that doesn't mean we want to be romantically involved with them.

What you are getting at is one of those questions that scientists have been debating for decades. Personally? I like to believe that we are all engrained with certain things we are attracted to, and then those attractions grow or dissipate as we get older, based on our environment, our peers, and the views we happen to develop. But it's hard to say for sure.

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Djuna
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Sorry. I suppose I have to be clearer. I meant like most heterosexual men are attracted to curves, while most heterosexual women are attracted to large muscles. Without making too many generalizations. I mean like physical attraction that's part of biology. What's up with that?
I think it's a great point that we all have our own little things we look for though. Maybe the things we find attractive are determined genetically? Maybe my biology teacher'll let me do my coursework on that... [Wink]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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Heather
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You're culturally generalizing here, quite a lot. Remember, for instance, that we have global areas where since those cultures began, both men and women in them are very slight and not curvaceous ot muscled, and suffice it to say, the aesthetics per attraction you're desciribing here aren't a general aesthetic there.

Plus, these aesthetics change a LOT over history (especially towards women), and unremarkably, what we might assume is biological in attraction fluctuates when those things do.

Really, this is just SUCH a huge question, with so many levels, and so many answers we just can't have yet.

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hunnybunny888
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of course what the mass of people find attractive varies from culture to culture ie. media to media.
What smiley seems to be asking is why are the majority of people are attracted to the opposite sex and why are men and women attracted to certain characteristics in each other.

The first reason is that men and women make babies. On a completely physical exsistance, animals goal in life is to make babies and carry on the species. In humanity we make families. so men and women become attractive to each other because they need to have sex together. Now because of the media in north america alot of men are attracted to skinnier girls. However, 50-100 yrs ago men liked women with curves(as smiley mentioned) because it means they would have child bearing hips and be able to bring them many children. However, now because there is a lot of sex just for pleasure personal preferences on who to have sex with are all different depending on cultures and people. If you are asking about mental/wmotional qualities of attractions its mostly for any type of relationship, do u have the same interests? do u get along well, can you hold a conversation? can you make each other laugh? what seperates the mental attraction from a friend and a lover, you will have to ask the scientists that one

Plato has a very interesting passage about this. Tell me if my memory decieves me, but he recorded a myth that at the begnining of creation men and women were one being with four arms and four legs. There were also beings male and female with 2 arms and 2 legs. However, the creatures with 4 legs were getting to powerful(greedy) and so the g-d had to cut them all in half and become seperate beings. SO the people who were ancestors of the beings who were origianlly fourlegged are heterosexual because they are always searching for their other half to complete them (true love, soul mate) and the people who were ancestors of the 2 legged race becamse the homosexual or bisexual lovers.

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dailicious
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Just to clarify, hunnybunny, that myth is a speech by Aristophanes found in Plato's Symposium. If anyone is interested in the exact summary, Wikipedia does a good job:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato%27s_Symposium#Aristophanes

[ 08-13-2006, 03:05 AM: Message edited by: dailicious ]

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Djuna
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Yes! Hunnybunny! That's exactly what I meant! [Smile]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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pockyqueen
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HUNNYBUNNY!!!! Have you seen the musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"?? There's a beautiful song in there called "The Origin of Love" and it is based on what you said about Plato's theory [Big Grin] It's one of my favorite songs. I believe you can find it on MySpace Music if you look under Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Marvelous musical....

meanwhile: interesting inquiry, smiley... I've never really understood heterosexual behavior myself. I mean, from a biological standpoint, it makes plenty of sense, but when it comes to the emotional fluffy stuff, it's hard to get a grip on things. What makes a person only interested in the opposite sex (or, I guess, only the same sex?) Pansexuality makes a great deal of sense to me, since it's just "I like who I like, regardless of gender", but nothing else seems to be as clear.

Especially since we are supposed to ignore gender stereotypes like guys should be totally built and girls should be shaped like barbie dolls, what determines sexualities in which one is only attracted to one gender? I'm at as much of a loss as you are. Now I'm confused... oi XD

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feefiefofemme
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quote:
I meant like most heterosexual men are attracted to curves, while most heterosexual women are attracted to large muscles. Without making too many generalizations.
The thing is, smiley, you are making a pretty big generalization with that statement. I honestly have never met two people who find the exact same things attractive in a partner. And even a single person's concept of what's attractive can change depending on a billion different factors. I, for one, have had crushes on so many different types of people, I can't even begin to describe them all.

