Saturday, August 20, 2011

Men Have No Clue Why They Find A Woman Attractive

All men can identify with the gut-wrenching feeling we get when we see a beautiful woman. She enters our field of vision and immediately seizes our attention. We are transfixed. It is a feeling of intense awe, intimidation, sexual arousal and impotence all at once, combined in most men with a self-hatred at their inability to attract or attain something so beautiful. It is one of the strongest desires a man will ever experience.

The feeling has often been reduced into the French expression "Je ne sais quois," though because the saying is so hackneyed I think it does little to convey the intensity of the desire. What the expression does do accurately is point out that most men have absolutely no idea what it is about a given woman that they find attractive. Considering how analytical we are, it is surprising how rarely men apply a systematic thought process to such an important element of our lives. Probably this has something to do with the fact that the most powerful examples of this desire (i.e. those easiest to understand) are also the most overwhelming; so that the typical male instinct to "figure it out" is lost in the wave of awe described above. In any case, men are usually at a loss for words in trying to decipher what exactly it is about a woman that seizes their attention.

Extreme attraction is not evoked by any woman in her natural state. It is the cumulative product of many powerful and well though-out preening practices, which have been developed to yield the effect described above. You might even say these practices "evolved," since they are not always improved intentionally, but as their effectiveness increases in attracting men, they have a greater tendency to persist through the fads and social trends, to eventually become classics. But it is the collective effect of these things that takes a woman from average to stunning.

So here is the important point: while these ways of self-presentation are obvious to the woman using them, they are entirely incomprehensible to most men. A woman will know that she looks better because she is in heels, or because she is wearing her best colors, or because she just had her hair done. A man sees all of these things, but understands none of them. All he gets when he sees a woman is a holistic impression of her. That impression is directly controlled by the efforts she has made, and a man will be more or less attracted to her accordingly; but for him, it is still je ne sais quois.

This is the power of subtlety, and it shouldn't be underestimated. It is the same effect that you get when you walk into a room with a heavy atmosphere - for example, a nightclub or high-end restaurant. Every piece of that atmosphere is thought-out and tailored to give a certain effect; and that effect can be strong. Yet to the customer, the inability to comprehend each and every element that went into creating that ambiance gives it an additional sense of mystery, and that element of the unknown makes it all the more powerful.


  1. Andrew, I came over here from Hooking Up Smart, and have read every one of your posts. I'm blown away by the excellent quality. I'm going to write you up, link and put you on my Blogroll within the next day or two. Well done, and welcome to the blogosphere.

    1. Same here! I can't stop! I love this blog and every girl should get a giant ass gander of this.

    2. That's not Susan Walsh. She would never agree to this shite. Everyone go to HUS (Hooking up Smart) and you'll see how Susan talks about having respect for one's self not making herself look like a fuckable object. That woman rocks!

  2. I just came over here from Hooking Up Smart as well and am loving your posts!

    This and "All Men Have Different Taste" are my favorites, and I'm not sure which one to quote and build my own post on first.

  3. when you hang a gorgeous painting on the wall, chances are pretty good that in 6 months you no longer notice it. I have been very happily married for 6 years and would boast that I have the happiest husband in town---- how would you advise a wife to be so that her beauty is still noticed and unique to her husband?

  4. I like that analogy - and I agree that it is accurate; we get used to things we once appreciated. It happens all the time, in almost every aspect of our lives: with music, friends, work, etc. We grow accustomed to something that was once new and impressive, and lose our initial appreciation.

    Once you recognize that this isn't a phenomenon specific to relationships or personal/physical attractiveness, you can probably figure out the answer to your own question. You just need to apply the same methods that worked for reinventing your interest in other areas of your life as well.

    How did you start to re-appreciate the painting when you stopped noticing it? Probably you moved it to anther wall, or better yet, another room. Maybe you reframed it. So how do you re-frame yourself? or how do you put yourself in a new "context?"

