Defining ‘the pretty’

I make no secret of the fact that I love the pretty.

It’s true. I do.

And I know that I might give the impression that I have a very narrow definition of what that means.

But that’s not true.

Objectively, I have a body type that I like on a man. For sure. It’s tall, V-shaped, with lean muscle (not bulky), an adonis belt, a six pack, veins that stand out, narrow waist, wide shoulders. Stereotypical, sure. But that’s what turns my head, mostly in the form of gorgeous photos and men I see at the gym doing fabulous strength exercises with slow deliberation and control. I also like angular, interesting faces, high cheek bones and full soft lips.

But that’s not how *attraction* works for me. I have NEVER gone out with a man who looks like that. Not ever.

The factors that make up attraction for me are indescribably complex. I’m not one of those who is EVER going to say ‘the physical doesn’t matter’. That’s a lie. It does. Because I NEED to want, desperately, to see him naked. But that doesn’t mean that I apply that really narrow definition to men as some set of (let’s face it, unattainable) requirements for ‘what my man looks like’.

When I like a man, when he makes me laugh, when we talk in code without even realising, when I find him fascinating and interesting and intriguing… in short, when I am attracted to him, the range of what I find physically appealing expands to accommodate him.

I *will* find him beautiful.

That doesn’t mean objectively ‘a type’, nor does it mean perfect. Far from it. When he is mine, I will find all the parts of him that I want to touch, that I want to look at, that I want to rub up against and kiss and feel and taste… I will find them *all* beautiful. And when I look at him, his beauty will make me weak with longing. And I will feel that over and over again every time my eyes run over what’s mine.

‘The pretty’ is a nebulous concept that is more concrete the more distant a man is from me, and it becomes more malleable, more subjective, more complex as he gets closer to me, as I learn who he is.

If you think you aren’t ‘the pretty’, I’d argue that you are wrong. That’s *exactly* what you are to the person who adores you. Don’t doubt that for one second.

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17 Comments

  1. “If you think you aren’t ‘the pretty’, I’d argue that you are wrong. That’s *exactly* what you are to the person who adores you. Don’t doubt that for one second.”

    I think everyone needs to carry this reminder with them at all times. I don’t care for the typical ideal physique you describe (probably because it fits my brother and dad a little too well). I overwhelmingly prefer short partners, but most short men act like their height is a terrible humiliating deficiency. The response to “you’re beautiful/sexy/&c” is all too often a self-deprecating deflection. It’s frustrating, and more than a little sad.

    1. The fact that everyone is attracted to different traits is so wonderfully fabulous! That’s why it all works!

      “The response to “you’re beautiful/sexy/&c” is all too often a self-deprecating deflection.”

      I have found this typical of *most* men. I assume it’s because they just aren’t used to hearing it. They need to be trained to hear it, believe it, and accept it with grace (though I’m never averse to a bit of blushing and sweet shyness…) *smile*.

      Ferns

      1. “… have found this typical of *most* men. I assume it’s because they just aren’t used to hearing it. They need to be trained to hear it, believe it, and accept it with grace ”

        Interesting. I didn’t realize until you mentioned that maybe this is why I have never seen myself as “pretty”. I can only think of one partner I have ever had who has ever commented in a flattering way on how I look. So honestly, I really am not used to hearing it and when I do, it makes me very bashful because I just don’t know how to react to it. Hmmmm…food for thought.

        Respectfully,
        Mysticlez

      2. Well yes, the blushing and shyness are lovely.

        It is most men, you’re right. (Geez, stop always being right, you!) Most women, too. I suppose most of us just need more practice.

        With the height issue I get annoyed because conversation tends to go:

        Nic “God, you’re sexy.”
        Boy “Ha. Sure. All 5’6″ of me.”
        Nic “I like short.”
        Boy *argues that short is awful*
        Nic *becomes grumpy: is he saying I’m lying about my taste, or that I have bad taste? If he prefers shorter women, and thinks short is awful, does he prefer awful women? Grumpiness expands, causes thunderstorms across the Gulf South.*

        1. *laugh* I totally get the grumpiness.

