I was listening to an NPR segment about the psychological differences in the thought processes of men and women, the other day. There was some very intriguing observations and studies that were discussed between the interviewer and psychologist, but what stood out most to me was when the discussion gravitated toward what women and men generally consider attractive, in the opposite sex. The guest commented on a couple of things which I’ve heard about this topic in the past—studies about how men can become instantly aroused upon seeing genitalia in photos or movies; and how women instead are more sexually aroused by things like seeing a photo of a couple holding each other. Seeing people in the act of cuddling (coupling) is indicative of a romantic relationship, which is what women typically value. But, then, the host asked the psychologist a more direct question. “So, you would say that the car a man drives matters to a woman?” she asked. “In regards to women being attracted to the opposite sex, what does the vehicle say about him?” The guest, then, explained how studies had shown that what car a man drove played a big factor in how intensely attracted a woman was, overall, to a man. The psychologist gave firsthand accounts from a few of the women that were studied. She said the women in the study stated that if a man rides a Harley Davidson, it translates to many women that he’s a bad boy, he dangerous, he’s zealous, and he is going to give you the wildest time of your life. If you’re a man with a clunker, women expressed it showed that he has a lack of respect for himself, and because of his low self-esteem, he’ll have a lack of respect for them. And, I’ve actually seen similar opinions from women on my Facebook page several times: A guy driving a big truck translates to someone who is rugged, adventurous, brawny, wild, financially stable, and a rebel. Then, the psychologist was asked why she thought the phenomenon that led to “50 Shades of Grey” was so widely appealing to so many women. She explained that, the male protagonist, Christian Grey, represented someone who completely took charge of a situation, which included the female protagonist’s freedom to choose who she could and could not associate with. He was someone who was highly confident in himself for knowing precisely what he wanted—to engage a very unorthodox and perverted sexual lifestyle with her. The attributes of Christian translated to “confident” and “being a leader,” which women find very sexy. His qualities also translated to giving a very direct and specific way to serve for the woman to serve, which women really like to specifically know in what manner they can they can be useful in a relationship. The account of the women who participated in the studies said they didn’t want a man who controlled their life or every activity in the bedroom but that they did like someone who knew exactly what he wanted in life and in the bedroom, so that they’d know how they could be of use in the relationship and to apply their unique abilities to that need. She said, “It’s not that they needed a man to find their purpose but that they had an intense desire to play their part in the relationship and wanted a man to give her a clearly defined structure, in which to operate in. Now, there is nothing wrong with seeing a man who can race you around town in Lamborghini as attractive. Shoot, if a woman drove me around town in a Lambo, it’d probably turn me on, too! And, I do believe that a man should have a certain level of financial stability before he gets into a romantic relationship; because money does matter when it comes to relationships. So, I can understand seeing someone who can’t maintain a running vehicle on a consistent basis as unattractive. But, as I sat there and listened to the rest of the interview, I never heard any mention of the women being attracted to anything of real substance. That is, of course, unless you count that most women prefer squared shoulders and saw tattoos as someone who could endure pain (tough times in life) as substance. I’m sitting there wondering why they didn’t mention the other, more meaningful things about a man that should translate to being hot? Or, at least, I wished those things were generally considered as attractive. All I know is, a man could have a Lambo and still be going home and verbally and/or physically abusing his wife every night. Now, I’m not dissing someone for being attracted to a person by these things, and I know for damn sure that some men will put up with a poor personality for a cute smile and some thick thighs. Initial attraction by such things is not evil. What I am saying though, is that those meager attractions should be eclipsed by and microscopically minuscule compared to the righteous-based things that truly constitute the attributes of leadership, strength, toughness, protection, endurance, pleasure, longevity, and integrity. Some men have become extremely crafty at displaying these flimsy and false representations of true manhood, and they know exactly how to fulfill an image of what that a man is, without the substance to back it up. If one were to suggest that I’m blaming women for how men have become in this day and age that is simply isn’t the case. I am saying though, that if the important things that truly should be considered and celebrated in a man were honored and glorified as sexy, like the attributes of Christian Grey, as much as the shallow stuff is, imagine what kind of world this would be. Of course, it’s up to the parents to lead a healthy lifetime example of how a woman is supposed to treat a man, how a man is supposed to treat a woman, and what attributes—ones of real substance—to honor in one another. But, instead, this vague image of what a “hustler” is (because you’re only a hustler if you’re a drug dealer gone legit, a current drug dealer, or a ballplayer) is being glorified on TV shows like Empire and The Game. What if strategically and earnestly investing in honorable enterprises was seen as something sexy? That type of behavior is what constitutes someone who is responsibly planning for the future and seeking to ensure his family’s financial future is stable one—longevity and security. Shoot, what if a man teaching his woman how to invest was seen as sexy? And, then, what about investing as a team? I mean, that sounds a heck of a lot more kinky than a man taking the Christian Grey route and placing a woman you in sexual bondage and brutalizing her body? What if a man dedicating himself, every day, to some form of activism against a social injustice was publicized as something sexy? What if someone striving to become more empathetic, understanding, and accepting of others—improving themselves internally instead of looking pretty externally—was seen as something that was hot? What if a man purchasing a compact car or a hybrid vehicle, so that there’s at least some attempt being made to cut down on emissions and to conserve resources for the world, instead of buying a “bigger is better” kind of truck, was seen as something that was fine as hell. If a man cared about his global community like that—people he doesn’t even know personally—imagine how intensely he will care for the woman in his life. Many men would collectively respond with better behavior, when challenged in that manner. And, they would respond because men will always display and demonstrate what it takes to attract a woman. There would still be jerks and the buttholes, but if those kinds of images and examples got praised and honored and were seen as something that was “cool to do,” men would step up to the plate and do it. It’s the parent’s job to be the example, but young men also need examples to look up to, all around them. When a man keeps seeing the pretty girl he likes with the guy with all the jewelry, the souped-up cars, that’s living a certain lifestyle (The guy with a life centered around consumerism), and who’s not doing shit for the community, they’re going to imitate it. They want to get the girl (because girls are freaking awesome), and are willing to go to great lengths to get her, which is a good thing. A man should want to work very hard to earn a woman’s commitment and loyalty. It’s about working hard, in the right way and on the right kinds of things. People can believe what they want. But, if Beyonce, Rhianna, Katy Perry, Kelly Rowland started regularly making songs about how sexy it is to take on work at the local homeless shelter, advocate for racial equality, or mentor youth in the community, men would be scratching and clawing at each other over volunteer work vacancies and constantly bragging about how many kids they convinced to stay in school and not about the Jordans they bought or the new sick ink they just had tatted.
Note: This piece is featured in my second published anthology, A Pale Face for a Collar: Testimonials of an Office Rat. For the book description, to experience more poetry like this, or to obtain your own physical or electronic version of this published work, please feel free to view to the book profile on Amazon today, by clicking on the link: A Pale Face for a Collar: Testimonials of an Office Rat (Physical Copy and/or eBbook).