The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Soul Mate Part 3

By the way--some of ya'll ain't gonna like what I say today. Others are thinking I'm giving some formula for picking up girls. Think deeper, people, please.
So. Where were we? Yes, I remember. I had used the Beauty/Power axis idea to help me
define my own pathway--that is, I defined the girl of my dreams, with the assumption that
whatever I most deeply aspired to have in my life as a female companion was a mirror to my
own idealized self. A theory worth testing! I found a lady. Call her Hazel. Hazel was
the most devastatingly sexy woman I had ever known, and also smart and sweet and spiritual
and financially stable. She said she wanted a man who had lower body fat than I had at the
time. That's fine--there is probably nothing that says more about you IMMEDIATELY than your body. It speaks of discipline, health, value hierarchies, the way you spend your time and
energy, etc. It is also immediately a turn on or off to the hindbrain. She also wanted
someone with deeper spiritual commitments. During the last months trying to work things out
with my wife, I had tried to hard to please her (or so I thought) that I had lost sight of
myself. Always a mistake. I'd stopped meditating. So I started running again, watched my
diet a bit more (a sign of self-respect) and meditated more. Hazel and I started seeing
each other--I'd fly out to Arizona to see her. But there was a problem: the sweeter to her
I was,the faster she backed away, until finally she broke things off. Hmm. Well, I decided
to take a step back. What if, I thought, everything I thought I knew about womenwas dead
wrong? What if the years I'd spent out of the dating circuit had clouded my judgement? I
had a convention coming up in Seattle, and I made a decision: I was goin to attend that
convention as if I was an anthropologist from Mars. Completely suspend everything I thought
I knew--empty my cup,as it were, and just watch. What might I see?
So I went to Norwescon at the Seatac Red Lion Inn, and did my panels, taught Tai Chi, but
at every other moment I just watched. Not just the fans, but all of the travelers coming in
and out. And after two days I started seeing a pattern that I never wouldhave believed,
something so incredibly politically incorrect that I had to shake my head. And the
observation, whether you want to agree with it or not, went something like this:THE MORE BEAUTIFUL A WOMAN WAS, THE MORE LIKELY SHE WAS TO BE WITH A GUY WHO IGNORED HER.

What? I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. If a guy was fawning all over a girl, she
was likely to be only moderately good looking. The really gorgeous ones seemed to be with
guys who barely noticed they were there. I just couldn't believe it.
I sat back and thought. Well, the dysfunctional aspects of that were obvious, but I asked
myself another question: what if there was a healthy aspect? What if there was an
unexpected explanation that was healthy, and smart,and made perfect sense of it all? I dug
into my understanding of sociobiology and biological determinism and came up with a theory.
And the theory was this: a healthy, beautiful woman aware of her power is like a lioness. A
lioness needs to be with a lion. Predators have their eyes mounted in front, to stalk prey.
It is herbavores who have eyes mounted to the side, to watch out for attacks. a
lioness, a man paying too much attention to her triggers one of two responses:
1) he is an herbavore, afraid of me.
2) He is a hunter, looking to kill or exploit me.
If he is another lion, then they are a mated pair, hunting together. His attention is NOT
upon her, it is on where he is going, what he is intending. Now, I'm quite sure that when
they are in private he gives her all the attention she needs. But in public? They are
hunting. Their attention is on the environment.
I decided to test my theory. I looked until I foudn the most beautiful woman at the
convention. She was being chatted up by two guys, and had been for almost an hour. I
interposed myself between one of the guysand her, and began to talk to the guys. With my
back to the lady. After about ten minutes, I turned, looked her in the eye, said "I find you
VERY attractive" and then turned and continued my conversation. I walked away. She followed me around for the rest of the convention. like a little puppy.
I couldn't believe it. It made such sense of Hazel. She didn't want to know more about how
attracted I was to her. She KNEW that. Seh wanted to know who I was, where I was going,
what I was goin to make of myself in the world. Was I hunter enough to provide for her
cubs, in other words. Was I what I seemed to be? Or another of the endless predatory males
she had had to defend herself from over the years. From the way I had come across, I was a
sucker, or a liar who would hurt her. Damn, damn, damn. I had neglected to learn the
language she spoke, and blew a wonderful chance to be with an extraordinary woman. The next step was to test my theory, and then, if it proved out, to figure out what the hell to do with the knowledge now that I had it.

More later...

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