    I am going to add this to my list of new topics to address, and in there I will try to answer those more specific questions, but I want to put some more thought into it.

  5. Okay, I have a question. Initially attracting a Guy is not my problem, however after some time of talking and hanging out, they come to realize that I am a "sweet" girl. I assume that must be boring, because following that discovery the contact starts to fade. What can I do? Or what does this even mean?

    1. by "sweet", do you mean you won't be sleeping with them anytime soon? if so, you probably have your answer.

    2. 'Sweet' as in 'cute' and 'girly', as opposed to 'sexy'? It is true that men like sexiness more than they particularly like femininity. Women who behave with an oozing sexuality may happen to not be very attractive or very feminine, but it would still excite the man. If a man sees a woman as 'sweet', he may not perceive her in a directly sexualised way, as she may seem too 'delicate' or 'pure' perhaps. I do not mean to wrongly misplace my meanings with 'frigid' however.

  6. It's hard to say what's going on with so little information; but I very seriously doubt your being sweet is turning guys off. I would need to know more about the kind of guys these are, and also more about you. If you want to e-mail me you can at


  7. @Luigi...the problem may not be exactly that you're too sweet. It's often that men (and all people really) will many times equate sweet with being a pushover or a doormat. And no one wants to be with a doormat...1) it's boring 2) it makes them feel like they have to cater to you or take care of your feelings all the time (aka try really hard not to squash you; they must treat you delicately like you could break, etc)...not a turn-on.

    I say all this with great affection because I am your soul-sister in this problem...I am also "too sweet" and it can be a problem at times. I tend to get used (pump & dump) or taken advantage of in my relationships (needy men who need me to coordinate their whole lives b/c they are inept children in adult bodies). Either way, being too sweet / too low maintenance / too much of a doormat has messed things up for me.

    I highly suggest reading the book "Why Men Love Bitches" It is not about being a bitch / rude / abrasive / mean. It is about being his dreamgirl not his doormat (the writer constantly compares & contrasts these two terms). And she says in her book Bitch is an acronym for Babe in Total Control of Herself. I am re-reading it and her 2nd book Why Men Marry Bitches.

    Good luck!

  8. Jen's advice is about the worst advice I have ever seen given on a blog. She might as well advise women to cut their hair short, gain weight and wear pants. Maybe it is what they call projection (psychology), since women like assertive confident men.

  9. It's "je ne sais quoi."

  10. Seriously, @jen terrible advice. Pump and dump? that's nothing to do with being a sweet girl. Try being single and greeting to know yourself... It sounds like you're having a pity party. Awful example for other women reading this.

  11. @ Andrew

    I do have a general idea of the (physical) traits I am attracted to in women, and I get the impression that I'm more of an outlier than the average man - my personal taste often causes interesting debates with my friends.

    Just listing some, off the top of my head: shoulder-length hair, wide or smoky eyes, small mouth with pulpy lips, husky voice tone etc.

    For reasons I can't understand, a little dimple on the chin and a few freckles get my attention every single time. One of the points of contention between me and my mates is, most actually say a bum chin is a male trait, what do you think?

    1. No, I don't. What would be particularly male about it? Anyway everyone has little things that drive them crazy like that. I happen to like girls with big noses.

    2. @Digra/Andrew - I agree w Andrew--I actually don't think there's such a thing as a physically ugly person. While I believe that, I think horrible attitudes, physcho behaviors, envy, jealousy, hate, anger, and other similar qualities are what makes people ugly. Those are people that are ugly. Big nose, chin, whatever, who really cares??? Good heart, kind, caring, respect--those are the qualities that make people attractive. Physical characteristics add to that.

    3. ...but don't take away from what a person imo should find attractive.

    4. @ Andrew

      Don't you mean, you like them despite the big noses? lol

      @ Emily L

      I think there are studies about people with better facial symmetry being more attractive - of course, we're talking solely about external factors.

    5. @Digra - i'm sure there are! we define attractive differently.

