What makes a person desirable? I’d love to take a poll, but I’m not sure there’s anything new to cover, here. Psychology and evolutionary biology have a lot to say on that subject, and the media chime in as well (especially celebrity culture and pornography–those 2 are *great*, not only for telling us what we find attractive, but shaping our attitudes to same, especially if we’re not paying attention).

To some extent, I think I’m guilty of a sort of reverse-psychology reaction, there. Do I *really* find tall, slim, not particularly muscular guys with dark hair and pale skin attractive; or did I just SO HATE being told muscles, blonde hair, and a tan were attractive (when I was growing up, rather than now) I’ve semi-consciously chosen to find something else beautiful?

Is *that* what it is? Is it that, as a rule, I like men who are a bit androgynous, because it is *beauty* I’m looking for, rather than some stereotypical ideal of masculinity? Most of the men whose faces I like–though not necessarily the men I’ve had sex with, historically–fall into the category of “pretty enough to pass for female”. You know the type: slim, as I’ve said, usually with relatively large eyes and full mouths and not-too-big noses, relatively free of body hair (for a dude, at least) and able to shave away their 5 o’clock shadow (as opposed to men with perma-stubble) and if their skin is soft and smooth and their nails are clean and trimmed and they can fit into my clothing, so much the better. (And if they actively want to *wear* my clothing, that’s cute, too–after all, I rarely pass up the chance to wear the clothing of a man I’m crazy about.)

Is it just the way some men smell? Rather than liking macho, sweaty men, I like men who smell clean or fresh or appetizing–one of my ex-boyfriends smelled like a cross between rainwater and cut grass, and both of my current lovers smell a bit like baked goods to me (brioche and unbaked dough, respectively; brioche-lover smells sweeter, unbaked dough-lover smells more wholesome; both of them smell like something I want to bite).

Or is it the *other* thing they have in common, that really appeals to me? (Not an urge to have sex with me–that’s not so uncommon it would make me notice a man, particularly. I do alright for myself.) No, the *other* thing they have in common, the thing besides the pleasantly yeasty scent, is their unbridled enthusiasm for the things they love. (Which, hopefully, includes me–and that *is* uncommon enough to catch my eye.) They love very different things, generally (they have different careers, different hobbies, different tastes in music, different sexual styles–albeit with some overlap–different morals, different aspirations)… but in either case, what the boy loves, he loves passionately. I can listen (and have done) to either of them talk, sometimes for 20 solid minutes, about something that excites them; and usually, even if it’s something I have little or no interest in, it’s a sincere pleasure.

I love to talk; I love to hear other people talk; I love it when I’m confronted with a *man* who loves to talk. (They don’t all, you know. I mean, there are possibly more of them among the gay population–and God knows I’d have made a fabulous gay man!–but I’m a woman, and I really do prefer a man I can talk to AND shag.) I’m also quite keen on some styles of talking–a lovely turn-of-phrase goes farther than it should, with me–but just the willingness to talk, at length, with enthusiasm, is enough.

Well, no. Thinking about it, a man has to start with enough natural intelligence, before I’ll even give him the chance to wow me with his words… but that’s a subject for another day.


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