          For me, if someone can’t take a compliment, it makes something that *should* be sweet and flirty and fabulous into something kind of flat and awkward. THEY RUINED IT!!

          I HAVE made it a rule for boys I know that their ‘go to’ response if they feel all weird has to be ‘thank you’, and no self depreciation is allowed. As their confidence grows, they get all cocky with it, and I love that.

          But yeah, with strangers, that kind of reaction just makes the whole exchange fall into an awkward ‘um, ok then’ space where I wish I’d never said anything.

          Ferns

        2. I don’t think that even you can override the Taxation Office on what depreciation is allowed Ferns. :-)

      3. “I assume it’s because they just aren’t used to hearing it.”

        Your assumption is correct. I’ve never had that said to me, and if I were to be on the receiving end of it for the first time, it would have until recently resulted in a very awkward blank stare from me (and certainly not a “Thank you”, as you mentioned below), however my current response would most likely be “Shoulda gone to Specsavers”.

  2. “If you think you aren’t ‘the pretty’, I’d argue that you are wrong. That’s *exactly* what you are to the person who adores you. Don’t doubt that for one second.”

    I have to admit to not seeing myself as pretty at all. Oddly, even when I was in better shape I still have never really seen myself as “pretty”. At most I would always describe myself as average. I don’t find myself ugly either, but never anything special that is for sure.

    Reading your post, and reflecting on this similar conversation we had once, I am curious how soon after speaking to a potential before you ask to see a photo? Also, I am curious if you found him completely beautiful to you in all other ways, then found out that you wasn’t sexually attracted to him in anyway then what? No matter how hard you tried you couldn’t find anything you found physically attractive about him, but everything else was exactly the way you desire? Finally, if you tell him you aren’t compatible because of no sexual attraction (if that is your answer) do you tell him it’s because of attraction if he asks?

    Have you ever agreed to meet anyone that you didn’t know until they showed up what they looked like?

    Respectfully,
    Mysticlez

    1. These are really good questions.

      “At most I would always describe myself as average. I don’t find myself ugly either, but never anything special that is for sure.”

      I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how ‘the pretty’ works (at least for me), and the point I was getting to here.

      From a distance, there is objective ‘pretty’ and on a personal level ‘pretty’ is SOO much more complex. Personally, I AM influenced by the objective pretty, probably more than I am comfortable admitting out loud because I’d love to pretend I was somehow above it: I’m not.

      What both objective AND subjective ‘pretty’ is is of course different for everyone.

      When I first saw a picture of the pretty thing, I thought ‘oh, he’s pretty’ and didn’t give it any more thought really. Objective appreciation from a distance doesn’t *impact* me.

      Then we got talking, and he is sweet and smart and funny and interesting and completely amazing. Oh. My. God. And after I knew that, and knew him, when he sent me a photo (taken specifically for me, for my pleasure), I would be incoherent at the sublime beauty of it.

      On an objective scale he had a huge advantage because he was textbook-pretty to me, but *even without that*, men that I come to know, that I am attracted to on multiple levels, that fire me up, that push my buttons: they *become the pretty*.

      So ‘the pretty’ is partly physical, but it has more to do with ‘Oh my god, when you smile at me that way, I melt’ and ‘That freckle, that one there, it’s so fucking adorable!’ and ‘Your hands are so beautiful’ and ‘Bend over like that again… yeah, just like that’ and and… ALL OF THAT in the context of ‘who they are’.

      Long winded, and you probably know all that, but it’s SO IMPORTANT!

      “I am curious how soon after speaking to a potential before you ask to see a photo?”

      I really couldn’t say, there are no rules. With my last, I’m pretty sure I didn’t see a photo of him for several months (though he was remote from me and I wasn’t considering him a potential partner, so it was irrelevant).

      Normally, I like to get to know him some FIRST, to see if we click BEFORE we exchange photos. I enjoy that kind of faceless connection (and part of that is because of a lifetime of experience with men who really don’t care what I say as long as they are making progress at getting into my pants. This is almost irrelevant now that I am older, but the memory of those kinds of interactions is strong).