    6. @ Emily L

      Since that's your prerogative as a member of the XX chromosome club, it's to be expected - actually I'm glad that we have our differences,

      Now, do your girly shopping and pampering while I have a few friends over for drinks and poker.

    7. @Digra - u r funny! ...would you rather me tell you that you have taste in ugly-sounding women?

      ya know, i had a thing for men of a particular uhm..let's say "trait" and that every man i dated had to have this uhm..."trait" and i'd automatically exclude men from my dating consideration pool if they lacked that trait. WELL, as it turned out, i met a great...scratch amazing amazing man who didn't have that trait who i think is by far the most remarkable man i've ever met. that's something i can say w 1000% certainty. if he and i don't end up together, he's the man to beat! he has exceeded everything on my must-have list and impressed me beyond my imagination. my point being that holding on to uhm "superficial" things can cause you to lose out on someone who you might be perfect w. I know that's not ur question, but just sayin' that venturing beyond the chin thing might not be so bad.

    8. @ Emily L

      You misunderstood me.

      Anything you may say or think about my taste in women is your opinion. opinions ain't facts. So I hope you like a little helping of salt, as that's how I season your 'bland' comment.

      Fact is, ALTHOUGH I see women with one or more of the aforementioned physical traits, and they may draw my eye initially, I'm watching out for more than that. I'm too smart to dive in at the shallower end of the pool.

    9. @Digra-I'm glad you aren't shallow (though that's not what I meant or intended to imply). But all other things being equal w two guys, I would go for a guy w hair over a bald guy merely bc i like running my fingers through a guys hair, and playing w it. So maybe I'm more shallow lol

  12. Women, and Andrew too, I need a little wardrobe help here, suggestions welcome:

    My facial color and hair color is such that most colors clash horribly on me. I have very fair skin that is a mixture of peach and pink tones, and my hair is naturally multicolored (light browns with blond streaks and even a subtle auburn glint - it looks like expensive highlighting but is completely natural). Blond highlights around the face.

    After many years of figuring this out, I am resigned to the fact that the only colors that I look good wearing are black, dark gray, navy, dark browns with no red in them. Forget about any sort of patterns. I look really really good in black, and so wind up most of the time wearing black/dark body hugging clothing (I'm size 0-2 on bottom).

    From what I read on Andrew's blog, black is not the color that is attractive to men. So I'm completely at a loss. I can't wear girly/feminine colors at all, look horrible on me. I tried today to compromise and add a dash of color to the black with a pink or blue scarf. Forget about it, totally horrible, and it was clear I looked really good in the black once the scarf was off. Huge contrast.

    Help. What do I do. What can I wear to look more feminine, other than wearing short skirts and heels which I already do. (I do try to wear pink etc.skirts since the color is away from my face/hair - though even this has to be mixed in a print with a dark color since pink and other light or bright colors look awful and clashy against the color of my legs). Is there anything else I can do?

    1. You may be wrong about what colors work for you, because no complexion is so limited in the colors that work with it.

      I'd pay for a professional color evaluation. If you want you can email me some photos and I'll tell you what i think would work for you.

    2. I don't think a photo would work because you have to see the clothing color held right next to my face.

      To try to figure this out I went to a dept. store today and picked out a scarf of every color and held each up next to my face. I was shocked at the result. Almost all looked horrible and clashy, except one. Absolutely hideous color but next to my face my face lit up and glowed. So praying that I was wrong I went to find an objective opinion and found another woman who dressed like she had some fashion sense. Out of all the scarves in my hand she immediately pointed to the hideous one and said she was sure that one would look best with my hair & face. But still, we went through the exercise with each one next to my face and yes it was the hideous one that was best. (For the record she also said "ask whoever does that color on your hair to suggest some colors that go with the highlights she's been giving you." Ha.)

      I'm doomed. It's a hideous peach coral salmon more light orange than pink thingy. I don't even know the name of the color, "senior citizen Florida peach" maybe?

