Thursday, June 25, 2015

What women find attractive

The idea for this article was spawned in a discussion on FB with a guy who, I’m pretty sure, was just trying to troll me. Still, he did help me list once more what I (and quite a few other women, I guess) find attractive in a man.

The picture does serve a purpose, yes. The discussion was about why women should prefer the guy on the left to the guy on the right. For those of you not interested in movies/action movies/comic movies: the guy on the left is Chris Hemsworth playing Marvel’s Thor and the guy on the right is Tom Hiddleston playing Marvel’s Loki. The still was taken from the first “Thor” movie.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Mr. Hemsworth is ugly and I’m sure he’s a nice guy, too, but what guys don’t seem to get is that ‘muscled and blonde’ doesn’t suffice to entice all women. Neither does being a hero.

The guy I argued with (I do enjoy arguing) tried to show Mr. Hemsworth’s good sides by listing Mr. Hiddleston’s bad sides: Loki being scrawny and asymmetrical. First of all, when looking at a front centre picture of Tom Hiddleston’s face, I don’t really spot any visible asymmetry - although I will admit no person is 100% symmetrical. What of being scrawny, then? What the guy doesn’t seem to get about women looking at men is that many of us prefer the ‘runner’s build’ (like Mr. Hiddleston’s) to the more muscled athlete’s build of Mr. Hemsworth (especially the look of him in “Thor: The Dark World” … seriously, what are they serving in Asgard? Only steroids?). I get how and why they look different, since Thor is supposed to be much more of a warrior than Loki (who relies more on magic/intelligence).
Let’s list what I (and probably quite some others) tend to notice about guys at first.

  • Eyes. Mr. Hemsworth has very beautiful blue eyes, no doubt, but those of Mr. Hiddleston are a very charming and enchanting green.
  • Smile. Both men have a very charming smile, but there’s just a very nice hint of boyish, mischievous charms in Mr. Hiddleston’s. Nice teeth are an addition to that category, but those usually are even and white with young actors.
  • Hands. I haven’t paid that much attention to Mr. Hemsworth’s hands so far, but Mr. Hiddleston has long, sensitive fingers - a turn on not just for me.
  • Voice. It might surprise men, but women really do have a thing for guys with a strong, deep voice. Both gentlemen have a very nice voice, but Mr. Hiddleston’s catches me a bit more.

As you can see, build doesn’t feature in that first list, although, to a certain degree, height does. Women like men who are taller than them. Since both Mr. Hemsworth and Mr. Hiddleston are quite tall (1,93 m and 1,87 m respectively), there’s no clear winner there, they’re both definitely taller than the average woman (or my own meagre 1,68 m).

Now to the question why quite some women prefer villains to heroes. Some might say it’s a proof of growing up - no longer looking for your Prince Charming. This is my personal theory, there’s no scientific or other proof it’s right.
Let’s be honest, movies, comics, or other stories are infused with our morals. And our morals don’t allow the evil to win. Therefore, as unrealistic as it might seem, the hero will, in the end, always vanquish the villain. However, in reality, things never go that smoothly. Women know that.
In reality, villains would probably win in at least 8 out of 10 cases. They are better organized, they have minions, they have a lot of money, they have supreme technology, they have no qualms about using any means at their disposal, they are utterly ruthless. If you look at news from everywhere, you will realize that is what usually wins you whatever you’re going for.
Yes, their ruthlessness doesn’t really make them good partners (but all alphas are bad partners long-term, that includes quite some heroes as well), but they have the means to support a lover and their children - and to keep them protected, if they consider it in their best interest.
Villains know what they want and they take it. That’s another point. There’s not much of a ‘will they/won’t they’ with villains. If they want, they will. While it might seem charming that an attractive hero is unsure about breaching the topic of sympathy and love to a woman who, obviously, likes him very much, it does grow old quickly. As love interest of a hero, you’re either going for a long (years or even decades in comics is quite possible) waiting time or you end up dead after he has declared his love and his arch-nemesis decides to kill you to strike at the hero.
Since heroes adhere to a moral codex which frowns upon killing the innocent (and if you’re a villain’s love interest, but not villainous yourself, you are an innocent for them), you don’t have to worry about a hero to kill you, because your boyfriend happens to be a villain.
The bad boy whom women want to help is a romantic idea, too. Yes, in reality it’s next to impossible to change someone, so if you go for a relationship, don’t do so thinking you can change the parts of a person you don’t like. But in a story, it’s possible.

Another reason to like Loki, despite him being a villain (in “Thor” and “The Avengers,” he’s more of an anti-hero in “Thor: The Dark World”), is how many facets the writers have worked into him. Villains tend to be more complicated and complex than heroes. There’s not much to being a hero, to doing the right thing, but these days, becoming a villain needs to be justified.
Loki is the younger brother, the adopted one, the one in the shadows, the one who has been lied to all his life. He snaps and slashes back. He tries to take what he considers his right (become king of a realm, if not Asgard, then Midgard/Earth). Women can understand that and identify with it. He doesn’t do evil, because it’s evil (no villain these days does). He doesn’t just do it for the money and the power. He has a definite deficit and thinks ruling Earth will fill it. It won’t, we know that, but it makes him someone to relate to.
Loki has heaps of charm, his silver tongue (and in Norse mythology also an insatiable appetite for sex, but that’s not in Marvel’s universe), his intelligence. He’s a guy you can talk to. A guy who would flatter you in interesting ways, if he wants something from you (be it information, assistance - or plain sex).

That’s why there’s a blog like Loki’s Dirty Whispers (to be fair, there’s also one for Thor). Loki clearly would strive to be the dominant in a relationship, but that’s not necessarily bad. There’s a clear difference between being dominant and being abusive (take heed, Mr. Grey). A relationship with Loki probably would be short, but it would also be rather interesting. Certainly not boring.

So, what do women find attractive in a guy? Eyes, mouth, teeth, hands, voice, height first and foremost. Then they’ll look for the character more than the body - honestly. My mum always wanted a tall, blond guy, she ended up with a short, dark-haired one. Yet, my parents have been happily married for 50 years. Okay, okay, women also look at men’s asses. Enough said.

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