      “Also, I am curious if you found him completely beautiful to you in all other ways, then found out that you wasn’t sexually attracted to him in anyway then what?”

      If I’m not sexually attracted to him, then it’s not going to work. The *sum of him* has to be sexually attractive to me. And that’s not a simple equation of ‘hot or not’. I have some beautiful, smart, funny, amazing friends who I adore, but they just don’t do it for me.

      I HAVE met men who I really liked, who I found appealing and attractive, and I WANTED to feel a spark with them, but they just didn’t fire me up (and the reverse has happened also, and I documented it here on the blog). That’s about chemistry: You can’t manufacture something that isn’t there by force of will.

      “Finally, if you tell him you aren’t compatible because of no sexual attraction (if that is your answer) do you tell him it’s because of attraction if he asks?”

      I normally say “I’m not feeling it” or “this isn’t working” or “I don’t feel chemistry” because that’s the truth. That’s NOT a statement about him not being ‘something’ enough (ditto if he doesn’t feel it with me). It’s just simple incompatibility.

      Ferns

    2. And in saying all that, I realise that I’m missing out on describing SO MUCH OTHER PRETTY.

      My last, omg, the words, the words. SO FUCKING PRETTY. He could put words together in a way that made me simultaneously insanely jealous, in awe, and so lit up I couldn’t bear it. NOT necessarily because he was writing ‘the hot things’, but because he was capable of reaching inside me and plucking at whatever strings he wanted whenever he wanted with the exact right tension and rhythm to light me up with inspiration and wonder and all the fabulous things.

      Guh. Fucking pretty as the prettiest thing!

      Ferns

  3. I’m not a stereotypically hunky man. I’m soft around the middle. I work a desk job, and I don’t make the time to really exercise or eat especially well. My ex could make me forget about all of that, though. The look in her eyes, sometimes hungry, sometimes fascinated, sometimes adoring. Sometimes she called me “beautiful boy,” and I could tell that she meant it because of the way she looked at me.

    That was a really special time. I miss it.

  4. I really wish I found more men beautiful. Even more than that, I wish I found chemistry with more men! I have a fairly narrow range of what I find physically attractive and have never once deviated far from my “physical ideal.” (and I do mean *my* physical ideal because what I like is certainly not universal) However, like you, if I don’t want to attack him when I see him, it won’t work. The husband is really pretty. And there have been many times that I’ve caught a glimpse of him and suddenly thought, “OMG he’s beautiful! What did I ever do to deserve such a pretty boy?!”

    1. “Even more than that, I wish I found chemistry with more men!”

      Holy fuck! ME TOO! I WISH IT SO HARD!!

      And I also wish I could clearly explain what ‘does it’ for me. Because while I love the objective pretty, but as I said, none of the amazing men in my past have ever looked like that.

      There’s just ‘something’ about some men that clicks for me, and it’s so rare that I start to believe that it doesn’t exist when I haven’t felt it for ages, like I made it up, imagined it.

      But boy, would I ever be happy if I felt it all the time with random boys. Nope. Don’t.

      Ferns

  5. My mate, My boy, My bf is THE total opposite of what I had always found attractive, and lusted for, and looked for in a mate. I did see a pic of him at beginning of talking online, and it didn’t do much for me. It almost pushed me away, actually, but I had already talked to him enough, to want to be friends. Which took very *little* time to turn to attraction and lust for me. I had to convince him to be mine, but it didn’t take too long. I have been with him rt, and online. His looks, his physique, his body….I can’t help but get turned on by him, no matter what we’re doing. Thinking of him, looking at him, talking to him. All make me gush and melt, no matter what I’m doing. Its because of him, we match and are attracted so deeply, to our souls. He is My very pretty boy.
    I love looking at him, watching him, listening to him. Cuddling with him, touching him. Binding him. All of him. The intensity is incredible. I’ve never met nor known anyone like him. My pretty boy.

  6. “I’m not one of those who is EVER going to say ‘the physical doesn’t matter’. That’s a lie. It does.”

    I applaud you for your honesty with this.

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