The process of attraction

What attracts us to a mate? How long have you got? There's a strange irony to the attraction process that humans somehow fail to get, which is that the factors that we use to define an attractive person are often the factors that guarantee someone will be unlucky rather than lucky when it comes to meeting a mate and sustaining a relationship

Open any magazine or newspaper and you will see pages of "beautiful" people who fit the perceived criteria for beauty and perfect looks Almost without exception the women will be slim, even just after childbirth, large breasted, and have symmetric, perfect features and an unlined, almost expressionless face

Any female celebrity is expected to maintain her slim body and unlined face throughout the ageing process to signal youth and breeding ability Women in their forties, fifties, sixties, and seventies will be expected to avoid "letting themselves go" by using cosmetic surgery to replicate the ideal image, which is something between childhood and adolescence Models, who don't have to have the acting or performing talent that tends to come with age and experience and can therefore fit this "ideal" profile of beauty, will be roughly between the ages of fourteen and nineteen

So what's wrong with clear, unlined skin and a toned body? Nothing, if it's natural or at least natural looking An image of youth is an image of breeding potential, and—in evolutionary terms—it's natural for a male to opt for a female who appears to have many breeding years in front of her

It is a fact of celebrity life, though, that the most "beautiful" or most "perfect-looking" women, the ones we set up as ideal and whose looks we spend money trying to emulate, are rarely lucky in love or comfortable living alone Most fall into some hideous dark emotional pit of dating and being dumped, dating and being dumped

Now look at women who do seem to find success in their relationships Often they're less than perfect on the celebrity Richter scale of good looks . There is a huge discrepancy between the women men claim to like and the women men really like Women that men really like have an added X factor when it comes to signals of attraction. That X factor is called body language . Here's why Barbie-doll perfection can actually repel rather than attract:

I One of the greatest signalers of attraction is the face. In its normal state the face relays masses of information to a potential mate, most of it extremely subtle Youthful beauty is often deadpan because personality is less of an issue and breeding potential more important As a woman gets out of her teens it will be her facial expressions that have resonance for a male He will be extremely attracted to and turned on by facial movement rather than facial features I When we fall in love, nature creates a facial expression that I call the "Look of Love. " Burt Bacharach wrote a song around it It's a dramatic change of facial features that occurs when you look at the object of your affection and desire Your eyes soften, your facial expression softens, you acquire what can only be described as a soppy smile and everyone around you knows you've fallen in love

I You also use your face to signal tie-signs . These are all those small, subtle glances, nods, eyebrow-raises, and pursing of the lips that any close couple will use to communicate . They don't need words; these tie-signs will speak volumes

So where does a deadpan facial expression fit into this love portfolio? The kind of expressionless face sported by models and some actresses and the kind of facial deadpanning created by Botox is—in romance terms—a signal of being emotionally cut off For most kids it's the face their mother uses to let them know she's really, really, scarily annoyed. It says, "I have no feelings for you anymore . " It's the face that any husband or wife will know signals the absolute end of a marriage So lifted, Botoxed, unlined, expressionless faces become part of our Personal Heckling system, signaling "go away" (or worse!) to the guy we're trying to attract by somehow prolonging our youth

Big breasts on a skinny body might appear to be a man's idea of heaven Many men read porn and 90 percent of porn features girls who are as skinny as whippets but sporting massive great jugs This look is seen by many men as their social ideal—that is, the one body shape they can all share a drool over Men like to keep a tight group allegiance To this end, they need to be seen to admire the same woman For men it's all about status The alpha male in a group has to be the one who can pull the best-looking girls, therefore the profile of what's "best looking" needs to be created by consensus and more "deviant" tastes suppressed

In animal terms the sexiest parts of the female body are the bottom and the vulva Because humans opted to walk on two legs, thereby hiding both from view, the obsession with breasts and lips began, with rounded breasts and cleavage mimicking the bottom and painted, reddened, pouting lips mimicking the vulva Ironically women who boost their breasts with silicone and uplift bras are often the same women who also diet to get rid of their butts, therefore luring guys toward something that no longer exists . It's only thanks to celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce that the female bottom has had something of a recent revival

Body movement is one of the great creators of sexual and romantic attraction We're attracted to people for many complex psychological reasons, not just because they look like a Barbie or Ken doll and our friends would approve Your sexual programming is something even you would be hard-pressed to understand, which is why our life mate is rarely someone who could be described as universally attractive When we see a potential mate we also see echoes from childhood and patterns of behavior, plus the visual signals that our subconscious locks into, and the attraction is made If we only date people we think our friends would approve of we're likely to make some very poor long-term choices

Men will also be placed under pressure to depict the social ideal image of attraction, but in many ways they're luckier In a male, attraction is also linked to power An alpha ape is also the sleekest and best-looking ape in a colony, but in human terms the looks factor isn't always necessary if the guy has money and/or high status . Or even if he has good "fight" potential, which just means he looks like the strongest male in the group These signals are linked to a time way back in our evolution when the female needed protection while she produced the babies Male celebrities are likely to be luckier in love than females because their range of "ideal" options when it comes to good looks attraction is far wider Would a female version of James Gandolfini (star of The Sopranos and no idol in the looks department) have a strong male following? And yet he regularly appears in polls of the sexiest men onscreen

Flirt signals are a common sight on the celebrity landscape and most leading celebs use them to raise their profile and public desirability by flirting into the camera at key occasions Often they'll even use a handy partner to "flirt off'; they will smooch and cuddle the partner but turn their eyes to the camera at the same time The message from this type of flirting is clear: it's all part of a public desirability process that has little connection with or concern for the long-suffering partner If there's no handy member of the opposite sex available, celebrities will happily employ same-sex flirt signals or even smooch up to small pets, like Paris Hilton with her dogs .

Continue reading here: Genuine attraction signals how to give them and how to receive them

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  • Hannes
    How would human attraction work on an ageing couple?
    8 years ago