      I have to admit I look great wearing it. But I can't believe a man isn't going to say "look at that pretty woman but what's that hideous color she's wearing."

      For the sake of science, I'll wear it with my dark gray next week at a male-dominant work conference and see what happens.

      But please, aren't there any other strategies for looking more feminine besides color? Lace camisole peeking out (got that), largish hoop earrings (just got those) ... anything else??? I cannot imagine going through life wearing this color.

    3. @Juliet

      Check this blog:

      Do the Silver or Gold test!
      If you look good in dark brown you can be autumn. Forget about pink, blue and pastel colors.

    4. @aj
      thanks for this! this makes it a little clearer - seems the problem is that since my skin and hair and eyes (blue & gold, go figure; my son's eyes are green & redwood) are all mixed colors, I have both spring and autumn characteristics, so many hues in these palettes work against each other.... but alas geriatric salmon seems common to both. and it's been clear to me for years that any light color, except for the lovely petri dish salmon (didn't I grow something this color in bio class in high school?), completely washes me out in addition to clashing. this also explains why when I wore the brown suede jacket (with salmon/gold undertones now that I take a closer look), Romeo commented "wow I really like that on you."

      Ah well. I guess salmon is the new black.

    5. Juliet,

      One thing that is obvious is that your perception of what looks good and bad on you is distorted, because no one is as limited in what colors they can wear as you are claiming to be. It just doesn't happen. I suggest getting a professional consultant to give you a color analysis, and they listen to their advice even if it seems wrong. Eventually you will see that the colors they recommend do look good on you.

    6. Andrew is getting exasperated with me :)

      Andrew, a color eval is a really good idea but I'm a single parent and a tightwad and it's hard to justify the expense at the moment. A friend of a friend is a "stylist" I've been told so I'll try getting in touch with her. And I'll keep an open mind. But I really do have pretty limited options - my coloring is brunette + blonde + redhead, so it's like trying to find clothing that will simultaneously suit three different people.

      And I did know the brown suede looked good on me, I can wear darker browns as long as they don't have red in them, I just didn't know it looked THAT good.

  13. Thank you Andrew for this post on what men feel when they see a beautiful woman. It's very insightful because as woman, I can attest this has NEVER happened to me just from seeing a man. Seeing an attractive man can make me look twice (or a third or a fourth time!), and arouse some attraction, but nothing ever as strong as you've described based on physical appearance alone.

    Please continue these insights into the mind of a man. It's very educational! As a young woman, no one ever told me what men were like, so naturally as an unworldly young woman I thought they were something like myself, and subsequently I got used a few times. It's a real shame that's there's not education on this topic on both sides.

    Thank you for your blog! :)

  14. I'd like to think I've inspired such desire. I've had the long gazes from men, their eyes tracing my hair, face, neck like a mental caress. I always like that better than the breasts & body checkout. One makes me feel that I'm being seen as a collection of parts, the other makes me feel seen as a *woman.*

    I've never gotten the impression that clothing and colors per se are a draw, other than the way they reveal the body within them. As a woman being checked out, I've always had the feeling their eyes are searching beyond the clothes, whatever the clothes were. As long as you're dressed appropriately for the setting and activity and your clothes fit you well and play up your best aspects, I really don't think you can go too wrong as far as most men are concerned. Extra effort for special occasions? Of course.

    I know Andrew loves makeup on women, and I do wear it, but I aim for a soft, natural look. I want to minimize flaws, not look obviously made-up. Good health is the biggest draw, the flush in the cheeks and the bright clear look in the eyes. If you have that, all it takes is a little dab of makeup to enhance, and it's stunning. The more makeup you have to trowel on to fake it, the less it works. But that's just my opinion as a woman! The same with hair. I've never had more attention from having it "done." Long, soft looking, framing my face and neck? Oh yeah, I've had attention from that.

    So I'm not sure how typical Andrew's views are. I think most men equate beauty with health (ie., fitness, apparent genetic suitability for mating), and the makeup and clothes are enhancements, but not The Thing.

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