I cannot tell if most men are attractive or not

After enough reading of Captain Awkward, I learned that being demi-sexual is a thing.  It is, in fact, a thing that I am.

What that means is that I do not get physically attracted to people unless I know them really well first.  Love at first sight is straight out for me.  I’m definitely not asexual, as my feelings for DH can attest, but when DH is out of the picture I get much closer to that end of the spectrum.  If anything ever happens to DH, I will likely spend the rest of my life single because I am not going to find  “chemistry” on a first or even third date.

Along with that, I really cannot tell which men are supposed to be attractive.  Women I think I can tell because culture is better at defining attractiveness for women and pushing that culture on us.  With men, I think there’s a lot more leeway allowed for what is considered attractive.  I can tell if men’s bodies are supposed to be attractive– if their muscles look right, then that’s attractive for men.  But with faces it’s a lot more difficult.  If they look like DH, they’re more likely to look attractive to me.  If they have symmetric features, then I can tell that they’re supposed to be attractive.  But as I scan through the Bachelor in Paradise cast, I really just cannot tell.  And in theory, all of these men were picked because they *are* attractive.  They wouldn’t be on Bachelor in Paradise otherwise.

When I started watching Try Guys videos, I could tell that Eugene was conventionally attractive.  He’s got great hair, symmetric features, and a dancer’s body.  But the other three guys didn’t look that great.  As I watched more and more of the videos, and got to know their characters, they started looking good to me because they are likeable characters.  But are Keith, Ned, and Zach actually good-looking?  I have no idea.

25 Responses to “I cannot tell if most men are attractive or not”

  1. Mary Says:

    This exactly describes me! But I guess I just kind of assumed (perhaps subconsciously) that many women were the same way. But maybe that’s totally wrong and male attractiveness is obvious for most women?

  2. First Gen American Says:

    Guys have a much broader range of what’s considered acceptable and attractive. So not fair. You could be a 130 pound marathon runner, a 180 pound regular build guy or a 250 pound bodybuilder and all of those and everything in between are considered attractive builds for a guy if they are take care of themselves.

    I think it’s a lot harder for women to unsee a jerk personality once it’s been revealed and that dominates ones perception of the attractiveness of the person.

  3. yetanotherpfblog Says:

    As I grow older, I am less clued into what is considered conventionally attractive (or just possibly care less). Every once in a while I’ll be struck by the thought of “this person is clearly gorgeous” in an everyone-must-agree-about-this sort of way, even if they are not my type. Everyone else kind of gets lumped into the “I’m sure you’re someone’s type” bucket.

  4. Grace Says:

    I think there’s a range in what I consider to be attractive in a man, but I don’t know if I’d say that my idea of a good looking guy is going to match what people define as conventionally attractive. I’ve never understood why anyone thought Leonardo diCaprio was cute, for example.

    But I’d also say that I think that my thinking about a guy as being attractive is more of an aesthetic appreciation than a “hello, let’s date” appreciation. Attractiveness plays a role– I thought my now-husband was cute when I first saw him– but the real thing was personality and intellect.

  5. rose Says:

    I think there are two different things going on.
    Culturally there are physical attributes to being attractive, in shape, symmetry, arrangements of features, expressions on face, sometimes head hair and facial features. Some of these have varied historically in exactly how they play out.
    Women are judged on this pretty physical characteristics issue much alone.
    But for women the attractiveness of a specific man is different and issues of personality, kindness, humor, seeing a woman as human make a huge difference in one on one situations. And, for some women the attractiveness of a specific man is based on his power and wealth. I have absolutely meet men who fit the cultural desired outward appearance but glory heavens I would not want to spend a day in their company, much less get personal with them.

