Sunday, July 11, 2010

Affection and Rejection

Yesterday I was told by someone that I was sexually and emotionally attractive to him, but then he told me that he did not find me physically attractive. Very odd, you can imagine.

We are very quick to make the connection between physical and sexual attraction. Romance movies always portray the two future lovers as beautiful, and frequently the entire reason they start going out is due to physical attraction. A guy stares at a beautiful woman at work for months before getting the nerve to ask her out, or a woman dreams up ways to just happen to run into Mr Dreamy and amaze him with witty conversation. Rarely do they know anything about the personality of the person they desire, but they are beautiful.

Being told by someone that you are not physically attractive to them yet are still very sexually attractive seems like an oxymoron. Aren't physical and sexual attraction the same thing? And even if they're not, don't you somehow become physically attractive when someone finds you emotionally attractive? Isn't that the consolation prize of all of us who are charming, wonderful people who might not have it made in the looks department? If we can just manage to wow someone through our kindness and intellect, then maybe, just maybe, they'll stick around?

I have to admit that it stung when he told me that. I've had people tell me they were attracted to me before, and I've even had some wonderfully crazy people tell me that I was handsome, but no one has flat out told me they did not find me physically attractive. His excuse was that I didn't fit his type.

Yes, type. Everyone has the 'type' they are looking for: tall dark and handsome; wealthy, sophisticated yet adventurous; thin, fashionable and witty; muscular, masculine and caring; full-figured, kind and intelligent. It can get specific even down to race, height, weight and occupation.

The problem comes when looking for that type drowns out everything else. We look for our type, never even considering that there might be other kinds of people that would make us happy. We search for a person in a box, specially made just for me. My soulmate who is exactly what I've always wanted for Christmas. A caricature. An idol on a pedestal just waiting for me and me alone. Not a living, breathing, flawed human being that loves, infuriates, saddens and overjoys us.

What type of God is it that I desire? What kind of God fits my needs and wants right now? Is it a nicely bland one in the Buddha's lotus position that talks about love and cosmic energy while smelling suspiciously of patchouli and tea tree oil? Is it a strong, manly God who just loves to smite my enemies like a powerful knight would do for all those who dare malign the honor of his fair princess? Is it a long-haired rabbi from Nazareth who said nothing that might possibly make me uncomfortable and who never meant that I actually have to share his message with others?

Types. Types of partners, types of gods, types of religious and spiritual systems. We can seek all day and night for the type we think we want, but the types won't be found. Types aren't alive; they're just ideas. A real flesh and blood spouse is alive and ready to love and be loved and to challenge and to encourage. A real, living God is ready to do the same, and I hope I don't reject God based on the type of god I want.

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