X. and I were talking about the mysteries of romance and sexual attraction last night.How come, he asked, women he was attracted to were never attracted to him? and vice versa?
He feels guilty, moreover, because he could never feel sexually attracted to someone because of their inner qualities: their mind, their intelligence, their peaceful nature.
I had (and have), no wisdom or insight in/to any of these areas. Romance has always been a puzzle to me, and sexual attraction? What is it? The private acknowledgement that someone is good looking? That they smell nice? The irresistible biological pull towards another person?
I think nearly everybody is good looking! (I'm serious.) In that sense I am "attracted to" 60 or 70% of the women I know. The biological pull is rare. I have to like someone too before I feel all my nerve endings straining to touch that person. So it's body and nature combined for me.
How often is that reciprocated? Of course, we don't know. The tragedy of human relationships--well, one of the many--is that we are trained to keep all of the important things we feel safely under wraps and share only the stuff that is superficial and meaningless (there is a world of tenderness, "a heart throb", as Ginsberg says, that we struggle to hide from each other and it could save us all). So I don't know if my attraction to this or that person is reciprocated.
But in terms of declared attraction, I am now in a 4-year drought, after a weird "hot period" (as I like to think of it, rather mannishly), in which two women I desired declared their attraction to me in three weeks. Ah, those were the days.
Romance? Ah, romance. Or love, which is what I really mean. The Holy Grail of human relationships, as far as I'm concerned. I have had it, I have experienced it, and I have watched it die too recently to have an objective (or even a useful subjective) view. But I remain hopeful. And as Bob Dylan would say, "That's good enough for now."