  6. CG Says:

    I’ve found it interesting that as I’ve gotten older I’ve found different (and often older) men more attractive. I can still see a 23-year old and appreciate him from an aesthetic perspective, but he doesn’t interest me. I hope it works that way for at least some men, too. I’ve also never had a relationship that wasn’t based first on interest in that person’s mind and then an appreciation for the way they looked, including my husband. So maybe I’m like Grace in that sense.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Nobody interests me except my DH! The thought of anybody else is kind of squicky, but I will say the thought of guys not around my age is especially squicky. Even from an aesthetic sense I don’t feel like this person is beautiful to look at like I would a beautiful sunset, but more like, I can tell that other people would label this person attractive (with a few exceptions– I do see Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman as genuinely beautiful, though maybe that’s because WW is so cool). (Also I can aesthetically appreciate some athletic feats like figure skating or gymnastics.)

  7. Anoninmass Says:

    Aah I relate to this a whole lot! I am approaching 50-ish and identify as gay…and born female and still identify this way. But Ive always been slower to be attracted to people and could never understand or relate to constant comments that others made about those they found attractive, so quickly and even when they were in relationships talking about other peopel. When I am dating someone it’s only them for me…. I don’t have a wandering eye and can’t move quickly between relationships. When Ive been attracted to men it was always their personalities,…..humor and maybe a nice smile. I can find people attractive at times but have no desire to sleep with them no matter how attractive they are viewed.

    I recently “fell” for someone that I knew first and for sometime before I ever really noticed her great smile and *ahem other attributes…but well she wasn’t available anyway….
    But I get it. If i were different it would probably make my life a little easier.
    Glad to hear you and DH have something solid!
    Anon in Mass

  8. Ally Says:

    This makes sense to me… I’m not as much that way as you, but I generally am not attracted to most men in person unless I’ve known them for a while (which always caused problems back when I actually met single guys my age…by the time I was attracted to them, they thought I wasn’t interested), and even in regards to celebrities – I’m generally a fan before it dawns on me one day that they’re attractive – so it’s almost like I’ve gotten to know them too. Random guys other women are screaming about? I usually just don’t get. I might understand they’re conventionally attractive, but I don’t feel it myself. (I never understood the Leonardo Di Caprio love, or the Brad Pitt thing, and I still don’t.)

  9. Becca Says:

    I mean, it’s always possible you can tell women are attractive because women are objectively more attractive.

    I actually do find some men visually appealing, but I find far more women visually appealing. That said, “visually appealing” is only a very tiny part of what I think of as “attraction” so there’s that.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Women are definitely cleaner and more likely to wear made up, that is true. But still, all of those BIP guys are supposed to be attractive.

    • Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

      As Eve Babitz once said (paraphrased, because I don’t have the book handy), “Which would you rather sleep with: a beautiful soft creature or a large hard one? I mean, if they both had the same amount of money.”

      Leonardo di Caprio always looked too boyish to me, and now he just looks like a withered boy. I am definitely not demi-sexual and have analyzed my preferences in men, which come down to fine bones and pheromones. I am never attracted to big-boned men and I cannot tell from a picture whether *I* will find a man attractive in person, because for me it’s mainly about how someone smells. That is, their own natural scent. Not a fan of scented products, though a little Old Spice can enhance the right guy. I have rarely seen anyone else discuss pheromones or admit to being influenced by something so purely visceral. Certainly unpleasant behavior, attitude, lack of humor, etc., can be off-putting, but they’re not where I start.

  10. Anon for This One Says:

    Re Try Guys, Keith is the one I find attractive. He’s tall and I like his voice and face (nice lips, teeth, and eyes), plus he’s funny, but then again they all are. I know Eugene is supposed to be attractive and I intellectually I know he is, but he does nothing for me; I think he’s too feminine for my taste. I don’t find Zach or Ned attractive at all. Objectively I think Zach wouldn’t be considered particularly attractive, while Ned is supposed to be, but to me he looks far too much like a rat.

    I am technically bi, leaning straight (experience some attraction to women, maybe 1 to 1.5 on the Kinsey scale; not that it matters much now, as I’ve been married to a man for almost two decades). I’d say I have one very specific type when it comes to women, while I like all sorts of men (across body types, ethnicities, and pver a pretty wide age range). But I definitely need to see a person moving and talking; stills do nothing for me — in fact, everyone looks vacuous posing for “sexy” pictures.

