Attractiveness Is Subjective: 3 Dudes, 3 Different Takes on My Face


Today: a rather self-indulgent post, albeit with something of a lesson.

In the past few weeks, three different men have made varying remarks about my facial appearance--specifically about my eyes--and I thought it was worth reporting on what they all said.

Case #1: The word from an old flame: Eyes that haunt him

The week before Christmas, when I was drafting that post about feeling a spark, I'd typed out three gushing paragraphs regarding a certain Old Flame hadn't caused a spark inside me so much as a full-on conflagration. (Someone call a baby fireman!) The Old Flame made me weak in the knees, quite literally; he also made my hands tremble whenever I saw him.

(For the record, only two people in my life have been able to seriously physically debilitate me simply by appearing before me: The O.F. and a boy I went to college with; let's call him Jesse James Melville. The funny thing about JJM is that he's kind of the opposite of the B.F.--in the sense that he was kicked out of school for a year, due to arson charges. He was trouble--but so incredibly sexy that, seriously, it was all I could do to remain standing the first few times we looked at each other.)

Anyway, I digress. Realizing that maybe I'd gone on too long about the Old Flame--and also thinking that he really deserves his own post one day, if not a week's worth of posts--I erased what I'd written.

By strange coincidence, I happened to hear from the Old Flame himself the very next day! (We are still in sporadic touch.) He's married, with one child, and lives all the way on the other side of the country. There is absolutely nothing the least bit dissolute or even suggestive about our correspondence, but like old people sometime do, we occasionally wax nostalgia about the days of yore. His note, as always, was very sweet, just sort of saying he'd been thinking of me and was hoping I was doing well.

I wrote back and said, "Did you know you literally used to make my knees weak? That I had to sit down whenever you walked into that little cafe where I used to work because I would feel so overcome?" And he wrote back to say that whenever he was in the bookstore where he used to work--down the street from my cafe--he would feel haunted by what he termed my beauty, by my eyes calling him to him through all the buildings between us.

(Do you see why I kinda loved this person, once upon a time? What other choice do you have, with someone who expresses his thoughts so beautifully--especially when the thoughts happen to relate to YOU? I.e. me? I don't exactly feel like he's the one who got away ... but I do regret the way I handled things between us, all those years ago. )

Case #2: The word from a newish male friend: Eyes that lack mystery

Earlier this week, I was in a rather self-obsessed mood--i.e. the more or less constant state of affairs over here at MK headquarters--and I was sort of playfully asking a newish male friend why he didn't have a crush on me. He said that he'd felt some frisson the first time we met, but that the second time--when we spent many hours together, talking non-stop--I had been so forthcoming and honest that he felt there wasn't much mystery to me. "And your eyes seem to ampliy the lack of mysteriousness," he added. "They're just so big and ... OPEN ... that it seems like everything is revealed through them."

Case #3: The word from a guy I've been out with a couple times: Eyes that are perenially amused

The day after that conversation, I got a follow-up email from the smart professor dude I went on a second date with last week. Among other things, he wrote: "I again very much enjoyed our conversation, as well as the perennially slightly amused expression on your face, which I found very charming." I wrote back saying that I'd really enjoyed our time together too--but was still feeling like we should probably be friends.

Then I asked--yes, seriously, I did--if he thought my eyes were so open that it took away from any sense of mystery I might otherwise have.

He wrote back: "Not at all, my impression was exactly the opposite, and that perennial amusement on your face I mentioned actually adds to the mystery."

So ... it's funny, right? Three different people, three different takes on my eyes. The upswing of all this is basically that, after hearing from Man #2 about the non-mysterious eyes, I thought, "Well, I've lost any luster, any power my eyes might have once had back in the day; it's all downhill from here! Also, I'm such an open book that no one will ever be interested in me again." ... But then, the very next day, I received some quite explicit evidence that (a) there was no reason for me to be making such a huge and fatalistic generalization; and (b) that different people find different characteristics attractive.

Lovelies ... if you've got similar stories to share, lay them on us.

In other news: Does anyone have tips about how to make good New Year's Resolutions? What will your resolutions be? (What should mine be?)



dear commenters:

-Kristy, I appreciate your warning. It's probably something I needed to hear--and will need to hear again--though for the moment, I feel like I have my wits about me.

-Edwinna, thank you for always backing me up, and for encouraging me to pre-empt my self-defeating thoughts and ways!

-And now, D.C. Sleeps ... I hope you appreciate that there is a BIG difference between getting back to a person with whom you've had some kind of friendly face-to-face (perhaps even intimate) contact and getting back to a stranger who contatcs you via Facebook! I try to respond to all the correspondence that comes in here to MK HQ, but between direct emails via the blog, Fbook notes, Twitter messages and the comments on Fbook and the blog itself, I hear from A LOT of people. And between all that--and the editors I need to respond to--and the students I need to respond to--and the friends and family I need to respond to ... sometimes I just can't fit every single last person in. I can't remember your email, to be honest, but I'm sorry if some kind of crucial question went unanswered. ... Anyway, I HAVE been meaning to try yoga. So tell us about the great studio in Park Slope!


This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Love & Sex