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Men and women may not agree on what the epitome of female beauty is, but generally their tastes are fairly similar (higher hip-to-waist ratio, hourglass shape without too much excess, fine nose and bone structure, and so on). However, there are certainly exceptions to this rule. We all know girls whom men find attractive and many other girls (at least those their age) find annoying, pretentious and physically mundane. It’s actually surprising how strongly other women can react when these girls’ names get brought up… and these are people who aren’t even that well acquainted and have no personal reason to dislike each other. Something about the girls rings false to other females, but it’s impossible to put a finger on it.

Men will probably chalk this up to envy, but this is not at all the same thing as envy. If a woman is genuinely beautiful, females can admit it; they may be envious, but envy is not the same as puzzled annoyance.

However, I have a theory about this. I would bet you they’re wearing Victoria’s Secret body products with pheromones or similar chemical enhancers; the men sense it as well as the women without knowing what’s going on; the men drool, the other women roll their eyes and wonder what the heck is wrong with the world.

Why would anyone stoop to this? Simple: these girls may really like male attention, they may need it to close a business deal or two, or maybe they know that without it, they’re just not that sexy. Flattery, even self-flattery, will get you a long way in many circles.

Of course, this theory only works if chemical pheromones work, and there don’t appear to be many clinical studies on this. Anecdotal evidence, on the other hand, appears to suggest there’s something to it. I can assure you based on an experiment I conducted recently that I personally am convinced.

On two consecutive nights, I went with one female friend to hang out with her friends in mixed company, not having met anyone else before on both occasions. Both occasions were festive and late at night; both involved alcohol and a freeform environment where social mixing was encouraged. In scenario 1, I wore pheromones (borrowed, FYI); in scenario 2, I did not. On both occasions, I kept more or less to myself, speaking when spoken to and making a point to be easily distracted and even grumpy. If anything, I was more amiable and better-dressed in scenario 2.

At the end of scenario 1, I’d been surreptitiously asked out twice and gotten stares from just about every male in the room. Again, this was not due to my charm. Sample conversation:

Guy: hey, by the way, thanks for the intelligent conversation.

Me: (in a tone hanging between amusement and sarcasm) we haven’t actually talked about anything.

Guy: Well… yeah… I mean… you’re not like some stupid girl who’s just trying to talk to you.

Me: mmm (says nothing, drinks and starts talking to girl on right)

At the end of scenario 2, on the other hand, I’m pretty sure I was still more or less invisible. Nobody initiated conversation except when they noticed they were being rude and I had nothing to drink. After playing host, they went back to talking among themselves without so much as blinking in my direction.

I am so convinced by this little experiment that I am tempted to think every woman with a certain mysterious sexual charm has doused herself with bottled pheromones. If you men find this unsettling and begin to suspect that every woman you’re attracted to is taking advantage of your baser instincts, don’t panic. Just don’t date women that make other women want to puke. If you’re convinced a certain amount of dislike is based on envy, ask science. Upload your sweetie’s current photo (no high school glamor shots, please) into some sort of face comparison to see if she looks more like J.R.R. Tolkien than Angelina Jolie. If she looks like C.S.Lewis in earrings, and you still think she’s drop-dead, chances are, she’s not telling you everything.

On the other hand, maybe she’s just really lucky to have someone who judges her for her inner beauty.

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