    I can tell when someone is considered attractive, but that doesn’t mean they’ll do anything for me. For instance, I think Jon Hamm is plain disgusting. I know I’m supposed to swoon, but I find him repellent. I also hate Leo DiCaprio; I’ve only started tolerating him now that he’s hit his 40s and finally looks like an adult. (I hated DiCaprio with the same burning passion with which I continue to hate the vastly overrated porcelain queens Natalie Portman and Juliette Binoche, who as far as I’m concerned have never been able to convey any adult woman’s emotion on screen). Brad Pitt seems like he is deathly boring; I would pick Ed Norton over Pitt any day. Chris Evans looks great and seems like a sweetheart, but again seems really boring and doesn’t do much for me. Pop culture peeps I’ve recently liked are Wilson Bethel and Mathew Goode, honestly because they are such great (and underrated!) actors who are really masculine and can portray vulnerability without losing any of the masculinity. Also, Ryan Reynolds, who I think is super hot b/c he looks like naughty fun.

    FWIW, I’m in my forties, but my libido is probably as high as when I was a teen (even if I’m nowhere nearly as hot as I was then; not that I knew it or believed it or properly enjoyed it then). I did make some imprudent choices when I was young, following the libido (I know we academics are supposed to be all brains and no gonads, but there you have it). But I’m married, so I try to channel all that sexual energy into (many, many) other pursuits. And I allow myself to swoon over swoonable people and over interesting people I meet without taking it far. I’m married, but I’m not dead. If I weren’t married, I’d be…busy.

    But there has to be some real connection, some real chemistry, before I can actually fall for someone. I think this is true for most people, regardless of gender. It can be quick, usually isn’t, but without a genuine connection, you’re just fucking some rando, which sounds exciting but IRL is typically far more awkward than hot, if we’re being honest.

  11. Anon for This One Says:

    Re Try Guys, Keith is the one I find attractive. He’s tall and I like his voice and face (nice lips, teeth, and eyes), plus he’s funny, but then again they all are. I know Eugene is supposed to be attractive and I intellectually I know he is, but he does nothing for me; I think he’s too feminine for my taste. I don’t find Zach or Ned attractive at all. Objectively I think Zach wouldn’t be considered particularly attractive, while Ned is supposed to be, but to me he looks far too much like a rat.

    I am technically bi, leaning straight (experience some attraction to women, maybe 1 to 1.5 on the Kinsey scale; not that it matters much now, as I’ve been married to a man for almost two decades). I’d say I have one very specific type when it comes to women, while I like all sorts of men (across body types, ethnicities, and pver a pretty wide age range). But I definitely need to see a person moving and talking; stills do nothing for me — in fact, everyone looks vacuous posing for “sexy” pictures.

    I can tell when someone is considered attractive, but that doesn’t mean they’ll do anything for me. For instance, I think Jon Hamm is plain disgusting. I know I’m supposed to swoon, but I find him repellent. I also hate Leo DiCaprio; I’ve only started tolerating him now that he’s hit his 40s and finally looks like an adult. (I hated DiCaprio with the same burning passion with which I continue to hate the vastly overrated porcelain queens Natalie Portman and Juliette Binoche, who as far as I’m concerned have never been able to convey any adult woman’s emotion on screen). Brad Pitt seems like he is deathly boring; I would pick Ed Norton over Pitt any day. Chris Evans looks great and seems like a sweetheart, but again seems really boring and doesn’t do much for me. Pop culture peeps I’ve recently liked are Wilson Bethel and Mathew Goode, honestly because they are such great (and underrated!) actors who are really masculine and can portray vulnerability without losing any of the masculinity. Also, Ryan Reynolds, who I think is super hot b/c he looks like naughty fun.

    FWIW, I’m in my forties, but my libido is probably as high as when I was a teen (even if I’m nowhere nearly as hot as I was then; not that I knew it or believed it or properly enjoyed it then). I did make some imprudent choices when I was young, following the libido (I know we academics are supposed to be all brains and no gonads, but there you have it). But I’m married, so I try to channel all that sexual energy into (many, many) other pursuits. And I allow myself to swoon over swoonable people and over interesting people I meet without taking it far. I’m married, but I’m not dead. If I weren’t married, I’d be…busy.

