I’ve started to see a common trend in relationship articles and advice columns. There seems to be an overwhelming amount of information out there about how to make ourselves more attractive to people.
These articles suggest dozens of ways for us to be more charming, alluring, intriguing, mysterious, etc. If we can only tap into these superpowers, the flood gates will open and people will flock to us.
My concern is with how many of these methods of attraction are a matter of tapping into our own, already existent strengths, and how much is creating a version of us that is most universally palatable to the highest number of people possible?
When we try to cultivate the version of us that is the most universally attractive, we’re bending ourselves to the image of what we think others want. We’re the one who is working as the active component in connecting to a potential partner. We become the magnet to pull in the metal.
It begs the question as to whether the people we’re trying to attract are doing the same kind of work in order to attract us or are they simply existing in the world, hoping that we’ll accept the fact that they’re attracted to us as a gift? A random paperclip doing nothing more than laying in a drawer is not necessarily a gift to a magnet.
A while ago, I wrote about the three phases of post-divorce dating as explained to me by my trainer. The last phase is when you finally evolve into the next version of you and become happy. You find joy. That happy stage is when people find you most attractive.
I’m solidly in phase three. And people do notice. I recently told my trainer that I didn’t care if someone found me attractive or not. I don’t have to be universally attractive in order to have high worth to myself or others.
Whether or not people find me attractive is not my concern. That's their concern. Whether I find them attractive is my concern.
Attraction is mutual and relies on both people equally.
I find people that are curious and open-minded attractive. I find people that look beyond the surface attractive. What I find really attractive? People that don’t require me to read ten articles in order to get them to fall for me.
Last year, someone told me I was intimidating to men and that if I wanted to get more dates and potentially find a partner, I needed to find a way to be softer. Be a little less fiercely independent.
He said I needed less pictures of me with 315 pounds on an Olympic bar and more selfies with more cleavage. Hell no to all of that. That is bending who I am to be universally attractive and it feels horrible.
The guy I want is the kind of guy who thinks my deadlift is just as badass and my dress with the plunging neckline. He finds a litany of cleavage selfies aesthetically pleasing but rather boring. Knowing this nudges me closer to mutual attraction, not universal attraction.
Owning characteristics about yourself, regardless of whether people find them attractive, is attractive.
Yes, an adventurous spirit can be universally attractive to many people. If you’re not actually adventurous, though, what are you going to do with those people?
If you’re a sit-by-the-lake-reading-a-book kind of person appearing game for climbing Kilimanjaro, you’re doing nothing more than potentially putting yourself halfway up a large African mountain wishing you had a book to read. Own being a bookworm.
Being selective with who we draw in means we have standards. I don’t care about being a highly attractive person that everyone will gravitate to if it requires putting on a facade of pretending to be flirtatious and fun all the time.
I have those moments in spades, but if that is what attracts someone to me, what happens on the days where that part of me rests dormant? Days when the world seems heavy and I’m far too contemplative to bat my eyelashes. Does my magnet turn off and drop anything attached to me to the ground?
Let’s not go through a checklist of someone else’s ideas of everything we need to be in order to be attractive. Let’s know ourselves well enough to not need it.
Let’s cultivate who we already are. Double down on the good stuff. Do the things we love. It brings us inescapable joy that’s genuine. That means that regardless of whether someone is drawn to it, it still makes us happy people, random paperclips be damned.