I’d dated him a couple times, and he’d seen me all summer in the short denim skirt I loved to wear on weekends when the weather is warm–but he never said anything about my legs until I walked up to him in shorts.
“Nice gams!” he exclaimed.
I blinked and said, “You’ve seen my legs before.”
“But. . . not in shorts.”
I’m continually surprised by what men find attractive. It’s particularly interesting considering how we, as women, tend to focus on trends. As a gender we have a bad habit of assuming that just because some (probably gay) art director thought that gigantic mouths were sexy this year, every man we meet will be looking for that mouth, too. Couldn’t be more wrong. We shouldn’t be shocked to discover this, but based on countless conversations I’ve had with women, I think it needs to be said:
Every man is attracted to different things.
What’s even more interesting is how different men are attracted to different aspects of the same woman. I’m going to use myself as an example. Think of me as your guinea pig who also reports on the results of her own lab tests.
One man I dated loved to see me in a dress. Babydoll, cocktail, long boho, didn’t matter–he just loved the feminine look. Another man (an engineer) never remarked on my clothes except for when the day he saw me in black knit booty shorts. “These are kinda sexy,” he says, reaching thoughtfully for an exposed thigh.
I have a friend who confessed later that the sight of me on one particular bad day wearing a tank top and no bra made it difficult for him to have a conversation with me. Another man taught me how to play pool that day–which involves a lot of leaning over–without batting an eyelash. He was a long-dress guy.
Another kept getting distracted at the sight of me in pedal pushers but finds no distraction in my shortest skirts. I’ve had boyfriends who loved lacy nighties and others who found them annoying impediments or hardly noticed them at all.
“You look so darn cute!” a man says on a day I’m without eye makeup and wearing a denim shirt.
I’ve never gotten a compliment in my favorite sweater, which I think is the most sensational bombshell off-the-shoulder number ever worn.
I have an unsurprisingly high success rate getting attention with a push-up bra and a low-cut top. But even thus-clad, I’ve encountered men more interested in other parts of my anatomy (or not interested at all).
Hopefully we all remember that classic scene in Housesitter when Goldie Hawn asks Steve Martin if he minds her wearing a ratty old sweatshirt and he says something to the effect of, “That?! No! You look fantastic in that.”
The one consistent trend I have experienced my entire life and will swear by until I die: no one ever finds me sexy enough to remark on when I am uncomfortable. Whether it’s a sneaks-and-jeans day or a heels-and-dress day, my relaxation in that given outfit has a direct proportional relationship to how much (if at all) I’m complimented in it. And I’ve seen so many women experience the same thing–coat yourself in makeup and you won’t get a second glance if you’re hunched up in that low-cut top. All eyes will be on the confident girl in sweats.
So let’s repeat it one more time for the road: Every man is attracted to different things. And when you find one who is attracted to your particular look, don’t scoff. Believe it. Own it.
Goldie Hawn it.