Contradiction in Terms
You say to-may-toe; I say toh-mah-tah. Deal with it.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Attributes of Attraction

Last Saturday night (Sunday morning, really), Dean, Vin, Andrew, and I got to talking about the 5 "M"s--in other words, the five attributes that Filipino males supposedly look for in a prospective girlfriend. It's a rather horrifying list, really: Maganda (pretty), Malambing (affectionate), Masunurin (obedient), May Telepono (has a phone), Malapit ang bahay (lives nearby).

Now, this is a mostly tongue-in-cheek (um, I hope) set of requirements that was popular when I was in college, but naturally it led to what each of us really looks for in a romantic partner. I realized that my list has changed a lot from the days of my youth--well, back then, you know, when I said "good-looking", I basically meant "bears a stunning resemblance to Johnny Depp". Now that I'm older and presumably wiser, my priorities have altered significantly:

1. The Look. I've often said that women go for quality, not packaging--however, we do like the packaging to look decent. You know, a guy you can actually introduce to people without having to go, "This is my, um, well, okay, friend." In my case, I care less about a guy's actual physical features than how he presents himself. I like a man to have a strong sense of personal style--not that he has to go around looking like a GQ fashion spread, but that his appearance expresses his character, and he doesn't look like every other Joe Schmoe who wears the clothes his mommy buys him. And basically, he should look nice, clean, and not have any horripilating characteristics like dirty ears or hair growing out of his nostrils. I have zero interest in grooming my guy or dressing him up like a Ken doll--as far as I'm concerned, if he can't take care of himself, he's not a grown-up; and My Toys are Not For Boys.

2. Things in Common. Preferably, my guy likes to read, has discerning taste in movies, enjoys a good Broadway musical, etc. More important, however, are the fundamental commonalities--like socio-economic background, restaurant savvy, and the ability to speak good English. Call me a snob: I am, I won't deny it. But am I willing to spend an entire relationship adjusting to someone else's level? No, I am not. I want us both to start on fairly level ground, and build from there. It may be snobbery, but it's also good sense.

3. Sexual Compatibility. Not something you can tell right off the bat, but prolonged conversation can eventually reveal a person's outlook on this vital element of romantic interaction. Obviously, a guy who believes that the missionary position once a month is the be-all and end-all of intimate relations is not the guy for me! (Or, y'know, anyone, I should think...) And as Gigi said recently, you can learn a lot--not everything, I maintain, but a lot--from the way a guy kisses. It's not so much about sexual prowess, but sexual openness.

4. Mental Matters. If he's not at least as smart as me, he's gone. That practically goes without saying, but in my case, he also needs to be weird. Not an out-and-out freakshow, mind you, but I like a little quirkiness, a certain level of out-of-the-ordinary obssession. I just would not be into a guy whose interests consist of standard testosterone tropes like cars and sound systems. Yawn. Tell me you keep snakes; tell me you still like to build Lego skyscrapers; tell me that comic book characters are the mythological pantheon of the 20th century, and explain why you think so. I'm your girl.

5. Deserved Arrogance. To me, there's a big difference between arrogance and conceit. A conceited man thinks he's the cat's meow when really, he's barely worth a mouse's squeak. An arrogant man is so secure in his qualities and capabilities that the way he carries himself roars it like a lion--and he's proven his right to walk around that way. Some women find this a turn-off, but I consider it sexy as all hell. I like a man whom I can't necessarily push around--who could possibly push me around, but doesn't, partly because he knows that he could if he wanted to. Maybe that's uncharacteristically chauvinistic of me, but I think that strength just calls to strength, that's all. All the muscles in the world cannot make me as weak in the knees as a rightfully arrogant man.

Yes, I know that I'm happily married, which makes this list more or less moot for me. But looking it over, I'm pleased to report that Dean definitely scores a five out of five. (Six, actually, because he gets bonus points for the arrogance requirement, haha!) As for my own compliance with the 5 "M"s... well, I am affectionate, at least. All other attributes are open for discussion.

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