Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Allure of Elusive Men

CN: cis-heteronormative language. 

I don’t know how many times in my life I have sat down with my friends to discuss why we find certain men attractive. You know the gut-wrenching, belly-flipping, holding eye-contact across the room type of attraction, where with every part of your being you feel like you want to devour this person - like lick their face a la chewing gum type of stuff. Okay maybe not that far, but you get it.  

At the same time we have kind of established that we don’t know whether men feel this way. Like I have never met a guy who has said to me that every time he thinks about me he gets butterflies, or that the mere thought of fucking gives him a semi.  Do men even get butterflies? Is that a thing? Are they even wired this way? If there are any cis-het men who can disclose the dynamics of how men experience chemistry and attraction please hit me up. 

This leads into what this post is about.  It is precisely because we don’t know how men work or what they are thinking that makes them so attractive to us in a lot of cases. It is the allure of the elusive man. You know the stereotypical trope about a dark and mysterious man, or a tortured writer, or a poet, or an artist, oh yes, who can forget the musician (bassist please, thanks). 

I am pretty fucking sure that a large part of what makes a man deeply attractive in the early stages of getting to know them is their elusiveness. For some women, the more obscure, alternative and different they are the deeper the attraction. For other women, the more unavailable they seem to the rest of the world, but available to the woman herself, the deeper the attraction.

No matter what the individual circumstances are these elusive men all fit the same basic profile. I would say that they are all poor communicators, a la the definition of elusive. They let on enough to know that they may be interested but not too much. They have an air of preoccupation, as if they are all about a purpose higher than themselves. Don’t be fooled though, this is not the case, the only purpose they have are themselves. There is an air of douche baggery around them, but then sometimes they seem so sincere that you can’t hold their offishness against them. Actually let me not romanticise it, they treat you like shit, but then don’t when they decide not to. A lot of them have a big ego, and at the core of it are hiding something, usually a large insecurity - perhaps some of their own childhood trauma. In any case it can all be really quite mind fucky and rationally it seems like a waste of effort, and it would be if we didn't have such a vested interest in it through this intense attraction. 

But this is the thing. I want to know why we find these elusive men so attractive. And I have been doing some research and reading, and the first thing that makes sense is projection. It is very intuitive, since we don’t know everything about these men, especially not their idiosyncrasies, we perceive them to be some way, a way that appeals to us, and we fill in the blanks with out own wishes and desires. And isn’t it oh so good…

Then there is this thing that Freud coined, called “repetition compulsion”, which means that basically we reenact (here in a sexual or romantic way) patterns of traumatic behavior from our childhood. So the hook that binds you to that man that doesn’t text back probably has some root to your childhood, for instance you may be a fixer.  This seems all too simplistic for me. But then again every elusive man who I have had a thing with, has had these strange dismissive tendencies, which I have overlooked all in quest for the thrill of the interaction. So maybe there is something to it, something like, oh if I just give this one more go it will be alright.  

The other thing it could be is an ego thing. This is the simplest version, and the one that resonates with projection a bit more. It goes like this, you meet an elusive man and you want to have some of that. You want to possess it. It’s natural selection and you want to win. And you don’t stop until you do, despite the costs, and there are costs.

To make it more interesting, I met a woman counsellor once casually, and we had a conversation about this type of eye locking attraction. I basically said that it is so bizarre that you have all these subconscious signals going off and that like in a split second you, with barely thinking, can pick out who in the crowd you would be interested in getting with. So we talked about whether this was purely physical, like, do women go for the strongest, tallest, toughest looking men, and it is actually not always the case. Then we talked about what it was. And it came down to some very Jungian type subconscious signaling going on. Basically there are stuff so deep down that we don’t even know that send out frequencies, and the person you’re attracted to emits the same frequencies, and then you connect. So this counsellor then says, wait for it… that this type of attraction is ALWAYS DANGEROUS. LIKE POISON. I kid you not. And I chuckled so hard. I was like, hold up, you go out to a club and have vibes with a person and those vibes are DANGEROUS. NO, NO, NO. NOPE. Sorry.

I mean I want to say I understand what she was saying, that given the fuckery that comes with elusive men these vibes can be dangerous. Or, perhaps it was that having vibes like that does not equate to love… But who said that they do? Or perhaps she was saying you can’t build something with someone based solely on those vibes, you need to get to know them first, so as to know that they’re not trash. I don’t know. What I do know is that there are hundreds of thousands of relationships that begin like this, people meet each other and fall into the most scandalous lust and then fall in love, and there are just as many interactions where the latter does not happen and that is okay. 

So then back to the question, what is it about the allure of elusive men? I really think it comes back to the projection thing, we are constantly on the look to validate ourselves. And this happens when we choose extremely attractive people upfront, since it says, hey, look at what I snagged - this Adonis, or really intellectual people, or really quirky, sexy, fun, edgy, alternative, people. You get it. But the key is that they need not just be this. They could actually be anything or anyone. The key is that we perceive their odd or hard to read qualities to be elusive. and this comes down to perception versus reality, in real life they may not be elusive at all. Think about how many times you have crushed and your best friend goes, “I just don’t see it, he’s so (fill in the blank)”.

So if I can conclude then, the allure of elusive men is not because they are truly elusive. It is that through the lens of our projections and desires for things intangible we perceive them to be that way.  And a take home nugget of wisdom would be to remember this when you feel bowled over and powerless by just how amazing you perceive them to be. No it is not “dangerous” but yes, it is an illusion. A delicious illusion. 

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