Sunday, January 22, 2012

Women and Men, Apples and Oranges

I’ve come to the conclusion that women more than men, generally speaking, consider physical attractiveness when it comes to their appreciation of the arts and their view of political candidates, yet they seem indifferent to looks when it comes to courtship and marriage.  I’ve seen attractive women hook up with older, heavy-set and less-than-attractive men presumably for money, stability, or security.  I’m not exactly original in this observation, and yet my observation is probably controversial.  Some of my female readers might point out that, at best, men are no different.  Today I was discussing the Republican candidates with my family; we reviewed their speeches online after the results of the South Carolina primary.  My wife and daughters kept remarking on whether these politicians were handsome or not; similarly, I’ve seen female pundits talk about the physical attributes of male candidates.  Such reactions remind me of instances when I'd show a music video or concert footage to a female acquaintance or friend, only to become disappointed when they remark on the (male) musicians’ attractiveness or lack thereof.  I soon realized that for them physical appearance of the musicians affected  their appreciation of the music.  Eye candy was a prerequisite for ear candy.  (Had I played only the music without visuals of the band, perhaps I'd get a different response.)  It’s such a disappoint when you’re moved by a particular piece of music, but the person you’re playing the music for is focusing on the singer’s looks.  It goes beyond looks, though.  I'd be hard-pressed to find a female who enjoys one of my favorite genres of music, progressive metal.  They're few and far between.

Believe me, folks, I’m well aware that these differences are rooted in our evolutionary heritage.  I’m also aware of exceptions to the rule.  You certainly could argue that it cuts both ways when it comes to looks as a factor.  Men respond more positively to the feminine touch and social engineering is based on such primal instincts.  That’s why many news programs feature bosomed, bleach blonde gals and often the camera pans down toward their legs, which of course are on prominent display.  I’m offering no new revelations here.  I’m just reminding myself once again that I need to take into account the gender of my interlocutor, particularly in politics and art, so I know into which direction the conversation will likely steer.  There’s nothing wrong with apples and oranges.  Both can be bitter and acidic.