I'm no expert on what makes people attracted to certain people, even though I have done some reading up on the subject (whoohoo for anthropology!), but I do know that most everyone has different things they find attractive, even if the media would sometimes have us believe otherwise. Not everyone likes big breasts and huge muscles. As far as I'm concerned, most of the time it isn't even really something I consider. I've always been more attracted to faces and expression than anything else. *shrug*

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Djuna
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Well, the thing is if you want to talk about a large number of people you have to generalize. What I meant was, why do people find certain characteristics attractive, and what's the reason for the differences between what different people find attractive?
I think that's the best way of putting it. Did that really take 5 days to come up with? [Smile]

[ 08-16-2006, 09:30 AM: Message edited by: smileyjoseph ]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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Heather
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quote:
Well, the thing is if you want to talk about a large number of people you have to generalize. What I meant was, why do people find certain characteristics attractive, and what's the reason for the differences between what different people find attractive?
The trouble is, when you're talking about human attraction, you just CAN'T.

I mean, in several posts here, we have people talking, for instance, about hetero men being attracted to "curves" or large breasts, and yet, every study I have seen done on straight men and breast size shows little to NO preference (in other words, it is so all over the map that it averages out to none), and in the slight differential where there is a preference, it is to SMALL breasts. And "curves" as attractiveness can't be reduced to the biological, because for so long in history, part of that aesthetic (much like extreme thinness is now, oddly) was about class issues, not fertility. Larger women were wealthier women.

(Long story short, threads like this end up problematic because when people do try and generalize, half the time they're not even basing it on a lot of study, and they're also throwing a lot of biological determinism into the mix.)

So, again, the reasons for a given attraction are not only highly variant, they have basis in biology, in class, in fashion, in community, peer and social influences, in early childhood and adolescent "imprinting," (for lack of a better general term), in role modeling, in interpersonal and emotional needs/desires, in so many different things, this is why study on these issues as a whole is the stuff of a gargantuan thesis, and even people who do that tend to narrow that scope to one area.

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Djuna
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Ok, final edition of this question I promise: is there any reason for what a certain person finds attractive? Could it be genetic, for instance a man who is attracted primarily to blondes having a son who's primarily attracted to blondes? I just think this would be a GREAT thing to do my dissertation for my degree on. I have a feeling I'm not likely to be allowed to though. [Frown]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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Mr. Matthew
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quote:
the reasons for a given attraction are not only highly variant, they have basis in biology, in class, in fashion, in community, peer and social influences, in early childhood and adolescent "imprinting," (for lack of a better general term), in role modeling, in interpersonal and emotional needs/desires, in so many different things, this is why study on these issues as a whole is the stuff of a gargantuan thesis, and even people who do that tend to narrow that scope to one area.

Here's a link to a scholarly article discussing a narrowly focused examination of the causes of evolution of breasts -- large and small. It's an example of the kind of research you seem to be asking for.

http://cas.bellarmine.edu/tietjen/images/breasts.htm

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000
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no offense, mr. matthew, but this sounds like some very speculative science to me. i mean, playboy actually had an article on how universally in most cultures large breasts weren't really considered to be that important one way or the other. they don't impact how much milk a mother can give her child. they only sometimes reflect how much overall fat a mother is carrying.

and to you joseph: genetics might play some role, but i think father and son being attracted to blondes is more likely to be cultural, considering i can't see an evolutionary advantage in being attracted to blondes, and i am fairly sure the portion of that attraction that would be genetic would be fairly complex. most genetics are very complex, it's hardly parent A is such-and-such, therefore child A will be the same.

[ 08-17-2006, 10:46 AM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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Mr. Matthew
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Science is not absolute truth. Good scientists always leave open the possibility that they may at some time be shown to be wrong by other researchers.

Scientists in some fields, like evolution, can not always run experiments to "prove" a hypothesis. So there is speculation involved.

Nevertheless, the article I link to is real science. It is based on discussions among various serious researchers, and it notes references to the speculative writing of others, beside the author.

You may disagree with the author's reasoning and conculsions, but though it is speculative it should not be dismissed as if it came out of Playboy. To dismiss speculation like this is to negate the value of a large class of nonexperimental science.

