For those of us without Gwyneth legs, Marilyn eyes and Angelina lips (or, for the men, Brad abs, George eyes and Jon Hamm…well Jon Hammness), I think dating is a bit easier when we are forced to spend time with the potential love muffin prior to introducing romance to the situation. (Please don’t read this and then go off and kidnap that hot guy and hold him captive until Stolkholm syndrome sets in, you know that’s not what I mean.) I mentioned before that it’s easier to meet people in college, in part because you are around these people daily, giving love a chance to blossom gradually. Basically they get to know you and then they love you. In the real world it’s the opposite. I love you(r hair/eyes/biceps) so I will get to know you.
I understand this is a superficial world in which we live. Attraction matters. There is no two ways about it. But it can also develop over the course of getting to know someone’s more attractive traits. So his nose is a bit crooked, but his eyes sure sparkle when he talks about saving all those orphans. Maybe he’s thinning a bit on top, but that’s easily overlooked when those dimples set in as he’s happily making you a gourmet dinner. The same holds true for girls, guys. She might be a bit on the short side, but that smile is awfully bright when she’s making you laugh.
I look back on the guys I dated and while some are still pretty cute by traditional standards, I’ve had friends question my attraction to a few of them. But I had gotten to know each and every one of them over the course of months or even years and in most cases they became more attractive to me the more I got to know them. And the thing is this attraction would take more than a couple dates to develop. But why would you waste time trying to generate a romantic relationship with someone you aren’t attracted to just in case something about them will change your mind some day? There is also a chance that it won’t. So it can seem like a bit of a gamble.
But if you have a mutual group of friends you see on a regular basis or you work together or you take a creative writing class together and work on short stories in the same group, it can create a natural environment that gives you the opportunity to see that more attractive side over the course of time.
With the exception of one, every lasting relationship I had was the result of a gradual process. We cashiered together at our small town grocery store, we had classes together, our friends hung out. These guys got to know me and they came to love me. If they had just me at some bar they probably wouldn’t have approached me if we were forced to have three awkward dates before I really felt comfortable being my adorably (it is adorable dammit!) quirky self, I would have been eliminated in the first round. I’m an acquired taste, but man once you get there I’m downright delightful. I’m sure this is the case for many people. That’s why so many relationships still generate in the workplace, at college, from friendships or a myriad of other instances where you spend a fair amount of time together learning more and more about what makes the other person attractive.
Now, it’s true that you aren’t going to be attracted to some people no matter how much time you spend together. In fact, you may come to find them repulsive. So there still has to be some level of “gee they are kind of cute” at some point, but it’s amazing how much other factors can contribute to making a person dreamy and irresistible to the right person.