"Be-You-Tiful" by contributor
It’s safe to say that I have three distinct categories for men that I find easy on the eyes. Category 1: men I find attractive. Category 2: men I am attracted to and of course category the dreaded 3: men I like/have crushes on. Due to what could be any number of things but probably is mostly due to my high standards and overall pickiness, category 3 remains generally uninhabited, save a select few. Picture your old pal the Venn diagram and that small, little, area where the circles collide and you’d find the ghosts of crushes past. Now if you’re anything like my best friend, you’re probably wondering what the hell is even the difference between finding someone attractive and being attracted to someone. Well, luckily for you, I’m here to unmuddle your mind and to also make up words like “unmuddle”. When I find someone attractive, it means that I can appreciate their aesthetic and recognize them to be beautiful, but personally they don’t do it for me. Simply put, I get the appeal of that person, they’re just not my cup of tea. When I am attracted to someone, they personally push my hot button(s), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I find them attractive. Have you ever met someone and you didn’t necessarily think they were beautiful (at least not at first glance) but there was just something about them that made you stand up and take notice? That’s what I feel when I’m attracted to someone, but don’t find them attractive. Now when I like someone, I am both attracted to them and I also find them attractive. But, the crush is still non-existent until after I’ve begun pining over their personality.
I know it sounds hokey, but I really am one of those gals who is attracted to personality first and foremost. People claim we are rare breeds, but I honestly think that’s the way most of us are wired. I admit initial attraction and hormones can certainly go a long way, but that initial attraction based on looks can’t last if there’s not something substantial to go along with it. If all a person is to you is eye candy, your relationship will either be dull or nonexistent. Now don’t get it twisted, I’m not saying I can’t appreciate a six pack, a nice ass, a strong jaw, dimples, or the coveted V (that magical thing that some fit men have when their abs blend into their pelvic area (insert dramatic sigh), but all of those things pale in comparison to the beauty I find when my crush is overtaken by a laugh. Watching them fight for control over their own body as their shoulders vibrate and tears stealthily slide out of their eyes is far more beautiful to me than any one of their physical characteristics. Now if you’re doubting me, I challenge you to think about your closest friends and name one that you find truly ugly. Personally, I can’t name even one friend of mine that I find unattractive (though it could be entirely possible that all of my friends just so happen to be hot as fuck) because when you spend time getting to know someone, bonding with them, showing them glimpses of your soul, it’s impossible for you to find them ugly. You start to appreciate all their little ticks and nuances that make them, them. And that’s what’s truly beautiful to me. So when I like I guy, the physical attraction usually comes long after I’ve fallen for their personality. Instead of only noticing his defined calf muscles (don’t knock it until you’ve looked), or great smile, I notice his inner beauty bubbling over and spilling out of him without his knowledge or consent. I appreciate the timbre of his voice, or the way he makes my name sound completely different if only because it’s coming off of his lips. His arms don’t interest me unless I’m taking note of the way he gesticulates with them when we get into arguments. I find beauty in our pregnant silences where I try to decipher what, if anything, is happening between us. And I find that while I once thought of his laughter as annoying now, as I unconsciously replay the sound in my head, it makes me smile. I think of the shyness in his gaze when we catch one another staring and in that moment right before that vulnerability becomes embarrassment, I find myself feeling an appreciation for him that mere physical beauty could never provide.
I often find myself agitated by the amount of emphasis placed on physical beauty in our society. I’ll save the ranting about how standards of physical beauty in American society are white-washed, heteronormative, body shaming, geared towards the economic elite, sexist, and misogynistic (to name a few) for another day and just say that I am highly unimpressed. Even songs about beauty that are promoted to our youth and meant to be uplifting like One Direction’s infamous You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful generally fall completely flat in my book. Why not call the song I like you because the media has lead you to believe that you’re unattractive and because of that you need to consume copious amounts of their products to be considered socially acceptable and attractive and thus you have low self-esteem. But, never fear! Let me as a heterosexual male validate your beauty and sense of worth by placing my (potentially unwanted)male gaze upon you. Yeah…I guess it just doesn’t have the same ring to it. I guess the obsession with beauty (and what/who can be accepted as beautiful)annoys me because I’m never impressed with someone for being physically beautiful. They’ve done nothing to achieve that “beauty” and I’d sooner congratulate the parents of said beautiful person on their combination of genes before I’d be impressed with the beautiful person solely for being physically beautiful. Can I be impressed with the amount of hours they spent exercising to get their body to look the way it did? Hell yes! Can I be impressed with the time it took for someone to perfect their hair, outfit, or makeup? Sure. But that says more about their inner personality traits reflecting inner beauty(dedication, creativity, tenacity, drive) than anything else. I’m much more invested in what’s within you than merely the shell that contains you. Given the choice, I’d much rather be wise or courageous, funny or intelligent, witty or caring, than pretty any day.
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