    But there has to be some real connection, some real chemistry, before I can actually fall for someone. I think this is true for most people, regardless of gender. It can be quick, usually isn’t, but without a genuine connection, you’re just fucking some rando, which sounds exciting but IRL is typically far more awkward than hot, if we’re being honest.

    *

  12. Anon for this One Says:

    ***Attempt No Eleventy at leaving this infernal comment***

    Re Try Guys, Keith is the one I find attractive. He’s tall and I like his voice and face (nice lips, teeth, and eyes), plus he’s funny, but then again they all are. I know Eugene is supposed to be attractive and I intellectually I know he is, but he does nothing for me; I think he’s too feminine for my taste. I don’t find Zach or Ned attractive at all. Objectively I think Zach wouldn’t be considered particularly attractive, while Ned is supposed to be, but to me he looks far too much like a rat.

    I am technically bi, leaning straight (experience some attraction to women, maybe 1 to 1.5 on the Kinsey scale; not that it matters much now, as I’ve been married to a man for almost two decades). I’d say I have one very specific type when it comes to women, while I like all sorts of men (across body types, ethnicities, and pver a pretty wide age range). But I definitely need to see a person moving and talking; stills do nothing for me — in fact, everyone looks vacuous posing for “sexy” pictures.

    I can tell when someone is considered attractive, but that doesn’t mean they’ll do anything for me. For instance, I think Jon Hamm is plain disgusting. I know I’m supposed to swoon, but I find him repellent. I also hate Leo DiCaprio; I’ve only started tolerating him now that he’s hit his 40s and finally looks like an adult. (I hated DiCaprio with the same burning passion with which I continue to hate the vastly overrated porcelain queens Natalie Portman and Juliette Binoche, who as far as I’m concerned have never been able to convey any adult woman’s emotion on screen). Brad Pitt seems like he is deathly boring; I would pick Ed Norton over Pitt any day. Chris Evans looks great and seems like a sweetheart, but again seems really boring and doesn’t do much for me. Pop culture peeps I’ve recently liked are Wilson Bethel and Mathew Goode, honestly because they are such great (and underrated!) actors who are really masculine and can portray vulnerability without losing any of the masculinity. Also, Ryan Reynolds, who I think is super hot b/c he looks like naughty fun.

    FWIW, I’m in my forties, but my libido is probably as high as when I was a teen (even if I’m nowhere nearly as hot as I was then; not that I knew it or believed it or properly enjoyed it then). I did make some imprudent choices when I was young, following the libido (I know we academics are supposed to be all brains and no gonads, but there you have it). But I’m married, so I try to channel all that sexual energy into (many, many) other pursuits. And I allow myself to swoon over swoonable people and over interesting people I meet without taking it far. I’m married, but I’m not dead. If I weren’t married, I’d be…busy.

    But there has to be some real connection, some real chemistry, before I can actually fall for someone. I think this is true for most people, regardless of gender. It can be quick, usually isn’t, but without a genuine connection, you’re just fucking some rando, which sounds exciting but IRL is typically far more awkward than hot, if we’re being honest.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Interesting re: perceived masculinity– For me I can only evaluate standard markers of masculinity. So Eugene reads masculine because he’s 6 ft, has a masculine jaw line and muscles. Clean shaven Ned is mixed because he’s short and has a feminine jawline but has muscles (with the beard he looks more masculine).

  13. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I can recognize men who are considered conventionally attractive but I either don’t agree (as in, do not have any attraction to them) or instinctively assume they’re going to be jerks based on school age experience with the conventionally-attractive guys strutting about knowing they were and therefore acting totally entitled. I tend to assume that boys having grown up in that way will be men acting that way and give them a wide berth until they prove otherwise. Chris Evans, for example, I wouldn’t have looked at more than twice but because he seems to have a genuinely engaging personality, I’m pretty good with him. But

  14. Why I don’t want to list my pronouns | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] mentioned before that I only recently learned that demi-sexual is a thing, and is in fact, a thing that explains so much of my life (and why I will never ever be […]


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