With the exception of the time she was totally into that guy lickin’ his lips and blowing kisses her way (seriously, how is that attractive?) in “Genie in a Bottle,” that song is something of a personal soundtrack to my life. Primarily because of the frequency with which my body is sayin,' “Let’s go” but my heart is sayin, “No.”
This is particularly true when I find myself attracted to people with habits that I don’t like, either because they are unhealthy or antithetical to what I know I truly value in relationships. I wish it was just standard sexy dude stuff like chopping wood and getting all worked up about people you’ve never met winning sports matches on behalf of your favorite city, but it’s a little worse than that for me.
Guns are my least favorite inanimate objects, followed closely by fedoras and shampoo+conditioner-in-one combos. It is equipment that could kill someone very easily and often does; it’s terrifying. I’m also wanted for the crime of stealing numerous hearts (badumcha, tip your waitress) and am uneasy around law enforcement on account of it. But mostly, it is the guns. I think the world would be a better place if there wasn’t a single gun on the planet and if all wars were fought with tickling matches and camp-style pranks.
And yet the gentleman currently holding the keys to the locks on my box is into guns and I find it so. Effing. Hot. He recently posted a picture of himself holding an M-16 on Instagram and looking at it made me pregnant almost immediately.
There was also this Patrick Bateman-looking, Ayn Rand-loving rich kid I had a class with who I was drawn to after seeing Facebook photos of him with a rifle. Almost everything he said and did was antithetical to what I believe in, yet seeing that did me in. Also, Patrick Bateman has always been my No.1 date choice from fiction because he knows all the best restaurants, which also speaks to my crap priorities.
I would be a vegetarian if it weren’t for my frequent consumption of oysters and ostrich jerky. I reason that oysters are just creepily advanced shells and that ostriches are the conflict-evading menaces of the animal kingdom, so eating them is really a kind of volunteer work. So yes, my vegetarianism is based on a hollow ideology but it is MY hollow ideology dammit.
So when a guy expresses an inordinate amount of enthusiasm about eating meat, I should technically be non-judgmental, but like, not as into it as I am. I want to want vegans and vegetarians and people as horrified by the factory farm system as I am. And yet, my friends. And yet.
I find evolutionary psychology an absolutely loathsome discipline because I think it is secretly funded by an underground society of men that want to make excuses about cheating on women as they age, but I still think it might have to do with some primordial desire to have a man who can hunt for your dinner and stuff.
Everyone knows that one of the sexiest thing a man can do is hang around in an alley, snapping his fingers forebodingly while wearing a leather jacket. But to do so without a cigarette in hand is like when cartoon owls and movie villains don’t have British accents. Like you know it’s technically possible, but it really doesn’t make much sense.
The thing is, cigarettes are really bad for the health of the smoker, the health of those around them, and for the life expectancy of their bed clothes and window dressings. Some people are glad to see that an affinity for whiskey is the apparent new vice of choice for youngish men writing novels about heartbreak and trying to open carpentry businesses using exclusively salvaged wood. But I’ll take the ones that smell like hotels where you pay by the hour, thank you very much.
My ex-boyfriend was a smoker and I absolutely loved the look and smell of it. Since I am not a monster, I was genuinely happy when he quit because I want him to live long and prosper, so it’s not like I encourage it or anything, but I still don’t want to like it and accidentally discourage people from quitting, which I’m afraid I do when I express my attraction to it. I guess I could keep quiet and just watch "Mad Men," but that won’t leave the sexy smell on my clothes.
I know the fallacy involved in enjoying dudes who are possessive and jealous. The idea you get on the surface is, “Oh man, he thinks I'm so hot that like, tons of dudes want me and he has to stand guard because I am such a hot piece.” That is absolutely NOT true.
Possessiveness, more often than not, is the result of an undercurrent of mistrust that women are sex-crazed lunatics who will bang anything in sight if not kept on a short leash. So when dudes are possessive I should go all Princess Jasmine on them with an “I am not a prize to be won!” speech. She’s a great role model both because she was awesome at shattering stereotypes and we both look great in turquoise. Instead, possessiveness makes me Sally Field during her Oscar win for "Places in the Heart," gushing about how much they like me.
Liking “Feminine” Stuff in Women
You can’t see it right now, but I am leaning in to my computer as I type this. That is how committed I am to the advancement of women in the workplace and the world, that I do it both literally and figuratively. So I should gag a little bit when a guy wants me to dress up in ultra-girly clothes and cook food and when he talks about what a great stay-at-home mother I’ll be to a brood of six or seven strapping boys like him. It’s a decision I respect when people make it, but I hate to hear of these things as foregone conclusions about what women will do with their lives. But instead, I have to hold back from singing the lyrics to Paula Cole’s much-underrated “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone.” I think she was being ironic about his back hurting from the tractor and doing laundry and raising kids for him and whatnot, but Alanis Morrisette forever confused me about the true meaning of irony.
I have to assume I am not alone in having these bizarre and contradictory attractions. Does anyone have any idea how to overcome them, or is it just something I should accept in a “We like what we like!” way so long as they are not extending into unhealthy dynamics? Or if you just know a really hot vegan smoker I can meet somewhere in the middle, do your girl a solid. Confessions and suggestions most welcome, as always.
You can watch me be a self-contradictory monster on Twitter too: @alanamassey.