Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Little Shopping Treat

It's amazing to me how quickly humans can tell they're physically attracted to one another. I knew within probably 3 seconds, for example, that I was attracted to the guy walking into Kroger tonight, as I was walking out.

Honestly, we crossed paths for only about 3 seconds, but in that 3 seconds, I picked up a tremendous amount of detail. Such as:
  • He was tall (probably 6'3" or so) and thin, but not skin and bones, like many very tall people.
  • He had brown wavy hair underneath his baseball cap.
  • He was tan.
  • He wore british khaki trousers and a plain red t-shirt.
  • He looked kind of like John Paulk, my brother's high school friend -- but not as smiley and preppy.
That's really a lot for 3 seconds, when I think about it. For the most part, we decide very quickly about whether we are physically attracted to someone. Of course it can change -- people who might not have caught our attentions at one time catch them later. But when you're attracted to someone a lot, you're attracted to them! It doesn't take very long.

And so what is it, anyway -- this attraction? Most of the guys I've dated or liked look very, very different. And I haven't been as attracted to anyone as I was to that guy at Kroger in a long time. Why? I wonder.

I looked up the subject in my old psychology textbook (Psychology, Myers, 1992). It doesn't really answer my question, but as I was reading, I found some interesting excerpts anyway:
[M]en in 37 cultures, from Australia to Zambia, judge women as more attractive if they have a youthful appearance. [. . .] To women, men seem more attractive if they appear mature and dominant.

People also seem to prefer physical features -- noses, legs, physiques -- that are neither unusually large or small. In one clever demonstration of this, Judith Langlois and Lori Roggman (1990) digitized the faces of up to 32 college students and used a computer to average them. Students judged the averaged, composite faces as more attractive than 96 percent of the individual faces. To be average is to be beautiful. 580
Anyway, those are just random thoughts. I wish I had my social psychology book right about now so I could give more factual information -- I'm slightly embarrassed about my Kroger guy confession . . . :)

Thing I'm thankful for: drizzling rain.


Blogger Lexia said...

If he looked like Johnny Paulk, I would have checked him out too.

How long does it take you to figure out how attracted you are to someone online? Say, on LDS Linkup? Eh???

12:13 PM  
Blogger kelly said...

See, I disagree with the average thing (if we're only talking about faces). I think in a face, something that gives character is particulary appealing. Take Ian Laperriere (Colorado Avalanche player) as an example.
That nose has been crushed probably hundreds of times and it kinda grosses me out to look at it, but at the same time, it's what makes him attractive to me. Another example would be Tina Fey. That scar across her face gives her a sense of mystery that I think a lot of men find attractive. Or maybe I'm just trying to convince myself because I have a very un-average face...

3:33 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

And why is it that your perception of someone's attractiveness changes as you get to know them better? Like someone you hardly even noticed before becomes really good-looking to you if you've made some unsually good experiences with them.

8:27 AM  

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