Also it doesn't say some women have large breasts and some women have small because of... It says that women have large breasts compared to other mammals because of...

No offense taken, and hopefully none given.

Thanks iheartdc,
Matthew

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wobblyheadedjane
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I think objection to that article can occur on principle because this discussion is focused primarily on what attracts people to other people. The article is focus on the evolutionary aspect of sex selection and secondary sex characteristics. Given that some people aren't attracted to others with whom they can procreate and many people don't wish to have children and yet are still attracted to people, the article isn't really relevant to attraction.

Furthermore, real serious scientists have agendas and biases just like the rest of the world. Similarly to science about climate change, findings can more or less 'prove' whichever end result you wish it to. Science is always worth questioning.

There are also arguments to be made for the idea that societal-cultural mores drive attraction more than genetic or evolutionary ones. The previous example of a son being attracted to the same things his father was is a good one - I would say that's far more likely because of upbringing and cultural standards than evolutionary, by far.

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000
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"Similarly to science about climate change, findings can more or less 'prove' whichever end result you wish it to. Science is always worth questioning."

Well, as an environmental science major who's currently focusing on climate change, I have to kind of disagree with you. Science can never /prove/ anything, but some science is much easier to knock down than others...

Per the rest of your comments on why that article wasn't terribly relevant, I agree.

[ 08-17-2006, 01:39 PM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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Djuna
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Well another thing. Its always been scientifically accepted that males are attracted by female pheromones, and vice versa, right?
Well why does this not apply to homosexual people? Are homosexual males attracted to male pheromones or something?
Sorry, it's just the science part of attraction really fascinates me. It's sad. I know. [Wink]
Of course, there's a lot of this that science can't explain. Science can explain just about everything - but not luck, and not love.

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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000
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well, you know what I think, personally? I think this pheromone thing is way overblown. It's something we've recently learned about, and it's a convenient thing for people to cite who want to de-emphasize certain cultural influences, but really I think pheromones are probably just another small part of the equation, and it's all very complex.

"Science can explain just about everything - but not luck, and not love."

Like I said above, science is just a tool. You can come up with theories that are hard to disprove, but nothing is certain. I personally don't believe in luck. And when it comes to love, I tend to believe it's only culture that make people as picky as they are these days, anyway. You go to indigineous cultures and looks do not play as high a role, something useful within their culture, such as survival skills, are considered attractive in both males and females. It's very, very complex, but that doesn't mean it isn't logical.

One thing that's an evolutionary advantage, is for men and women (and many mammals) to be incredibly horny, b/c that increases the chance they will mate with something. Maybe the genetic basis for the mechanisms of attraction are not extremely specific to one gender or another. Point is, they definitely exist. Then culture and psychological experience comes along and surpresses people's tendency to be attracted to some things they otherwise might be.

[ 08-17-2006, 04:25 PM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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Djuna
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I think maybe luck, or fate to call it by another name, is there if you believe in it and not if you don't. I personally believe in fate very strongly, and I have memories that for me serve as proof of it.
Like I fell out with my best friend on the first night of this residential school trip (he covered my face in toothpaste, and I woke up to a VERY sore, red face), and then that morning we were paired up randomly for the rest of the weekend just by picking names out of a hat. Spooky. [Smile]
As for being horny being a good thing? Well, I'll drink to that. [Wink]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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summergoddess
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quote:
is there any reason for what a certain person finds attractive?
I don't think it's that simple. I mean people are attracted to others because they are. I am attracted to my husband because of who he is. When i created my "idol" husband years ago, and compare him today, he does have some of those things that i wanted BUT...to be honest, it was really destiny/fate that brought us to be together. I wasn't really seekin' out or being picky on significant others at the time. I actually gave up looking years ago, and look what brought me to love.

Thus, the reason to attraction isn't really simple, and it varies. Attraction exists in everyone, regardless of sexuality. People choose to be with the person they love and want to be with long term. However, preferences shouldn't really be an issue. Afterall, life is all about challenges, and experiences. It's okay to have your SO somewhat different from you. As long the couple loves eachother for who they are and still want to be together, the attraction fire will continue to burn beautifully.

[ 08-17-2006, 08:02 PM: Message edited by: summergoddess ]

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