Thursday, October 11, 2007

Please participate in my new poll

I just started a poll. It is posted on the right-hand column. This poll is not scientific at all. I am just curious to see what people perceive as the most important quality in a potential partner. Would you humor me and answer it?


  1. I voted... cool poll! I'll be curious to see the results!

  2. I voted, but I don't know -- I was torn. I always have a hard time choosing...

  3. I voted and had a longer comment but IE crashed on me. I picked Physical Attraction because I'm a shallow human being.

    No, really I think all the other choices are an aspect of physical attraction. I had a brilliant argument explaining why, but the universe seems to disagree.

  4. Oh, Greg, I'm not going to let you off the hook that easily. You have got to come back and explain that to me!

    I have changed my answer a few times since I posted the poll. I can't seem to make up my mind between physical attraction and capacity for empathy. Both are equally important to me. Am I shallow, am I profound? I don't know.

    I have to clarify that to me physical attraction does not necessarily mean liking a perfect rock-hard body. In my case, I need to like the face. I once dated a guy who was really great. He was funny and smart, with a good job and a great attitude. But I just could not get past his face. I would look at him and could not picture kissing him.

    My Gabe scoffs every time I tell him he's handsome. He does not believe it, and because he is overweight he thinks he's unattractive. But he's got such a handsome face, the most beautiful smile in the world and these sad, puppy-dog eyes that just get me. I look at him laugh and I melt.

    Still, the one thing that bonds me to Gabe more than anything is his capacity for empathy. We are broken people, both of us, and he knows this and takes me the way without wanting to fix me. With him I have been able to let loose many of my demons. He has been with me when I am unbearably sad or disproportionately angry or when I refuse to leave the house for days (thanks to remote network access I can still work and be productive when this happens), and he still loves me. And I love him even more for that.

    But then I wonder, given all that, if I wasn't physically attracted, if I did not like his face, would I still be with him? Is my physical attraction purely based on his looks or do I find him attractive because of his personality? Would I still find him attractive if he was an asshole? I honestly can't say.

  5. I really did have a very long response when IE crashed. I'll see what I can do by starting over.

    So I picked Physical Attraction because everything else depends on it.

    The first issue I ran into with this survey is what do you mean by "mate"? Do you mean someone to share a life with or maybe just a bed for the night?

    As far as the choices, I think most will not consider the extreme cases, they'll put each option in a personal context which invalidates their choice.

    So my argument is that everything comes down to physical attraction. I'm also not just talking about nice bodies and pretty eyes. Physical attraction is more than that. It is the magnetism that connects certain people in close proximity.

    Health is an aspect of it because anyone hacking up a lung or smelling like a dog just left you on the lawn won't get very far. So health is a no.

    Age is an aspect because not too many people cruise old-age homes. Sure they can pop their teeth out of their mouth, but do you really want to roll over and see them? Go for beauty.

    Capacity for Empathy, or wuss factor, is an aspect. People are empathic to those that are physically attractive to them, meaning they feel that electricity. If the feeling is mutual then they appear sympathetic, but if the feeling is not mutual then they appear to be a wuss.

    Intelligence? Have you seen how annoying I can be? People aren't looking for smart people, they are trying to avoid dumb ones. They want someone who is no stupider than themselves. If they have to say huh a lot, the attraction won't be there, so physical attraction wins again.

    Financial success comes across in the physical aspect. Money makes people look better. Look at Donald Trump and Hugh Hefner. Financial success is really just success. Successful people carry themselves differently than unsuccessful ones so emanate something more attractive. So number one is still the safer bet.

    Sense of Humor might be important if they are on a stage, but homeless people can be funny too, and I don't see many people crawling in boxes with them. Attractions makes anybody funny. In fact a good measure of if another person is attracted to you is if they say "You're so funny!"

    So it's all in those close moments. Any two people can have a relationship if they put the work into it, but getting to the point of willingness to try requires that physicality. Luckily different people have different tastes.

  6. I had in mind as "mate" someone anybody with whom you would establish a relationship over an extended period of time, as opposed to a one-night stand or someone you would go out with two or three times.

    Your health and age comments made me laugh. The "wuss factor" made me laugh too. And you might be right in that empathy can come across as wussiness when you don't like the person.

    I wonder if the things that make us choose a mate are different from the things that make us stay with a mate.