I’m not even sure how to approach this topic, so I’m just going to come right out and say it:  Truth is, I’m kind of vain. I try not to be and, as a matter of fact, I’m a pretty low maintenance kind of girl. But I think my looks might be somewhere slightly above average, and I like to look nice…and I like it when people notice that I look nice, and it makes me feel good when they say so.

All that said, this recent lover of mine is perhaps less vocal than I’m accustomed to as it relates to the usual, “you’re so hot” and “you’re beautiful” and the like that men (who want to get a woman into bed) are often inclined to say. Of course, I propositioned him, in this case (as I was simply unwilling to wait any longer for him to ask me out). So…he doesn’t exactly lay it on, and he’s not overly attentive when we’re not together.

I’ve noticed this phenomenon and, while I’m trying to decide whether it matters to me, I’ve considered several lenses through which to observe:

  • It could be assumed that I’m accustomed to being picked up by and getting into relationships with shallow asses, who see how easily their hollow words work in their favor.
  • Is this aloofness (for lack of a more apt descriptor) just who he is? Or is he just not that into me?
  • Does the fact that I find him fantastically gorgeous (oh, those eyes! those perfectly colored eyes and skin and hair! his nose and the line of his jaw and all the proportions are exquisite!) turn him off? Does he find it off-putting that I’m so phenomenally attracted to his physicality? (Of course, all this is true because his pheromones are calling my name and his mind is brilliant…still, I can hardly help but gush!) Is he simply more evolved than all this objectification?

I suppose I’d be a fool to let it go unsaid that the (comparatively few) complimentary things he has verbalized are probably deeper and more meaningful than the usual drivel…take, “I know I’m going to love holding you all night,” for example — and he said it with my name. Kind of hard to beat that, actually.

Among the life lessons I’ve been working on lately are letting go of expectations, living in the moment and enjoying the present. I think I’ve done pretty well at that (relatively, at least). I’m interested in getting to know this fellow for who he is — and I’ve found a lot to like so far…he is different from other guys; he’s exceedingly respectful. Time has a way of providing answers to our questions, but I’m enjoying the now — and I’m not attached to any particular outcome.

So, does it matter? Am I okay with not constantly having my ego stroked in a superficial manner? Put another way:  If he doesn’t find me preternaturally beautiful, am I okay with that?

Finally, I have reached a point in my life at which I can say honestly, truly, I would rather a man find me beautiful inside than merely having a physically beautiful outer shell. I guess I’m learning to let go of ego a bit more, and that a little wisdom is catching up with my age. And that, my friends, is a happy realization.

does character have any correlation with looks?

This Huffington Post article recommending that women think twice before getting serious with attractive men generated more discussion than I’ve seen in a long time. Then there was the rebuttal, also on Huffington Post, from a man’s perspective, as well as numerous other responses in blogs, social media and the like.

Even after reading and participating in some of the discussion, my unscientific and completely un-researched response remains the same:  looks have nothing to do with character. And whether someone cheats is a question of a) character and b) vulnerability.

Webster’s defines character as “…a distinctive trait, behavior typical of a person or group, moral strength, reputation…”

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s focus on the behavior part of this definition. Being in any sort of relationship with another human allows us to observe a series or pattern of behaviors. These behaviors began to take shape in childhood, through the guidance of parenting or at school or various other forms of social engagement. Over time, we can see patterns in those behaviors that make up character.

This entire discussion reminds me of a little chat I had with my former brother-in-law. I’d heard his family was about to host a teacher from another country for several months. This young Spanish fellow had friended my sister-in-law on Facebook and she had remarked to me that he was really good-looking. So, when my bro-in-law asked if I’d heard the news, I said, “Yeah, that’s really cool, and Veronica said he’s pretty cute, too!”

Of course I was teasing, but this came back to haunt me in a later conversation when I was “sat down and given a talking to.” My brother-in-law apparently didn’t have a sense of humor about this, and asked me if I was able to see how he might be upset and yada-yada-yada. My response, “No. You should know your wife better than I do. And I can imagine she’s ever given you any reason to question her trustworthiness.”

In other words, it cuts both ways — I mean for men and for women. You should know by now the character of the people you’re closest to. And looks don’t have a damn thing to do with it.

As for vulnerability…well, that’s another discussion entirely. Let’s just say that most people who “fall into” a relationship that they didn’t plan on were vulnerable, either because they weren’t getting needs fulfilled at home or because they failed to put the proper guard rails in place.

At forty, I can no longer say “never,” because I’ve simply seen and experienced too much. But I think we can mitigate the chances of finding ourselves with a cheater by observing character and giving our relationship the proper attention.